I still have trouble understanding that I’m not a “normal person”.
For most of my life, I have struggled with this concept. When I was younger, I assumed my life would be the norm: Graduate High School, Graduate College, Get Married, buy a House, have kids … but there were other plans for me, and in a way, I am damn glad there was.
You see, I have never been a conventional person, so it is beyond me why I assumed at some point in my life that my route would be conventional. But, I guess some part of us always wants to stay within the conventional, because it’s within those walls that one typically feels safe.
I forget at what point in my life I realized that I was not normal, a large part of me believes that I always knew. High School was particularly difficult for someone like me. I accumulated endless absences and required extensions for a lot of my work. Somehow I managed to always get by, and it never occurred to me that there was something wrong.
It wasn’t until I reached college and started working full-time that I realized there was definitely something strange about me. I was odd, often staying up late into the night writing things I barely understood the next day. Canceling plans at the last minute, because suddenly I wasn’t feeling as confident as I typically was. It started like that; slowly, until one day I was completely immersed by the grasps of what some people call depression. I call it: the beast.
The beast hates it when I do anything. Ironically, the only thing I’m able to do while the beast is torturing me is write. I assume the abuser enjoys to be spoken about. It was through my writing that I realized there was something off about me. I would often write about being tortured by “something”, an invisible something I couldn’t quite describe. These melancholic scenes would then transform into a more hopeful pitch, and then into lists of endless tasks I wanted to accomplish. My mind seemed to always be on a rollercoaster of highs and lows, accompanied by periods of “What the f***” is happening, which some would say are periods of “normalcy”. It was during these periods that I would try to make sense of the rollercoaster that was my life.
You see, life is never what you expect it to be. I think that we are each handed over a series of struggles and our life is supposed to be about how well we create with them. What can you make out of it? How can you transform your pain into something beautiful?
My diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder was just a name given to a struggle I already knew I had. The irony is that I have been battling this illness for all my life, and I still have trouble comprehending that I am not normal. By not “normal” I mean, my life is not the typical life. I know well that none of us are “normal”, we all have our eccentricities, but not everyone battles an invisible illness that knocks them off their feet more often than they can count.
Through all this time, I still have trouble understanding that I must be gentle with myself on the days that I cannot get much done. I still struggle to understand that there will be days where the beast takes ownership of my day.
Life is tricky like that, and we each have our own beasts to tame. But what I don’t want you to ever forget, is that no matter how hard life gets, and no matter how often your beast tortures you, you can gain an immense amount of experience from it. Carry this experience with you, make sense of it in the way that only you can, and help others who are battling similar beasts.