The other day I read a blog post called Anxiety And Panic Attacks and one of the lines in it really struck a chord with me.
I thought it was normal.
I’d actually forgotten what it was like to think it was normal. For the longest time I thought I was the only one who obsessed over things and felt emotions so strongly they would dominate my life and make daily tasks feel impossible, due to my depression and anxiety But when I was a child, for a little while, I thought everyone was like me.
It didn’t take long for this to change. As I’ve mentioned before I struggled to make friends. I was shy. So scared of every situation, talking to other kids was all I wanted to do, but I was worried they wouldn’t like me or would think I was weird. And I thought it was normal to feel this way, until I realized that I was the only one who didn’t have any friends at school.
Ok, I did have a couple of friends, but I didn’t have a best friend and I tended to flick from group to group, trying to fit in and not feel excluded. I didn’t fit in with the popular group and I struggled to interact with the other kids, so I often spent my lunch hours reading in the library to avoid having to try. There were a few other kids who spent most of lunch in the library, but not many. That’s when I started to think there was something wrong with me, I wasn’t normal. And it upset me.
This carried on for most of my school life. I had friends occasionally, but none of the friendships ever seemed to last very long. I knew I wasn’t normal now. And for a while it didn’t bug me. In high school I liked being weird, because it got me attention. Not good attention, but attention all the same. I wouldn’t say I was bullied, but I did get teased a bit. While I didn’t enjoy the teasing, I secretly liked the attention.
These days, I not weird, or different, or normal, I am Katie. I get scared when some others wouldn’t, but those people have fears of their own that don’t bug me. I stress out about things that my friends and family remain calm during, but they too have their own stresses. I get excited really easily, about snow, about certain TV programmes, and Christmas (I’m like a child) whereas some others find these things mundane, scary or frustrating.
I have my own ups and downs, my own successes and my own failures. Just like everybody else. There is no normal and no abnormal because everyone’s path is different. That’s just how it is. I spent a long time thinking I was normal and then agonizing over the fact that I wasn’t normal. I think we all do this in our own way, but I’ve learnt to just keep on being me. It’s all I can do and it’s as ‘normal’ as I can get.
Smiles and Sunshine