I have never been accused of being normal. It’s okay, I consider this a good thing. Not that I have anything against normal – it’s just that, well, I don’t find much about being normal very desirable. Webster himself describes normal as being “characterized by average intelligence or development.” He also describes normal as “occurring naturally.”
Isn’t this a contradiction? If being above average intelligence (or below) occurs naturally, wouldn’t that then be normal? This reminds me of the concept of “healthy” in the world of mental health. Therapists, like myself, are trained to look for “disorders.” Despite this training, I do not see others as “disordered.” Actually, I find that word offensive. A disorder is considered a disruption in “normal” functioning. Remember, Webster says, “normal” is defined as “occurring naturally.”
Who, exactly, gets to decide what is normal functioning?
Think about this. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM – now on the 5th edition), is the psychiatric bible used by clinicians to diagnose clients. Until 1973, homosexuality was listed as a disorder in the DSM. The good news here is that I was only mentally ill with homosexuality until I was seven. By my 8th birthday, I no longer suffered from this disorder because it was removed from the DSM (though not entirely until 1986). Like magic, isn’t it?
In my world, people do not have a disorder, they have a story. Part of that story might include distressing thoughts, poor coping skills, feelings of depression, unwanted behaviors, and other concerns that could easily be found in the DSM. However, those are just aspects of the story – not the whole story, and certainly not the whole of who you are.
And I believe,
When I take the time to know you –
then who and how you are makes sense to me.
But, only always.