Am I normal?

Am I normal? I get asked this question in one form or another almost every day. If you think about the world today, and the way we each live within our own cocoons peering out at the world through the television or Facebook, it is not at all surprising how many of us wonder about this question. It is incredibly difficult to determine whether we alone feel the way we do, or if others feel it too. Each day we are assailed with images and stories of happiness and perfection. Each day we involuntarily trudge through gigabytes of input showing us how great things are, and each day our ability to know what we can truly compare about ourselves against others slips that little bit further away.

So let’s spend a moment or two talking about just what “normal” is. Normal refers to “what most people do, feel or experience”. By way of example: Each morning the sun rises and given that more people spend the daylight hours awake (going to work, school or whatever), we say that it is “normal” to get out of bed in the morning. From this perspective, we can say that it is not “normal” to get out of bed as the sun is going down and then spend our waking hours in the dark.  Having said this, just because it isn’t “normal”, doesn’t mean that people who do so are wrong or weird. Large numbers of people work at night. Long haul pilots, night-shift postal workers and railway workers each spend their days asleep and head off to work as most of us are settling in for the evening. These people have a pattern of life that simply doesn’t fall into the “normal” category.

For me, the most important aspect of the above example is that just because an individual does, feels or experiences something in a slightly different way than the majority of people (thereby putting them in a category other than “normal”), doesn’t mean they’re “Abnormal”. It doesn’t mean you’re weird or that there’s something wrong with you. It just means that there is some specific aspect of you, your life and your feelings that are a bit different than others.

Going back to the beginning of this article, social media and advertising in general just serve to make things worse. There is no question that this new digital age (you remember that, this new age that was supposed to place the entire world at our fingertips?) is actually creating more and more distance between us. All that we see is filtered and skewed towards a positive bias. It is becoming almost impossible to actually tell what feelings, experiences or behaviour fall into the “normal” category.

This is where creating a trusting therapeutic relationship with an appropriately trained therapist can be helpful. The vast majority of people who come for counselling wondering if they’re normal need only a session or two to get themselves back on track for living their lives fully, and without worry that there is something wrong with them. If you’re worried about whether or not you’re “normal” and you live in the general Bishops Stortford area, please feel free to contact me on 01279 834467 for a fully confidential, no obligation discussion of your needs.