normalcy


I was driving to dinner the other night and I returned a call to my mom on the way. She was at a party that was really loud in the background, so I was trying to get off the phone and let her get back to the laughter. Before I said goodbye, she asked if I was feeling sad again and if my medicine was still working. Up until that moment, I thought my medicine was absolutely working. I knew I was still recovering from my weeks of protesting and the media blitz surrounding the Zimmerman trial, but I was actively reaching out for company, I was writing a lot, I was reading, I was dreaming of things to come. I felt as normal as I assumed I should feel, on or off medicine. For some reason her question knocked the idea of normal out of its position in my mind and I couldn't seem to pop it back into place.

What is normal? What is normal when you deal with depression, or with anything for that matter? I have days where I feel inexplicably down. I have days where I need to recharge. I have days where I need to not be alone. I have days where I want to walk through the mall by myself and days where I want to go to karaoke with all my work friends. Is this normal? Is this something my medicine allows me to feel? Or forces me to feel?

Something about my personality that I've never been able to determine an answer for (though I usually attribute it to being a Gemini) is how drastically I identify as both an introvert and an extrovert. On any given day, you can find me yearning to be surrounded by a group of people and reaching out to anyone I want to because new friends make my heart beat with more purpose. On others, I don't want anything more than to back into a quiet space to re-energize and get back in tune with my personal needs. While my other qualities remain intact when taking a personality quiz (NFP, for you Myers-Briggs fans), I alternate between introversion and extroversion to quite an extreme. I find myself trying to answer the questions for how I might feel tomorrow. Or for whichever might be my normal state.

One definition of normal refers to being in a state of functioning. I am forever reaching for stability in my life, to be able to function the same today as I did yesterday and the week before and can count on functioning the same tomorrow, without worrying about what might throw off my basic ability to simply function. Is my medicine supposed to help me function? Or is it supposed to take me a step above?

I'm going to see my psychiatrist again in a week for the first time in two months. I was prepared to tell her that everything was going smoothly and that I didn't need to make any changes with my prescription, but now I'm feeling unsure. Is feeling down for no reason something that's normal? Even if it sometimes keeps me from functioning the way I perceive others to do with ease?

I know I say this every month, but I'm really making Here Comes the Brand a priority this month. If for no other reason, I need the money. I need to find some semblance of financial stability, in spite of my emotional instability. But it is so goddamn hard to sell yourself, to network, to show up, to try again, to try another tactic, to keep going, to not give up when you feel like you can't even get out of bed or feed yourself properly.

Is normalcy enough to reach for in trying to achieve something great? Is it enough when just trying to function?

10 comments

  1. oh Nicole I can relate to all this so much. Especially the introversion/extroversion battle that always seems to rage inside. If I can throw in my two cents it'd be this: yeah, it is "normal" to feel down from time to time, but normal is such a subjective thing and you really have to find your own path there. Its far better to talk to your doctor about how YOU really feel, and about how you want to feel, rather than compare yourself to anyone else's standard for what normal should look like. I feel for you going through all this, and I applaud you for being so open and for writing so eloquently about it. Have a great week girl, XO kt

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  2. As someone who has struggled with depression, I can really relate to that feeling of yearning to function. Sometimes feeling down just sinks in, and there is a reason, but perhaps you are not aware of what it is. There is always the dichotomy of feeling introverted and extroverted. Achieving normalcy is a great goal. You should always keep striving for more. Once normalcy becomes your reality, then aim higher. You got this, Sunshine!

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  3. I go through this same thing all the time. I've never been diagnosed with depression or anything like that, but sometimes stress or disappointment or just about anything really can just make me feel sad about everything until something knocks me out of the mood. I beat up on myself for not being productive enough. I fluctuate between wanting to go out and be around people and wanting to stay home and sit in the dark and eat candy and watch unlimited amounts of Netflix. Sometimes nothing sounds good or interesting, so I just sit there and stare, or take a nap until something stimulates me. I think this is normal. These are not "good" days, but they are days we need to have in order to have good days, I think. Some people are blessed enough to have what we consider to be good days every day, and some of us are more moody and sensitive, and that's okay. Those things give us different kinds of power.

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  4. You and I are very similar. I have opted to live my life without medication now and that is a decision I wrestle with everyday. That being said, I think that normal is what you decide you are willing to live with. No one can tell you if your bouts with depression are normal or not normal, but if you feel in your heart that you can't continue this day to day struggle with your mindset then re-set. I have tried many things to keep me moving along-new hobbies, writing, music,art, most of which don't last more than a week and that is normal for ME. Writing various lists of to-do's that will most likely never be accomplished is also normal for ME and that is okay. There are a multitude of things that I could beat myself up over(and I do)but I have learned to reset my standards of normal multiple times in my life and that is also okay. Learn to be Nicole one day at a time. This is all of our first go at life, happy or sad you are what you are in the moment, no one else, so experience it to the fullest. xoxo

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  5. Girl, it's so normal. I've dealt with depression, anxiety, you name it. I took anti-depressants for some time when I was younger, but haven't taken them in at least 5 years. I think anti-depressants and other medications can do wonders for people, but I found for me it was more effective to figure out coping mechanisms for how to deal with the daily ups and downs.

    I've started identifying as an extroverted introvert, because I feel very similarly. Sometimes I want to just spend time by myself, and other times I really want to be out with other people. If you ever want to talk more about this stuff, feel free to shoot me an email. I've done a lot of work getting myself to a good head space, and it will take some work, but you'll get there, too.

    Hang in there, lady!

    -Becca
    Ladyface Blog

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  6. I think the constant ebb and flow of life will always create huge changes in need. As an myers-briggs fan myself, I'm a steady E every time, but that doesn't mean I don't have my days where I want to shut out the world and pretend that the only thing that exists is my pillow and some mellow music. Outside stressors and life situations can have really dramatic effects on your emotions and therefore your personality and personal needs. And while I may be a steady E when taking the personality tests, there are definitely other letters that change based on life at that moment. Actually, I usually find it pretty easy to identify with the EN and the P, but am I a feeler or a thinker? Who knows! Outside situations and people will always have the ability to change our reactions and personalities- for better or worse - on a day to day basis.

    I also think it's good to sit and reflect and really spend time understanding yourself, but it's a lot of pressure when you think you need to be or feel certain things. Life is hard enough. When you're feeling okay sometimes you just have to let it ride out and think about why you're feeling okay, and how you can take what's going well to turn ok into great. I would totally have anxiety if I constantly thought about if what I'm feeling is normal or if my okay days are good enough. And I know myself enough to know that if I thought about that too much, I would find it really hard to have a truly good day.

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  7. Gosh girl, you're truly so brave and inspiring. I can't say I've dealt with depression, but I think everyone deals with the struggles of anxiety or uncertainness. Life's a daily challenge, but I think you do a great job of expressing yourself through your writing and photography, even if you're camera shy :). Trying to fit the mold of what society defines as normal can be tiring and stressful on anyone. None of us fit the mold perfectly, but that's what makes us unique. As an introvert, I understand the constant self questioning of being anti-social. Still, everyone needs their own time and there is nothing wrong with that. There will always be good and bad days, but when you're feeling off, you always have family, friends and a blogging community to support you. Stay strong!

    - Melissa

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  8. I have been thinking about this exact thing a lot lately. I have hypothyroidism, which affects various aspects of my body, including my mental health. When my medication is out of whack, it makes me depressed, and recently, my dosage wound up being too little, out of the blue. The decline in my physical and mental health was so gradual, that I didn't realize anything was different. I felt "normal." But after getting on an increased dose of medication, I started feeling much better, and realized that THAT was what "normal" felt like...or is it? I love what you said about your medication - does it allow you to feel a certain way, or does it force you to feel a certain way? It's so tricky.

    I'm happy to hear you're going to see your psychiatrist again to make sure everything is alright and to adjust things if they're not. You are doing a great job of taking care of yourself, and I commend you for working hard, even though I know it's so freaking hard sometimes. You are a lucky girl to have such a supportive family, boyfriend, set of friends, and blogging network to lift you up and check on you. Keep your chin up, my dear, and keep on taking care of yourself. You are so worth it!

    XOXO
    Brynn
    brynnash.blogspot.com

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  9. Nicole, thanks for being so real. I can't wait to connect this weekend at Texas Style Council. Cheers to you and your positive impact on so many lives!

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  10. Nicole, thanks for being so real. I can't wait to connect this weekend at Texas Style Council. Cheers to you and your positive impact on so many lives!

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