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FIRST PERSON: The New Normal

I was diagnosed with Depression, Social Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder about 12 months ago. Ever since then I’ve been on a quest to feel normal. I’ve suffered with these illnesses silently for the last 30 years and always felt I was on the fringes of society but suddenly being diagnosed made me feel even more isolated – as though the rest of the world was normal and I now had a certificate that set me apart which officially declared me crazy.

The diagnosis made me analyse myself more than I ever had before but it also made me look at everyone else in a new light. The way they just got on with their day, the way they posted pictures online of their wonderful nights out, the way they just seemed to be floating through life on a wave of happiness.

Then I looked back at myself, at the way it sometimes took me half a day to get out of bed, even longer to get dressed. How I couldn’t go on these nights out with friends because I was too scared to leave the house. How, in fact, I didn’t even have any friends because for the last few years I’ve pushed them all away. It was easier to be alone. With no friends I couldn’t let anyone else down. Only myself.

More than anything I just wanted to feel ‘normal.’ Were the people posting photos of wild nights out on Facebook ‘normal’? What about the people my age with kids, doing school runs and fetes on a Sunday. How was I be expected to feel ‘normal’ when I actually had no idea what normal really was….Did i really want to be that kind of normal.  I have no answer, even though i continue to search for it…the quest for ‘normality’ continues…

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