Mental Illness – What is “Normal” Anyway?

A pet peeve of mine is when people say, “normal is just a dryer setting.”

Um. No, it isn’t. Normal is a word that means “conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.”

Normal is not just a freaking dryer setting and pardon me for stating the obvious, but I am bipolar and I am not normal.

Bipolar is Not Normal

And I’m sorry to be the one to have to break this to you, but bipolar disorder is not normal. It’s why they call it a disorder because it’s dis-order. It’s not “conforming to the standard or of the common type.” Bipolar is abnormal. Mental illness is abnormal. That’s what makes it an illness.

It’s Okay Not to Be Normal

But here’s the thing, there’s nothing wrong with not being normal. Quite frankly, I find normal overrated and boring (see my hair color). As I’ve written before, it’s OK to be crazy and it’s OK to admit that you’re just not normal.

Bipolars are not NormalBipolars are Like Everyone Else?

Yes, people with bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy and cancer and just like everyone else in the broad strokes. No doubt about that. We eat toast for breakfast, wear socks in pairs and get Lady Gaga stuck in our heads. Nothing unusual there (although Lady Gaga herself is a different matter).

But when you have a mental illness the very way you perceive the world, the very thoughts that you think and emotions that you feel are fundamentally altered. You just aren’t “normal.” But there’s nothing wrong with admitting that. There’s no need to try to wedge yourself into the concept of normal. You’re abnormal and that’s OK.


About Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.



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