I find myself wondering, what is a normal life? I saw a movie the other night where everyone in the movie had mental health issues. Is that normal, rather than the definition our minds automatically attempt to assign to it (which would be married with 2 1/2 kids, living in a cookie cutter house, with a white picket fence, in a neighborhood full of the same. BOOOORING!!) At least I can say my life is always interesting. I can't say much else about it (seeing as there are still huge chunks I don't know much about), but it isn't boring. Therefore it isn't normal?
I smile and laugh. I walk around at stores. I go out with my friends and have a good time. I have trouble finding a job. I'm just like everyone else. Except, I have an invisible disability, therefore I'm only like maybe half of everyone else. And, my disability is extremely rare, therefore I'm only like maybe .001% of everyone else. I'm still normal. I worry about money, my kids, getting/keeping a job, taking care of my responsibilities, doing what I'm supposed to do, saying what I'm supposed to say, being what I'm supposed to be..... All normal worries, therefore I'm normal.
You can't tell by looking at me that I'm different. Mostly because I won't let you. You can't tell by talking to me that I'm different. Mostly because I put a lot of effort into being able to sound like I know what I'm talking about. I keep up on current events and read as much as I can find about what led up to them so I can carry on an intelligent conversation with nearly anyone (well, okay, no super geniuses, but they're no more normal than I am.) I watch movies and learn who the stars are and what else they've been in so I can talk about entertainment without sounding too much like an idiot. I have dreams and goals that I love to share with my friends and family (preferrably without being mocked, but that's not usually how it ends up working out.) But, still, I'm not normal.
People have trouble remembering that sometimes, until I say something or do something they don't expect, then their suddenly reminded. That hurts. And, that's what it's like to be not normal. Right there is the reason it's hard having an invisible disability. People forget and treat you like they treat everyone, then suddenly they treat you differently, or say something, and it hurts. Not so much that I'd tell them to stop. Usually I'm the one cracking jokes to say it before anyone else has a chance, so they probably assume it's no big deal. But, really it is. It's hard to have people feel like they have to make you aware that they suddenly remembered you aren't normal. Worse still are the times when I forget I'm not normal and say something like "I've never...." and they choose to remind me that maybe I had and I've just forgotten. Or I'll know something they didn't think I'd know and ask me when I remembered that, rather than just accepting and moving on from there.
Now, I'm not saying any of this is offensive. It isn't. I'm not saying it hurts so much that I'll never recover from it. I will. Usually within seconds I'm laughing it off, because the truth of the matter is, I'm not normal and I live with that truth every day. And, that's okay because, really, what is normal?