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"Next To Normal"

A few days ago, I sat with an interviewer to share my story. I was asked the following question,

“Do you think the way that you living is normal?”

Immediately, I thought to myself,
“I’ve never thought of an answer to that question”

For a quick response, I was about to say,
“Normal is subjective, you can never describe what normal is.”

But I interpreted the question differently. What I thought he was asking was,
“Are you OK with the way things are?”

I responded,
“This is but a starter. In life you have to make sacrifices, it takes time, energy and you need a goal. I am constantly working to reach that goal.”

I felt that was a better answer than saying that, yes, it is normal. Yes! This is exactly how I want to live. In all honesty my situation doesn’t define me. Instead, it is my will to persevere. It’s what Viktor Frankle said about the meaning of life, we look to the aftermath of this moment in time, until we get where we want to be.

In my everyday life, everything seems next to normal. Sure, I want to have a family and live a decent life. I think as young adults we all strive for something of that sort. Does it make us, in our striving, less than normal? No, it doesn’t, regardless of our circumstances. It’s really up to us to define what we believe normal is, what our goals are and strive therefore.

Later in the day (same day), I saw the musical, “Next To Normal.” A powerful show of a troubled family.

A mother and wife, Diana, who struggles with bipolar disorder and the loss of her son for 18 years. She was unable to do away with the memory of her son and she keeps having illusions of him appearing and convincing her to avoid treatment. Her husband, Dan, worked tirelessly to find a resolve that would help her to recover from the trauma. She was brought to a psychologist who tried several options that he thought might have helped. He tried medication but she threw them out. He tried hypnosis that he had hoped would bring her to forget her son, but unfortunately it didn’t work and he kept reappearing to her. He finally tried shock therapy but she lost most of her memory and she was unable to recognize her family. Eventually, with the help of her husband the doctor she was able to regain her memory, but unfortunately that included the memory of her dead son.

Eventually, she had a final conversation with her doctor who told her that she had to make up her mind about what she needed. She went home and told her husband that she was leaving. She didn’t want to be a burden to him anymore and wanted to deal with things on her own.

Her husband went to see the psychiatrist trying to get some reassurance but the doctor gave him the name of another mental worker.

The story seeks to relay to us the message that medicine isn’t magic, it’s all we got but for it to be effective it is important that we make up our mind to make it work.

Life isn’t perfect, in life there are things that we can appreciate and there are things we hope will get better, but that’s up to us. We determine what normal is or what is next to normal.

2 Replies to “"Next To Normal"”

  1. RaiC says:

    “Next to Normal” was great.. I had the opportunity to watch it as well and I got the same message.

    Normal means something different to everyone and can change with every culture, so I hate to use that word. It also puts people in and out of a box.

    It’s so important that we remember that medicine can only do but so much… we need to make up our minds that we want to get better and we need to do things that will encourage that. In my opinion, Medicine combined with healthy behaviors and thoughts is a recipe for success. Every person is different.

    As you stated, life isn’t perfect.. but we can make changes to the things we can control and try to make them better. We find our own normal and make it work

  2. Kevin A. says:

    Indeed!Glad you had a chance to see it.
    We are all normal (however we see normal) and to a certain extent, we get to decide what type of future we want regardless of our circumstances.

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