Sunday, March 15, 2009


I have felt normal for almost two weeks. Now I realize normal is a relative term and may sound like an odd or dramatic description, but I have been pigeon holed by myself and others so greatly that I am very aware of the subtle differences in my day to day. Especially when I either interrupt my days to check or intentionally reflect on them. 

I have recently become more in touch with the reality that people who know I have a diagnosis have decided that they can define me by that diagnosis. Even when they are usually incorrect and when they have taken away the human element. This is particularly true within those I know in the mental health field (or say, who are students thereof). 

I say all of that because as I have moved away from seeing myself as someone who fits a specific DSM criteria, I have realized what a grave mistake it has been to, so often, be so open about my struggles or simply my "label". (Ironically I am being open about it right now). And, I know, it is me who needs to move away from labels, like a particular diagnosis or even descriptors in my life of big events that need not be tossed around because they become identifying characteristics when really they aren't. 

But were I not open about some of this, I could not write the following.

Three weeks ago I was very stressed. In fact so much so that I was in a lot of pain as a result from it and the chiropractor I went to see pointed out that my pain was essentially self (i.e.; stress) induced and something needed to be changed. But I didn't have time. I had too much homework. I studied a great deal for a week and didn't sleep very much etc. And then on a Monday morning, two weeks ago, I woke up early and left my house at 6:45 for my 9am Midterm. As I drove to school it was this amazing crisp morning, it had stopped raining not long before and the sun was beginning to cross the sky. I found myself practically dancing in my car on my way to a class I had been really stressed about. 

After the exam I went up to the rose gardens and looked out over the city. I enjoyed the day and found some perspective. That is when I began to feel normal.

Normal. I mean that in the last two weeks I have had regular days where parts were a sad and parts were happy but they are what I imagine a "normal" person's life is like. I know I am "normal" in the general sense of the word, but when you live beneath a label and people, friends even, point out their views on you based it on "criteria" it is hard to feel normal. But I have. And I have loved it. And it feels real. Ups and downs are wrapped up inside perspective. 

There are some things I am going through that I am really not very happy about, but I am also aware that other people go through similar things and that I will just continue to live one day at a time and figure out what to do and where to go. But as I embrace Dr. Berardi's reminder that "life sucks and then you die" I can focus on how to respond to the in between - because that's what matters. (Really it is actually an inspirational reminder that I should probably share sometime)

So tonight I watched the move and I felt and I enjoyed feeling. I have spent too much time in my life being numb and feeling deeply is something I love to do. I love to feel seering joy, but to really experience it you have to know terrible pain. Most of us have known that and how much more does our joy mean? I can feel sadness deeply and know it is part of it, but not all of it. 

It rained hard on my way home; I watched it crash on the asphalt. I played with the condensation on the inside of the car window. I moved through my feelings about the film and about my current life situations and allowed them to sweep through my head and heart. And I felt the rain in my bones, and I came home.  

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About Me

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Portland, OR, United States
I am a daughter, sister, friend, wife, counselor and colleague. I am a work in progress. There may be some pieces out of place and things might be messy, but it's okay. I would rather accept that I am still unfinished than think that this is it. You can find my comments on faith and spirituality on my blog: And my comments and anecdotes on life at:

Books That Matter. Well, some of the many that matter.

  • Magical Shrinking: Stumbling Through Bipolar Disorder, Chris Wells
  • Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • An Abudance of Katherines, John Green
  • Dave Pelzer
  • Franny & Zooey, J.D. Salinger
  • I Was Told There'd Be Cake, Sloane Crosley
  • The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris
  • The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are, Daniel J. Siegel