Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A few cards short of a full deck

In various discussions with therapy lady, she would often smack my wrist with the proverbial ruler for using the term "normal" when I talked about things.

 I would sometimes reference it as in, "I react to x situation poorly, I feel as though other people would react in a more normal manner." In which case I would get a friendly reminder about not thinking about things in a such a stark manner. Also a reminder that just because I lived the childhood/young adulthood that I did, there wasn't some actually attainable "normal-ness" that was the polar opposite of my experience.

This took a long time to hammer this idea into my head.

For me, normalcy has always been sort of like that Christmas present you relentlessly asked for every year as a kid but never got. You knew it was out there because you could see it every year in the magazine, but you never had any actual experience with it. I'm not saying somehow that if I had just gotten that one Christmas present (mine was always a sterling silver tea set - I look back on it now and have no fucking clue why) that somehow my childhood would have been awesome and I wouldn't have the issues that I do now.

In the end, getting closer to "normal" came in the form of small, yet significant moments. The first one happened with Now-hubby back in college. I was carrying a glass bottle of orange juice back to the dorm, and tripped on an outside step. When the glass shattered, he immediately asked if I was okay. Which must have been even more difficult for him to figure out if I was or not because I burst into tears as soon as he asked. Not because I was actually hurt, but more because it had been a very rare occurrence up to that point to have somebody care more for my well-being than the inconvenience of something being broken.

It also helped to do a lot of self-evaluation and continue on with therapy lady. I think about who I was 5 or so years ago - I haven't been with the same therapy lady that entire time, but I've been working on pretty much the same issues for that space of time. Which...when I say it out loud makes me sound pretty...not sane.

But getting to a point where I can rationally say, "this is making me feel anxious and I feel like I need to change something," or, "what you've just said has pissed me off, and I want to be alone to sort that out in my head," instead of going all, "OMG nothing is ever right and I am fucking going to sit here and hyperventilate about it" is a pretty good feeling.

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