What is normal? According to Merriam-Webster, it means “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern” or “occurring naturally.” Really though, what is normal? These times are new and unexpected for everyone. We are all learning how to live in times of a pandemic.
Everyone in the country right now has had their “normal” thrown into a blender and is learning how to handle it. When you lose someone you have to learn to live with a “new normal”; this is what we are all doing now – whether it be from loss of a loved one or loss of what we consider our normal life. It is important to keep in mind that everyone has their own version of normal – and that is okay.
If you are struggling, that’s okay; if you are okay and this is fine for you, that’s okay too. It also is okay to not be okay. We are human, so we are allowed to experience the wide range of emotions that humans have. What matters is that you do not have to continue to struggle, but rather learn how to rise above it. If something becomes distressing or bothersome to you, reach out for help.
It is also important to keep in mind that normal is based on society, and what it considers to be normal. This varies across countries and religions – even across states and communities. In some communities, it is considered normal to get to know your neighbors and even invite them to gatherings at your home. In others that would be considered abnormal. For some areas it is considered normal to leave the front door unlocked, but if that were done in other communities it would be considered a mistake because you are likely to get robbed.
Much of what is treated in therapy is normal and okay, it’s just taken to an extreme. Take anxiety as an example. It is natural and a basic human function to feel anxious or nervous at different times in our lives. It is a biological response to protect us from dangers we face.
With all that said normal isn’t normal. Everyone has their own version of normal. We are all trying to figure out what our normal is becoming and it is going to take a while for this all to get figured out. In the mean time, remember we are all in this together, and there are ways to get help if you need it.
- Written by Heather Barner, RMCHI, MS, CBHC CSU Clinician