Ever-changing Growth battling the “Norm”

The other day I was chatting with my mom and got quite emotional thinking back on the person I used to be and how much I have grown from then until now. It’s amazing to see God’s work in our lives. To see the undeniable change that has occurred from so many trials and tribulations. I am proud to say that I am much more patient than I have ever been in the past, more compassionate and loving, I’m no longer easily angered, and am able to communicate and express myself so much more than before. Don’t get me wrong, I still have so much to learn and grow but if you could see how I was just a few years ago and see the person I am now, it’s just mind blowing to think me then is essentially still me now with some upgrades. It’s amazing to look back and see what God has done. To look back and see the amazing transformation. I can’t even wrap my head around it.

It got me thinking about people in general. I work in the mental health field at the moment and one of the things I’ve noticed is the rise of diagnosis and how sometimes these diagnoses become a negative label for people.

Those that are depressed feel guilty because they may need a little more encouragement. Those that are anxious may feel guilty because they can’t do as much as others without feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Those that have a lot going on in their lives may feel guilty because they need extra support and/or help. It’s crazy that people feel this way in the first place because it shouldn’t be that way. We all need different things and we should be able to share that with our friends and loved ones without feel guilty, judged, or ashamed. We should be able to have these needs without feeling so abnormal! We are all so different and there is no “Normal”

During one of my work meetings, I heard the psychiatrist explaining to a family the definition of bipolar. Essentially a fluctuation of mood from manic to depressive. From high intensity  (manic) to a low and depressive state. At this meeting, the parents became emotional because of what that label meant. To me it just meant that the individuals needs are just a bit different than say the parents. But the child having that label really upset the family.

Now this made me think of myself and my personality. How I have moments when I have extreme bouts of energy, I have moments of feeling low, I have moments of feeling chaotic, and the list goes on and on. During each of those phases or whatever you’d like to call it, my needs change and I’m totally comfortable with that now. I’ve grown to embrace it.  But why do we live in a world that feels the need to label everything . That feels the need for the people who don’t fall in the “norm” to somehow become “Normal.”  What is normal? Who is to say someone who is “Bipolar” isn’t normal. Their fluctuating mood is normal to them. My different phases are normal to me.

We are all created so differently and I think we need to start embracing who we are. Instead of trying to be someone else, why not learn to manage the person you are. If you’re affectionate, be affectionate.If you tend to be impulsive, learning the appropriate time to do so. If you tend to spend money, learning when to do so. If you tend to get in a funk, learning ways to get yourself out of it. If that means taking medication to help create a sense of balance in life, then do so.

A friend posted something the other day that hit home for me. He just turned 29 and wanted to share an important lesson he’s learned in life which is this :

“… This is the most important lesson I have learned in all my life. Do not be the person you want to be and do not do on to others as you would have them do on to you…Be the person they need you to be. Do on to others as THEY would do on to themselves. Your needs are different than those of others. Get to know people, get to love people and get to serve people.”

How true is that? We all have our different needs, personalities, and struggles. We all deal with things so differently and instead of getting upset at each other because someone isn’t like us, doesn’t deal with things the same way we do, etc, why not learn how to provide for their specific needs in a healthy way? Why not learn to stop labeling people just because they are different than someone else or even ourselves. Being labeled “depressed” , “anxious” ,”emotional” etc, is in my eyes unnecessary.

Instead of creating a wedge and separation with these labels, we all need to start learning that all these different labels we have created just mean that one persons needs are different than another persons needs. 

The same also applies  in our own lives. I think understanding what our own needs are and finding ways to meet those needs in a healthy balanced way, is one of the most important things we can do! And feeling comfortable enough within our own skin to understand that our needs are going to be different than others and that’s totally ok.

Whether it’s religion, sexual orientation, likes, dislikes, gender, physical form, job occupation, you name it we need to stop creating labels and hating other people for being different than us and having different needs than us. There is no normal, there never will be a normal. “Normal” is just a way of sadly creating separation and I ask that you stop creating that wedge and start helping  others and being supportive in ways they need to be helped/supported  and helping/supporting yourself in ways you need to be helped/supported.

We are all different and it’s okay!


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