I was driving to dinner the other night and I returned a call to my mom on the way. She was at a party that was really loud in the background, so I was trying to get off the phone and let her get back to the laughter. Before I said goodbye, she asked if I was feeling sad again and if my medicine was still working. Up until that moment, I thought my medicine was absolutely working. I knew I was still recovering from my weeks of protesting and the media blitz surrounding the Zimmerman trial, but I was actively reaching out for company, I was writing a lot, I was reading, I was dreaming of things to come. I felt as normal as I assumed I should feel, on or off medicine. For some reason her question knocked the idea of normal out of its position in my mind and I couldn’t seem to pop it back into place.
What is normal? What is normal when you deal with depression, or with anything for that matter? I have days where I feel inexplicably down. I have days where I need to recharge. I have days where I need to not be alone. I have days where I want to walk through the mall by myself and days where I want to go to karaoke with all my work friends. Is this normal? Is this something my medicine allows me to feel? Or forces me to feel?
Something about my personality that I’ve never been able to determine an answer for (though I usually attribute it to being a Gemini) is how drastically I identify as both an introvert and an extrovert. On any given day, you can find me yearning to be surrounded by a group of people and reaching out to anyone I want to because new friends make my heart beat with more purpose. On others, I don’t want anything more than to back into a quiet space to re-energize and get back in tune with my personal needs. While my other qualities remain intact when taking a personality quiz (NFP, for you Myers-Briggs fans), I alternate between introversion and extroversion to quite an extreme. I find myself trying to answer the questions for how I might feel tomorrow. Or for whichever might be my normal state.
One definition of normal refers to being in a state of functioning. I am forever reaching for stability in my life, to be able to function the same today as I did yesterday and the week before and can count on functioning the same tomorrow, without worrying about what might throw off my basic ability to simply function. Is my medicine supposed to help me function? Or is it supposed to take me a step above?
I’m going to see my psychiatrist again in a week for the first time in two months. I was prepared to tell her that everything was going smoothly and that I didn’t need to make any changes with my prescription, but now I’m feeling unsure. Is feeling down for no reason something that’s normal? Even if it sometimes keeps me from functioning the way I perceive others to do with ease?
I know I say this every month, but I’m really making Here Comes the Brand a priority this month. If for no other reason, I need the money. I need to find some semblance of financial stability, in spite of my emotional instability. But it is so goddamn hard to sell yourself, to network, to show up, to try again, to try another tactic, to keep going, to not give up when you feel like you can’t even get out of bed or feed yourself properly.
Is normalcy enough to reach for in trying to achieve something great? Is it enough when just trying to function?