“Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.”
What I’m about to say goes against all advice given in any self-help meeting, but it’s how I feel, damnit.
I have often felt different than most, not a part of, less than.
Not always. Sometimes, I feel on top of the world, totally present, and I love everything in my life. And sometimes, I feel just like every other “bozo on the bus”, another nameless face in the crowd, which is honestly ok. But often, I feel…different.
Well, let’s pick apart the seventy different kinds of recovery I’m in. I can’t diet, I can’t drink in safety (in the words of Biggie, if you don’t know, now you know) and my therapist has diagnosed me with depression (that requires medication) and some trauma stuff for a long time now. Let’s say this: if you were a clinician, and you saw my rap sheet, you might wince a bit and say, “Jeez.” You might expect me to be doin’ a lot worse than I am now.
Cause I am doing pretty damn well for the “stuff” I have. I got my master’s degree, am successful in a field where I can turn my misery into someone else’s avoidance of said misery, and have a family of my own. I am fairly high-functioning; I am lucky. Or resilient.
But there’s something funny about high-functioning anything-ers: they can slip more easily between the cracks. They, in turn, can feel more different, because they mingle with the “normies” of society. At work functions, at family parties, at friend’s BBQs. They can be around people who drink or diet or binge or don’t experience the glory of mood swings, but it doesn’t make it any less hard. In fact, it can be a particular kind of hard because they’re often the sole “different kid” in a group of “normies”.
So that’s why I feel different.
Self-help groups tell you to identify as just another worker among workers, which helps sometimes. I’ll often use this example: I have a friend who is allergic to basically any kind of food. So, I try to remind myself, “Wow. She must feel the same way – like everyone is staring at her when she orders her food. Maybe she feels different than, too.”
(And I do realize there is no normal. And I do realize everybody’s got their thing.)
But I do think it can seem overwhelming to an individual when they realize –
“Hey! I need an everything-anonymous!”
How do YOU feel different? Is there something that sets you apart from the crowd?