We often think we all can be defined by who is normal and who is not. When we struggle with mental illness, we try to compare ourselves to others who do not have an illness of the mind. We think they are normal and we are not. Sometimes we think we are just freaks who don’t fit in with everyone else. We are thought of differently by those who don’t understand, we are emotional, we cry easily, we react to things differently, we are sometimes up and down and our minds play games with us. We are different.

   When I was ill I asked God, “Why am I not normal? Why can’t I be like everyone else?” Even when I was in school and the kids picked on me, I thought I was not normal because I had a learning disability. I thought the things that made me different made me inferior to others. It was as if I were another species. Being diagnosed with a mental illness increased my negative feelings.

   I looked in the mirror and saw an ugly, messed up wreck. I was different from my family and friends. They knew how to be happy, they enjoyed their lives, they didn’t cry for no reason, they didn’t stay up all night with racing thoughts or burst out in emotional episodes. I felt like an outcast. I could never fit in with everyone else because I was not normal. I felt like God made a mistake when he made me.

   I was always told God does not mess up, but I was convinced he goofed with me. Why else would I have a mental illness? Why else did emotions and thoughts seem to run wild throughout me, ripping me apart? Why else did I feel things so deeply? I could talk about something and tears would start spilling out of my eyes. People would ask and still ask, “Why are you crying?” I can’t tell them it’s because I feel a flood of strong emotions and I can’t control the tears. Why do the tears come even when something is not sad? Is it because I’m not normal?

   My mom told me, “There is no such thing as normal. We are each different and unique in our own ways.”

  Then I realized I wasn’t different because I had an illness, but because God made me to be my own person. Nobody is the same. He made each of us to be an individual. He doesn’t want us all to be alike. That would be boring. My illness was not and is not me. It’s not what sets me apart from everyone else. What makes me the person I am is the kind, loving, caring, and humorous person I am inside.

   So when you start asking why you’re not normal, remember normal doesn’t exist. You are your own person. You don’t fit in a category or in a group. Be proud of who you are. Remember everyone has flaws, different ways, looks, reactions, and so on. Your illness does not make you different or a freak of nature. Your illness is a part of your life, but it’s not you. Dig deep down inside you and discover who you are and how God made you special.

   I know I’m not normal and I now know no one is. I am proud of who I am and I know it’s not my illness that makes me different, but the work of God. He made us each in different shapes, sizes, colors, and with different personalities. We are all unique individuals. We are wild, wacky and a little bit crazy. I thank God for me. Being proud of who I am helps me stand within the light.

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