The Desire to be Normal
We all want to fit in. We all want to be accepted. We all want to be normal.
Society gives us the unspoken notion that being normal is the goal. What society doesn't account for is the large percentage of people who look normal on the outside, but on the inside, live with invisible illnesses (like Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) every second of every day. We may look "normal", but we are far from that.
We deal with so much more than people realize
We may deal with depression and anxiety, take a second-breakfast size helping of medication every morning, not have the energy to get out of bed, and have physical and mental scars that remind us how tough we really are, but all we want is to be like everyone else. The cookie-cutter idea of a human being who is healthy, smart, and stylish with no detectable problems in their life is what we may strive to be.
However, if I've learned anything on my journey with Crohn's Disease and within the world of advocacy, it's that nobody is normal. What is normal anyways? Everyone has something that they struggle with on a daily basis.
It may be binge eating, depression, OCD, Crohn's Disease, mental illness, anxiety, or whatever other hard thing life can throw at you, but we all have the thing that we live and deal with that is less than ideal.
Being more open about my autoimmune disease has opened doors for me to meet others who also live with these diseases. People that I thought were "normal" have come to me to open up about their struggles, obstacles and triumphs about living with chronic illnesses.
Everyone is struggling with different things
It just goes to show that we can't ever judge the book by its cover. When we truly get to know people, we realize that we are all alike when it comes to one thing: we all have struggled with something. I know it may not seem like it, but we can all relate to one another on that level.
Instead of striving to be normal, I've decided to try and strive to be the best version of myself. How can I be the healthiest, happiest, most whole version of myself while living with Crohn's Disease? I try to align my actions with that question as much as I can every day, in hopes that I can live my best, most un-normal life.
The desire to be "normal"
The desire to be "normal" still creeps in every once in a while, but when I take a step back, I remember that we all have things we go through that are hard. No one is immune to that. Instead of being ashamed of it, embrace it and use it as a way to connect with other people and the world around you. When you accept you for you (just the way you are) and use the gifts that only you have, the world becomes a little brighter.
Normal is overrated.
Normal doesn't really exist.
Don't strive to be normal.
Strive to be the real you instead.
The world needs more of that.
Will you help us understand the impact of Crohn's & colitis by taking the IBD In America Survey (US only)?