Written by Neurotic Nelly
My illness is invisible. My mind is fractured. Broken. As cracked and chipped as a well worn piece of china. As unraveled as my favorite knit sweater from childhood. As wonky as my badly reset but healed broken finger. It is a damaged record player with the needle stuck in the grooves of a dented and scratched record warped from too much use, moisture, and time….and that is okay.
Unlike a broken record player or chipped china or an unraveled sweater, you can not take it back to the manufacturer and get a replacement. You can not get a refund or file a complaint. A mind is irreplaceable. My mind is irreplaceable and so I have to learn how to deal with it’s fractures. It’s issues. It’s illness….and that is okay too.
For thirty one of my thirty five years on this earth, I have struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I say struggled because each and every day, I struggle to overcome whatever it wants to try and haunt me with. Usually, it is something that will make me feel guilty or ashamed. Usually, it is something that revs up my anxiety levels. Usually, it is intrusive and disturbing. But I do deal with it because I really I don’t have a choice. I want to live my life. I want to be happy but most of all I want to accept myself because if I can not then I am unable to to let anyone else. I struggle with many things but I have always struggled against feeling like a failure because I am different and sometimes unable to do things others can do without issues. I have struggled with feeling abnormal and inadequate.
The biggest thing I have learned in my three decades of dealing with my own mental illness is that it is okay to not be okay. There is no shame in having OCD. It is not my fault. I did not ask to have it. I am not responsible for having a mental illness and therefore I have no reason to be ashamed of having one. I do not have to suffer in silence. I can speak about this. It is acceptable for me to say that I have a disorder because I have the right to talk about something that affects my daily life. I am entitled to my own feelings and I do not have to explain them or make excuses for them or downplay how I feel. It is okay for me to not be okay. Because sometimes, I am not okay and that is perfectly fine.
In a world where we are taught to be normal, to fit into the mold, to be like everyone else…to be strong, and defiant, and brave…to be perfect, it is hard to come to terms with not being like everyone else. You hear that the world “normal” is relative but in all honesty, that sounds silly when you live outside the fray of normal people. Normal people’s thoughts, normal people’s accomplishments. I find it kind of insulting when I hear that being “normal” doesn’t really exist because that person ,clearly, has no idea what mental illness is like. To be told over and over and over that normal is not a possibility for you. That normal is the elusive box of goodies on the shelf that you will never obtain because you are different. Your arms will never be long enough to reach it. You will never grasp normal in your hands and pour it into your cereal bowl in the morning and eat it with a tall glass of orange juice on the side.
You can never be normal and that is okay. Because you are more than your illness, more than normal could ever be, you are magnificent. Magnificently you.
We don’t have to be what everyone else thinks we should be. All we need to be is what we are. Us. People that are strong and brave and compassionate. People that struggle but fight anyway. People that keep going and keep working to be better. We are not failures because we are not like everyone else, we are warriors because we fly in the face of that normalcy and keep being the courageous people we are. It is okay to not be okay because we have the right to be different and still feel good about ourselves. Still love ourselves. Still accept ourselves. No, we are not normal…..we are badasses, and that is more than okay. That is magnificent……
Image Credit: dj goulash
Neurotic Nelly is a mental health blogger and mother of two. She is a wife, mother, friend, and daughter. She is a woman with severe OCD. Her hope is to inspire others to talk about their mental illnesses without the shame or fear associated with it and to help create better mental illness awareness around the world. Her blog is located at neurtoicnellyocd.blogspot.com.
To check out all of Nelly’s guest posts on MHT, click here.