What is Normal?

Heceta Lighthouse from Wayne Wallace

Health-wise, things are taking a turn for the better for me. I recently added a new medication to my lingual-nerve-pain-cocktail, which has not only helped with the pain, but also with my migraines and my mood. A 3-in-1 miracle! And it’s not actually a pain medication, so it’s non-narcotic. It’s been a great month compared to the past many months and I feel very fortunate. Like things are finally working together and finding the right balance. I am actually feeling – dare I say it? – normal. Who knew just-plain-normal could feel so good?

I never before appreciated what I considered normal. Of course everyone’s normal is different and sometimes we want to improve our normal, especially if our normal includes depression, anxiety, and chronic pain or illness. If our normal is pretty good, it tends to go unnoticed. And I have to admit that I was spoiled for a long time with a pretty uneventful (and unappreciated) normal. And then suddenly things went all out of whack and I kept wishing for my normal back. In retrospect I realize that my so-called-normal really did need improving long before I suffered the nerve damage and panic associated with it. I became anxious. And maybe a little depressed. It was so subtle and slow-growing, that I didn’t even notice that my normal was becoming not-so-normal.

As my kids were getting older, my worries were increasing to the point where I was becoming overbearing as a mother (my kids would question the use of past-tense for this sentence). I even started treating my husband like a child when he traveled because I worried about something happening to him (my husband might question the use of past-tense for this sentence). My mind always jumped to the worst-case-scenario every time my son drove somewhere and forgot to text me when he arrived at his destination (I question the use of past-tense for this sentence… you get the idea). It strikes me now that I needed something bigger to shake me up, to tell me that things were getting out of control. I think the nerve damage and panic were the catalysts for me to seek help and make some long-needed changes.

I’m now learning that normal is elusive… It’s constantly changing. Today’s normal is not necessarily tomorrow’s normal. I need to embrace this ever-changing landscape. To roll with the punches. What a difficult thing to do! But ever-so-slowly and with great trepidation, I am grasping that without the bad days, the good days wouldn’t feel so good. And now I appreciate the uneventful (so-called-normal) days more than ever.

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19 Responses to “What is Normal?”

  1. It’s those subtle changes that occur without notice that hit us with a jolt when the total manifestation is clear.
    It’s like a slow leak from your car tire. Every day, it loses 1 psi. But, still looks normal. Until it hits about 50% loss, and looks a little low- and two days later looks totally flat. It didn’t happen overnight- we just think it did.
    I hope this boost of compressed air keeps your normal where you want it- and the medication stills that slow leak of 1 psi per day…

    • suerae says:

      What a great analogy Roy! I wish I had used it in my blog – it’s so fitting. Thank you for your kind thoughts and, as always, your great wit and wisdom. ~ Suerae

  2. Cathy Miller says:

    Really insightful and honest post, Suerae. Not only does our normal change, but we have the power to make that happen.

  3. Betsy says:

    We are so pleased and proud of your progress, Suerae. You have worked so hard and for so long; now all that hard work is paying off. We know that you’ve turned that very important corner, and can see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel!! Keep up the good work. We love you…..Mom

    • suerae says:

      Thanks Mom, you have been a major part of the progress and I will always be grateful. I just hope my kids feel as lucky as I do to have parents that help and care when they need it. I love you and Dad too!

  4. Ann says:

    My precious Suerae, I am so glad that you are feeling better. You are probably right about things not having been normal before the dental disaster. Most people are so busy living their lives that they don’t realize when they are out of balance. I thought all those highs and lows were normal because I had always been that way. But one day when I was out of control over nothing, it took a friend of mine yelling at me five or six times to “go to the doctor” before I heard her and said OK. Unfortunately the pills I take keep me depressed, but that is better than being the chicken after her head has been cut off. You are going to get over all this because it is an episode, albeit a long one, but you will get over it. I am so glad you are getting there. Love, Annie

    • suerae says:

      Oh Ann, you are an inspiration! Balance is so tricky, isn’t it? I wish you could find a balance that didn’t involve depression. I can’t imagine how difficult that must be. There must be something that can help with that? It’s funny, because the medication that seemed to make everything click for me, was prescribed only by chance. I have been told that I have a slow metabolism when it comes to medicine. I am very very sensitive to the tiniest doses of most meds. I usually have to cut pills in halves or quarters to get the same effect as most would from 5 times that amount. Anyway, when I tried to increase the anti-seizure medication because the mouth pain was increasing, the dose was too high and made me very sick. I also feel that this same medication was making me depressed. So, the neurologist prescribed Amitriptilene in the lowest possible dose. It is an older anti-depressant that is used for neurological pain in small doses. Someone would take 5 times my dose if taking it for depression. Well, that seemed to help everything for me – the pain, the depression, and it is also supposed to help with migraines. I never would’ve known about this had I not been so sensitive to the anti-seizure medication – what a fortunate turn of events! I wish this could happen for you. Have you tried everything?

      Medication is a tricky business – it can save us and it can kill us. I hate to be on it, but don’t know what I’d do without it. A slippery slope. I’ve also found meditation and deep breathing to be very helpful.

      Thank you for your kind friendship Ann – you are a treasure!

  5. LeAnne says:

    So SO glad you are feeling better, Suerae. Such a long, painful process. So true, we don’t appreciate our “normal”… we take it for granted until we don’t have it anymore. Love you, LeAnne

  6. Uneventful normal is best. It leaves us room to take flight, way beyond normal, on our own terms. Sorry to hear about the pain – but glad that it has diminished.

  7. suerae says:

    Hi Roberta and welcome to my blog! Thank you for your kind words about what I’m teaching my children. I never thought of it that way, but you are right! I do talk to them about how important it is to seek help if they think they need it. Interesting that you ask about my diet. I don’t eat red meat and I eat a little chicken, turkey and fish (I try to get humanely raised and local meat). I also try to eat whole grains often and eat lots of fruits and veggies (ok, maybe not as many veggies as I should). I drink soy and almond milk instead of regular milk. I take vitamin supplements including B-12 shots because I am low on B-12. I also try to make a smoothie with flax seed oil in it daily. Do you have any suggestions? I’d love to hear! Thank you again for your interest and kindness! ~ Suerae

  8. First, I’m SO happy that you are feeling better! That’s always good news! Second, normal is such an interesting concept, right? My normal is other peoples insanity! LOL Thanks for a good post and a gentle reminder that we are all unique and that normal changes. Embrace it!

    • suerae says:

      Lol Martha! That could work against us when we find those that are more sane than we are! Thank you for checking in and for your comments – I always appreciate you stopping by! :)

  9. Suerae
    I’m so glad to see an improvement in how you are feeling. Your sharing of these events has, I am sure, helped many people. NORMAL changes everyday with our circumstances, and bravo to you for learning so much about yourself along the way. The empty nest is a life altering state and even though many say they embrace it with open arms, your perspective will never be the same when you arrive there. I’m happy things are looking up and while i’m sure there will be more bumps along the way {as there have been for me} keep up your optimistic outlook!

    • suerae says:

      Hi Alison! It’s so great to hear from you! Even though I’ve been silent, I’ve been following your blog and you’re doing a wonderful job! A great variety of information. Thank you for your wisdom about the empty nest. I believe what you say. I do hope that both our bumps along the way are only as small as speed bumps! :)

  10. Tammy says:

    I would love to be associated with the word “normal”. It’s never found it’s way to me. In a way, I’m grateful. Guess it goes to prove how far from normal I really am. Congrats to you, my friend, you are nearly full circle.
    Tammy recently posted..A tribute to MomMy Profile

    • suerae says:

      There is such a thing as better than normal, Tammy, and I believe that is you! Thank you for your support and great words of wisdom – they are always appreciated! ~ Suerae :)

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