Depersonalization Support Forum banner


864 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  CECIL
I was talking a friend last night and, as usual, I found myself in somewhat of an esoteric conversation about things. It seems as though, every couple weeks or so, I tend to get into a conversation with someone and I mention the word "normal"; and the average response is "What is normal?" Usually people ask the question in a rhetorical fashion - assuming everyone will go, "Yup, you're right - nobody is 'normal'". However - I piped up last night and said, "I think I can define normal", and I attempted it and she (my friend) agreed to it. Well, this morning I went to my counselor (I started seeing him after my divorce and continued because I enjoy him) and I brought up the fact that I was a bit nervous about my upcoming trip to Florida (business), because I have, on a occasion, had some pretty bad panic attacks when I am away from home - and the depersonalization has a tendency to follow. He sat back a bit, looked at me and said something quite ironic "The problem is that you don't have something that makes you feel normal when you're out there - something that reminds you you're okay?". I stopped, dead in my tracks, nodded and, well, that was that - and I felt I should probably share my thoughts on normality with everyone here because it coincided so well with his statement.

For those who know me a bit, I was without depersonalization ("cured") for about two years of my life - mostly during my marriage. I can only describe the difference between then and the occasional moment now where I get depersonalized as simply without DP I just followed my patterns and my usual way about things; but with DP I am completely detached from that routine and simply become hyper-vigalent about my environment. To me, when I'm "fine" the environment seems usual, predictable, comfortable and - well, "normal"; and when I'm DP'ing out it seems counter-normal. Okay, so, what is normal?

To me, normal isn't "everyone being the same", but normal is the state - that many people achieve (and have in common) - where they are doing life by routine and pattern, without giving much thought to things and simply living. I feel that when you look back on the day and it just "zipped" by - you lived it "normal". Now, not everyone's normal is the same, but the fact that people find their normal way of living IS normal - and so, one layer of abstraction later, we see that it's normal to feel normal - make sense?

Everyone talks about wanting to feel normal again - but, normal to us is living life without really thinking much about it, kind of doing it in a trance, really - totally detached from thinking heavily about our place in the universe, our own existence, etc. The consistency in action MAKES us feel normal, but in reality we have always been where we are, we just never thought about it.

Now, whether it's drug induced, hormonal or "whatever" - we are no longer watching the television program but watching the television itself - kind of "distanced" from the things we used to trance in on and just do by habit. Everyone feels deplaced now and then or "out of it" - and they immediately seek their original patterns and fall back into "the way". Something woke us up half-dream, and now we are thrown back into the stratosphere, watching ourselves in this highly bizarre world act and live the life we did before, but now aware that something else persists outside of us.

Culturally we have lots of things that help us to feel normal and have our patterns - we have seven day weeks, 12 month years, a birthday once a year, an anniversary, a television program, or whatever. It is these things that touch with us a sense of normality.

The problem is simple for us - we have this different scant on our world (for whatever reason) and we all want to feel normal again, but can't seem to forget our new view.

If only I would have known, I would have taken the blue pill.
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Now you may find this a little whacky, but the original post reminds me a lot of Terrence McKenna's idea of Novelty.

He postulates that time and experience are not linear at all but in fact ebb and flow with a quality he calls "novelty". That is, some times you "go with the flow", with what you call "normal". The world carries on as it always has and nothing eventful really happens.

But sometimes there is a quality to experience and reality he calls "novelty", which is when new things happen. You have new experiences, face new challenges and come to new understanding of your world, your mind, your self.

The idea is that this happens in "waves" (but I won't go into that), which is more or less similar to what you say in your post.

Now I am wondering here about what Janine said. I think we with anxiety issues tend to look at the novel times and think grandiosity. i.e. "Wow, this new idea is the best, the most fabulous, the thing that's finally going to crystallize all of this uncertainty into a grand sense of enlightenment" (or at least it has been like that for me in the past). But what it really is is a natural unfolding, becoming process that will never reach a climax or final crystallization.

So I'm wondering if I'm just babbling incoherently or whether its just a matter of how you approach this shift from normal to novelty. i.e. Do you think what I am describing as novelty is happening or is it just the fantasy world you talk about? Or is the novelty really occurring and instead of relaxing and taking it in stride we build it up to mean something it can't possibly mean and ultimately burn ourselves out (or something similar, I'm tired) by analysing and stressing over it?
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