Normal’s Overrated

A great friend of mine gave me his tee shirt because he didn’t want it. M. chose a size S and mailed it to me about seven years ago. It’s a black short-sleeve tee with silver letters that proclaim: “Normal’s Overrated.” It was a NAMI promotion tee shirt with the TV show House.

The one time I wore it outside in the Village in New York City people zoomed up to my chest to read it. “Rock on! So true!” everyone responded.

Wearing the tee shirt caused me to create a little earthquake in and around Washington Square Park where the art festival was going on.

I write about this because it’s a tendency for individuals newly diagnosed with schizophrenia to internalize shame about having this illness. The actions we take to avoid stigma often wind up having the opposite effect: we become ill.

In my twenties I was a creative quirky gal who ran n the opposite direction to work in the insurance field.

I do wish I could help others be spared the fate of making themselves miserable trying to conform to what other people in society have designated as “normal” or “not normal.”

The link between creativity and mental illness has been proven in research studies. It should come as no surprise that not a lot of us covet becoming tax accountants or trial lawyers. Most of us ARE writers and artists and dancers and photographers and other creatives.

In recognizing this and having self-acceptance the battle is won over the diagnosis.

It’s true that normal’s overrated.

The goal is to take part in your own life by acting true to yourself.

You might not earn millions at a job yet that’s not the point.

The point is to be happy.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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