" I just want to be normal again."
Is a lament you would have heard fall out of my mouth if you visited me in rehab at least once.
Most of the time my visitor's response to this statement was, "what is normal?" Or I was told I would find a new normal, a concept I ignored because it seemed so impossible at the time, I felt so outside of myself, I wasn't the person I had been when I walked into the hospital that day, I couldn't function the way I had, couldn't go to the bathroom, shower, or get food for myself if I desired to do so.
Once I was released into the world, I was uncomfortable in public, I was sure everybody was staring at me everywhere I went, why wouldn't they? I walked and spoke funny, obviously I was a freak, so why wouldn't they stare? I did get stares, but why? Was it because of my funny walk or my slurred speech? No, Probably not. I I got stared at because my discomfort with myself was so obvious to the outside world.
Then three years flew by.
Somehow, without noticing it happening, my new way of life started feeling "normal". Now today, I no longer get stared at in public and why would I? My walk is still not average, my slurred speech is unnoticeable, I think. But my comfort level with all of these things has increased.
Quick story, as I was ringing a customer up at work the other day, the question of what happened to my arm came up, as it often does, I answered honestly, as I always do, this customer started telling me about a new kind of therapy that stroke survivors use to reverse the effects of stroke, making the survivor "normal" again.
As I was listening to this information I would have been desperate for three years ago, all I could think about was the fact that I am "normal" and that this sounded like something I didn't need.
I don't get stared at anymore and it's because I see myself as "normal" whatever that is, so, in the end it's all about perception, isn't it?