Our experiences shape our reality. Whatever we live becomes our truth. How would you ever conceive that maybe your reality isn’t normal if you’ve only been YOU your whole life? What happens inside your home, your family…that is your normal. It is normal. It isn’t until you step outside of the bubble you live in that you begin to see the world is different than what happened in your house and in your family. You begin to see normal. What’s really normal. And you begin to see that your experiences were not normal.
But sometimes, someone needs to tell you that what you experienced, your life, your behaviors even were not normal. I had that kind of conversation with my therapist this week. We were talking and I was describing how I had nightmares all the time when I was little…I would get up and go sleep with my grandmother because she had this huge bed (huge to a kid) and she slept on the side closest to the door and the other side of the bed was up against the wall and I loved sleeping there…my back against the wall, furthest away from the door.
That’s how I reacted to nightmares until I was taken away from there to live with my mother. Eventually, I’m not sure exactly when, I came up with a method to wake myself up from nightmares from inside the dream. I had to come up with a new way to feel protected so I would collect stuffed animals and make them into a big circle around me and I slept inside that circle. My therapist said that children often imbue stuffed animals with protective powers and I kind of looked at her funny because that was not at all why I used the stuffed animals. I explained that I used them as an alarm system. I figured that if someone tried to get me they would have to disturb the stuffed animals and maybe they’d fall over and wake me up. Very logical for a kid I think.
My therapist told me that it’s not normal for kids to have nightmares all the time. It’s not normal to need to sleep closest to the wall and furthest from the door all your life. It’s not normal for a child to feel the need to protect herself using an alarm system made up of stuffed animals.
There was more but it’s taken me over a week to write this post and I’d rather just get it posted.
The conversation was helpful to me and I appreciate having an outside perspective on my experiences.
One person’s normal does not make it right or healthy.