Check your normal

My stepfather has acute dementia. When he was still living at home I’d often have tense conversations with my mother about the mayhem that was going on around her. Worried, I’d say, “You need to remember this is not a normal way to be living.” Of course, none of it was easy; dementia is far crueller than many realise.

It’s important to step outside your day-to-day whirlwind and check your normal.

When my drinking became a problem, it didn’t happen overnight. Things slide if you take your eye off them. Gently, gently, ever so quietly, they shift. You drift.

When you look back you find yourself trying to remember when the ground fell away from you and the bizarre became the norm.

In the past, when I’ve been in hideously dark, toxic relationships, I’ve taken my eye off the norm ball too. You have a strange, nagging sense that the way you’re being treated isn’t right but you don’t quite grab it.

It slips away from you like soap, and before you know it, your daily life is a dark shadow of something that used to shimmer brightly.

You’ve fallen off a cliff without realising you were near the edge. You stop talking to friends because deep inside you know, at some point, your life became a parallel universe. The rules are different and the air is weird.

Remember: no one else is responsible for your life but you. You are entirely responsible for creating and ensuring your own happiness.

If you haven’t checked your normal in a while, today is as good a day as any. Are you on a downward path?

Check – and if you find your norm has shifted, it’s time to take action to start shifting it back.

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