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Joe McConnell is not feeling very normal today / 15 August 2010

oil painting depicting violence and destruction

La cumparsa de miseria sin fin
(digitised oil doodle on back of envlelope August 2010)

Zoom in to this image and read text description

'Nice to see you using art to get back to being normal again.' A recent comment from a well-meaning friend who had just grabbed my DAO blog and was feeding back.

This stopped me in my tracks. When have I ever talked about wanting to be 'normal'? So, after some (but not too much) reflection, I feel the need to explain my position on 'normailty'.

In my first few posts, I refer to the remit of this blog as being notes from a non-artist who started to make art. The making of this art seems to be helping improve my health and well-being on all levels. But I never said nothing about 'normal'!

When the shrinks enquire as to your state of mind on a particular day, they always seem to be poised to pounce at the merest indication of elation or sadness. Such deviations from a 'mean standard of reality/normality', an even keel, are clearly viewed as dangerous. Can't have that now can we? Sadness? Happiness? How 1960's! Surely we got rid of all that when we turned to neuroleptic drugs? They seem to work even though we don't know how exactly.

And we call that lot 'normal'?!!

And what is that gold standard of normality to which they implicitly refer? Is it normal to guzzle your second supersized bucket of cappuccino and ponder on your investment portfolio - or the squillion other things that the Daily Mail would approve of - while millions of Pakistani people are going through indescribable suffering, or people in Gaza are held in a limbo of international indifference? Is it normal to work your fingers to the bone and plunge further into a hopeless stranglehold of debt, while inherited wealth and position can suck society dry while sitting on their regal bottoms? A big fat naff off to all of that. Give me the weird, damaged, bitter, twisted, eccentric, passionate, contradictory gals and geezers any day of the week.

That's why it's such a pleasure to be in such good company on Disability Arts Online. Just hope it never goes 'normal'.

Keywords: psychiatric medication