by Conor Nolan
About the Book
NORMAL is a personal account of my teenage years, which I discuss in an informal chat between myself and a fictional character whom I introduce as “The Stranger”. At the age of 12, I had a terrible battle with anorexia. I talk about my downward spiral into that dark frame of mind, how it affected my family and I, and how counselling really can save a life.
In my mid-teens, after finding a love for the gym, I learned of the paralysing small-town mindset that exists in rural Ireland, forcing young people to behave and act like everyone else around them; hence the book’s title. In my journey to becoming a competitive powerlifter and university student, I discuss the priceless nature of being true to oneself and following the goals that are important to us.
At the age of 19, a bitter battle with depression showed me the extent of the stigma surrounding mental health in Ireland. After several conversations with close friends, I was inspired to put my story on paper, to show others that it’s ok not to be ok, and that our lives can change for the better in ways that we never thought possible.