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Lilyg


Member

Posted Sun Apr 29th, 2007 12:56am Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
Hello All,

I am a little drunk and my reserve is slightly diminished so for some unknown reason I already feel the need to apologise about my forthcoming openness. Although it is what I truly value in others.

I was wondering if I could throw open a few fundamental questions which trouble me day in day out at present.

What on earth is ‘normal’? What on earth is ‘sanity’?

I love people, animals and openness. I love life and the wonders and depth of which we co inhabit day in day out.

On the other hand I do become disillusioned with several aspects of society. I get immensely frustrated at hypocrisy. As I get older I sadly see so many of my friends slipping into the middle class mass and becoming judgemental. I feel that I am losing many to a wall of keeping up appearances and isolation.

I have been diagnosed as BP which was subsequently withdrawn and replaced with an ADD/hypersensitivity label. This was not surprising as I had been told this since I was six. But – sometimes I wonder … am I just very honest about what others think and feel but just don’t voice??

These are my questions – are we the ones who have more energy to address the feelings/emotions which others experience but never express? Is it that we hit crisis with the real conflict and emotion of our actual thoughts and feel the impact of the ramifications of these through our social/professional/academic networks? Is it this obvious clarity which drives us to crisis? Do we not have the ‘social/emotional armour’ to filter these feelings and slip back into a secure world of reverie?

Most of my dearest and most respected friends are every open and honest. Admittedly they are also a little ‘eccentric’ but is this wrong? I have met many ‘normal’ people who conduct their personal affairs in much more unconventional ways than I am used to but this is kept quiet. What on earth is ‘normal’?

Because we address these feelings/emotions so directly does this justify a ‘label’? I have much insight into who and what I am – in fact much more than most people. Does this mean I am unwell?

I am no doubt rambling as I am a little tipsy. I think I am going to get a glass of water.

x

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trouser material


Member

Posted Sun Apr 29th, 2007 1:22pm Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
Only yesterday i heard an analogy which may help you draw an answer:

"Normal is what everybody is but i am not."

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Fourth Feline


Member

Posted Sun Apr 29th, 2007 2:31pm Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
Hello Lily

Drunk or not, you were very clear

I will address your very valid and interesting questions as spontanious as possible. mine are not professed to be the answers, just a gut level reaction, to 'seed' further discussion, based on stuff I have heard/seen and thought about:

I was given to understand that "Normal" in a clinical sense - means seeing and agreeing with 'reality' as that state of existence that the majority of the population see and perceive. "The consensus reality". I can see how that might help identify a florid case of hallucinatory Schizophrenia or Bi-Polar 1, but it gets confusing when Albert Einstein's theories and most of the world religions are based on the fact that we are living under the illusion of a so called physical "reality".

That does not of course mean that all models of mental ill health are invalid: As an aquaintance of mine in the health services said, when asked if he
( coming from a 'religious' family ) believed in 'demons' and such - he replied "It's amazing how quickly they disappear when the anti-psychotic drugs go in".

"Sanity" I understand ( as an individual ) - to be something akin to the above, plus the ablity to function within society with skill and social concience .

Again, confusion reigns, because I can see that when I could not or cannot 'function' due to depression, I am not insane, and yet a serial killer or a dictator who is responsible for genocide might be said to have been 'functioning' within his society better than I felt able in mine. Of course that brings the third part of the equation - "Good" and "Evil".

I can agree in an uncomplicated way, that those touched by distress and/or mental health problems, are often given a sensitive insight into what is really being felt and happening beneath the 'hubbub' of middle class suburbia.

Like my elder brother once said; " You have had to strip the engine down and re-assemble it, in order to recover...".

As for 'eccentricity' - I feel that when one sees the truly movable and illusory nature or so called reality and social conformity, one feels freer to express what is felt - as opposed to what one thinks should be felt.

In conclusion, you seem to have raised the very questions and displayed the refreshing perspective that being 'shaken' from from the unquestioning herd of people that "rush headlong from cradle to grave, with barely a backward glance" - sadly do not.




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TheTruth


Member

Posted Sun Apr 29th, 2007 3:09pm Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
I was told by a teacher a couple of years ago, that 'normal' doesn't exist, as everybody's 'normal' is different. Which I believe to be true

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Sun Apr 29th, 2007 4:37pm Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
Can I tentatively add a comment that i hope is helpful?

Normal mental health being the mirror of abnormal mental health....

A contemporary definition of abnormal psychological health is:

"Abnormality is any behaviour or emotional state that causes an individual great suffering or wrong, that is self-defeating or self-destructive, or that is maladaptive and disrupt's a person's relationships or larger community."

Wade and Tavris 1993.

I like this definition because it seems to cross successfully cultural and economic classes, and is phrased in the values of the individual.

I wrote further in my basic (but not 'pop') psychology course a couple of years ago the following, which are my words -

Abnormal mental health can be defined by different criteria including deviation from the statistical norm [of health], deviation from 'ideal mental health', level of functionability [above], and deviation from the social norm. Each of these ways of defining abnormal psychological health (except functionability) is constrained by the cultural context in which it is being used.

I followed this text in the assignment by this comment - a bit cynical, i know - ... "I know I deviate from the statistical and social norms, and I don't function very well but please don't ask me to explain how i feel as well!"

Also a good explanation is the (United Nations) World Health Organisation definition:

"Good health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing."

I like this one too cos it seems right and is put in one simple sentence.

Trying-to-behave-myself-Chris

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Crazy_in_a_box


Member

Posted Sun Apr 29th, 2007 4:57pm Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
"Normal" is simply what people class as the norm, what occurs most often and the bar to which we distinguish all other things.... that being the case, the norm changes from person to person as what the person does most often changes from person to person. THEREFORE, there is no actual "normal" as it can be any variation of situations...

For example, the norm for me is get up in the morning, go to college by bus, spend the day doing rendering and design, get lunch, do more work, get the bus home.... etc etc etc. now this is a very basic example, but the rest of you dont do this every weekday... its not YOUR normal. Some people work better in the morning, some people work better at night, some people think things to the point of paranoia, some people dont think at all - damn the consequences.
Its all relative.

Its only when things change that you even notice what you yourself class as normal. Things recently in my life have taken a huge change, my normal has been turned on its head and my life has changed somewhat. I have to learn to deal with it as it is only temporary in the long run of things but right now, how I do things normally goes out the window and I have to adapt to something else. But my new way of looking at things is classed as normal by other people who have to live that way permenantly.... again its all relative.

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Fourth Feline


Member

Posted Sun Apr 29th, 2007 7:06pm Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
ChrisB quoted:

"Abnormality is any behaviour or emotional state that causes an individual great suffering or wrong, that is self-defeating or self-destructive, or that is maladaptive and disrupt's a person's relationships or larger community."

I like that definition ...

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Phlizz


Member

Posted Tue May 1st, 2007 10:01am Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
If there are ten people in a room and nine of them are bi-polar, who is the abnormal one?!

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Tue May 1st, 2007 10:17am Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
The person without Bipolar, by the locally applying statistical norm of health, which is why this measure of normal health isn't that useful.

if instead the measure of normal health is the Wade & Tavris definition (or the WHO definition), AND the ones with Bipolar (or some of them) are not having a good or 'okay' time (by their individual values) then the ones with abnormal psychological health are the ones who have Bipolar Disorder.

["Abnormality is any behaviour or emotional state that causes an individual great suffering or wrong, that is self-defeating or self-destructive, or that is maladaptive and disrupt's a person's relationships or larger community."
Wade & tavris 1993]

these distinctions are impportant because the W&T definition maintains personal autonomy, and works as a measure that actually measures something meaningul - the impact on the individual or society of mental health.

This is how it seems to me

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Fourth Feline


Member

Posted Tue May 1st, 2007 11:09am Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
The person without Bipolar, by the locally applying statistical norm of health, which is why this measure of normal health isn't that useful.

if instead the measure of normal health is the Wade & Tavris definition (or the WHO definition), AND the ones with Bipolar (or some of them) are not having a good or 'okay' time (by their individual values) then the ones with abnormal psychological health are the ones who have Bipolar Disorder.

["Abnormality is any behaviour or emotional state that causes an individual great suffering or wrong, that is self-defeating or self-destructive, or that is maladaptive and disrupt's a person's relationships or larger community."
Wade & tavris 1993]

these distinctions are impportant because the W&T definition maintains personal autonomy, and works as a measure that actually measures something meaningul - the impact on the individual or society of mental health.

This is how it seems to me

That is why I also like the Wade & Travis definition; it is based on a workable set of measures, beyond the potential distortions of statistical models.

I can see that statistics "measure that which is measurable" - but when applied too literally to mental health can be like using a tape measure to find how happy I am ( no euphemism intended ).

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Tue May 1st, 2007 11:24am Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?

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Secret Princess


Member

Posted Wed May 2nd, 2007 11:07am Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
I was told by a teacher a couple of years ago, that 'normal' doesn't exist, as everybody's 'normal' is different. Which I believe to be true

Agreed, 'normal' doesn't exist.

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Wed May 2nd, 2007 1:05pm Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
'Normal' does exist, but is a concept, so is dependent on its context.

Normal behaviour is simply what you do usually. eg it would be not normal if Bush-bush didn't trash other people's countries cos they happened to fart in the wrong direction. :'(

Concepts are really ways of being able to communicate successfully across differences. They are Good Things.

In my own way i think there is usefulness in the word 'normal'

C

This is just a personal view and does not affect your statutory rights. Subject to terms and conditions.

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Phlizz


Member

Posted Fri May 4th, 2007 1:20am Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
Ok no, it's not bi-polarism, but it's still interesting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4tFCFpH8Vw

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Adam


Member

Posted Sat May 5th, 2007 3:28pm Post subject: What on earth is 'normal'?
"Normal" is the sane reality which we construct in our minds to bring definition.

If life is a journey then normality is our anchor. A long journey is meaningless without a point of origin. For some it can be religion, money, small mindedness and many other things but normality is a root definition of something which exists in a liminal part of us which is impossible to quantify objectively.

Normality is the craving of the strange because strange is their normality. Normal is the majority opinion.

Normal is an oxymoron. It is abnormal. If normal is what is widely accepted then the Nazis were as normal as you are I so the question is not "what is normal?", the question is "what is your reality?"

It really doesn't matter what you think normal is because whatever you think it is - it isn't.

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