Monday, December 17, 2007

What is Normal

What is Normal when it comes to mental health? This is an age old debate that will most likely never truly be settled. What is 'normal' behavior to some may be totally 'abnormal' to others. At one time or another, everybody on earth wonders if they are 'normal.' Someone once said that if you have to ask, you probably are – simply because wondering if you are is in fact so very normal!

But how can you know for sure? There are an incredible number of mental illnesses. How will you know if you have one? First, don't start running through the list of symptoms for mental illnesses just to see if you are 'normal.' It really doesn't work that way.

Instead, think about your life, and pay special attention to problem areas. For example, do you have trouble staying focused? Do you have trouble maintaining relationships? What are your true fears? Note that none of these things make you abnormal, however.

There could be stress in your life that makes it hard to focus right now. Your trust may have been badly shaken in a relationship. You may have very real, very good reasons for your fears. This doesn't make you abnormal. In fact, it makes you quite normal.

Life, as we live it, is constantly shaping who we are, and how we view ourselves and the world around us. We all have our share of 'issues.' But having an issue is not the same as having a mental illness, and it certainly does not make us abnormal. The trick is understanding the difference between a mental illness and an issue.

Unfortunately, we may not be able to gauge the difference for ourselves. This is usually because we are much to close to the situation – ourselves – to see the full picture. Instead, you need the services of a trained therapist or counselor. Seeing a therapist or counselor doesn't make you abnormal either. In today's world, some of the most successful people have regular sessions with therapists or counselors, for a variety of reasons.

Are you wondering if you are 'normal?' Engage the services of a professional, and they will help you to discover exactly what is normal for you – remember that what is normal for others is not necessarily normal for you. They may also be able to help you work through some of those perfectly normal issues that we all have, much easier, and in less time than you can work through them yourself.

Jennifer Baxt

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