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View Poll Results: Is there a such thing as a normal life?
Yes there is a such thing as normal/standard. 19 55.88%
No there's no such thing as normal/standard. 15 44.12%
Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-31-2012, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Kansas
19,184 posts, read 15,778,393 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonChick View Post
Well then - you are most definitely NOT normal, by anyone's standards that I'm aware of (maybe some obscure tribe of indigenous peoples of Alaska? Someone would have to google it and it's too early in the morning for me).

Normal people around here, have fears. Some of them fear spiders. Some (like myself) fear heights that have sharp drops (like standing on top of a ladder). Some are afraid of death, some of failure.

Normal people around here, have quirks. I play text games on the internet. My sister has four cats. My next door neighbor is deaf, the neighbor on the other side of the house thinks it's fun to ride his ATV in circles around his back yard.

And we all live in a normal neighborhood and consider ourselves and each other to be within the range of "normal."
I agree with "range of normal". Most elements are in the normal range until they begin to interfere with one's life and in some cases the lives of friends and family. "Excess" being the point that one exists the normal range.
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:38 PM
 
9,237 posts, read 19,648,548 times
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I'm trying to figure out the OP's context for asking this question, especially since it's in the Mental Health forum. I work in the mental health field, and yes, I agree that the word "normal" has become like a dirty word. We aren't supposed to use the word in talking about our clients/consumers, and we aren't supposed to refer to the idea of "normal" in talking to them. that rtule is never spoken, and it's not in any policy, but it's sort of "understood" that it's politically incorrect in the mental health world.

I believe the original reason for this distaste of the word "normal" was well intended. We have a lot of people who have spent their lives labeled, institutionalized, controlled, protected from the usual stresses of life because of their illness, or subjected to unusual stresses because of their illness. They have been singled out as "abnormal" and that felt hurtful. So of course MH professionals don't want to continue that hurt. So they don't refer to "normal" or "abnormal" just like they don't say "crazy" or "nuts" in reference to clients.

But I do see how at times this language choice thing has become more important than helping the person along toward actual recovery. Our goal with people with severe persistent mental illness is to help them get as close to possible to a life that most people without such an illness have or aspire to. That's "normal" in my book. We don't help the person shoot for some impossible goals or some ideal, but just what is typical for most people. We aim for what would fall into the "normal" range in our society, to have a generally happy productive life, with meaningful relationships, meaningful work or activity, and a way of supporting themselves. So we work on helping a person achieve a "normal" life, but we aren't supposed to use the word "normal!" It's actually funny sometimes to see colleagues struggle with trying to talk about this while avoiding the word "normal." Most of the MH world has embraced (at least on paper) the idea of "recovery" and how that does not mean "cured." But they refuse to include that "recovery" means or implies living a life that falls into the "normal range."

I also think that in general use, the word normal has evolved to imply "boring." Of course everyone is different; we always have been and always will be. That's not new. But there is an attitude among the younger people, and the not-so-young that no one should be "normal" and "normal" is a bad thing. If a person is normal then they must not be interesting at all. I don't buy that. You can be unique, and interesting, and normal. Normal does not mean having no faults, or having nothing that sets you apart from others.
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Old 07-31-2012, 06:13 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 11,257,870 times
Reputation: 8956
Substitute "functional."
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:29 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
8,712 posts, read 10,315,213 times
Reputation: 7553
Quote:
Originally Posted by subject2change View Post
I think there is a way of life and behavior that's considered "normal" in each society, but if someone was "normal" in every aspect of their life, well, that wouldn't be normal! Some people fall so far outside what's supposed to be normal that they can't even function, or commit horrible crimes, etc, so that's pretty obvious. With other people it might not be as obvious that some aspect of their life is out of whack with what normal is supposed to be, especially if they try to appear they're conforming to the normal. But if there really is someone out there that doesn't have ANY "abnormal" traits... well that would be weird. And the more I see of people, the less I believe that person exists.

I agree this is a good post.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:36 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
8,712 posts, read 10,315,213 times
Reputation: 7553
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
I'm trying to figure out the OP's context for asking this question, especially since it's in the Mental Health forum. I work in the mental health field, and yes, I agree that the word "normal" has become like a dirty word. We aren't supposed to use the word in talking about our clients/consumers, and we aren't supposed to refer to the idea of "normal" in talking to them. that rtule is never spoken, and it's not in any policy, but it's sort of "understood" that it's politically incorrect in the mental health world.

I believe the original reason for this distaste of the word "normal" was well intended. We have a lot of people who have spent their lives labeled, institutionalized, controlled, protected from the usual stresses of life because of their illness, or subjected to unusual stresses because of their illness. They have been singled out as "abnormal" and that felt hurtful. So of course MH professionals don't want to continue that hurt. So they don't refer to "normal" or "abnormal" just like they don't say "crazy" or "nuts" in reference to clients.

But I do see how at times this language choice thing has become more important than helping the person along toward actual recovery. Our goal with people with severe persistent mental illness is to help them get as close to possible to a life that most people without such an illness have or aspire to. That's "normal" in my book. We don't help the person shoot for some impossible goals or some ideal, but just what is typical for most people. We aim for what would fall into the "normal" range in our society, to have a generally happy productive life, with meaningful relationships, meaningful work or activity, and a way of supporting themselves. So we work on helping a person achieve a "normal" life, but we aren't supposed to use the word "normal!" It's actually funny sometimes to see colleagues struggle with trying to talk about this while avoiding the word "normal." Most of the MH world has embraced (at least on paper) the idea of "recovery" and how that does not mean "cured." But they refuse to include that "recovery" means or implies living a life that falls into the "normal range."

I also think that in general use, the word normal has evolved to imply "boring." Of course everyone is different; we always have been and always will be. That's not new. But there is an attitude among the younger people, and the not-so-young that no one should be "normal" and "normal" is a bad thing. If a person is normal then they must not be interesting at all. I don't buy that. You can be unique, and interesting, and normal. Normal does not mean having no faults, or having nothing that sets you apart from others.

good post. I put it in this section because that's where I thought it belonged, LOL. As far as the context, don't know what you mean. I thought I explained it .... Interesting you work in the MH field and see that there's a 'normal' but it's a hush hush thing you're not supposed to say to the clients so they don't feel bad. Well I don't beleive in lying for the sake of feelings, that's just me. I notice to though, like you, my therapist insists there is no such thing as normal. I don't know whether she thinks I'm stupid or what, but I see 'normal' all over the place and I know she does too even if she denies it for the sake of MH treatments.

Agree too that I notice normal has become 'boring,' and a dirty word that people claim has no relevance today (even though it does).
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:27 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 11,257,870 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doll Eyes View Post
good post. I put it in this section because that's where I thought it belonged, LOL. As far as the context, don't know what you mean. I thought I explained it .... Interesting you work in the MH field and see that there's a 'normal' but it's a hush hush thing you're not supposed to say to the clients so they don't feel bad. Well I don't beleive in lying for the sake of feelings, that's just me. I notice to though, like you, my therapist insists there is no such thing as normal. I don't know whether she thinks I'm stupid or what, but I see 'normal' all over the place and I know she does too even if she denies it for the sake of MH treatments.

Agree too that I notice normal has become 'boring,' and a dirty word that people claim has no relevance today (even though it does).
Ok. O think you are confusing "normal" with conventional.

If you are unconventional, so be it. Reframe it in a positive way instead of pathologizing yourself. Think of yourself as "artsy" or "sensitive" or whatever is special about you.

Stop comparing yourself to others. That is a dead-end.
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:56 PM
 
Location: In a house
13,253 posts, read 37,896,529 times
Reputation: 20198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doll Eyes View Post
good post. I put it in this section because that's where I thought it belonged, LOL. As far as the context, don't know what you mean. I thought I explained it .... Interesting you work in the MH field and see that there's a 'normal' but it's a hush hush thing you're not supposed to say to the clients so they don't feel bad. Well I don't beleive in lying for the sake of feelings, that's just me. I notice to though, like you, my therapist insists there is no such thing as normal. I don't know whether she thinks I'm stupid or what, but I see 'normal' all over the place and I know she does too even if she denies it for the sake of MH treatments.

Agree too that I notice normal has become 'boring,' and a dirty word that people claim has no relevance today (even though it does).
You're reading into that poster's post, something she didn't say. Her criticism is of the -word- "Normal." Not the meaning of the concept "Normal." The word itself has acquired baggage. And so, many mental health professionals avoid using that word. They use other words to describe normal, but they still -do- describe normal, and it is not hush hush, no one is trying to sweep it under the rug.

Sort of like at one point it became impolite to call black people Negroes. They didn't stop being Negro, which is just a latin word for "black" but acquired a negative connotation. They just stopped wanting people to call them by that word. And so, that word fell out of favor amongst them, and most everyone else. Negro -still- means "black." It's french, and spanish, and latin, for the color black. It's a perfectly good word, and a perfectly useful word. Just like normal is a perfectly fine word. But people who aren't normal, don't like being called abnormal, and don't want to be reminded that they're not normal. So mental health professionals avoid using the word.

Guess what - they're still not normal
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Old 08-02-2012, 12:47 PM
 
13,051 posts, read 16,131,363 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doll Eyes View Post
i notice a lot of people say 'there is no such thing as normal,' just because there's some oddballs in the world like myself or others.... but imo there is a such thing as normal: dating as a teen, dating/partying in college, getting married, having children. it's the reason you see this pattern played out all over societies and with different religions, backgrounds etc. not sure why people 'pretend there is no normal or standard' when clearly there is? if you veer far off the path of 'normal' they certainly notice, don't they? where do you stand on this.
Hi Doll Eyes....I agree with AnonChick that there is a "societal" normal, and a "human normal"....conforming to societies norms means to me pretty well everything you've mentioned above....but realistically I can't see there being a "norm" to describe a human.....we're ALL "oddballs" in our own way...more than not.....I guess you could say what we DO could be slotted into a "normal" category....but who we are....not so much
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:10 PM
 
2,707 posts, read 5,541,217 times
Reputation: 5559
I like to say that the only normal people are the ones you don't know very well, but what I mean by that is that under the surface, we're all ABNORMAL in some way or another. Yes, there are behavioral and societal norms. I truly believe that most of us are, generally speaking, normal. I'm normal: I have a job, a dog, a budget, a car, have been divorced, went to college, like to go to the movies, catch up on my sleep on the weekends, don't save enough money, laugh at dirty jokes, have the occasional issue with my parents, read books, do crossword puzzles, dream of traveling.... Normal. But underneath, I'm also ABNORMAL in lots of ways, and I know this. I accept it, and I'm okay with it, because I know that normal does not automatically equate with "good" anymore than abnormal automatically equates with "bad."

I think people are too hard on themselves, too caught up in comparisons to other people, too preoccupied with an idea that they SHOULD be one way or another because that's how EVERYONE else is.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:52 PM
 
Location: West Coast USA
1,577 posts, read 1,916,804 times
Reputation: 3140
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsAnnThrope View Post
I think I'm a normal person.

By normal I mean, no particular quirks, kinks, disabilities, or fears. Two arms two legs, good health. No criminal record. Average intelligence.

Nothing that threatens a normal lifestyle...by which I mean, get up, go to work, come home, go to bed. Repeat.

I have a car, a house, a couple of kids and a couple of pets. I'm not mean to anyone and I mind my own business.

You are so NOT normal, based upon your red words alone.
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