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Back to normal

Making that 180-degree turn to “normal” after the holidays may be a bit challenging. First we have to understand what “normal” is, and depending on the culture or society in which we live, that definition varies.

“Normal” in the 17thcentury meant “forming a right angle, done exactly, according to the rule or square.” Today, it means “conforming to a type, standard or regular pattern, or occurring naturally … regular.”

Good mental health is defined as an overall sense of wellness in the way you think, how you regulate your feelings and how you behave, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Mental disorder happens when a person can’t do any of those things very well. Relationships can fall apart, isolation interferes with social living, work or school performance are affected, among other things.

“Cultural norms and social expectations also play a role in defining mental health disorders,” advises the Mayo Clinic. “There is no standard measure across cultures to determine whether a behavior is normal or when it becomes disruptive. What might be normal in one society may be a cause of concern in another.”

Is it safe to say that there are cultural and societal clashes in the county? That these affect acceptance and “normal” relationships with other people, and cause the stigma a network of agencies in the county continue to try to dismantle for the well being of all?

“A healthy person is generally defined as one who is not using a mental health care system,” says an article at the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health., “What is Normal? The Impact of Psychiatric Classification on Mental Health Practice and Research,” But, how is the determination made between the ill and the healthy? It is accomplished through clinical assessment using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association as a guide.

There are a lot of labels attached to people these days, and some of them feed stigma that prevents people from reaching out for help, even if they want it. Trial and error are the long way around the mulberry bush. Once the negative labels are applied, social distance from other people who fear danger from the mentally ill – stigma found even among their own families – throws up barriers of social rejection.

“Shame that results from being in an environment fraught with these rejections is a kind of self-stigmatization that presents another barrier to appropriate health-seeking,” NIH advises.

We have embarked on a new decade, 2020, which numbers (20/20) we regard as perfect vision. Humans aren’t perfect but we can do our best for the health and well being of our community.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by OhioMHAS (Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

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