Moody Mondays: Normal vs. abnormal

We’re all a little crazy. We all have faults and quirks. We all make mistakes and whatnot.

So, what’s the difference between someone who is “normal” and someone who is “abnormal?” Furthermore, what separates someone who has a mental health disorder from someone who does not? After all, normal people and us mental people do a lot of the same stupid things sometimes, right?

Very interesting questions, are they not? Normal behavior is often quite subjective. What might be crazy to one person is perfectly sane to another. If a person is doing something that we might associate with being “abnormal” but is otherwise happy as a clam would it then still be considered “abnormal?”

“It’s important to note that the distinctions between normal and abnormal are not synonymous with good or bad.” – VeryWellMind

While the particulars of what is normal and abnormal are often debatable, psychologists generally agree that having a mental health disorder is determined by how a behavior or set of behaviors is effecting your life and the lives of those around you. Perhaps in some of the following ways…

  • First and foremost, you may just feel like something is wrong. Something is not jiving. Something is getting in the way of living a happy life.
  • Feeling negative or hurtful emotions too much of the time. This can include chronic anger, rage, sadness, mania, obsessiveness, etc.
  • If you are unable to recognize a particular behavior or set of behaviors as negative, perhaps other people/friends/family members/coworkers have commented about such behaviors to you. Maybe they are all full of sh*t and maybe they aren’t. Something to consider anyway that’s all I’m sayin’.
  • Trouble maintaining friendships.
  • Trouble with romantic relationships.
  • Trouble getting along with people in general.
  • Employment troubles.
  • Risky or impulsive behavior… drugs, shoplifting, having unsafe sex, etc.
  • Low self-esteem, self-destruction, self-harm
  • Homelessness.

This is of course not an exhaustive list and it pains me greatly to say that in the past I’ve had trouble with most all of the things on this list. I may be just talking sh*t but I’m also talking experienced sh*t here!

So what now? Time to get honest, that’s what! But, alas, that is a topic for another day.

For more info on this subject check out this article from SimplyPsychology, Abnormal Psychology, as well as this one from VeryWellMind.

All the best and have a lovely Moody Monday!

Every Monday from now until I get tired of it I will be posting on mental health topics. That’s a joke actually as I never get tired of talking about mental health!

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16 thoughts on “Moody Mondays: Normal vs. abnormal

  1. “Abnormal” as used in popular language is an epithet, pure and simple. Eccentricities one disapproves of are abnormal. Those that one likes are cute or endearing. How incredibly rare is it that we say something is abnormally good? Nobody says a person who is in perfect health is abnormal. Yet most people are not in perfect health.

    Psychology is starting to move away (I hope) from the normal-abnormal dichotomy to the more useful concept of neural diversity. Some things are not diseases. They are just how a person is put together. Assistance instead of treatment.

    How many things we consider “normal” today would have been considered a mental illness and “abnormal” in the past?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Neural diversity is a great concept. I do agree the use of normal/abnormal has been thoroughly ruined by subjective judgment. Time to move past it onto something else. Really, as long as a person isn’t inflicting violence on themselves or other people they most likely would fall into the normal category…. at least that’s my take on it. And luckily the days of locking such people up and treating them worse than criminals are behind us… or at least I hope they are.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thoughtful write-up, JoAnn – and thought-provoking too, of course. I suppose all of us have experienced one or two of these symptoms occasionally. Especially, perhaps, the first one.

    Still, to have endured all of them, and many of them simultaneously, as you did, is striking. Even more extraordinary that you were able to move past so much clutter. If it doesn’t trigger too many difficult memories, how did you do it? Perhaps something to detail on some upcoming Monday.

    Also, as mentioned. “abnormal” and “bad” aren’t interchangeable. Actually, isn’t special talent, by its very definition, abnormal? Mozart had an abnormal affinity for music, as did Julia Child for cooking (and you just knew I was going to go there). Sure, at times, “abnormal” can mean “crazy,” but as often the more accurate term is “genius.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh yes, I think one perhaps has to be “abnormal” to be a genius… Mozart and Julia Child are great examples. Reading about Julia Child’s life is just remarkable… what a force of nature she was… and of course foodies are some of my favorite people!

      So, at one point several years ago now I was browsing through the psychology section of Barnes & Noble. I started picking out books and reading reading reading… I would say maybe 70 or 80 percent of these books were just pure crap and thus I would mostly skim through those but there were some rare gems amongst the rubble. I learned a lot! I tried to absorb as much as I could and put all those examples and lessons into practical use. It’s taken a crazy lot of time but I think it’s been paying off. 🙂

      I’ve been wanting to do some posts about some of those great books but my time is so limited 😕

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, JoAnn, I know exactly what you mean. While I’d love to read your thoughts on psych-oriented volumes that warrant your attention, where are you going to get the hours? After all, each day allots only 24.

        While I too love blogging and perusing others’ efforts (and yours in particular are a daily indulgence), there only is so much time. After all, I have a full-time (plus, plus, plus…) job, I cook, I have a social life – believe it or not – and I enjoy relaxing and reading. Good, old-fashioned book reading, that is.

        Speaking of which, vis-a-vis you mentioning Barnes & Noble, I bemoan the near-extinction of bookstores. Long ago, it seems, Waldenbooks and B. Dalton fizzled along with the malls that hosted them. Not long after, Borders too bit the dust. Now only Barnes & Noble remains, and for how long?

        Allow me to step off the soapbox to admit I’m part of the problem, having done more than my part to line Amazon’s pockets over the last couple decades. Keith, you hypocrite!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. The soapbox is such an easy place to be isn’t it?

          Yes, the plight of bookstores is truly tragic although, as you’ve said, I too have been a frequenter of Amazon. The pandemic has only made it worse I’m sure.

          I’ve been worried about books in general as a lot of people have been. Since I’ve become a blogger my book reading has gone down significantly, sad to say, as I mostly read blogs these days. It’s that “time thing” once again.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Same here, JoAnn. I don’t read physical vessels – be they books, newspapers or magazines – nearly as frequently as I once did.

            If it counts for anything, I still subscribe to half a dozen or so print magazines. It was closer to ten a few years ago, but three of them folded in that time. The printed page shrinks by the day.

            Now, who’s to blame for his, me, or the culture? Yes.

            Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, just like with most things in life right? I was kinda getting into coloring books there for a while but I’ve ran out of time. It’s about the closest I get to creating art! Thank you for the kudos1

      Liked by 2 people

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