This is one I've been thinking of writing for some time. Just hadn't had the time or presence of mind to do so. Pun intended.
Psychology and psychiatry (somewhat incorrectly dually referred to from herein as "psychotherapy", because I can.) have gained in vast popularity over the last few decades. I'm sure a great many people will take offense when I now refer to them as largely a pseudoscience, at best.
It's a great industry devoted to telling people they aren't normal. For some things, being "born that way", now equates normal, so is okay. Left-handedness, for instance, once thought of as an aberration, is now "normal". So no one minds lefties anymore. In an earlier edition of the DSM, (DSM-III-R), homosexuality (and any/all mentions thereof) was fully removed as a mental illness, and became normal.
Blue eyes are normal. Black hair is normal. Lots of things are the societal version of "normal". As much as it can be said otherwise, "abnormal" still carries with it a lot of negative connotations. I know, as well as most anyone else, that abnormal simply means something that falls outside of what is common. If everyone in your entire city has brown eyes and blonde hair, a redhead with green eyes would be considered "abnormal". That doesn't mean this individual is bad. We're all aware of that, but abnormal still tends to equal "bad" in the minds of most that hear the word.
Moving from that, we're not all the same, as humans. No matter what anyone says, everyone is different. As a species, we share collective similarities. As a gender, we each share collective similarities with members of our own. Outside of that, every single other aspect of ourselves is different from everyone else. Period.
Normalcy then becomes increasingly hard to define. Which characteristics are normal? Which are abnormal? Which are disordered? What are the criteria involved in these definitions? Who decides them? (These are rhetorical, as I know the answers already.)
Emotionally, and mentally, humans vary greatly. I find it almost ludicrous that there is a set definition for mental/emotional normalcy, and anyone that falls outside of it, needs to be loaded up with psychoactive drugs in order to have their square peg roughly shoehorned into the round hole of normalcy.
Now, when I say "largely" a pseudoscience, it's because at some levels, certain people are broken. Those humans who, due to their mental differences, are completely unable to function in society due to hallucinations, urges to commit acts of violence, and the like, do require treatment. That is an illness. It is something with an immediate, verifiable cause of harm. Something dangerous. I can equate that with a physical illness, because both are able to cause visible, testable harm. There is no question about it.
Now, for instance, saying a child has "ADD", or is "hyper", and shoving Ritalin down their throat? Unacceptable. I was one of the 1980's Ritalin kids. Why? I talked to the other students too much.
It wasn't until years later that they realized that there was nothing wrong with me, in terms of "hyperactivity". It was because I would absorb everything I was supposed to learn that day, faster than the other kids, and therefore became bored. That's when they took me off of the stuff. (I had discontinued the use of it myself before that.)
Now, can one say that the things that are currently part of my brain were put there at birth, or caused by years of Ritalin? Funny, how the drugs for normalcy, require more drugs to offset what they do.
If a person is fully able to function in society, is not an immediate danger to themselves or others, why are they not normal?
I posit this: Normalcy is subjective to the person experiencing it.
Am I less cheerful than other people? Yes. Would a psychotherapist then call me "depressed"? Sure would. Would they then try to prescribe me something for my "illness"? Without doubt. Why? Because it's not "normal" to be very depressed, right?
Says who? It's normal for me.
1.conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.
So, by that, something that is usual and regular for me, would therefore be normal to me.
I'm also a lot of other things that they'd absolutely love to prescribe medication for. All because they fall outside of the standard of normalcy that they've established.
Again, for me, they're my day-to-day. They don't feel aberrant, wrong, bad, or broken to me. I am not plagued by hallucinations, delusions, or thoughts of violence.
I'm also bothered by how willing people are to leap into these never ending bottles of pills they know almost nothing about, save what they've seen on a 24 second television spot. People so desperately fear being "abnormal", that they're willing to throw chemicals into their body that they're almost wholly ignorant of, just to fit this concept of "normal".
Psychotherapy, much like medical science of the physical body, should be saved to treat actual, harmful illnesses. Not to force people into what I believe to be an artificial standard of normalcy.