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Things Mental Health Is Not

Updated on July 1, 2012

Being Normal

One of the most common of these misconceptions is that mental health consists of being normal. The difficulty here arises when we attempt to define normal which is approximately average in any psychological trait, such as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment.

The problem with defining mental health in terms of normality is that it results in holding up the average person as a model of mental health. Our own beliefs determine our own perception of normal. Many people want to believe that their thoughts, feelings, and actions would be like everyone else’s. Most people don't talk about their internal experience as we only experience ourselves. If we have thoughts or feelings that we think are different from others, we could question if they are normal.

Life Management and Relationship Coach, J. Tow, agrees that there isn’t one thought that is right or “normal," but does not believe that any one feeling is right or "normal." If one action, he says, can be considered to be the only right or “normal” action in most circumstance, then it is possible that different things would be considered to be normal as opposed to one.

We could agree with him that many of us aspire to be the best rather than average. People with exceptional talent, intellect, or appearance are are not ordinary, common, or usual. Those people are above what we seem average. He could be right, we should just avoid trying to be "normal" and just be who we are. It is something for all of us to consider.


Being in Control

Too many people believe that a strong person is one who can control his or her emotions. The danger in this concept lies in the belief that only someone who is weak and less fortunate will develop any mental health problems.

As Karl Menninger, a renowned US Psychology stated, "Mental health problems do not affect three or four out of every five persons but one out of one." No one is excluded, regardless of race, national origin, or socio-economic status. Whether the feeling is one of general nervousness, at the lowest level, or the abandonment of the will to live at the other end of the mental health spectrum, everyone experiences distress from time to time.

The type of person with the most genuine problem is the one who feels strong emotion but has trouble expressing it. R.J. Larsen, a Psychology professor, notes that intensely emotional people have more than their fare share of problems, yet they're not unhappy or depressed in any way."

The shared wisdom here seems to be: Don't stifle your feelings, but do try to limit bouts of temper to their appropriate time of place.

A State of Perpetual Happiness

As we can see, mental health is not what many people think. Something else mental health is not, is happiness.

Over the span of a lifetime, people will experience both victories and defeats. They will experience emotional highs and lows. It is impossible to go through life without occasionally experiencing such negative feelings as envy and jealousy. Emotions such as anger, fear and anxiety can help shape how people react to others. Learning to cope with these feelings moves a person toward emotional maturity and toward independence.


Many people, when they hear the term mental health think of mental illnesses, when reality recognizes mental health as far more than the absence of mental illnesses. We may not admit it, but mental health is something all of us want for ourselves, whether we know it by name or not.

Carl Rogers, another eminent psychologist, described a mentally healthy person as one who is dependable of being realistic, self-enhancing, socialized, and appropriate in his behavior; a creative person whose specific formings of behavior are not easily predictable; a person who is ever changing and ever developing while coping with an imperfect world.

When we speak of happiness, peace of mind, enjoyment or satisfaction, pains and hurts, we are usually talking about mental health.


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    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello pstraubie. Yes, you're right... and perhaps the way each of us perceive "being normal" in different ways and understanding and yet hard to exactly point whether we're right or not, makes us all genuine human beings. Maybe trying to be normal can make us all slow, because we're not being us... and when we're not in our true selves, we feel lowsy. Thankfully, we're not

      I love angels, THANK YOU. I'll ask them to bring you my thousand thanks and blessings. All the best and regards :=) -Tonette

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Well stated. Normal is such a relative thing. My normal might be crazy to you and vs. Being careful not to judge others actions too harshly might be well advised for all of us. The being in control issue is so true. Allowing ourselves to feel and express what we are enduring can be so healing. thanks for sharing this with us.

      Sending you Angels this afternoon. :) ps

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi Lady Wolfs! Wow so happy to hear from you... it's like ages, haha kidding! What makes the world beautiful is the many and different kinds of attitude. In my experience, most of those I tend to dislike at first meeting, are those among the nicest people. I would ask myself "so the problem was with me, lol. Just part of our normal way of life... this hub taught me a lot, as well.

      I'm glad my wolves made you smile.... three photos but the best I can think of for this hub. Here's wishing that you are in the best of everything. Really so nice to have you dropped by. Thank you :=)

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      Lady Wolfs 5 years ago

      Interesting topic. I agree there isn't just one thought or feeling that would be considered normal since everyone is different. It's true, what's normal for one may not be for another. Nice hub and pictures, especially the wolves. Hope you're doing good.

      Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello Sheila. Thank you so much. I truly almost scanned the pages of the net to find only three images, lol, so glad you liked them. Its a good feeling this hub has helped us understand what I had to write to make mental health something positive than the way it used to be understood. Thanks for reading, just followed you:=)

    • SRae profile image

      Shelia Wadsworth 5 years ago from Central Pennsylvania

      I really enjoyed this article. You chose excellent photos to represent the content and it was very readable. It piqued my interest enough to visit your profile and click follow : )

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      @always exploring -- We could be normal having had been all through all the ups and downs of life yet we remain standing. Regardless of how each on of us perceive being "normal" is, the important thing is we think with sense. Thank you that was very insightful. Thanks for the vote. Regards!

      @kj_force -- "questioning everything to be "normal" is indeed boring. I agree! Like what Carl Rogers have stated, "it is impossible to go through life without occasionally experiencing negativities." I believe it's the reason why life is a journey of learning. Thanks for your very nice comment, you always leave energy. Blessings!

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      Perception of what normal is all about..Society/media designates many time what is considered " normal" and " we " simply accept it...for those of us that live outside the box of life's garden..questioning be "normal" = boring.....great job on this hub..thanks for sharing....

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Each person is different. What is normal for one is not always normal for another. After all what is normal? Who can say with certainly. Great article. Voted up. Thank you..

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Lastheart - Somehow it pays being realistic, amazing that its the only way we can accept our many flaws. I've so much learned from writing this, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Best regards!

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 5 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Thanks for making me feel that I do have mental health without being "normal". Great Hub, voted up and other.