In my work as a Psychotherapist I find that the young people I listen to ask questions that are especially intriguing. For example, “Why am I expected to be so quiet and still at school?”; “What do I do if I hate school , I have no friends, and my family ignores me?”; “How can I learn to cope with loss when no one shows me how?”. But probably the most intriguing question is, “How can I feel normal again?”
I have always considered ‘normal’ to be boring and far, far overrated. I prefer to think about ‘normal’ as ‘happy’. In terms of mental health, the search for happiness has lead me to believe that unless our mind, body, emotions and spirit are ‘happy’, then our pursuit to feel like ourselves, or to feel ‘normal’, will be never-ending.
Mental health is not just about the mind. Our physical body is a projection of how we are doing mentally, and feeds our mind the physical resources required to keep mentally healthy. Our emotions are directly controlled by our mind, a product of how we think about events in our lives. Our spirit can be a powerful tool for the health of our mind, mentoring the decisions our mind has to make every second of the day. Essentially, mental health is tied directly to the well being of our entire selves – our happiness.
So do I try and help the young people I work with be ‘normal’? Absolutely not! Do I strive to help them help themselves so that they can be happy and feel the accomplishment of working hard at it? I think so. Do I help them focus on their entire self and not just their mind? I think so … but maybe I’m not normal?
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