What is Normal: Sexuality to Psychology



I have been thinking a lot about the word 'normal' lately and have been catching up on my feed reading where I have found a mountain of people struggling with situations caused by this word 'normal'. Whether it be in relation to sexuality and where you fit on the Kinsey scale or whether it be about being gay or whether it be about what is normal for a person of your age it is all very confusing. The dictionary describes normal as:-

1. conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.
2. serving to establish a standard.
3. Psychology.

a. approximately average in any psychological trait, as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment.

b. free from any mental disorder; sane.


Now, even the dictionary definition is ambiguous. I mean "conforming to the standard or common type". Now in my way of thinking that relies on statistics to come up with a common type and in my experience even though statistics can give an indication, they are flawed at best. To gain many statistics you need to produce data which is often from a form of survey. That survey is completed by people and people often don't tell the truth in a survey. For example many won't answer questions if they fee uncomfortable with revealing certain things about themselves. Now in other surveys like our countries periodical Census which allows the government to plot the future however doesn't actually have options to clearly spell out same sex couples. So determining normal seems to get more difficult.

Clinical psychologists may say that normal, is often perceived by social norms but even that is flawed because it is influenced by how we were raised, the groups we associated with and our personal belief structures. For example I don't see people who enjoy going out and getting drunk as "normal" however someone who has grown up around that or socialises with people who do that may see that as "normal". Culturally issues such as being gay may not be seen as normal because it is not common amongst peoples circles and the thousands of years of conditioning that people have received.

I have found that as individuals we each decide what we consider normal. In saying that I have found there is no such thing. Normal simply does not exist. I don't want to play semantics but to me what we are really saying when we use the word normal or say that some action is not normal is that it doesn't fit into our reality or it doesn't fit with what I want in my reality. At this point we can either accept the differences, compromise on behaviours or discard people and situations that don't meet our idea of normal (reality).

Consider this next time you use the word normal and although I know there are a million scenarios and justifications both legitimate and not, I think and feel the word is just too ambiguous and most of the time doesn't make a lot of sense.

Suicide Hopelessness

With the recent revelations that missing 13 year old Declan Crouch committed suicide. I'm not sure whether this will turn out to be the coroners final determination but it's still a horrible thought. Throughout the roughly two months he was missing the media thought he was just a missing person. But in this latest revelation it really is a strange end. Why someone so young would kill themselves is a difficult thing to come to terms with. 

 

It was strange because yesterday I happen to have peen listening to my random podcasts which are varied and two of them turned out to be about this topic. The day before I was presented with a study on gay & lesbian youth and suicide was a big player in that topic. Then suicide was back in the news with reports that show that Queensland has the highest rate of suicide among males in Australia. 

Suicide is a topic that really concerns me. I work in an area where suicide is a daily reality, and it's never something that is easy to understand. Personally I have an interest in the gay and lesbian area and want to get involved in issues that surround in particular youth. The one thing that I am certain of is that self esteem and a feeling of being alone are two of the primary things that lead to suicide. 

I have spoken to a lot of people about this topic and there is so many who actually want to help but are frustrated when they can't find out how. It seems that in general people want to do something but just can't find ways to do it. There are some organisations out there that do a great job in their area such as Beyond Blue, Open Doors and similar but there seems to not be a lot. I think one of the frustrating parts of this is not the services that are already there but more how to get to those people at risk. I don't have the answers but I do endeavour to work on this. I am talking with organisations at the moment to work out the highest areas of need and what I can do so we will continue on this path. 

It would be great to know what others are doing in this area and what has worked. Again I don't have the answers but am determined to make a difference. Look for the signs in those around you. I am not the expert so check out the web and learn as much as you can.