Are You in Your “Right” Mind?

In our never ending desire to pigeonhole people, we’ve passed the stages of skin color, heritage, and choice of coffee vendor. Today we pigeonhole people according to the manner in which they mentally process data. By the way, most manners of processing information are signs of mental pathology.

Don’t forget—we’re all victims.

People who are aware of everything happening around them are obviously attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

People over fifty who forget things are either suffering from early Alzheimer’s or early dementia.

Everybody who has mood swings is bipolar.

And those who have the ability to acutely focus on one thing in great detail once suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome, but now are considered within the autism spectrum.

I do not mean to minimize any challenges that people face. However, I wonder if some of these afflictions are really not afflictions or defects after all.

My Medicare card is on the way, and I lose my train of thought, forget my keys, etc. Is it some terrible affliction, or just the fact that I’ve got six decades of schooling, experience, happiness, and heartache crammed into the same size brain I had when I was six? Teenagers, and the parents of teenagers are expected to display bipolar tendencies. Finally, is it really ADHD or just the ability to stop and smell the roses amidst the hectic pace of life?

On Elementary, a CBS interpretation of Sherlock Holmes, there is a character named Fiona Helbron who is a brilliant computer programmer. She is also autistic, although she prefers to describe herself as “Neuro-atypical.” Would a neuro-typical individual be as brilliant—probably not. Would she want to be “cured?” I hope not. And what, after all, is “neuro-typical?”

None of us are the same when it comes to mental state—thank God. Some of us need a lot of help coping and functioning. Every one of us needs some help. None of us are normal. Let’s stop the stereotyping, help one another when needed, and cheer one another when there’s a success.

And, by the way, “Normal” is nothing more than a setting on the clothes dryer.

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