I name and talk to inanimate articles.  I talk to God.  I write nonsense.  I don’t always make sense when I talk.  I have planned  how to kill myself.

Normal is mostly a setting on a washring machine or dryer.

Normal is mostly a setting on a washing machine or dryer.

I have other not normal ways.  Depending on how I talk to a shrink,  any number of DSM labels could be pasted on my forehead.  In case you wonder about those initials, they stand for the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders  .  The bible used by shrinks and other mental health professionals to decide normalcy.

I am a mental health professional and I use the DSM.  You have to if you want insurance companies to pay you. A great many people do not like the DSM.  I find it handy, but usually misused.  The manual has been updated numerous times and has just undergone another revision.


Here’s an example of over diagnosing.  I recently had a change in some of the medications that keep my heart beating regularly. Particularly, if  my husband or pictures of Johnnie Depp get the old ticker pumping too fast.  Aging sucks.

Anyway, the new medication threw me temporarily into the dark pit of depression. Really dark, like don’t get out of bed, hate anyone who talks to you, cannot stand to be touched, think death might be preferrable kind of depression.

I reported this to my doctor asking for a change of medication. She asked me to take a five sentence test; she and the test then said “Major Depressive Disorder. See a shrink.”

I knew that was exactly what the test would say, but I also knew with all my heart, it was the medication.  She did admit that could be and we agreed, I would not see the shrink and give my body a bit of time to adjust.  It did and two days later I was my usually functional happy at times, not happy other times.

I made my doctor re-move the  Major Depression Disorder label from my medical chart.”  She did so reluctantly. I did it to make the point a more  appropriate label might have been: mood disorder due to a general medical condition, or  substance-induced mood disorder.

Depending on how I talk to a shrink I can garner a great number of DSM labels. The only ones that seem correct to me are ADHD now just called ADD; Dsygraphia and Dyscalulia – two learning disabilities;  Generalized Anxiety Disorder as I am a worrier.  A few other lurk around the corner I could easily become addicted to some things, I am sometimes obsessed with getting things perfect, I do get the moody blues occasionally, and so on.

Many shrinks and other critics of the newest DSM cite examples of new additions like “mild anxiety depression,” “psychosis risk syndrome,” and “temper dysregulation disorder,to make the point that previously “healthy” people  out to be  mentally ill.

“It’s leaking into normality. It is shrinking the pool of what is normal to a puddle,” said Til Wykes of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London.

So what? After all every one of us is a combination of normal and not so normal traists and ways. What to do? Read on.

Emotional fitness tip

The DSM IV used what is called the Global Assessment of Function to decide if a person had a mental disorder. That has now been taken over by what are called specifiers for the various disorders.  The intent is to become more precise and accurate in describing an individuals disorder.  A good thing, but also complicating.

My KISS side thinks to let go fo the GAF completely is a mistake.  A quick severity needssurvey  helps  both clinicians and clients in thinking about when a mental disorder might be controlling the person.

I never made a diagnosis without including the client in reaching it. The GAF was the first thing I turned to.   Here is the GAF:

Worried about being normal, first check out your how you do what needs t be done

Worried about being normal? First check out how you do what needs to be done.

And of course, this can cover up or hide  a great many serious mental disorders. Robin Williams functioned well if viewed from the outside. Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and any host of suicides shocked the world as Robin has.

A smart therapist friend noted that Robin William’s suicide has created more attention than any death since the assassination of John Kennedy.  I suspect that is because all of us have hidden or not so hidden sorrows that make us wonder if suicide is not an option.

As Neil Diamond notes in Song Sung Blue, “Song sung blue, every body sings one; song sung blue every garden grows one.”

His  song suggests that singing a song can cure the blues.  Not the major depression type.  When a song  doesn’t work, professional help is needed.

The Tip: If you are not functioning well for any reason, find a competent mental health professional. Not always easy, but here’s a test to start you thinking about who to see when interviewing candidates.

Rate yourself on the GAF, and after describing your symptoms state your GAF score.  If the professional is interested, respectful, and willing to hear you on that one, he or she might be competent.

There is a hooker.  Some things can quickly throw you off balance and cast you so far down into the pit of blackness, you murder yourself in an effort to escape. That is probably what happened to Robin Williams.  I suspect that  something  most of us could have bounced back from grabbed him  and that combined with the years of battling within while meant too much despair.

Maybe in time, my chosen profession will have all the answers, for now we often grope in the dark and help some fail others. Please remember that expecting too much of life or of anyone trying to help you live a good life increases the odds unhappiness will have a stronger hold on you.  Reality check your expectations and toughen your protective shield. My Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises help, but like Singing, you need more help if a major mental disorder is part of you life.  Sing when you can, practice all my exercises, but also get professional help.


We all have our struggles. If they do not include dealing with suicidal depression understanding the blackness others live with becomes a barrier.

What to do when you don’t understand another’s  pain or find yourself irked by another’s complaints? Practice kindness. You will help yourself as well as the other person. If you like this post share it with another.  That is practicing deliberate kindness and deliberate kindness strengthens more than the also helpful random acts. .

As always, thank you for your support.


This post fits in with Today’s Word Press’s DAILY PROMPT:  The Name’s The Thing – Have you ever named an inanimate object? (Your car? Your laptop? The volleyball that kept you company while you were stranded in the ocean?) Share the story of at least one object with which you’re on a first-name basis.



When to call 911



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