This is a swinger. He lives in Swingsville. He uses the daytime for sleep And the nighttime for play. He’s cool. This is a swinger who’s wandered away from his home. He’s exploring in a different direction. Now these are the people who live down the road. Cool they are not. They’re mostly square. And this is the swinger who meets the people who live down the road. He’s puzzled. They’re puzzled. We’re puzzled. If we look closely, we’ll see that
these two groups represent two different behavior patterns. But represent traits that
may be found call us to some degree. We might be able to fit within each of
these societies better than the swinger would fit in with the group from squaretown,
or the squares would fit in with the residents of swingsville. Generally
speaking though, we function in between all extremes of behavior, sometimes leaning toward one group, sometimes to one another So… where does that leave us? Somewhere in normal.
What is normal? Well, normal isn’t as
easy to describe as differences or extremes. First of all, let’s talk about behavior. Behavior is the outward expression of
our feelings and thoughts put into actions, actions by which others judge us. That’s not to say that behavior is a foolproof sign of a person’s true feelings and
thoughts, but it is a reasonably good indicator. Normal behavior then, is our reactions, our
expressions, which fit within standards as accepted by our own particular groups. Variations in our standards, whether
they be moral, legal, social,
or biological standards allow for a wide range of behavior
which is considered normal. Or let’s say this another way. Every man is in some respects like all other men, in some respects like some other men, in some respects like no other man. Our basic emotions are like those of all other men We experience love, fear, anger, grief, joy, At times our normal or usual behavior
can change when we are controlled by one of these emotions. We also said that in
some respects we are like some other men. Our Squaretowners shared many behavior
patterns. So did the swingers. And some of the behavior characteristics
that are found in one group are minor or non-existent in the other. Finally, we are like no other men in that each of us has his own individuality,
each has certain behavior traits that are entirely his own. These ways of acting can be counted
on either the plus or minus side of what we define as normal behavior, but normal
behavior allows slight detours now and then. Returning to the right track depends upon our ability to meet such
situations, to work at the the problems, and to keep working at them until we have found
a satisfactory way of handling them. How well we do this depends upon
the health of our minds. Mental health is the stamina which allows us to confront a problem
and to continue meeting it until we have managed it satisfactorily. Here we might compare
mental health to physical health. A person who is physically sound still may suffer
occasionally from some slight ailment. [sneeze] A cold, a cut, or a bruise, for example, but because he is physically
healthy, he recovers quickly from these discomforts. It is natural also also for the person who is
mentally healthy to have slight ailments in the form of worries, irritations, blue moods. It is the mental health of the person which
allows him to overcome these problems, much as his physical health allows him
to recover from physical discomforts. So mental health is the vigor and
persistence that sees a person through each day, overcoming disappointment, worries,
fears, which are natural, before they become too difficult to handle. . What makes mental health? A person’s mental health depends
upon his attitude toward himself. This involves a blending of self- acceptance, and self-confidence. This means we accept both
our limitations and our possibilities. Respect for others also strongly
influences behavior. The healthy person is guided by the rights
of others, by the rules of society, and by the reasonable demands of authority
without feeling is giving up his own rights. The healthy person recognize the limitations
and possibilities of other people and adjusts to them. Here we must caution against
measuring everyone by the same yardstick. People differ greatly in their
capacity to react to strains and frustrations. Indeed there was room in our
concept of mental health for a wide range of accepted behavior. In fact, it is more the process of solving problems rather than the actual solution
which denotes mental health. The healthy individual is aware of his problems
and tries to deal with them. The way in which the problem is handled,
and how long it takes are individual matters. and vary according to each person. The ability to handle problems depends upon
seeing things pretty much as they are. The world as seen through the eyes of the swinger, or the square, may appear different
than it does to you or me The bouncy swinger sees life one way, and the reserved square sees things another. There is room for many individual interpretations, for each of us
sees things through his own particular pair of glasses
created by his experiences If the experiences become shattering,
what he seems will be distorted. The continuing inability
to see things as they are, the constant distortion of people and events,
is one of the chief signs of mental illness. Mental illness is the abnormal functioning of the mind
when feelings and thoughts become disturbed and twisted, and irrational unrealistic actions follow. More than that, such behavior is repetitive. In other words, not only is the action
inappropriate to handle the problem, but the person persists in the face of repeated failure. In mental illness it is no longer a matter of simple
depression, annoyance, or daydreaming all of which are conditions in
which we find ourselves occasionally When these conditions go beyond the once in
awhile stage and become relatively constant then they are indicators of
mental illness. The factors that contribute to mental illness are many. physiological, psychological, and social. We don’t know all the causes
of such illness yet. We do know that a person’s physical constitution,
his emotional functioning, and his environment are influencing factors in the production of illness. There are many patterns of mental illness too.
They range all the way from heightened anxiety and distractibility, to complete
distortion of reality. Some forms of mental illness are due to
actual disorganization of the brain cells. This may occur following infection or injury
or result from the cells wearing now Such disorders as meningitis, head injury,
stroke, and senility, may have a temporary or
permanent effect on the individual and his behavior. Some mental illnesses show themselves
in actual physical disorders and discomforts It is recognized that many common
physical conditions such as ulcers allergies, asthma, high blood pressure, weight problems, may sometimes have emotional causes. And then there are many irrational fears which are characteristic of certain forms of mental illness. There are uncontrollable fears of people, places, and situations. The fear overpowers the
person and he is unable to function normally. The fear of remembering some particularly
painfully event or a period of life can be so strong that all recollection
of the happening is wiped out. Other mental diseases are of unknown cause
and result in profoundly distorted behavior These mentally ill persons are usually
easy to identify by their bizarre actions. The person may be extremely
suspicious, imagine and believe that others are against him, that they are responsible for his failure.
He may even claimed to have special powers by which he can destroy the world.
Or he may react violently to imagined plots against him. There is also the person who
withdraws. He’s fearful of other people and avoids contact with them. He builds an imaginary world to live in and
may even behave in a childish fashion. In still another type of mental illness,
a person’s mood may swing to extremes. If it goes up, he becomes elated, overactive, and has grandiose ideas.
He flits from one thing to another, never completing anything. If his mood goes down, he feels sad and worthless. To him life has no meaning, and suicide may result. Then there is the sickness of character or the personality disorder. This individual is described as a person with a
wealth of means but a poverty of results. He wants what he wants when he wants it. He knows the rules and the rights of others
but he doesn’t care. Usually these individuals are loners,
perhaps developing strong dependence on alcohol or drugs, or fighting society,
profiting from neither from experience nor punishment and are often
considered by society as criminal or immoral. As we have shown you, there are many kinds
of mental illness, some mild, some severe. Remember the swingers and the squares? Different? Of course. Sick? Not necessarily, although within each group there may be some who are less able to
handle their problems. What can you do to handle the problems
you need each day and stay mentally healthy? Here are some suggestions. Confront your problems. Adapt to change.
Know your possibilities. Accept your limitations. Respect others. Gauge the appropriateness of
your actions to each situation. Now ask yourself… How are you?

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