11-15 Things People Normally Experience
11. That they don’t belong in the world (i.e. this world is not their home). It can make people feel really alien to this world but is a recurring theme in a lot of psychopathology. A lot of patients have a hard time opening up about this, often because they see it as a more “serious” symptom of mental illness.
12. Anyone can become an addict. Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all face for what a murderer looks like, addicts come in all shapes, sizes, socioeconomic statuses, education levels, etc. Gambling addiction is REAL, too. I hold three licenses (mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, gambling counseling), and am blown away when I hear other professionals talk about a client ‘just’ having a gambling addiction. It ruins lives, too.
13. From working with troubled and at-risk teens in the past, and currently to some extent, their grieving processes and how they handle losing a close friend or family member always poses a unique challenge for structuring supporting counseling. The whole “nobody knows/understands how I feel” concept and claim is very common and most folks are hesitant to divulge much, if any, details regarding their true thoughts and feelings associated with the loss. One of the only things that has helped me reach out and connect to some of these folks is using an appropriate level of self-disclosure citing my own unexpected loss of a parent as a teenager and revealing how I dealt with and continue to deal with the grieving process related to that event.
14. I work as an Intervention Specialist for a children’s Clinic. Of my 30+ Clients of children (3-18) I find most of them have difficulty voicing their feelings and suppress them to a point of almost becoming mute. I work alongside LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists). We have 1 Psychiatrist and a Nurse Practitioner. The children we specialize in are “Foster Children.”
It is extremely heartbreaking that these kids know they are in the system and when they are taken from their homes due to abuse, drugs, or neglect they become emotionally exhausted. They just want mom and dad. I always reassure them that they are not wrong for continuing to love Mom and Dad even if they did cause harm to them. Most of them think that something is wrong with themselves in that aspect.
15. “Inappropriate” sexual desires.
I have been working for years with couples and single people that express a, let’s say, social perspective of what sex should be, and although we have come a long way and things are getting slightly better – in the sense that homophobia is still a thing, but at least society is starting to understand and deal with it -, there’s still this emotional tagging related to what you should feel and experience when it comes to arousal and physical intimacy.
People try to self-label themselves as heterosexual, homosexual or something else to create an identity for everything they are as a person, when in fact, this is a very simple definition that affects very little of you apart from your sexuality. And even that is matter of many factors that go beyond separating hormonal activity in social groups. That happens, unfortunately, because society relies on labels to distinguish their inner groupings, even if there’s no such thing and people get to use those definitions to conclude that we are different regarding other contexts that do not apply to the particular “difference” that we are defining.
The mind simplifies it – as it always does and most times with healthy consequences – and takes it to “gays are…”, “lesbians are…” or “men are…” kind of discourses that make no real statement when it comes to our everyday lives, even in a sexual context.
Because of this environment, many people get to define sex and sexuality as the same thing, arousal and sexual identity as the same thing, and many other definitions related to our sexuality as if they were simple and similar experiences to all of us.
I heard men thinking that they were gay because they had one thought about having sex with a guy and deducing that the “doubt” regarding whether or not they’d do anything about it, is a clear sign of homosexuality and that it’s a bad thing to be in this “wall”. When in fact, it’s very unlikely that any person in this planet is in absolutely knowledge of their own sexual preferences, both of gender and activities. Just like any other kind of pleasant activity, sex is about discovery. You don’t know much of makes you feel good before you try it. The stigma of thinking about trying something – that comes from ages of a very unreasonable education regarding sexuality and physical intimacy as being the exact same thing. – still prevents people from exploring their concepts of the world when it comes to sexual pleasure, and results in frustration and even self-loathing, since the brain requires positive stimulation in a regular basis, including – sometimes specially – the ones we are told “not to want”.
Couples face the same issue in a more complex manner. The idea that emotional connection and sexual connection have always to go hand in hand is, for starters, a mathematical anomaly – if you find someone that makes you feel happy emotionally and sexually, that’s awesome, but that doesn’t mean that they are the only ones who can do it – and also impractical for a committed relationship. That’s because our sexual and emotional “selfs” are not all that there is about us. They are an important part of our experiences, but they are not who we are as a person. They have their place in specific experiences, while in others – that may affect sexual and emotional interaction – they play a minor role, if any. Couples tend to think that this relationship between sex, emotions and social interactions should always be well balanced, when they are not within themselves the things that should be balanced, but rather, the person who is responsible to act on those desires, feelings and social perspectives. The emotions and desires only follow you, what you take from them and act upon them, they do not drive your every decision, even when it comes to sex.
Unfortunately, the problem here is the same: misinformation. There is very little understanding and honest conversation about sexuality, which is as important for us as humans as food and shelter are. They are part of our biological disposition, and if led by unhealthy complexes and ideologies, might be enjoyed in a very poorly, unhealthy manner, which may cause much more harm than any other psychological discrepancy.