(#Ad) The Myth Of Normal
In the year 2000, Cancer Nursing conducted a study on the correlation between the repression of anger and cancer. The intriguing question arises: how could a personality trait such as kindness possibly serve as a predictor of disease?
Dr. Gabor Maté, a highly esteemed physician renowned worldwide, believes that the answer lies within the realms of trauma and persistent stress. These factors, in fact, often form the underlying causes of what we commonly identify as disease.
Leveraging his extensive experience as a physician spanning several decades, Dr. Maté has embarked on a mission to challenge prevalent misconceptions surrounding the factors contributing to our state of illness.
In a society where the focus primarily revolves around the demands of the collective rather than the needs of individuals, numerous individuals are subjected to various forms of both minor and significant traumas. To cope with these distressing experiences, we often dissociate from the accompanying painful emotions, rejecting certain aspects of ourselves and distancing ourselves from meaningful connections. The origins of mental illness, addiction, and physical ailments can frequently be traced back to these internal wounds and the stress they imprint onto our bodies.
Despite the progress made by society in many aspects, the prevalence of disease and mental health disorders continues to rise. However, the medical system seldom takes into account the entirety of a patient’s life or their inner emotional landscape. Instead, it compartmentalizes the biological aspects of illness, divorcing them from their social context, in an attempt to cure the ailment and restore a sense of normalcy. But what exactly constitutes normal? It is possible that our pursuit of normality is, in fact, the very factor responsible for our initial state of sickness.
Gabor Maté eloquently dissects how in Western countries that pride themselves on their healthcare systems, chronic illness and general ill health are on the rise. Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug; more than half take two. In Canada, every fifth person has high blood pressure. In Europe, hypertension is diagnosed in more than 30 percent of the population. And everywhere, adolescent mental illness is on the rise. So what is really “normal” when it comes to health?
Over four decades of clinical experience, Maté has come to recognize the prevailing understanding of “normal” as false, neglecting the roles that trauma and stress, and the pressures of modern-day living, exert on our bodies and our minds at the expense of good health. For all our expertise and technological sophistication, Western medicine often fails to treat the whole person, ignoring how today’s culture stresses the body, burdens the immune system, and undermines emotional balance. Now Maté brings his perspective to the great untangling of common myths about what makes us sick, connects the dots between the maladies of individuals and the declining soundness of society—and offers a compassionate guide for health and healing. Cowritten with his son Daniel, (#Ad) The Myth Of Normal is Maté’s most ambitious and urgent book yet. (from the book description on Amazon)
Top 22 Best Quotes from The Myth of Normal
For if medicine is really to accomplish its great task, it must intervene in political and social life. It must point out the hindrances that impede the normal social functioning of vital processes, and effect their removal. — Rudolf Virchow, nineteenth-century German physician
The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane. — Erich Fromm, The Sane Society
Trauma is when we are not seen and known. — Bessel van der Kolk
Most of our tensions and frustrations stem from compulsive needs to act the role of someone we are not. — János (Hans) Selye, M.D., The Stress of Life
Perhaps the line between sanity and madness must be drawn relative to the place where we stand. Perhaps it is possible to be, at the same time, mad when viewed from one perspective and sane when viewed from another. — Richard Bentall, Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature
Not all psychopaths are in prison. Some are in the boardroom. —R. D. Hare, Ph.D.
Everything in nature grows and struggles in its own way, establishing its own identity, insisting on it at all costs, against all resistance. — Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
What is trauma? As I use the word, “trauma” is an inner injury, a lasting rupture or split within the self due to difficult or hurtful events. By this definition, trauma is primarily what happens within someone as a result of the difficult or hurtful events that befall them; it is not the events themselves. “Trauma is not what happens to you but what happens inside you’ is how I formulate it.” ―
The meaning of the word “trauma,” in its Greek origin is “wound.” Whether we realize it or not, it is out woundedness, or how we cope with it, that dictates much of our behavior, shapes our social habits, and informs out ways of thinking about the world. It can even determine whether or not we are capable or rational thought at all in matters of the greatest importance to our lives. ―
“If we could begin to see much illness itself not as a cruel twist of fate or some nefarious mystery but rather as an expected and therefore normal consequence of abnormal, unnatural circumstances, it would have revolutionary implications for how we approach everything health related.” ―
“One of the things many diseases have in common is inflammation, acting as kind of a fertilizer for the development of illness. We’ve discovered that when people feel threatened, insecure—especially over an extended period of time—our bodies are programmed to turn on inflammatory genes.” ―
“In the absence of relief, a young person’s natural response—their only response, really—is to repress and disconnect from the feeling-states associated with suffering. One no longer knows one’s body. Oddly, this self-estrangement can show up later in life in the form of an apparent strength, such as my ability to perform at a high level when hungry or stressed or fatigued, pushing on without awareness of my need for pause, nutrition, or rest.” ―
“Children, especially highly sensitive children, can be wounded in multiple ways: by bad things happening, yes, but also by good things not happening, such as their emotional needs for attunement not being met,” ―
“Work pressures, multitasking, social media, news updates, multiplicities of entertainment sources—these all induce us to become lost in thoughts, frantic activities, gadgets, meaningless conversations. We are caught up in pursuits of all kinds that draw us on not because they are necessary or inspiring or uplifting, or because they enrich or add meaning to our lives, but simply because they obliterate the present.” ―
“Our other core need is authenticity. Definitions vary, but here’s one that I think applies best to this discussion: the quality of being true to oneself, and the capacity to shape one’s own life from a deep knowledge of that self.” ―
“Chronic rage, by contrast, floods the system with stress hormones long past the allotted time. Over the long term, such a hormonal surplus, whatever may have instigated it, can make us anxious or depressed; suppress immunity; promote inflammation; narrow blood vessels, promoting vascular disease throughout the body;” ―
“It doesn’t matter whether we can point to other people who seem more traumatized than we are, for there is no comparing suffering. Nor is it appropriate to use our own trauma as a way of placing ourselves above others—“You haven’t suffered like I have”—or as a cudgel to beat back others’ legitimate grievances when we behave destructively. We each carry our wounds in our own way; there is neither sense nor value in gauging them against those of others.” ―
“Time after time it was the “nice” people, the ones who compulsively put other’s expectations and needs ahead of their own and who repressed their so-called negative emotions, who showed up with chronic illness in my family practice, or who came under my care at the hospital palliative ward I directed.” ―
“A society that fails to value communality — our need to belong, to care for one another, and to feel caring energy flowing toward us — is a society facing away from the essence of what it means to be human. Pathology cannot but ensue. To say so is not a moral assertion but an objective assessment.
“This Harvard research provided further striking evidence that emotional stresses are inseparable from the physical states of our bodies, in illness and health.” ―
“Single people showed an elevated risk for heart disease and cancer,” ―
“Creatures with poorly self-regulated stress reactions will be more anxious, less capable of confronting ordinary environmental challenges, and overstressed even under normal circumstances. The study showed the quality of early maternal care to have a causal impact on the offspring’s brains’ biochemical capacity to respond to stress in a healthy way into adulthood.”―