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More on “Emotional Health” ~ Part One…

A reader, who is very upset with my use of the term “emotional health,” wants to stop reading this blog and leave our community here at Coming Out Crazy.

I see “emotions” and “moods” as synonymous…

That’s where we differ. I am not my diagnosis. That the first thing. I am me. My mood disorder is unlike anyone else’s, despite a similar label. Oh, how I detest labels, but “emotional” is no label. It’s a reality of life. We all have emotions.

I wish we could sit down and discuss this…

But that isn’t going to happen because of our differences, which can be opportunities for learning. Personal growth, I think, evolves when two people can work through a problem and begin to understand each others differing opinions and perceptions.

Honestly, I interpret the word “emotional health” as a benign and inclusive term encompassing a whole health hemisphere ~ the other being “physical health” ~ and together, you have the totality of health. Mind and body, soul and spirit.

I don’t see “mental health” issues as disorders or illnesses or diseases…

I see “emotional health” as an intrinsic part of life.

Though there is no question that some people can indeed become very sick as a result of erratic and extreme moods and/or an inability to distinguish reality and unreality ~ delusions and hallucinations. At the same time, it is possible and many people do recover. They move on. They have productive and fruitful lives.

“Mental” health is simply a term that does not work for me ~ offends me.

I refuse to call the diagnoses one receives from a psychiatrist the end-all and be-all of health. It’s an opinion. And there are always “second opinions” which can differ. Dramatically.

Too often ~ but not always ~ these “opinions” and “diagnostics” in medicine, including psychiatry, are determined by fad, Big Pharma, the latest pharmaceuticals, some study or a doctor’s own personal biases or ignorance. His or her own problems. And they’re often WRONG! Or to be more accurate. They can be right. But other ideas and approaches can be more right.

It depends so many different factors…

We all have personal problems. We can all “wake up on the wrong side of the bed.” Or worse. Not be able to wake up or get up at all. But we can also get better. Moods change. They swing. We’re labile, at times.

No one know for sure why people develop extreme mood swings…

That’s being human. Moods vary in intensity. Mood swings are often episodic. It depends on so many different factors. Especially trauma. No one really knows for sure. Not even the neuroscientists.

Sorry, but I’m not blindly in support of the direction of modern psychiatry today. I’ve had too many different psychiatric diagnoses over my life ~ including schizophrenia, catatonia, manic depression, bipolar and unipolar mood disorders. Now hypomania. And I’m still the same person I always was, just older and a little more insightful.

Psychiatrists only see us through a lens of medical illnesses, pathologies…

There are so many other ways to view human behaviour and human existence.

Recently, someone said to me that that there’s “constructive craziness” and “destructive craziness” ~ and I found that fascinating and worth a post one day.

But, getting back to the language of respect ~ and this is what I’m all about, here ~ I detest the word “mental” as much as some of you are uncomfortable with the word “emotional.” Others are not.

Yet as human beings, we are constantly changing and affected by our environment and our experiences, our past and our present, our families and our genetics, our psychology and our physical health.

We’re complex, multi-faceted, and many of us function beautifully with our extreme eccentricities and differences. We can celebrate our differences and the differences of others. Not simply tolerate or accept them.

We don’t need labels, yet we are all “emotional”…

Just as we are all capable of thinking. Of being cerebral. There is so much more to “mental” than moods. There is how we live and balance our lives. How we cope with chaos and change. Our tendency to addictions and imbalance.

The way we can learn to be resilient… and we can learn, though sometimes it takes practice.

The term “mental illness” is relatively new in the sphere of human existence. When medical doctors, physicians, took over the running of asylums for people considered “mad” or “lunatics” or “insane” in 16th Century England, they medicalized madness by coining the phrase “mental illness.”

Today, that’s continuing, ad nauseam.

To be continued…

More on “Emotional Health” ~ Part One…

Sandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman is a Toronto freelance journalist.

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APA Reference
Naiman, S. (2011). More on “Emotional Health” ~ Part One…. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Mar 2011
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