Questioning Normality

Sarah Finally Gets the Help She Needs

For Not Wanting to Have Children

By Patricia Lefave, Monophrenic

Here then we will take this humorous look at real life just a little bit farther, just as it gets done in real life by some dysfunctional groups, which INCLUDE those families, workplaces, school groups etc. who can never be blamed for ANYTHING, but who of course CAN "blame others," when the group members ARE the 'others' who are doing the blaming of an individual. In this one we we will see how Sarah COULD be defined as "mentally ill" by those who have to be "always right and never wrong." This too is "about domination."

So to extend the "funny" story:

Sarah eventually hears from third parties, acting it out in her presence just as if she was not there, that she supposedly said that her planned adoption of a Korean child is not going to happen because Bob is losing his job and they won't be able to pay for that boat they bought either. The one doing the talking also said that they think that is why Sarah is behaving so 'oddly' because the stress of all she is now losing is causing her to show signs of mental illness.

Sarah looked perplexed and when she did the other one, standing only five feet away, nudged the first one and said, "Look at her face. Doesn't she look confused? You know that is one of the signs of mental illness."

Sarah knew one of these women only vaguely..she worked at a store at which Sarah sometimes shopped...the other one who was talking about her she had never seen before. However, since they appeared to be discussing her about her recent discussion with others which was now warped, she decided to walk toward them and find out.

"Excuse me, she said, Are you two talking about me?"

The one doing the talking responded without hesitation, "No, not at all. Really Sarah...You're just not that important."

As Sarah turned her back then and walked a few feet away, she heard the voice of the first one saying to the other, "Apparently they[1] think people are talking about them all the time.

"The poor thing," said the other. "isn't that a symptom of schizophrenia?"

"Usually yes," said gossip number one.

Later on that day gossip number two told her next door neighbour, who was an old friend of Sarah's cousin Millie in High school, that is was thought that poor Sarah had schizophrenia, so it was probably just as well that her adoption of the Korean child was going to fall through. Her neighbour said she now remembered how quiet[2] Sarah had been back in high school and now I think I know why. You know being 'withdrawn' is another symptom of schizophrenia....Then she went right inside the house to make a call to Sarah's cousin Millie to see if they had a good definitive diagnosis yet on Sarah.

The next day, Sarah heard more people talking about her planned adoption of a Korean child, that Bob had only two weeks left to work, that they had no money in the bank and they had been reduced to eating kraft dinner for every meal and that their brand new boat had just sunk. That was why no one could find it at the marina.

So she walked up to them and told them outright, That is simply not true. I have no such plans to adopt any child, Bob still has his job and we have no boat at all to float or to sink. We had pork chops last night for supper. Where are you getting this stuff from anyway?

The one she asked said, "From your father." She added to Sarah, "you're NOT suggesting that your own father would lie about you are you Sarah? If you are that's pretty damned paranoid! A lot of us agree that you should really find a professional to talk to about all of this.

What kind of professional to talk to about what exactly?

The two people who were only trying to help her, looked at each other, rolled their eyes and walked away.

Sarah looked confused and walking away herself, decided to go and just ask her parents what was going on that this woman would claim her own father was making up this bizarre stuff like that.

So she went to their place and asked her parents outright and they BOTH vehemently denied ever saying anything to anyone. They both acted as if they were completely mystified by what Sarah was talking about.

Sarah's mother then lowered her eyes and spoke to Sarah's father out of the side of her mouth as Sarah looked on..."I think Sarah is in denial about her own problems. I think that maybe we need to get her some help."

Sarah's jaw dropped. "I can hear you she said, I m standing three feet away. Are you joking?"

Her father then confirmed her mother's observations out of the side of his mouth, but he lowered his voice so as not to upset Sarah, "Did you see the look of confusion that just crossed her face?...She obviously has no idea what is going on."

Sarah responded to that, "You're right. I haven no idea what is going on here and why are talking about me right in front of me like I'm not here. You're four feet away for God's sake..I can hear you. You stop acting this way and stop it right now..."

Sarah was really starting to get frightened by what was going on all around her. What was wrong with these people anyway? Were they joking? Were they trying to drive her insane on purpose? Was this some kind of bizarre gossip session that was out of control?

Her mother looked alarmed..."Sarah, it is not like you to swear. You seem to be changing a lot lately. You seem really upset for no reason at all and your voice is getting kind of's not like you to talk to your own parents in such a disrespectful and insulting manner. I really do think you need to talk to someone professionally about your obvious distress."

Forget it, said Sarah, I am done talking about this and I am going home now.

You know, said Sarah's mother to her father, I think Sarah must have fabricated that whole story about adopting a Korean child and buying the boat just to seek attention. It just indicates how desperately she really wants to have a child but it is only coming out in these strange delusions she is telling everyone else. I had no idea she was so sick with longing and so confused about the nature of reality. This is very serious dear and we need to call in a really good psychiatrist so we can get a really good diagnosis for her. How will we get this done? She is getting worse every day. Sarah actually believes that people are talking about her. Of course they are, but not in the way Sarah believes they are. They are talking about her because she told them she was adopting a Korean child and buying a big yacht to sail to Korea to pick the child up. Mary from the Dollar store in the downtown mall just told me that yesterday and Mary would never make up stories like that. We better get hold of Bob so he can face the fact that Sarah is going crazy. He needs to help us to help her.

Sarah's mother then put in discreet call to Sarah's husband Bob at work.

Melanie the receptionist answered first and Sarah's mother had met her at last year's barbecue at her daughter's house. Sarah's mother asked her, sounding somewhat distressed, if Bob was available to come to the phone. Melanie thought he was but paused to ask Sarah's mother why she sounded upset....was everything OK? Sarah's mother began to weep just a little...Oh Melanie...we have just discovered that our Sarah has schizophrenia and must be hospitalized at once so we are calling Bob to come and help us..."

Oh no....responded Melanie. Don't worry I will get Bob right away..just hold one minute....

"Melanie, interrupted Sarah's mother, You won't let on to anyone that I told you will you? We don't want anyone to know...even though there is no stigma of course. Sarah can't help it of course. We all know this is a disease just like diabetes. Still sometimes people just don't understand. So keep it to yourself if you would.

Oh of course, Melanie assured her. You take care of yourselves now and don't worry about Bob having to leave work to help Sarah. I will make some excuse for him. The important thing is that Sarah should get her illness under control and the treatment she needs.

As soon as Melanie, had put Sarah's mother through to Bob, she got on the phone to let her cousin Peter, who used to work with Sarah years ago, know what a terrible thing was happening to Sarah.

When Bob got on the phone Sarah's mother explained to him that Sarah was very ill, probably psychotic and needed to get to a hospital for help right away. She told him that Sarah actually believed that people she did not even know were talking about her, that she had purchased a yacht to sail to Korea to pick up a child, that the yacht had sunk in the marina, that you, Bob, have lost your job, that you have no money at all in the bank, that according to her, WE are the ones confused and not her, and that we are all fabricating "stories" about her. She is just not making any sense at all and she is getting very obviously emotional about it.

Oh my God, Bob answered, I knew she was a little upset but I did not know all of this. What are we going to do? Do you think that Sarah may be a danger to herself or others?

Well, Sarah's, mom told him, I called the local NAMI group, and they told us we can't be sure about that as there is no way to predict who will do violence to themselves or others. So they recommended we go over to your house together, tell Sarah we know she does not believe she is sick[3], but she is, and that we are going to help her, and then the procedure is to call the police to make a psychiatric arrest and take her for an assessment. The woman I talked to recommended that we turn over a few pieces of furniture to make it look like it got physical with her as this will ensure Sarah gets the help she really needs.

But isn't that dishonest queried Bob? I don't see why that is necessary.

Well as the NAMI rep explained it, the end justifies the means in such cases. If we love our daughter, she reminded us, then getting her the help he needs must be the priority. We don't want her to slip through the cracks do we?

So they all went to help Sarah together. As Sarah's husband Bob confronted Sarah with her delusional beliefs that she was sailing to Korea in a yacht that had sunk at the marina, Sarah's fear of what was happening to her with her own family and in the community at large, began to overwhelm her. They could no longer hear a word she said as real. It had become a surreal nightmare. Reality had been turned upside down and flipped around backwards and either they did not notice, or they were doing it on purpose and pretending not to notice, for God knows what reason. She started to physically back away from her husband and parents as as they started to turn chairs over and knock a couple of pictures off the wall prior to the arrival of the psychiatric SWAT team, armed with tazers...just in case anyone got violent.

WHY are you doing this to me, she asked them shrilly as her own husband called the police.

It's for your own good Sarah they told her. Please try to co-operate so we can get you the help you need.

When the police go there she attempted to explain, told them she was not sick and did not want to go to the hospital. The police officer took off his hat, as he was trained to do, as he knew that many crazy people were quite frightened by the sight of the their uniforms. That was part of their illness.

Nothing Sarah said made any difference at all so Sarah stopped talking. There was no point in talking since no one was listening to anything she said anyway. They were reinventing reality for her to make it fit into their own beliefs and they were clearly backing each other up in their 'interpretations' of Sarah's reality and her understanding of what was happening.

Sarah felt like she was not really there; like she had pretty much disappeared as a human being. Even Bob could not seem to hear her in any way other than as a walking, talking disease process. She even heard a nurse outside the "quiet" room telling her parents not to listen to her, or bother trying to explain anything to her as they were just "talking to a disease."

That was the beginning of the end for Sarah. Sarah's life as she had known it was now over. She has just lost everything: her career, her husband, her safety, her family and even her own identity as defined by her. She was no longer entitled to self definition, self direction or even self defence. It had all just been taken away from her, by force, which was being defined as "help" and as "love."

Shortly after that Sarah was bestowed with her psychiatric label. The label was permanent and explained her, and her experience, away. There was no further discussion with family or friends as they had been told by the psychiatrists that to do so would only "encourage her." Sarah knew they heard no irony in their own pious statements about her. Other people now told her who she was, what thoughts she would be allowed to have, what her experiences were, who she would be "allowed' to talk to and what she would be "allowed" to talk about. That was topped off with instructions on how she would feel about it all and her co-operation with this was expected if she did not want to receive more 'treatment" for the "disease" which caused her to mistakenly believe that she had been harmed by others.

As one of her team of psychiatrists put it, in a hopeless attempt to reason with her, "Do you not see Sarah? You could not have been harmed by others as you falsely believe, since your family, friends and co workers would have no reason to do so..."

Sarah laughed and the psychiatrist just stared at her with his usual blank expression on his face. "You know said Sarah, I often now feel like I am trapped in that movie...the Matrix.

Her psychiatrist's face remained as expressionless as that of the computer generated image of the guy in the suit in the moviethe one who kept multiplying to try to keep "Neo" from telling the others that it was all just a programme made to look like reality and it was not reality at all.

Sarah was now fully ensconced in her new "career" as a madwoman.

How was the rest of the family now? Accepting and somewhat relieved. They now had a disease name for Sarah's "unusual" thought processes. Sarah's mother finally understood what was wrong with Sarah and the REAL reason that Sarah did not want children. It was because she was mentally ill and though she kept denying it still, and now and then engaged in pathetically begging her parents to listen to her and give her her own life back, her mother understood that at some deep level, perhaps not yet recognized by Sarah herself, her daughter really KNEW that she was not normal and so she did not want to pass her incurable genetic defects along to a child. Poor Sarah. But at least her mother could now comfort herself with knowing that she was right all along that there had always been something terribly wrong with her daughter Sarah.

Thank God they finally found out just what that was and were able to help her.

[1] Sarah was now beginning to be defined as outside the accepted parameters of "normal."

[2] Another 'symptom" ....withdrawal from reality....

[3] Claiming you are not sick is a well known sign that you ARE sick.


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How to Use These Public Posting Boards

We can use these public boards as a means of collective contact amongst psychiatric survivour/ex mental patients. 

(Interacting with the non- psychiatrized as well where appropriate) As with all sites like mine, this is a good way to get out of psycho-social isolation, feel connected to those with similar experiences, and to share what helps and what does not.

Please remember that this one is a PUBLIC board so that anyone can see what you have to say. I personally have access to your addresses and e-mails when you register but you do not have to use your real name or otherwise expose your identity. The server owner also has access to anything you post here as well but it will not be used in any way UNLESS you say something that is breaking the laws.

I want to keep my ‘G’ rating so that a ten year old could read this without blushing, feeling frightened or learning new words that would shock even me as an old lady... so watch your way of expressing yourself please. I do not have a lot of time on line so if anyone notices a problem with any posts please bring it to my attention by sending me an e-mail directing me, by title, to the problem post. E-mail me at:

Remove the word SPAMAWAY and close the space.

Please download the two PDF files below regarding how to use the boards and the software.

1.   Posting in the First Person Singular Style

This one is about the simple method of use

2.   Registering, Signing in and Using the Software

This one is about the physical use of the site software and gives a step by step direction.

Both are in the PDF files below and can be downloaded to a computer, flash drive or opened and read online here.

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Who Defines the Normal and Why?
The Focus on this interactive page is going to be on the perspective we don't hear much about: the Normal group member and his or her role in the design and diagnosis of the assigned illness, given to the individual who gets psychiatrized, often for 'complaining' about his/her experience with 'others' as well as the Normal's function as a part of a Normal group.

Here we will shift the focus OFF of the psychiatrized one and ONTO the group as a whole, and some of its other members in particular.


I believe we need to take another look at 'Normal' and how it all got to be considered to BE 'Normal. In doing so we may just find that a whole lot of what is now considered to be 'Normal' might better be described as 'common' or ‘habit.' Longstanding dysfunctional relating for example is very often called “Normal' by those who are used to it, who want to stay 'popular' in their group by keeping silent, or who “don't want to make waves “in the name of “getting along.” Often of course, those who are “getting along” are not really “getting along” with everyone and are part of a well practised scapegoating system. 

So if you have some stories of your “Normal' experiences, this is the page for that.


As usual on these pages, please follow the few simple rules of communication and talk about; ideas or experiences generally, your own personal experiences without naming proper names, your feelings, your experiences  of the mental illness system, good or bad, in relation to your own personal experience with it.  Keep it connected on this page though to defining and questioning what is considered to be “Normal” thinking and behaviour. Do NOT name names, as this is a public board and liability laws apply. Keeping your sharing in the first person singular and/or in relation to ideas or concepts allows you to have your say and keeps you and me, safe from harm or legal problems at the same time.


Above is the PDF Copy of the practical use of the Bulletin Board and how the software at this site works for you personally. 

To use this Board you DO have to register to this site in just the same way you do in any support group BUT this discussion is not closed to the public.