So You Think You’re Crazy, by Frank Machovec: Comfort for an Anxious World

think_crazyIn So You Think You’re Crazy: Reassurance About Everyday Hang-Ups (5×8 Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60381-168-2, $13.95, 218 pp.), psychologist Frank Machovec, PhD, defines the true meaning of “crazy” and suggests methods of coping with anxiety and stress in the 21st century.

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“As a seasoned licensed therapist, I found this book to be a great summary of major theories of psychology and psychotherapy as well the new DSM V, the diagnostic guide for mental health professionals. I especially enjoyed the self-help/wellness section at the end. Readers will learn how to discern what is within the realm of ‘normal’ and what behaviors, thought patterns, or emotional reactions need further evaluation by qualified mental health professionals. A must-have book.”

—Paul E. Crouch, LCSW, BCD

“This book will appeal to anyone who might be considering an assessment for psychotherapy, as it may help them understand and resolve their issues sooner. Dr. Machovec presents his information using philosophical and historical contexts to better ground the reader in the concepts being discussed. A compact and thorough pre-therapy manual.”

—Stuart C. Tentoni, PhD, Former Director of Counseling and Training, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

In these hectic, 21st-century times, many worry if they have stepped over the line and acquired a mental disorder. Are you really crazy, or is what troubles you simply a normal variant of universal human behavior? What behavioral traits must you learn to live with? Which can you change? What can your dreams tell you about your behavior?

In his basic, down-to-earth primer, board-certified psychologist Dr. Frank Machovec describes mental disorders according to the latest diagnostic manual, past and current therapy techniques, and simple diagnostic tests to help you explore your thoughts and feelings. Even if you believe you are not that normal, this book can suggest ways for you to feel better about yourself and guide you in your search for professional help.

Says Dr. Machovec, “The most frequent question I was asked in thirty years as a psychologist was, in essence: ‘Am I really okay?’ This book will help answer that question. I hope readers will feel as if I’m talking to them personally. The main message of the book is that it’s normal to feel a little crazy from time to time—to worry about whether you’re normal and how normal you really are.”

Frank Machovec, PhD, is a retired licensed clinical psychologist who worked in mental hospitals, clinics, and private practice for 30 years. In addition to pre- and post-PhD internships, he is board certified in medical psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis and was a certified forensic examiner, testifying as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases. He has written 50 books and 27 journal articles. Dr. Machovec teaches college-level psychology as an adjunct professor as well as continuing education classes. For more information, go to fmachovec.com.

Keep reading for any excerpt:

How “significant” are your behaviors? Have you ever done anything that seemed normal at the time but now seems crazy? Most people have. It may have been something you did as a child or on a date in your teens. Maybe you did it on a dare or just thought it would be fun.

My normal might be your crazy, and vice versa. Ever skinny-dip? It’s illegal in most parts of the U.S., and some would think you were crazy for exposing yourself like that. Of course, it doesn’t have to be anything so obvious. If we looked in your refrigerator right now, would we find anything unusual? If you’re a woman, do you think it’s normal to have a closet full of shoes? If you’re a man, do you think women are just plain crazy to have so many?

Drawing the line. What we wear, say, and do usually conforms to the norm for our community and the time of day. If it doesn’t, people look at us as if we’re crazy. For example, a bikini looks great on the beach, but wearing one on the street or at work would be inappropriate. Eating with your hands is appropriate on the beach, but you would look crazy doing that in a posh restaurant. Black, white, and pastel shades are popular car colors, but a white car with zebra stripes would stand out. Singing is appropriate in the shower but not in the stacks of a public library. And while it’s okay to shout four-letter words if you stub your toe at home, people would stare at you if you did it in church or temple.

Adventuresome or crazy? Many people do potentially dangerous things that others think are crazy. They enjoy skydiving—jumping out of airplanes to parachute back to earth—or hang gliding—jumping off cliffs to fly via a kite-like wing and a few pounds of metal tubing. Spelunkers enjoy exploring underground caves, which are full of bats and bugs, muck, and bat poop (politely called guano). Mountain climbers train to climb to the top of high mountain peaks, despite bitter cold and a very real risk of frostbite, altitude sickness, or avalanche. Some water-skiers do it without skis, using their bare feet. In subzero winter, swimmers in Russia and Finland dig a hole in the ice and dive in. The czars swam in the river near their Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. They had a hole dug in the ice, just for their personal use.

Some of these adventuresome people work hard to break records. Mountain climbers train to break records in height and speed. The land speed record for a car is 407.4 miles per hour in a jet-powered car. There are records even in skateboarding: 80.8 miles per hour, 242 miles in 24 hours, one jump that measured 79 feet long and 23.5 feet high. Those who are so dedicated to break a record often make that their life goal, and that seems crazy to others. Did Michelangelo’s mother say, “Find something better to do than make such a mess with paints”? Did Shakespeare’s mother tell him, “Enough with the writing; go get a real job”?

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