Harsimran Kaur  ON  Dec 06, 2022 IN BOOK REVIEWTHE MYTH OF NORMAL (Trauma, Illness & Healing In a Toxic Culture) By GABOR MATE with DANIEL MATE/NON-FICTION

Rating: 4/5

The body haggard, hag-ridden and a haploid of discordant emotions tries to have a conversation with the mindscurrying for plausible leads to detangle the wires of the indelible past and to console the deprivation of inner sanguinity. The body, reluctant to spear the axe, ingratiates the mind to awaken from the dampen spirits, the heebie-jeebies and the notorious onslaught of demonic peripatetic thoughts.


The body resounds with a piteous wailing, “I feel like a tank of water, a kind of IBS, and you need to turn off the tap so that the delinquency of negativity and suppression does not inflame me anymore.”

The ichneumon mind, a seethe in its own neglect is quick to recover, “I have no tap, all I am doing is splurging the opulent concoction of traumas that have bedeviled me racing it across the tributaries of the concomitant you.”

The body drifts to pause and picks a race, “The doctors are perplexed as they treat me in isolation; a turf I have not travelled alone. You have been a constant companion. Why are we not juxtaposed hand in hand for the inequities of life?”

“That’s what!” the mind squints and implores earnestly, “I too want to be healed, and if we both are weighed together, it would be easier to siphon the negativity, bridled and locked. Nothing is normal unless we unite.”


Gabor Mate in the book, ‘The Myth of Normal” hits the nail on the head, a piercing one to awaken the mind from the slumber of dejection, social animosity, cultural foliage and unauthenticated contradictions to grow in a swathe of positivity and a true identification of the self. It’s under the umbrella of mental illness and the disintegration of mind that maladies invade the fennel of human anatomy.

Incomprehensible as it may sound, Gabor Mate is not impulsive to cock a snook at the medical practitioners who fundamentally are ignorant of the mind-body connection. However, it may be their permissible need to follow the academia that has been taught while studying medicine. Nevertheless, a gradual shift from the rigid ground to the elevated plateau is necessary to understand the connection—mental illness and chronic ailments are on a rise and it is imperative to define ‘what is normal.’

‘Cut the grass that pricks the soul of the feet because if the soul is hurt, the dimensions of life take an acrimonious turn full of self-loathe and self-insufficiency.’

‘My propensity to my mental illness is not me. It’s an agglomeration of what I feel and how I act.’

‘If pain is just a linguistic parabola of disinterring banished memories, the mind will then open & shut like a clasping of a screw. But, it is infesting, going deep down the structural fragments of the body violating its functionality.’

‘My addiction to drugs, coffee, tea, liquor is a testimony to my grief, I conjecture or a theft of my innocence creating a smorgasbord of fears and obsessions that penetrate harmlessly coercing the mind to act in a way I comprehend it should not?’

‘Who says I am irrelevant without a less amount of serotonin and dopamine?’ I can still be relevant owing it to my experiences and introspection. Life still breathes in those who feel a bit left off because of their inadequacies.’

Dr. Mate, a renowned physician and addiction expert, quoting numerous real-life stories has expounded on the fact that health systems fail to connect the dot between the mind and the body. Medical assistance is a necessity but their efficacy is turning out to be a black hole as they treat mind and body separately. He presses the break hard to not let chronic ailments like Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, IBS and many more swing in the air at its own discretion. Many more examples in the book elucidate the effect of trauma causing an incessant inflammation in the body. A baggage of the past loaded with child abuse, dislodging parenting, grieving past, and implacable patriarchy—all create incisions coiled by scar tissues that destroy the fluidity of thoughts, viably becoming terrine, cold-pressed fomenting a tenebrous life.


Healing of the mind can be done my mind only. The pre-occupations cannot be easily reckoned with. Gradual acceptance and identifying our true belonging with a structured responsibility helps the mind to face what lies ahead.

A game changer to the life’s unprecedented maneuvers!!

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