#mentalhealthmonday – ‘crazy’

Sorry for no Mental Health Monday last week, folks. I was really busy preparing myself for a Shakespeare exam, and I thought it would be counter-productive to write a post about mental health whilst unnecessarily stressing myself out. However, I am now BACK – university is finished, and although I’ll be working this summer, there will definitely be more time for books and blogging!

So, today I thought I would talk a little bit about a topic that I’ve seen quite a lot of on Twitter recently, and that’s using words like ‘crazy’, ‘mad’, etc. Please keep in mind that this is my opinion only, and I in no way speak for everyone who has mental ill health. This is just from my one experience of the billions of experiences out there.

I’m going to be honest with you. My friends and I do refer to ourselves as the ‘mentals’, and the ‘crazies’. We laugh about it, because we all have the common experience of being mentally ill, in one way or another. I’ve always been a proponent of dark humour, or laughing at things that are getting you down, and we take great joy in claiming these labels and re-defining them (much in the same way I identify as queer, for example.) We celebrate our madness in a way that I think is really empowering, and I personally have no issues with people calling me mental. It’s true. I am. What of it? (Obviously, though, I can understand why people would take offense. It’s a personal thing.)

However, I realise that we should probably do this with more caution. One of the biggest ways I’ve seen terms like ‘crazy’ being bandied about is when talking about Trump. I can understand why it is so easy to label him as ‘insane’ or something like that. His actions are often emotional, inexplicable, and scary – all three of which are common understandings of mental illness. He may be mentally ill, I don’t know. But labelling him with terms such as these links people with mental illnesses to tyrants, with men who think it is acceptable to grab women by the ‘pussy’. With egotists, whose every whim must be pandered to.

People are slowly becoming aware that being neat doesn’t warrant saying ‘I’m so OCD’. Having a little mood swing doesn’t mean ‘I’m so bipolar’. Being a tyrant doesn’t make you ‘crazy’ either, and I’m hoping that there will also be a push to understand this further.

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8 thoughts on “#mentalhealthmonday – ‘crazy’

  1. brightpurpledaisies says:

    I agree. You really need to be mindful of the audience when you say these things. I joke around about my mental illness all the time with my sister and close friends, but I would never throw out words like that in any other situation.

    Like

  2. modoyle says:

    Hi, I laughed all the way through reading your blog – 😜 crazy.
    I’ve been defined as 😝 crazy and have been in so many psychiatric hospitals.
    I’ve recovered from Borderline Personality Disorder and I’m also diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
    I’m serious about my recovery but looking back I was crazy.
    I was married and struggled for a long time with my sexuality.
    Thankfully now I’m a happy lesbian and proud.
    Loved your humour, other people might not.
    My psychiatrist is now treating my bipolar without medication as I was totally suicidal on medication.
    Thankfully I’m coping well and now enjoying life.
    I have my ups and downs, but I’m in control at last after 21 year of crap.
    Cheers Mo 🇮🇪 Ireland
    http://tarfbp.wordpress.com
    Hope your studies went well

    Liked by 1 person

  3. christine @ the story salve says:

    I’m so glad you wrote about this. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately too. I started noticing just how often “crazy” specifically gets thrown about out of context. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, but I know that it can be very hurtful for some people. Mental health is not a monolith whatsoever.

    It’s interesting that you and your friends joke about being crazy. One of my best friends is a psychologist who also struggles with depression/anxiety, and one of the ways we both cope with it is by being able to laugh at ourselves. I think, like you said, it depends on the person. And while I wouldn’t take offense to my friend joking that I’m crazy, I’ve definitely had the word used against me in the past.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s complicated, and I appreciate you talking about it as such.

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  4. ahitsdina says:

    In general, calling people “crazy” makes me feel very uncomfortable. The word is definitely something we can reclaim for ourselves as people with mental illness. However, I do feel like using the term negatively to name call others is not helping those with mental illness. It assumes that we are illogical or destructive and destroyed.

    I like this quote by Leigh Bardugo (it’s about sexual abuse, but same concept, I think): “I am not ruined. I am ruination.” The idea, for me, is that if you have endured so much pain, you can grow from it and be incredibly strong.

    Tangent there, I know.

    What really is damaging, too, is the usage of these diagnoses in jest or mocking. I didn’t know I had cyclothymia (a form of bipolar disorder) because people misuse that term to signify mood changes. And, in doing so, it caused a great deal of shame in me. Like, it took me years in therapy to even come forward about manic episodes.

    Interesting discussion. Definitely got my mental wheels going.

    Like

  5. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    Yes, I completely agree with you on this. I find that the same applies in so many other situations when we look at stereotypes and generalizations. I find that it almost exclusively occurs when we consider mental health issues. It’s as though we are so scared of it culturally that we need to mock it in order to cope. The idea of being “hysteric” for example– I have to explain the origin of that word to soooo many people.

    I get the dark humor aspect. But that’s also what makes it dangerous. You are more comfortable with where you are in your mental state. But when someone else, who isn’t as comfortable or secure, hears this it hurts them. All those horrible hidden scars.

    Thanks for letting me soapbox. This won’t be an easy habit for anyone to break, but you’re so on point. We need to be more aware of how we use these terms around others. It’s the devil we don’t know that will get us in these situations.

    Like

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