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.