You’re not crazy. You’re pain is not a pathology. Your pain makes sense…You’re a human being with unmet needs.
Now This Op-Ed video about depression
“She’s just crazy. I’m done.”
“That’s just crazy talk.”
“How crazy is that?”
“What are you, crazy?”
How often do we throw that word around? We use it as a throwaway label for people and situations we don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to try and understand. It’s mostly a word which people who consider themselves as “normal” use to explain away and dismiss the abnormal.
Guess what? It’s ableism.
What is Ableism? According to The Urban Dictionary, “Ableism is the discrimination or prejudice against people who have disabilities. Ableism can take the form of ideas and assumptions, stereotypes, attitudes and practices, physical barriers in the environment, or larger scale oppression. It is oftentimes unintentional and most people are completely unaware of the impact of their words or actions.”
This definition isn’t only about physical disabilities, it also counts for those experiencing mental health issues due to atypical brain structure and neurochemistry.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Compulsive Behavior disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorder (high functioning)
These are but a few examples of things which people with non-neurotypical brains and brain chemistry experience.
It is a word which holds a strong stigma. The thought of being “crazy” often causes people not to seek help for symptoms and behaviors which make them feel mentally and emotionally out of control. They don’t want to be labeled as “crazy.” WE don’t want to be labeled and dismissed as being “crazy.” We don’t want to be treated as defective or dismissed because having atypical brains makes us “less than.”
I say “WE” because I have a Bipolar brain which has been affected by ongoing and varied trauma experiences. Four and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Type 2, and PTSD. Around the same time, my youngest child was educationally identified as having “High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Recently she received the official diagnosis of Autism AND ADHD.
These things cause us to think, react, and act differently than those who have neurotypical brains. We aren’t “crazy,” we aren’t disabled. We are neurodiverse and differently abled.
The thing about the word, “crazy” is that it’s such an inherent part of our American vernacular that even those of us who have been affected and marginalized by the term frequently use it ourselves.
I’m not going to “go off the deep end” (another phrase often used instead of “crazy”) and call out everyone, every time I hear the word used. However, I will start with myself and maybe those closest to me. I haven’t figured out what to say instead, but, I’m working on it. I’ll keep you posted.
Maybe you’ll think about it the next time you hear or use the word.
In case you’re wondering, the August Scrawls Day 3 word is “atypical.”