Crazy and Proud of It

If one more person tells me I’m not crazy, I might just scream.

No, despite my tendency to leave out words and commit typographic sins on a regular basis, there is nothing wrong with that sentence.  I doubled checked it and it says exactly what I want it to.  I am crazy.  I’ve spend the last 11 years laboring under a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder.  At one point, one of my medications was over $600.  Until recently, my insurance ate up half my tiny paycheck and, prior to doing that, it didn’t cover anything until I met a $2500 deductible – which I never did.  Goddammit, I’ve earned the right to call myself crazy.  By this point, I’ve paid money for the right.

But people absolutely flip when I say, “I’m crazy.”  There’s a stigma attached to it that I think is ridiculous – particularly since I can’t figure out what that stigma is.  Is it belittling?  Does it sound like it minimizes the problem?  Is it just overused?

Maybe it’s some weird Victorian carryover.  People were horrified by mental disorders and asylums were places that still inspire horror fiction.  They won’t even use the words “asylum” and “sanatorium” anymore – their reputation was that bad.  Worse still, people believed it traveled in families and no one wanted to marry anyone who had someone insane in their bloodline.  They were right – people are often genetically disposed to mental disorders in the same way you’re genetically disposed to high blood pressure and asthma and lots of other things – but there are lots of other factors involved in developing these things, not the least of which is: those genes may have not gotten passed on.  Let’s not even get into all the things they did in the Victorian Period that might have destroyed their minds without any genetic help at all.

It also could be a modern stigma – the whole “mental health isn’t discussed in public” issue.  I haven’t seen a great deal of this, but maybe I’m looking in the wrong public areas. (Absolutely a legit possibility.)  That being said, nobody really wants to be hospitalized for anything, least of all mental health.  I’ve dodged a mental ward at least once myself, so I do understand.

I think, what it might ultimately be though is: nobody wants to be crazy.  Nobody wants to be diagnosed with a mental disorder and when you are, you often you blame yourself for having it – which isn’t true.  It’s not your fault you have anxiety or depression or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or PTSD.  Nobody intentionally sets out to make themselves this way.  And I don’t think that’s said enough.  Even while writing this, part of me is saying, “That can’t be true, part of this has to be my fault,” even though there was nothing I ever did to have this happen to me.

Even though having depression isn’t my fault, I still have to deal with it.  And I will have to deal with it every day for the rest of my life.  So I decided, and I don’t recall exactly when, that it sounded more fun to be crazy than to be depressed.  Besides, I like to agree with Alice:

mad hatter quote


*I was unable to find who created this wonderful version of the quote.  If you happen to know that person, or are that person, please get in touch with me so I can give you the proper credit.





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