Disclaimer: This post, formerly known as “Why I Hate Cr*zy People” seems to get THE MOST traffic from random search engines on my blog. That REALLY bothers me because it is a post I am truly ashamed of, frankly. It’s ableist and tone policing and victim doubting and it came from a place of deeeeeeeep frustration in my personal life (as well as a kind of mourning, because of what I mention in the first paragraph), a context which I could not give you now if I wanted to because I do not remember all of it and some of it involves private information about another person. I basically hate this post. It is much of what makes me angry about the internet now, in 2015. However, I believe strongly that I SHOULD not delete this post. To do so would be disingenuous and erase my mistakes, rather than acknowledge them. I am sorry. So very sorry. Trigger warnings for ableist language, tone policing, victim shaming. I’d prefer you not read this. But, if you must, know that I deeply regret many of these words.

I have never pretended to be normal.  I never will.  I rejoice too much in what my mental illness has taught me about life and about myself.  This past summer, I hit the largest milestone of my life, so far as I have lived it: As of July, I spent more of my life with my disease than without it.

Woof.

As a Manic Depressive, I proudly wear the shame of my scars, because I have progressed beyond them.  As a Manic Depressive, I proudly bear the stigma of my diagnosis, because unlike so many poor souls, I have one.  As a Manic Depressive, I proudly speak out against the antiquated attitudes that still permeate our society.  As a Manic Depressive, I proudly participate in awareness campaigns that promote love, kindness, and support, but more importantly, education.  As a Manic Depressive, I proudly claim the right to make as much fun of my condition as I damn well please, because I’m healthy and stable.

As a crazy, I hate crazies.

I’m just as gun-shy about stereotypes and universal labels as the next person, but I have to admit that those that I would normally be lumped with take things more than a bit too far.  I fully admit to being diagnosed crazy–healthy and stable, but crazy nonetheless.  So many people in my situation (or similar ones to it) are so sensitive.  I saw an education website the other day that recommended several different modes of addressing one who has a mental illness.  The first is to not call them crazy, psycho, or all those lovely colloquialisms that I personally feel my stripes have given me the right to use.  The second is to call these patients people with Bi-Polar/Schizophrenia/Depression rather than a Manic Depressive/Schizophrenic/Depressive.  I have defied all these suggestions on a regular basis.  I would hardly notice the difference between the two in conversation.  What’s important to me is this: I have the disease and I have fought it.

But the fact remains that most people in my shoes put much store by the differentiation between those two styles of speech, and if you were to call one of my friends crazy–diagnosed or not–most of them would take deep offense to it.  Why?  Because that word is not okay; because it’s a little too close to the truth.  Everyone is at least a little left of center, but few are willing to embrace it.  I hate that the community I belong to by no other merit than a life sentence to hard work and mental fragility is so sensitive.  I hate that the beauty I have received from my disease–the knowledge of who I am, how hard I can fight, and how truly spectacular life and this world are–is discounted by most of my fellows, because they see this disease as a stain.  Because they let others make it a stain, rather than the greatest learning experience they may ever have.

These are reasons one and two.

Semantics aside, we who have these diseases deserve to be treated with respect regardless of personal attitude towards it, in most cases. And then there are the cases that truly boggle the mind and make all diagnosed mental health patients look like we’re out-of-control wackos and should be a) locked in a padded cell or b) put down.  I present the following case:

Nic is a young mother, a rape survivor, and an amateur wine critic.   She’s really quite pretty, and her fairly down-to-earth blog takes you in and out of the mind of someone with severe anxiety. (I don’t know that she’s ever put of an official diagnosis on her blog, but that seems to be what she talks most about.  There may be more to it.)  She seems reasonable enough, if a little abrasive–but aren’t we all?

And then she wrote this.  This blog claims that TSA agents removed her son from her care at the airport.  But it doesn’t stop there.  She accuses the agents of taking her young son out of her sight as well and refusing to answer her requests to know what was going on.  All of this sounds horrible, like an ordeal.  Certainly, it is clear that she had an awful anxiety attack about this.  If you were to read this, you would feel nothing but pity for this woman (and forgive her the slightly melodramatic tone of the blog).

Until the response comes.  The TSA heard about this blog (they probably got a couple/few internet flames, the story Nic tells is truly frightening), and responded to it with the footage from the airport.  The incident never happened. Not only did this lady never lose sight of her son, she never let go of him.  The airport had footage from nine different cameras (all of which were posted) to prove it.  Since then, Nic has admitted in her blog that that video was of her.  The melodramatic tone of her blog passes ridiculous into screaming for attention.  She has lost all credibility – even in her rape survival story.  It makes me sad, because I desperately to believe that of her.  I don’t want her story of healing to become so tainted, but the damage was done.

As if we do not already have enough negative attention following us as a community, some people in it feel the need to pull stunts like this.  It’s as if they think that once people begin to pay attention to them, things will be fixed.  They’ll be people again instead of lost in the disease.

This is reason three.  I simply cannot stand crazies.

It’s time that we–as a culture that has at last grown too large and educated to hide or ignore– begin to think of life differently.  Yes, this is a serious set of diseases, and we will live with them for the rest of our lives, but this is not the kind of doomsday sentence we make it out to be.  It is something that can be made beautiful through work and perseverance and the mindset to look for the learning opportunities.

I’m not saying that everyone can get through their problems or heal through an attitude change.  But it sure helps a damn sight more than insisting people be so semantically limited, insisting that we are stained or marked beyond recovery, or insisting the people listen to us by telling preposterous lies.  We are better than that.  We deserve better treatment by our own hands.  We are strong, amazing people – we just have to find those people within ourselves.

That’s the one thing these diseases can’t kill: our spirit.  Truly, we are bright and shining in the glory that we can all eventually achieve through mutual support and love.  We are crazy to not try.

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