Quirky stories about my experiences with mental illness for your enjoyment. All names other than mine have been changed. Nothing here is intended to replace the advice of a health professional. (D'Arcy Stainton, Vancouver, Canada - email@example.com)
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The "Crazy" Word
Many thanks to Patti Dempster, who posted this as a reply in the thread about the word "Crazy." With her permission, I am reposting it as a post in its own right, as it deserves to be.
will take on the “crazy” word.
me it depends a great deal who is using it and when. MI is a lonely illness. No
one can see it so people who have not experienced it often carry a question
mark around. People with MI can see the question marks. We can feel it and we
will react to it more or less depending on the situation.
have people in my life who know of my condition who I feel safe enough with
that no words could offend me. We can even laugh together about some of the
'crazy' things I do or say. They can call me crazy and I will laugh right along
with them. I have other people in my life who I desperately want to be in my
corner and who claim that they are, but seem unable to truly “get it.” Their
use of the word 'crazy' can trigger a meltdown on the spot. It means they don't
buy it. It means they think I have a choice.
I begin to melt and their discomfort becomes more and more apparent, the crazy
word gets repeated. If not audibly it will appear in their eyes and in their
body language. By now it is not the word that is the trigger but the ignorance
behind the word. The fact that they don't get it (translation they don't really
believe I have an MI) means they are taken by surprise when I am triggered and
lose my centre (translation, act crazy).
that moment in time I need their understanding, compassion and support. Instead
what I get is a distancing with words and actions. An uncomfortable minimizing
of what I am experiencing. A backing away and shaking of heads. All the while
still having convinced themselves that they are trying to help me by making me
see how crazy I am being. Telling me I am “crazy to get so riled up” in an
attempt to settle me down.
move, Einstein! Now that is “crazy-making!” And that is when it hurts to the
core. So unless people truly understand MI they should avoid language that can
be misinterpreted and potentially hurtful to those who do.