I am crazy. I tell this to people in my personal life. It’s not a secret. I figure there’s no point in trying to cover it up; it’ll come out eventually. The approximately 20 scars on my forearms rather give away that something is wrong.
But people really don’t like the word “crazy”. In fact, most often, what people say to me is, “no, you’re not!”. Well, actually, I am. I’m bipolar and I’m crazy.
cra•zy /ˈkreɪzi/ [krey-zee]
1. mentally deranged; demented; insane.
2. senseless; impractical; totally unsound: a crazy scheme.
3. Informal. intensely enthusiastic; passionately excited: crazy about baseball.
4. Informal. very enamored or infatuated (usually fol. by about): He was crazy about her.
5. Informal. intensely anxious or eager; impatient: I’m crazy to try those new skis.
6. Informal. unusual; bizarre; singular: She always wears a crazy hat.
7. Slang. wonderful; excellent; perfect: That’s crazy, man, crazy.
8. having an unusual, unexpected, or random quality, behavior, result, pattern, etc.: a crazy reel that spins in either direction.
9. Slang. an unpredictable, nonconforming person; oddball
If those definitions don’t scream bipolar to you, then you just haven’t been paying attention.
I find these definitions entirely complementary. Intensely enthusiastic? Passionately excited? Eager? Bizarre? Excellent, perfect? Unexpected or random? Nonconforming person?
I will take all of those things, thank-you.
I Prefer “Crazy” Over “Mentally Ill”
My personal short cut to all the above is simple; crazy: a person who perceives reality in an unexpected way.
That’s pretty much it. I am a person who lives in the same world as everyone else, but I perceive it differently. My brain gets the same stimuli, but somehow it fires in an unusual way. It’s different. It’s crazy.
I don’t find this pejorative; it’s accurate. I really am most of those things listed under crazy, and I’m OK with that.
Now the term mentally ill, I’m not a fan of. I use it, generally for political correctness reasons, but I don’t care for it. It sounds like I have some condition where my brain leaks out my ears. Post-cranial drip.
What’s more, it implies there is something wrong with my mind. I assure you, there is not. My mind is up and running and could beat yours in a footrace. No, what’s wrong is my brain. My brain is sick. My mind is fine. I have a brain-al illness, not a mental one.
A person with a brain tumor isn’t mentally ill. An epileptic isn’t mentally ill either. These people just have something wrong with their brain. (They don’t necessarily get to be crazy though.)
The mind-brain separation is a complex bit of business, so I’ll leave it for another day, but I will say that to me, it’s important to remember that my brain is sick, and not my mind. There’s nothing wrong with me, Natasha, there is something wrong with my brain. Just like if I break my arm, there is nothing wrong with me, but there is something wrong with my arm.
So yes, I’m crazy. I perceive the world differently than you do. My brain doesn’t fire the right chemicals at the right times. But that’s the fault of a bad brain. Me, I’m fine. Just a bit crazy, that’s all.