Why Calling Someone Crazy is my Biggest Pet Peeve

“You’re Psycho”. The words rang through my head and reverberated through my heart as the words were read and the hurt set in. Someone close to me had just exited my life with those words.

If you have a mental illness you may realize how the words crazy, psycho, insane, nuts, etc. have impacted your life. The definition of crazy is most commonly known as “mentally deranged,” but to those who have heard it before on numerous occasions, it represents much more.

Growing up, I never quite understood how I was different. I could sense that something was not right, but I could not put my finger on it. I would feel horrible, and yet I noticed no one else did. I felt different, and I began wondering what was wrong with me. A common reaction when you feel that everything is simply so easy for everyone else. I was diagnosed with major depression when I was 17, a year after what I still call “hell year,” when my depression started to unearth itself and become much worse. Over the years, the word crazy was said to me numerous times, describing my thoughts, actions, and self. What many people do not realize is that this word has always been the death of reform regarding mental illness.

Crazy represents a label. It simplifies something so complicated into an insult. A label that says you are beyond different. You are shunned. You do not live in the same realm of perception that we do. And it makes me livid. The struggles that I have faced within my life and continue to face do not need to be labeled by a word so bigot-like as crazy.

Having a mental illness is one of the hardest obstacles I have ever had in my life. The foundation of my life was literally warped from the beginning. I did not grow up the same way you did. When you were learning to walk, I was learning to fall apart. I was not told what was happening inside of me. I had to investigate within myself for years to discover my mental illness and how that affected my life since the day I was born. Breaking down time and time again, having to mentally rebuild my life to make it livable. My perceptions are different from yours and they always will be, but I can choose to explain myself and if you choose to call someone crazy, you have chosen to not bother to understand my journey. We are different. And facing our mental illness, accepting it, and opening up about it takes more courage than the people that label us will ever know. It is okay to not fully understand, but no one needs to take that and turn it into anger and complete ignorance by using the word crazy.

The next time you or someone else you know calls someone crazy, think about the fact that no one has the same perception as you. And when you bring a mental illness onto the field, it is a whole different ball game. This is all I will ever know, and this will always be a part of me, but I am human and I have a heart. Whether you choose to see that with your heart and mind is up to you. I have my own challenges, and they are most likely far different from yours, but I will never call you crazy because I do not understand what those challenges are.