This blog is not FDA approved
From the Oxford Dictionary
Definition of crazy
- adjective (crazier, craziest): mad, especially as manifested in wild or aggressive behaviour.
– archaic (of a ship or building) full of cracks or flaws; unsound.
We’ve all had our moments of crazy. Little peeks behind the sanity curtain. In context, it’s fine, like screaming like a banshee at the television during the substitute for paleolithic aggression we call sports. Like standing in line for days to get tickets to Overpriced Superstar or 75% off Cheap Shit From China. Like when we get our hearts broken and binge drink-eat-screw for the next week. In context, these are understood, even romanticized. That is, if you have never before been declared unsound.
Getting away with these things is a privilege of the well behaved, sane, and normal. The moment Dr. Doctor diagnoses (or even intimates) a Condition, you lose the right to behave badly. Suddenly, those spending sprees start to look like Mania. A hot temper resembles Emotional Dysregulation. Moodiness fuels suspicions of Bipolar Disoder. Every move is scrutinized by doctors, therapists, loved ones. Dealing with a mental maladaption means living under a microscope.
Then come the drugs, and with them, more evidence of insanity. Refusal to take pills is “Oppositional Defiant Disorder”. Too many questions about pills is “paranoia”. Believing that diet could affect mental health is “denial”. So you take the pills, follow the rules, and play nice.
Cue the side effects. This medication may cause dry mouth, headaches, blood clots, blindness, and death. You might feel better. You might feel worse. You might become more insane. You might become a permanent patient. You might get cured.
But it’s not all bad. If you’re lucky, you find a good doctor, a good therapist, and the right meds. It’s the holy trinity of madness. A good doctor is someone who listens and guides with their expertise. No dismissing or bullying or condescending. A good therapist can find the knots that need untying and the pathways that need rewiring and work with you in that healing. The right meds, in an ideal world, have no side effects and notable results. At the very least, all three should help more than harm.
Why am I blathering on about all this? I vacillate between being content with my personal path to recovery from a Major Depressive Episode (post partum onset) and being cynical and suspicious of the whole damned system. I know I’m learning to navigate this world in different ways. I no longer spiral into despair with the slightest disappointment, and I don’t feel like an awkward and mentally misshapen version of a human. I’m simply me, as flawed and varied and as deserving of love and happiness as anyone. That’s the part with which I am content.
Once in a while I read something that tips the scales and makes me question all of it. Recently, Psychology Today published an article about Highly Sensitive People, and I discovered myself in those paragraphs. They were talking about me, and not as a person with a disorder, but as someone with a different way of seeing the world. It’s in my genes to be overwhelmed with emotion when I see a laughing baby or fresh roadkill. Or to have a strong visceral reaction to violence in Hollywood movies. I am easily wounded, and easily elated. I read people well. I recover from disappointment slowly. And it’s normal for HSP. It’s my normal. Above all, it’s not dysfunctional.
My problems arose when I didn’t have any coping mechanisms in place to live in a world built for thick-skinned people. I thought I was weird, misaligned, lacking. I have struggled most of my life to fit in with people that are nothing like me. They were right, I was wrong. This is what led to madness. Not the way I experience the world, but the way I was trying to change my Self.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein
Or in my case, defective. I’m not defective, I just abandoned my ocean believing that dry land was superior. That Einstein guy was on to something.
The therapy, the doctor’s appointments, the meds have given me the candle I needed to get out of The Dark. Conversely, the meds have also taken away my joy, my despair, my sensitivity. I have emotionally flatlined. That is probably what I needed, and do need, for a little while. I also think that if being Highly Sensitive was considered acceptable by health professionals, by society, my be, I would not be in this mess to begin with. Psychiatry is curing the problem it created.
This is just one more example of human behavior being pathologized and thereby needing treatment. The now defunct diagnoses of Onanism, homosexuality, drapetomania and hysteria are all evidence that mental illness is subjective, influenced by conventional medicine and popular opinion. We favour changing the person to suit the environment as opposed to the inverse. What I know more and more is that we are still in our psychiatric infancy, and the definition and treatment of crazy is dangerously imperfect.
*Disclaimer: For the love of dog, do not construe any of this as medical advice. I’m neither a doctor nor an expert of any kind on the matter. I’m just one woman trying to deal with her demons and this is my opinion.