I’ve been called a lot of things in my time, from schoolyard taunts (loony tunes, weirdo) to psychiatric labels (clinically depressed, bipolar 2). This used to bother me, but anymore, I don’t mind.
It’s not because of the old saying, “Sticks and sones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me. We all know that’s a damn filthy lie. I think it’s because I’ve developed a sense of humor about the “crazy” thing. If Al Yankovic can embrace “Weird,” I can embrace “squirrel-bait” or “wacko.” Even “bat-shit” or “bug-fuck” crazy don’t get me riled, though many find them offensive – and I can’t fault them for that. Everyone has a different level of tolerance and sense of what’s funny.
Take, for example, the time when my sister Kathy gave me a t-shirt that said, “Leave Me Alone. I’m Having a Crisis.” Her husband was dubious about the gift, thinking that I would be offended. I wasn’t. Kathy thought it was a hoot and so did I. (I just bought a t-short that says, “You Won’t Believe the Crazy Shit That Happens Next…” I’m going to wear it to my next psychotherapist appointment.)
I admit to being disconcerted when publicly confronted by a person who asks “Are you the one there’s something wrong with?” or “Do you have mental problems?” (In the first case, the elderly gentleman was thinking of my sister-in-law, who had MS, and in the second, the person recognized me from the psychiatrist’s waiting room.) But I’m not offended. Mostly I regret that I didn’t have snappy come-backs. (I thought of some great ones later.)
There are still some assumptions that do offend or at least irritate me. Here’s a link to an article that enumerates a few of the touchy subjects and unwelcome phrases.
That sums it up pretty well. I’m not going to walk into a fast food outlet and start shooting up the place. Mania is not fun. I’ve decided not to reproduce, but nobody can tell me that I shouldn’t.
Oh, and there’s one other thing. In the past, when I’ve mentioned my mood disorder to acquaintances or co-workers, they feel obliged to take my emotional temperature five times a day. “Are you okay? How are you feeling?” So I would add to the list: Not all people with bipolar disorder are rapid cycling.
So, am I crazy? Yes. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Most people use the word “crazy” to describe how they feel when they’re in love. And I’m good with that.