Why It Doesn’t Matter If I Call Myself Crazy
I call myself crazy. I do. I’ve written about it before. I also say, “I am bipolar,” so shoot me. It’s not that I say these things pejoratively, I don’t, I say them because they’re correct usages of the English language and they are accurate. Other people have a problem with this. But you know what, their problem is not my problem. If I want to call myself crazy, or bipolar, or a redhead that’s my business, not yours.
Political Correctness and Calling Yourself Crazy
I’m sick of political correctness. This is not a new thing; I’ve been sick of it for years. I think it’s stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I think modifying your language to remove slurs and intentionally hurting others is critical, but I think changing language simply to make a small group of people feel better about themselves is nonsense. Honestly, if you need wordplay to feel better about yourself, you’ve got some serious issues to work through that have nothing to do with me.
“Crazy” Is Not Inherently a Negative
The word “crazy” can be used in many circumstances and it is not a negative.
“My day was crazy.”
What? I’m not allowed to say this? Somehow the above is saying something about people with mental illness? No, of course it’s not; I’m using a legitimate word with a legitimate definition to describe my day.
Intention When Speaking Is What Matters
You know, I can use “crazy” as an insult, sure, but it’s my intention that matters in that case. If I say, “Avoid all the crazies, they will hurt you.” That is clearly a hurtful and shows discrimination towards people with mental illness. On the other hand, if I say, “We crazies need to stick together,” it’s not negative in the least. In that statement, I’m referring to everyone under the broad umbrella of mental illness. Could I use different terminology? Sure. Do I mean to insult anyone? No, of course I don’t.
But, of course, that might insult some people. Okay. But what is wrong with me referring to myself as crazy? Absolutely nothing. It doesn’t indicate that there is anything wrong with me it indicates that there is something wrong with all the people who jump down my throat about it. My self-identification is none of your business. You can feel free to self-identify in only medical terms that order words in a way that make you feel good, if you so desire, but I don’t feel the need for that.
You Think Language Is Going to Eliminate Stigma – You’re Wrong
Everyone knows about the stigma that people with mental illness face – or, more accurately, the discrimination and prejudice. But you know what, calling people African American didn’t stop white supremacists from existing, not calling people “fags” didn’t stop people from protesting marriage for gay people and wordplay won’t stop the discrimination and prejudice faced by the mentally ill (yes, I said it) either.
So please, please, please stop telling me how to self-identify, how I, a writer, should use language and acting like I’m harming people with a mental illness just by using a legitimate term.
It doesn’t matter if I call myself crazy. Really.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.