“Having spent 40 years hiding the fact that I heard voices, now I’m talking about it openly … I accept my voices as real,” says Healey. “The positive response I get gives me energy. When you’re hiding something … those are the things that make you ill.”- Kevin Healey
I can now, without remorse about the funny pictures I’ll miss, “unlike” the Facebook group that posted this picture.
A friend of mine posted this picture to my Facebook wall saying it reminded her of me. I would have to greatly agree :p
I thought it would be good to compliment my previous post, Freedom of Speech?, with the dictionary definitions of the two major discriminatory names used in society.
The argument is that calling a person these words is bad but using them to describe a non-person is not. I strongly disagree and I feel the definitions show that these words are used to describe mostly negatives that then link back to people (whether we are aware of it or not).
These words were FIRST created to describe people (which was the reason I heard someone would never say nigger, because it was first meant to push a certain population down) therefore we should be careful of using these words.
I know that language evolves but it all comes down to the word first meaning a messed up person and then being applied to a messed up situation.
Brett Bratten posted yesterday about a hat he saw a man wearing at a diner. The hat said “Half Crazy and Extremely Unstable”. He made an excellent point that if we switched the saying to something else, a more physical and medical issue, then the hat becomes very offensive and no one would ever wear it.
This got me thinking about an incident my friend L had in her poetry class where a fellow student described a poem as being “bipolar”. He meant that the poem was all over the place, jumping around.
As many of us are familiar, “crazy” is overly used to describe things such as music (That’s a crazy beat) or someone we don’t like (That bitch is crazy).
People, like myself, end up looking like humorless assholes when we tell people that using mental health language inappropriately isn’t funny. People have the inappropriate and wrongful use of mental health language completely ingrained in them.
What if I switched it to other terms such as nigger or fag?
Would someone describe a poem as “faggy” because it was written by a man and had a very feminine topic?
Would we wear a hat that said “Half Nigger and Extremely Criminal”?
I feel very confident that the answer would be no! Especially in the case of the term nigger which I feel so uncomfortable writing!
Using language inappropriately also helps promote stereotypes.
To call a poem bipolar because it jumps around implies that persons experiencing bipolar quickly change from manic to depressed. This shows the persons “understanding” of what bipolar is supposed to be but in fact it may not be the reality of many people who experience bipolar. There are also many other ways to describe a poem without using someone’s diagnosis as a descriptor.
To use fag or nigger to describe something is to imply that it is undesirable. While these terms can be used within certain communities as terms of endearment when used outside of those circles one needs to tread carefully because they are extremely loaded words!
All I can say to anyone who wears clothing that involves mental health language is this is not a joke. You may feel funny wearing a shirt that says “Psycho Ward Patient” but let me tell you that being in a psychiatric hospital is no joke. Being a psychiatric patient is no joke. You probably wouldn’t last in there!
I don’t understand why people would think it’s funny to “be crazy”. The emotions and thoughts I’ve experienced are no laughing matter! If you wouldn’t laugh at cancer, at diabetes or even at a cold then do not laugh at me!
(I hate the N word and the F word SO MUCH I’m sorry to have typed them but I really feel if I didn’t use the full terms then I wouldn’t be proving my point correctly. The N word is “the N word”, we whisper that word because it’s become such an offensive term but other offensive terms do not receive this treatment and they should! The fact that I need to explain myself in detail to let everyone know that I mean no offensive says a lot of this language. No one ever apologizes or regrets using “crazy” “freak” “insane” or “psycho”)
I was taking the subway to work yesterday and I happened to look up at the advertisements that ran along the top of the car I was in. An ad for the Sick Kinds Foundation “Do The Happy” Campaign caught my eye.
If the O’s as faces is confusing it reads: “If you sing out loud this month nobody will think you’re crazy.”
Sick Kids is not just a foundation it’s a HOSPITAL! It is The Hospital for Sick Children in downtown Toronto!
IT’S A HOSPITAL!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH
So, what can we say about this advertisement that is supposed to encourage people to spread awareness and donate to children’s health?
- People who sing out loud are crazy.
- People who sing out loud should be considered crazy.
- You should be worried about being perceived as crazy.
- If you are already crazy you should feel shame about your behaviours.
- If you are already crazy we’ll “excuse” you for this month.
I cannot as the slogan says “Do the Happy”. I am very unhappy! I’m very disappointed! Sick Kids does in fact have a psychiatry department so they are not oblivious to the fact that they will interact with individuals, especially children, who are experiencing mental health issues!
This isn’t just a case of “It’s crazy we’re not doing more for children’s health.” This is Sick Kids drawing a blatant line between sanity and insanity! A HOSPITAL!!!!!??????
As a little girl I was taught that hospitals and doctors were safe places where you go to get better when you’re sick or hurt. It pains me now to see as an adult that this is not the case! Individual healthcare professionals and what’s more devastating is whole organizations can contribute to the oppression of those with mental health issues and create a further gap between “normal” and “abnormal”!
I’m going to send The Sick Kids Foundation an email explaining to them how I feel. I’m so outraged!
I am experiencing something very strange. I have gotten myself so worked up that I feel detached from my body. My chest hurts, I’m so fuzzy and this is just horrible! I’m going to attempt to distract myself!
In Canada it is Mental Health Week! There has been some discussion already on what to call people who have a mental illness. Some prefer to be called mentally ill and other’s want absolutely no associations with medical definitions!
I think it’s great that we have so many words that we can use to describe ourselves! How we label ourselves in regards to mental health is just as personal as the language we use to describe other parts of our self!
This does lead to confusion because I may be okay with calling myself one thing and you may hate it! How do we solve that? By asking! What do you like to be called? That’s the language you should use and it will change depending on who you talk too.
I have my own preferred terms/labels that I will use to talk about myself.
- Mental Health Issue
- Emotionally different
It doesn’t bother me to identify as the actual disorder in the sense of I should not deny an aspect of myself. I call myself a singer because I sing. So I should be free to call myself borderline if that is what I am.
Also how you use these terms/labels makes a huge difference. I prefer to use “with” or “experiencing”.
- “I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.”
- “I am experiencing a mental health issue.”
I am a huge fan of reclaiming language which is why I don’t even mind describing myself as “crazy”, “freak” or “fucked up”. Embracing these terms is a slippery slope since they can easy be used against you.
I try to remember that words only have power over as for as long as we let them. Call me a “chair” enough and I may begin to think “chair” is a degrading word. Directly identifying with the illness we’re usually told is dangerous but I feel what makes it so dangerous is everyone hating that you’ve been diagnosed with it. Identify as “crazy” is bad because we’re told that being “crazy” is undesirable.
It’s stigma’s fault, not mine. I will always be who I want to be regardless of what everyone else thinks. It’s easier that way. It may be painful but I can’t continue to try to be what others want me to be but that is way more painful. It just doesn’t work that way.
I had this thought back in December, wrote it down but never did anything with it.
It is really REALLY easy to be crazy! How many of you say “That’s crazy!” when someone describes a situation you can’t believe happened? “That’s insane!” when you can’t understand why someone has done something?
It seems to be that craziness is closely linked to confusion.
You can use “crazy” positively as well, “This beat is insane!” (I know I’m listening to an “insane” beat right now) but it still means that you can’t comprehend how this beat could exist to be like this!
It’s interesting that we can label people and things as “crazy” based of off whether or not WE understand, not whether or not the person or the situation, when analyzed, makes sense and EVERYTHING makes sense it’s just whether or not we agree with the sense.
I don’t want you confusion and lack of understanding to be pushed on me! If you can’t understand me then just leave me alone. You don’t need to insult me.
I used to have no problem with saying “crazy” because I could separate it from “mental illness crazy” and non mental illness crazy. As I’ve gotten older and learned more I came to found that there is no difference. Crazy is crazy and as long as we throw it around like it’s no big deal we are giving people permission to degrade us by calling everything “weird” crazy.
I will proudly call myself crazy because I do not want words to keep my face buried in the dirt but I still can’t help but flinch when people use crazy, insane, psycho etc to describe situations and people. I’m all for taking back but it still hurts me to hear these words.
Crazy, insane, freak, psycho etc have been eliminated from my vocabulary (along with gay, “that’s so gay”, and slut, “she looks like a slut”) because it is just safer to never use them.
This does not mean that we shouldn’t talk at all about the language surrounding mental health and mental illness. We need to educate people on why these words are hurtful, how they have oppressed and which language we should be using.
Thought: It seems like mental health is all or nothing. You’re either crazy or you’re normal. Last I checked extreme binary thinking is a symptom of my supposed diagnosis, BPD! Seems a little hypocritical. Anyways, there needs to be middle ground in our emotions. Just because you behave a little differently from what others would like shouldn’t mean you’re mentally ill and just because you follow the conduct shouldn’t mean you’re normal. Let’s so more of that grey you’ve been condemning me for not seeing!