Is “crazy” still crazy when it becomes the new norm?

Are “delusions” still delusional when we name them alternative “facts”?

Is “denial” still a symptom of disorder when it becomes a tool to reduce an otherwise crippling anxiety?

Is “mental illness” still an illness when the whole world has gone insane?

These are the questions which haunt me these days…

“They” say (speaking here as the paranoid schizophrenic I’m supposed to be) that mental “illness” usually results from a combination of genetic predisposition coupled with traumatic events. In other words, we are born wired “that way” and then something, someone, some series of events succeeds in flipping that fateful switch. And from that day forward, we are “different” than “everyone else”…

There are cases, of course, where trauma enough is sufficient, minus the innate wiring, to drive someone to seek refuge in the darker places of one’s mind. Those “broken” spirits, however, often have a different prognosis than those of us who were “born with it.”

But the part that nearly all mentally “ill” people share is that their “disease” triggered by distress, is a means to an end, a coping mechanism for “dealing with” the terrible “wrongs” they witness and endure…

Why all the quotes you may ask? Because words matter. Language matters. Especially when dealing with anything related to mental illness…

It used to be that society had its “norms,” those behaviors deemed “acceptable” for productive human interaction.  It was a foundation, a canvassed background against which all of us were measured.  Those of us who “failed” to do so were “holes” in that canvas, requiring patching and repair work to be reintegrated into the bigger picture.  But these days when I look around, all I see are holes, the canvas tattered and ragged, unrecognizable, blowing recklessly and unpredictably in the winds of change…  The inmates have truly taken over the institution!

You cannot live in the world today without being traumatized to some extent.  You can’t avoid seeing what’s happening forever.  No matter how small your focus, or how great your faith, that day will come when reality challenges the very foundations of what you believe to be “right” or “fair.”  There is poverty, violence, hatred, bigotry, irrationality, etc. all around you; it must, statistically speaking, touch you eventually.

You WILL find yourself in a Walmart one day when two customers erupt physically against one another over a perceived insult, and then all the customers around them join in… just because…

Or you WILL find yourself in a bookstore one day when a customer goes “off the deep end” because a desired book is not available there…

Or you WILL stumble across a video online featuring a police officer assaulting an unarmed victim/perp, simply because (s)he doesn’t like what that person is saying…

Or you WILL be dragged violently from a seat you paid for on an airplane to make room for someone else, with no reasonable explanation as to why…

Or you WILL inadvertently stumble across news reports of innocents dying in horrible ways to satisfy the greed (?) or righteousness of the few…  (Honestly, I do not understand the motivations for these attacks at all…)

The events are real.  They’re happening.  Around the world, and down the street.  They don’t make sense.  They are not justifiable by any definition of fairness and justice, no matter how “alternatively” you spin the “facts”!  They are insane!

And the statisticians warn us that mental “illness” is on the rise around the world.  We are losing our collective “mind”…

(Can I just say “duh!” here without being attacked for my insensitivity?)

Mental “illness” is a collection of symptoms indicating the presence of serious trauma, and all of us are being traumatized these days in ways great and small.  Mental “illness” is the mind’s remarkable, miraculous means of preserving itself in a world that doesn’t make sense.  Mental “illness” is a coping tool, and sometimes the only “cure” to what truly ails us…

So…

In a world gone completely “mad,” are those of us with a history of mental illness to become the new teachers, therapists, prophets and muses, guiding all the previously “normals” through the twisting (but remarkably rational) labyrinths of a traumatized self?

Just wonderin’…

Responses

    1. cougarhawk8 Post author

      I understand. Having been free of true anxiety attacks for more than two decades, I found myself unprepared to recognize or deal with one when I had it the other day. I’d almost convinced myself I was having a heart attack. It’s a very difficult time…

    1. cougarhawk8 Post author

      “Great minds think alike,” perhaps? Or just sane, rational minds struggling to make sense of a world that doesn’t make sense anymore…

      Thanks for wonderin’ with me. Isolation is the worst part of mental illness, so connecting with another makes me feel less broken… 😀

Comments are closed.