If you have mental health issues, does it upset you when someone calls you crazy? How would you feel if someone said: “Dude, I’m sorry, but I can’t relate to crazy people!” Then, this person goes on to explain he doesn’t think we need another crazy writer on the internet.
I got this message on Facebook in a now-deleted comment on one of the stories I was promoting.
I know I have issues. I call myself crazy all the time. But I’d never use the word “crazy” to describe someone else, especially if they were struggling with a mental illness.
This is exactly the thing I fight against every day.
What this guy said upset me, and I realize I’ll never get past this whole “mental illness” thing. Sure, I can act normal in public, but it’s time to stop lying to myself that I ever will be normal.
Do I even want to be normal?
“There is no standard normal. Normal is subjective. There are seven billion versions of normal on this planet.” ― Matt Haig
Don’t get me wrong or think that I’m asking for pity — I’m good with this. I’ve had 50 years to rage against the unfairness of it all, and I’m done wishing for something I’ll never get — like a cure. I know being crazy is a label that others assign, but I’m happy knowing that my poor mental health has changed me into the person I am now.
I own this shit for all it’s worth.
If someone wants to refer to me as the “mentally ill dude who writes,” more power to them. I realize being known as someone who struggles with my mind makes me the perfect person to help others who have issues. I don’t have an advanced degree, but I know enough from experience that if someone asks for help, I don’t have to hesitate.
- Ask me how to get over a depressive episode — I know!
- Ask me what medications I take for anxiety — I know what’s worked for me, what I want to try, and where to find the best information. I also know what I stay away from. I know only a doctor should tell you medications to take and I will be sure to tell you that.
- Ask me how to be more positive — Oh, don’t get me started. I’ll talk until I’m blue in the face!
I know this stuff because I’ve lived this life for as long as I can remember.
Shouldn’t people know me for something positive like this? I’d rather people know me as a mental health advocate than most things. Many people are willingly known for being an online troll. I’d much rather be someone who helps and not hurts people.
I’m through with letting people look down on me for who I am. No one, and I mean no one, is better than me. We are all different, even if a lot of us do positive things.
In the past, I’ve let people walk all over me because I perceived them as better. Maybe they had a master’s degree. Maybe they were a published writer. Maybe they had a better job than me.
You know what? They put their pants on one leg at a time.
Am I a writer now?
I also don’t know how I feel about calling myself a writer. I just got over the guilt and imposter syndrome recently and I can usually tell people I’m a writer without laughing hysterically. But it’s weird. The other day, I was filling out an application for a government document I needed, and after I added “writer” as my occupation, I giggled like a little kid.
I’m so used to putting “disabled” that the change made me feel a little giddy.
How do I own who I am?
I could’ve made this an essay all about me. I’ve done it before — many times.
But it’s much more fun for me to help you get to a place where you are comfortable with yourself and the labels people add.
People might say you’re crazy because you’re depressed more often than not. Some may say you’re a bitch because you’re a strong woman who stands up for yourself. Haters may call you a fairy because you are a man who prefers men instead of women. People may call you a wimp because you’re a man who cries at the drop of a hat. Some might call you a loser because you don’t have fancy titles after your name on LinkedIn.
Who cares? I mean, dammit, who the hell cares what other people think?
If you are straight, be straight. If you are gay, be gay. If you are introverted, don’t feel like you have to act any certain way around others. If you are a mentally ill writer like me, shout it from the rooftops!
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde
Love who you are and everything about yourself.
Do you want to be comfortable with who you are? Stop caring what others think! Own who you are! If people try to give you a label and put you in a box, burn it and march down the street with your head held high!
All cheerleading aside — stop caring what others think. Be who you are and like it.
Are you with me?