Monday, June 4, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #4: CRAZY

I chose this word on purpose. I mean, I made this blogger challenge and picked all the words for each day myself - and I chose CRAZY because I was really curious to see the differences in posts, and I really wanted people to delve inside themselves and see what was there.

The way I feel about "crazy" is multi-faceted. I don't think I can succinctly say that I like the word or hate the word. Yet... it has evoked both positive and negative emotions from me.

1) I really dislike it when people call individuals with mental illnesses "crazy."

It can be hurtful, false, derogatory, and perpetuates stigma about mental health issues. It irks me.

2) I often use the word "crazy" when I'm not referring to mental health.

For example, my mom does a goofy dance. "Mom, you are so crazy!" I say with a laugh. Is this wrong? I don't think so. I love my mom. She loves me. It's not meant to be a nasty comment...

and yet...

I can recognize that the origin of that word, the very reason my brain chooses to use "crazy" to describe my mom when she is acting silly, is not a nice one. "Crazy" came from "looney bins" and insane asylums and straight jackets and people who were not "normal enough" to be in society. Or so the story goes...

I do not ever call someone "crazy" in a serious manner, i.e. I do not tell someone who has bi-polar disorder or bulimia or schizophrenia that he/she is "crazy."  I'm an advocate for ending mental health stigma. I try to educate people on how normal those with mental health issues really are. We are all people.

But I DO use the word "crazy" when I'm having a good time with my family or friends. I even call myself "crazy" - usually, as in "crazy cat lady." :-)

And this is why:

cra·zy [krey-zee] adjective

mentally deranged; demented; insane.
senseless; impractical; totally unsound: a crazy scheme.
Informal . intensely enthusiastic; passionately excited: crazy about baseball.
Informal . very enamored or infatuated (usually followed by about ): He was crazy about her.
Informal . intensely anxious or eager; impatient: I'm crazy to try those new skis.
Informal . unusual; bizarre; singular: She always wears a crazy hat.
Slang . wonderful; excellent; perfect: That's crazy, man, crazy.
likely to break or fall to pieces.
weak, infirm, or sickly.
having an unusual, unexpected, or random quality, behavior, result, pattern, etc.: a crazy reel that spins in either direction.

I took the liberty of highlighting the definitions of "crazy" to which I refer when I use the term. While I personally feel that calling someone with ANY mental health problems "crazy" is derogatory with a capital D, there are fun, silly, positive reasons to use "crazy" too.

I use number 3, for instance, to describe myself and my love for cats. :-)

I also use number 4 to describe my husband, Rick - he's crazy about me. ;-)

Number 5 I use quite frequently to explain how impatient I am to be finished with the intense graduate program I'm doing right now.

And number 6, well, I use it to describe my hectic schedule. Anyone who knows me has heard me refer to "my crazy schedule" numerous times per week.

Number 7 I love. We should all use it more often. That's crazy, blog readers, crazy! And by crazy, I mean "wonderful," "excellent," and "perfect" of course! Did you know know/realize/remember that "crazy" had such a positive definition?

And number 10... it applies to all of us, I think. Who doesn't have "an unusual, unexpected, or random quality, behavior, result, or pattern" as part of their personality/life?

So yeah, you guessed it... what I'm trying to say is that we're all crazy. And when crazy isn't being used to put someone down, it can actually be a pretty cool thing. :-)


PurpleDreamer said...

Arielle, the distinction you brought up between using crazy in relation to mental health vs crazy in relation to the highlighted definitions makes SO much sense! It's crazy how clear it is right now! I appreciate you sharing your insight as to the word choice for today, too. Makes me eager to read the rest of the month's posts!

Angela said...

I'm crazy about you! :-) Thank you for being such an advocate for all of us battling this disease.

Katy said...

I enjoyed your distinction you made on the different understandings of the word crazy - I thought that was a helpful distinction to make.

I just thought I'd share this post I found with you - it is something that I am using to inform my writing around this word.

Once again thank you for this daily word challenge. Even by day 4 it is helping me think some things through

Anonymous said...

Hey Arielle,

I've been reading this blog for a while now, you have a wonderful voice and have inspired me when I often feel like giving up (I have been struggling with bulimia and anorexia for going on 3 years now).

I love your recovery playlist ant wanted to share a song by Annabel Fay

Thanks for this amazing site!!