“The English language has so much potential to be used well, so I get frustrated when we still manage to be oppressive. Not everyone who flippantly uses the word ‘crazy’, intends to hurt those experiencing mental health difficulties but, like using ‘gay’ to describe something other than someone who identifies as gay, it serves to ridicule.

“As someone who has experienced anxiety and panic attacks, the use of the word crazy feels like a dismissal of significant pain and stress. The casual use of the word distances us from taking mental health seriously. I’m tired of it because it plays into a culture which often refuses to recognise emotions and mental health as valid and a part of everyday life.

“I told a friend that I had a problem with the casual use of ‘crazy,’ and instead they gave me a whole list of alternatives; ‘whack job’, ‘nuts’, ‘space-cadet’. Never-the-less, you’re still describing someone according to the way you perceive their mental state to be different from yours, or the so-called norm. This is not only damaging in how we perceive differences, but is one of the things that contributes to mental health taboos in the first place.

“As the classic statistic goes, 1 in 4 people experience mental health difficulties each year. But we all have mental health, our experiences and our mental wellbeing exist on a continuum.

“Was your night out actually crazy? Or was it off the rails, intense, ridiculous, unexpected, interesting, drunken, rowdy?

“Yes, I’m taking it literally, but mental health difficulties literally exist and people are literally stigmatised by them, and it literally needs to change.

“No, I’m not just being crazy.”

Photo credit: Harriet Evans and Oxford Skin Deep
Photo Editing: Harriet Evans

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