I'm beginning to get tired of saying this, but I had another lightbulb moment. ;D Don't you just love it when something very spontaneously starts to make sense? As in, you're innocently walking towards the bathroom sink, minding your own business - and all of a sudden the SENSE attacks you out of nowhere?! D: (Okay, apparently I think I'm funny today. I do that sometimes.)
Anyway, you might remember that I've written about the word "crazy" before, and that I said I had trouble understanding why some people found it offensive. Although I recognised that it was more of a personal thing based on unusual connotations, I also had a logical argument to offer: namely that it hasn't been an official term for quite some time now and thus no longer even refers to actual mental illness - or shouldn't, at least.
Here's the thing, though. I just remembered something. I remembered that when I was a child, long before I ever heard of the various types of mental illness that exist, I thought there was a condition called "craziness". I thought that "crazy" people were extremely confused, scary and sometimes dangerous. Most importantly, I was convinced that it was impossible for a crazy person to be aware of their own craziness. That is not okay.
I don't think I picked up this notion anywhere in particular - I probably didn't have to. I mean, what are children supposed to think? What is a five-year-old supposed to think upon hearing someone joke, "if you think you're going crazy, chances are you're not"?
And it's not like I magically stopped thinking this way as soon as I learned about depression and anxiety. I was only surprised, for a moment, that there were mental illnesses that didn't make you properly crazy. Schizophrenia, though? Surely, that must be the "real" craziness! I believe I was a teenager by the time I reached this point, and fortunately I never stopped learning. Others get stuck somewhere along the way, and THAT'S why it's a problem. Lo and behold, I get it now!
Of course we're not all spreading harmful misinformation every single time we use the word. "I'm crazy busy!" or "That was a crazy party!" hardly tell children anything about its meaning. However, those phrases do distract from the fact that it has a meaning, and don't do anything to counteract the misinformation that's already circulating. "You'd have to be crazy in order to think that!" or "What a crazy bitch!" confirm that it must mean something bad, though, and reinforce actual bigots in their thinking.
That's the crucial point: We, the people who can make it through an entire post about this topic, are hardly the problem. We just accidentally encourage those who are and make it harder for anyone to identify them - we unknowingly provide them with cover and ammunition.
I refuse to participate in any of that. I won't use the word anymore unless I'm calling myself crazy in a value-neutral way. :) It's not about being "politically correct" or never wanting to piss anyone off, ever - I just really dislike misinformation. Also, plz to not be teaching the next generation that people like me are all monsters.