Don’t Call Me Crazy! @nonniejules @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA @4WillsPub #MentalIllness

Several days ago, I receive a Twitter notification on my phone: Lee MacMillan, Instagram Influencer, Dead by Suicide at 28…

I am not an Instagram user and I wasn’t familiar with the name Lee MacMillan until I received this notification. Always curious as to the reasons people decide to take their own lives, I took a seat on my chaise to read through the story in its entirety. The more I read, the more I wanted to know about Lee MacMillan.

By all accounts, she was a beautiful young girl, who could have easily been anyone’s daughter — even mine. I watched her videos on YouTube, again, wanting to know as much as I could about this beautiful young flower who felt that the only way out {of her pain} was to end her life.

Since the pandemic began, we are hearing more and more about mental illness and how the loneliness and the “craziness” of it all, is driving many to make these horrid decisions. Never before have I focused so heavily on the seriousness of mental illness and how it takes a toll on so many lives – it is at crisis level with the younger generation.

You don’t have to be clinically diagnosed as mentally ill to find yourself in the throes of that kind of despair. You don’t have to walk around with the label of depression tacked to your forehead, to one day find yourself feeling that the emotional pain you’re in, is much too heavy of a cross to bear, or, that your family might be better off without you. You don’t have to be locked up in a facility with rubber walls, to realize that lately, you’re overwhelmed with feeling that life is simply too hard.

So then, what makes one “crazy”?

I willfully admit that in my younger days, when encountering those with “odd” or very strange behavior, the first words out of my mouth would be, “They’re crazy.” I now realize that when used in that manner, the word isn’t so nice. So, when I use the word “crazy” these days, it’s in a much lighter sense – my husband has done something “crazy” to make me laugh, or, my girlfriend has phoned me with a story so funny, that I say to her, “That’s absolutely crazy!” Although it was never used in a manner to cause anyone harm, it no longer carries that negative connotation of what it was associated with in my youth. Back then, it was just my way of expressing the way I felt about someone’s behavior that was different from what I understood as normal.

All people are different, and just because they are different from us, doesn’t mean that they are “crazy” – it means their normal isn’t ours … and that’s OK.

Instead of labeling those who we perceive as different, or whose behavior we find odd or out of character compared to our own, or what we feel is normal, let’s try and put ourselves in their shoes. Let’s try to step out of our “norm” and imagine what their norm must feel like to them.

-Maybe there’s a ton of pressure in their world.

-Maybe they are carrying an unimaginable burden.

-Maybe they are a young parent, unemployed and homeless, worried about how they are going to feed their young child, or keep them safe from the outdoor elements.

-Maybe they are confused and lost because they haven’t taken their medication.

-Maybe they have recently lost their child to death and they don’t know how to live with that pain. (I often say that if something happens to one of my babies, expect me to check out from life completely, because that is a pain I can’t imagine any parent being able to live with. I say this with all sincerity.)

Maybe their norm is always … just … hard.

Anyone living under the umbrella of any of these scenarios is under immense pressure, and stress is their constant companion; they can certainly do without the added burden of our judgment.

We’re living through extremely strange and chaotic times and many are finding it hard to cope, so, let’s do our part to ensure that when we encounter those we perceive as “crazy” (odd), we leave them with some semblance of hope to hold on, if only for just one more day. That next day just might hold the changes and the blessings that person needs to make the decision to continue on. Our world is hurting right now and mental illness is on the rise. You don’t want to be the one to send someone over the edge, especially by attaching a silly label to them. You want, just as I do, to be just what they need – a sign to know that life can and will get better.

Drop the “crazy” labels. Unless you’re referencing your dear hubby running down the street in only his birthday suit, yelling he loves you, everything else should be considered a serious hardship, not to be taken lightly or joked about. When you see or sense that someone needs help, please, by all means … extend your hand.

There, but by the grace of God, go I.

What are your thoughts?

15 Comments

  1. In the 1950s and ’60s, when my grandmother was in a state mental institution, my mother would pack up her three daughters, including me, to go pick her up for Sunday dinner. In retrospect, I think my grandmother was eccentric, to be sure, but I don’t think she would fit the criteria for mental illness in today’s world. Today we have medicines and more knowledge than we did when she was committed by my grandfather in 1940 (when my mother was 12 years old). It was a common thing back then, for men to commit their wives to state mental hospitals when they were tired or them or when they couldn’t understand their eccentricities or “nagging” wives. My grandmother was poor and my grandfather didn’t help things by being a heavy drinker. I wonder all the time whether she was committed for convenience sake. My friends at the time were all “hush hush” whenever I mentioned that my Sundays were taken up with my grandmother. It was a big embarrassment, they all thought, that we had someone in the family who was mentally ill and in an institution. I told them all the time that it wasn’t our fault she was there and needed help, but that it was a nice thing my mother did every week to pick her up and bring her to our house for dinner. I lost friends over this. How cruel people can be. But how much did we learn from the example our mother set?

    Two weeks ago, the brother of one of my best friends also committed suicide. He was 70 years old (younger than I am) and had recently had heart surgery. He could no longer drive because some of the medicine he was taking made him sleepy. He was depressed and his doctors gave him anti-depressants as well. He only stayed on those for three days before he took his own life. The toll this has taken on his wife and family is immeasurable.

    As Nonnie writes, with what we’ve all been going through over the past year-plus, we really should thinking of what we can do expand our humanity. That’s what this is, really. Humanity. People caring for people. My late mother called it “caring and sharing.” If we can reach out and help just one person during these trying times, it’s so worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Shirley Harris-Slaughter

      Wanda your thoughts are so true. I have mental illness in my family and in the beginning I didn’t discuss it with anybody outside my family circle. I was ashamed and embarrassed by it. It is more understood today than ever before.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Wanda Adams Fischer and commented:

    Please read this. We all need these words now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi,
    It means that their normal is different than ours. A very nice way of saying do unto others as you would have them to do unto you or love others as you love yourself.
    Excellent article, Nonnie. It is from the heart.
    Shalom aleichem

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We all need a little compassion sometimes, don’t we? Someone once told me the way to deal with sadness is to reach out and help someone else. I’ve never forgotten it. What a world it would be if everyone followed these guidelines, Nonnie. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My heart goes out to this young lady’s family and friends (and to all who are left behind in those moments). Maybe it’s the empath in me, but I always find that I’m putting myself in other’s shoes (seeing, or trying to see, their perspectives). It takes so little to show kindness and compassion to others, and we truly never know if our moment of kindness will have a profound impact on the receiver. Wonderful post, Nonnie. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on PTL Perrin Writes… and commented:

    Nonnie Jules has some timely and sensitive advice for the times we live in. Don’t let the picture fool you. She’s MUCH prettier and has a heart of gold.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    There but by the grace of God go I. This quote is my mother’s famous words. She always gave us a quote and this one was drummed home repeatedly in our lives. I think about how god-like she was. May she rest in peace.

    Thank you Nonnie for sharing your post that speaks to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How sad when such a young person, with everything before her, takes her own life! Maybe a kind word or gesture would have saved her. Yes, our judgments, when expressed, are powerful, and maybe all that girl heard was that she was not good enough, or “crazy.” My mother was hurt emotionally by being compared to an older sister when she was growing up. She always felt “less than.” I remember what she always said, “If you think something nice about a person, SAY IT!” Sometimes, kind words can change a person’s self-image, just as cruel or judgmental words can harm it. This was a thought-provoking post and a great reminder that our words and actions can affect others.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Maura Beth! Yes, words can be harmful, especially in these instances. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My mother and ex-husband hid their mental illnesses from so many people for so long that even if I tried to ask for support the requests fell on deaf ears. You never know what you may never be open to knowing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Because there is such a stigma surrounding mental illness, Annette, people feel that they have to hide it. You can’t even say “I’m depressed” right now without being labeled as having “an issue.” Why can’t you just feel a little depressed? Sometimes, if it’s raining outside I feel a little depressed, simply because I love the sunshine and I dread the rain for many reasons. My mood changes with the weather, seriously. Does that mean that I suffer from a mental illness? I think not.

      Here are two definitions:

      1. sadness; gloom; dejection.
      2. Psychiatry. a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason. Compare clinical depression.

      Why can’t I just be sad because I don’t like the rain? Simple.

      But, on the other hand, if I am diagnosed with clinical depression, again, so what? We all need to realize that we all have something weighing us down at one time or another. It’s all a part of life.

      Thanks for weighing in, Annette!

      Liked by 2 people

      • My son is now undergoing intensive therapy for his depression. It began last week, He’s in group and individual sessions for six hours every day. He said to me last week, “Why can’t I be happy? I have a wonderful wife, three great kids who love me, parents who support me, a law degree, a home to live in. Why can’t I be happy?” It’s a chemical imbalance in his brain. He’s brilliant, intellectually. But this depression he has goes back to chemical imbalance. His psychiatrist is trying new medicines. He’s also had to take short-term disability from work so he can attend this program. My husband, too, is battling serious depression. He too is brilliant (he got perfect scores on his SATs, was valedictorian of his class, was a physician for years), but he has that same chemical imbalance. We are working with HIS psychiatrist to find the right medicine as well.

        I get discouraged; it’s part of life. My daughter and her family face what I call day-to-day challenges, bu neither she nor I deal with clinical depression. Back when my grandmother was institutionalized (1940). men who thought their wives were eccentric or didn’t perform “wifely duties” would have their wives committed. I don’t know if my grandmother was actually depressed or if my grandfather just wanted to get rid of her. I hope it’s not the latter.

        My short story/novella is finished now. Called “Handprints,” it will be released soon (and will need a trailer!), and I hope it will show some insights into this question.

        And yes, I’ve been talking for too long!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. petespringerauthor

    I think there are too many judgmental people who may have no idea what internal struggles someone else might be going through.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pete, you never know what the next person is going through which is why we should all learn to master the acts of compassion and understanding.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 2 people

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