mardi, juillet 26, 2011

Crazy for you - not.

I've made a resolution.

For my own mental health, I'm going to try to avoid crazy people.

This principle might seem like common sense.

But it's actually harder to do than one might think at first. At least for someone who is curious, inexperienced, and a journalist. It's really a combination guaranteed to bring me in touch with crazies.

At the most basic level, that of definitions, it seems hard to define "crazy" except with the ol' obscenity aphorism: "I know it when I see (read, hear) it."

Anders Breivik -- crazy.

Voldemort -- crazy.

Yeah, I gave you two softballs.

Far-right House Republicans who oppose their own Speaker's hyper-conservative deficit plan? Are they completely nuts? Probably not, or they would not have been elected. Does their ideology blind them to reality? I can see an argument for that.

But once you get out of the realm of the delusional, craziness becomes a lot harder to box.

Take me. I'm so glad Freud came up with the idea of neurosis (or took it from somebody else) because I inhabit it more or less happily, at any given time. I get anxious. Stressed. Lack self-confidence. Haven't accomplished as much as I think I should. I'm easily (try me) guilted as a parent, and my children take advantage of that on a regular basis.

But all of those character flaws don't make me nuts.

I've run into folks who are not too healthy, or not fully mature, in some areas, from sex to money to relationships. Sometimes their problems are a serious bar to being the "adult in the room" or even the "second adult in the room" -- but that doesn't make them crazy.

We all have areas in which we need to continue to improve.

And yet...and yet... my social networking, and my work have brought me into contact with other folks -- people I strongly suspect ought to be on medication. Fulltime. People who need a DSM code, and therapy. People who are equipped to hold down jobs, but inflict damage on others with whom they are in relationship.

I've rarely met the crazed and never been really close to them - it's tough to get that close to someone whose grasp on reality is tenuous. Most of what I have discovered about mental health on the abyss is from secondhand stories from friends, and from a few purely online connections that turned ugly or ended in bizarre ways.

As I was thinking about the thin line between sanity and no-sanity today, I shivered. I've spent years trying to get inside the minds of some of my less than stable acquaintances, as though I could rationalize their behavior.

They need help, help that I'm not really qualified or in a proper position to give.

Yet this may be the time to send a note of gratitude to all of the rest of you -- my friends, my acquaintances, those who follow me and those whom I follow. I can say with a fair degree of accuracy that I have no crazy friends on Facebook (and probably on Twitter, though I can't swear to that). Each day I read your words - and, whether I agree with you or not, there is little distance between the person you seem to be, and the person you are.

I don't need to "get" psychopathology" (until I am a clinician). I don't need to understand it all. I don't need to follow my curiosity if it leads me to dark places in the human psyche -- unless I can find a way to get my work published.

I'll stick with you neurotics for now -- if you are a club that will let me join!

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