Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Look at "Crazy"

A recent blog piece examined the way we use "crazy." I am strongly on the side of "screw PC, you should see me when I'm crazy." But I do acknowledge that context enters into the picture. There are times when the term can be highly inappropriate. Then again, so can "isosceles triangle."

The last couple of days have afforded me a new opportunity to assess "crazy." It concerns an individual I know - call him Ishmael - who is not in good shape right now, which brought back memories of some of my journey through hell.

The reason I was in hell, of course, had nothing to do with me. I had long suspected I had bipolar, but then again, bipolar people were crazy and I wasn't one of them. You locked up crazy people in institutions. Besides, everyone had their ups and downs, right?

So in hell I stayed, with occasional day passes to planet earth. 

The day I finally came to terms with my bipolar set the scene for meeting myself for the first time. "Crazy" tentatively stepped forward and introduced himself. We hesitated, we embraced.

Of course, being crazy meant I had to forever rule out the possibility of friends or relationships or a career. Only normal people could aspire to things like that. Instead, I would have to drastically scale back my expectations and come to terms with life on the margins.

It didn't turn out that way. Yes, it was a different life I now led, one where I had to learn to accept my limitations and recalibrate accordingly. I wasn't living the life of my original aspirations, but - of all things - I was living a way better life than the one I ever had, or, for that matter, even knew was possible. It was a life of compromises, but hardly a compromised life.

And - crazy thing - having acknowledged "Crazy," it is much easier to pass myself off as "normal." Which is not to be confused with pretending I'm normal. No way. Didn't work then, wouldn't work now. More like just be myself, which sometimes manifests as a bit crazy, which is okay. After all, who wants to be normal?

All this is a long way of saying that once I accepted that my life was in ruins for reasons that had to do with me, then I was no longer perpetually pushing a rock uphill. Crazy? I'm fine with that. My friend Ishmael? He has a long way to go.


Gina Pera said...

Nice job, John, as usual.

Especially this:
"It was a life of compromises, but hardly a compromised life."

John McManamy said...

Thanks, Gina. :)