From time to time I joke about being crazy.
I say my kids drive me crazy, I threaten to lose my mind on a regular basis and I’ve even written about my own journey, usually with a light heart.
But in reality mental illness is no joke. Probably the most common in my circles is depression. With our fast-paced, technical world we are less connected than ever. The human element seems to be missing in many depressed individuals.
I have had the opportunity to meet some pretty crazy people in my life, and I mean crazy in the best way. In fact, I believe we are all a little bit crazy. In “Alice in Wonderland,” the Mad Hatter says, “We’re all a little mad here,” and he’s on to something. I prefer the company of people who embrace this truth about themselves. I mean, who is normal anyway? Give me one example of normal, and I’ll show you a boring existence. It’s what you do about your insanity that matters.
I hope I haven’t offended people with my casual comments on the topic. It is certainly not my aim. In fact, I have a counseling degree because at one time I really thought I could make a difference in the lives of people who struggle with mental issues. It was late in my education when I heard a startling statistic. It seems (to science anyway) that somewhere around a third of people struggling with mental illness get better, a third stay the same and a third get worse.
With all that said, I feel the need to address the more serious side of our humanity and therefore, insanity. I believe the people who are involved in acts of terrorism are all seriously mentally ill. Call it brainwashed, call it for a cause, call it anything you want to call it, but these folks are just not right in the head.
People who kill their children are grossly insane. These insanities are evil, from the pits of hell. I have no clue how to help them back to the real world. I pray for their souls.
Some mental illness is dangerous – some, not all.
We have mentally ill people right here in our fair town. I don’t believe they are dangerous, for the most part. But when they won’t accept help from their neighbors because they are comfortable sleeping in the grass, or won’t give up panhandling or their cigarettes to go into a program that would provide what they need to be made well, I have to just shake my head and move on. Only God knows our hearts. He calls us to love and care for others. Sometimes they get better, sometimes they stay the same and sometimes, despite our efforts, they get worse.
Statistics say that one in four women in this country suffer with depression at some point in their lives. That probably means at least two others out of four are trying to pretend they don’t. It is nothing to be ashamed of. I’ll be your friend. I have never been prone to hide my crazy.
Angie Brown is a humorist who loves being a wife, mother and grandmother. She lives in Opelika with her husband of 31 years and four of their seven children.