Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I Hate the Word "Crazy"
It seems that everywhere I turn lately I hear the word "crazy" in conjunction with mental health disorders. I'm here to tell you that "crazy" has nothing to do with it. When are we, in this supposed greatest country in the world, going to find some compassion for the people sitting next to us?
Just a few weeks ago Daniel was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and we have been reading and educating ourselves as much as possible. Some may know the disorder as manic-depressive. The type Daniel has (Type II) does not have psychotic episodes (hallucinations, grandiose delusions, etc.) so it is possible he could have continued to live for years or even his lifetime without being diagnosed.
To be honest, throughout our marriage I simply thought Daniel was a huge jerk from time to time. He would slide out of being his typical generous, loving self and into a shell where no one could get through to him. Bipolar can be very selfish in many ways, and this is one area Daniel and I are struggling to work on now. There were some major hurts that occurred during those time periods, but we are dealing with them with the help of the professionals Daniel found and trusted enough to open up and receive help for his condition.
To hear any mental illness referred to as "crazy" now is like having an ice pick stabbed through my heart. My husband is not crazy and never has been. He is one of the most incredible people I have met, though he does have periods of time where he is not as social, understanding, or encouraging as he normally is. These periods are rough, but that does not mean he doesn't comprehend what is happening around him. He simply isn't able to react the same way most people would expect.
Now that I can see there was a biological reason for some of Daniel's previous behavior it breaks my heart. I can see signs of the struggle he had to stay "with" me and not disappear into his own word of pain. I feel terrible for some of the things I said and accusations I made. These struggles were no different than my own inner battles, though. They don't make Daniel any different than the rest of us, and I hate the implication that people who need mental health care are different than the rest of us. We all need to learn to take care of ourselves.