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Arielle's Word of the Day #4: CRAZY

Posted Jun 04 2012 12:00am
I chose this word on purpose. I mean, I made this blogger challenge and picked all the words for each day myself - and I chose CRAZY because I was really curious to see the differences in posts, and I really wanted people to delve inside themselves and see what was there.

The way I feel about "crazy" is multi-faceted. I don't think I can succinctly say that I like the word or hate the word. Yet... it has evoked both positive and negative emotions from me.

1) I really dislike it when people call individuals with mental illnesses "crazy."

It can be hurtful, false, derogatory, and perpetuates stigma about mental health issues. It irks me.

2) I often use the word "crazy" when I'm not referring to mental health.

For example, my mom does a goofy dance. "Mom, you are so crazy!" I say with a laugh. Is this wrong? I don't think so. I love my mom. She loves me. It's not meant to be a nasty comment...

and yet...

I can recognize that the origin of that word, the very reason my brain chooses to use "crazy" to describe my mom when she is acting silly, is not a nice one. "Crazy" came from "looney bins" and insane asylums and straight jackets and people who were not "normal enough" to be in society. Or so the story goes...

I do not ever call someone "crazy" in a serious manner, i.e. I do not tell someone who has bi-polar disorder or bulimia or schizophrenia that he/she is "crazy."  I'm an advocate for ending mental health stigma. I try to educate people on how normal those with mental health issues really are. We are all people.

But I DO use the word "crazy" when I'm having a good time with my family or friends. I even call myself "crazy" - usually, as in "crazy cat lady." :-)

And this is why
mentally deranged; demented; insane.
senseless; impractical; totally unsound: a crazy scheme.
3. Informal . intensely enthusiastic; passionately excited: crazy about baseball.
4. Informal . very enamored or infatuated (usually followed by about ): He was crazy about her.
5. Informal . intensely anxious or eager; impatient: I'm crazy to try those new skis.
6. Informal . unusual; bizarre; singular: She always wears a crazy hat.
7. Slang . wonderful; excellent; perfect: That's crazy, man, crazy.
likely to break or fall to pieces.
weak, infirm, or sickly.
10. having an unusual, unexpected, or random quality, behavior, result, pattern, etc.: a crazy reel that spins in either direction.

I took the liberty of highlighting the definitions of "crazy" to which I refer when I use the term. While I personally feel that calling someone with ANY mental health problems "crazy" is derogatory with a capital D, there are fun, silly, positive reasons to use "crazy" too.

I use number 3, for instance, to describe myself and my love for cats. :-)

I also use number 4 to describe my husband, Rick - he's crazy about me. ;-)

Number 5 I use quite frequently to explain how impatient I am to be finished with the intense graduate program I'm doing right now.

And number 6, well, I use it to describe my hectic schedule. Anyone who knows me has heard me refer to "my crazy schedule" numerous times per week.

Number 7 I love. We should all use it more often. That's crazy, blog readers, crazy! And by crazy, I mean "wonderful," "excellent," and "perfect" of course! Did you know know/realize/remember that "crazy" had such a positive definition?

And number 10... it applies to all of us, I think. Who doesn't have "an unusual, unexpected, or random quality, behavior, result, or pattern" as part of their personality/life?

So yeah, you guessed it... what I'm trying to say is that we're all crazy. And when crazy isn't being used to put someone down, it can actually be a pretty cool thing. :-)

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