Raise your hand
Or how many of you have had your thoughts and ideas labeled as “crazy”?
And how do you feel about that?
“Crazy” is a term which is used to describe a variety of mental states, situations, and also to disparage someone.
The word is so much a part of our popular culture that we have whole songs devoted to it. Who remembers the Willie Nelson song, “Crazy” as sung by Patsty Cline? Here is a bit of the song to refresh your memory:
"Crazy, I’m crazy for feeling so lonely
I’m crazy, crazy for feeling so blue
I knew you’d love me as long as you wanted
And then someday you’d leave me for somebody new
Worry, why do I let myself worry?
Wond’ring what in the world did I do?
Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
I’m crazy for trying and crazy for crying
And I’m crazy for loving you"
My interpretation of “crazy” in this song is to describe the feelings of love gone bad.
Singer, Seal, has also written a song entitled “Crazy” and here are some of the lyrics:
"But we’re never gonna survive unless
We get a little crazy
No we’re never gonna survive unless
We are a little
Cray cray crazy"
In this case crazy is deemed as a good thing…a way to survive the chaos of the world.
Or how about the kid’s song, “Boom Boom Ain’t it Great to be Crazy?”
Remember these happy lyrics?
"Boom, boom, ain’t it great to be crazy?
Boom, boom, ain’t it great to be crazy?
Giddy and foolish the whole day through
Boom, boom, ain’t it great to be crazy?"
In this go-lucky song it appears that being crazy is fun. You get to be both giddy and foolish and get away with it the whole day long according to this whimsical ditty.
Yet for most of us the term “crazy” does not mean fun and is instead, a loaded word which can be both hurtful and stigmatizing.
Of course it depends on how the word is used.
In some cases “crazy” is used in a similar to the way the word “retarded” is used… as a slang term. I happen to have a son who has autism and according to some measures he is considered mentally retarded.
Imagine if you will…this is a true story y’all…the last therapist I went to greeted me for one of the sessions by asking me, “Do you ever…do you ever just feel retarded?” I stared blankly at him in shock. I growled, “no” and reminded him that I have a child who has mental retardation. I can see this kind of thing on the street among kids…but from my therapist???
Getting back to “crazy”…I think some people like to use this term when they wish to diminish another’s credibility. As in “You must be crazy if you think that!” Such statements are not an invitation to use empathy, logic, or reason but are used as a weak strategy to win an argument.
In other cases “crazy” is used as a direct assault as in “You are crazy.” If the recipient of such an attack does have a mood disorder such as depression or any other type of mental illness, the term can cause great pain. It is a way to treat others with disrespect and get away with it.
I am always dismayed that people who are involved in health care or health web sites sometimes use this term liberally as though it is acceptable to pour salt on open wounds. It is my opinion is that it is not acceptable to go around calling people crazy.
We want to hear from you now. What are your thoughts on the term “crazy”? What images does this conjure up for you? What emotions does this word provoke? Have you ever been called crazy? Have you ever had your ideas or opinions be labeled with this term? Tell us what you think. Your thoughts and opinions are important to us.
I am a mother, a writer, and now an MS patient