Crazy People, Gotta Love ‘Em

CWhen I was a kid, I used to laugh about the crazy people in my family. Their trips to mental institutions or barricading themselves in their houses was a source of almost never ending mirth. Everyone in the family laughed about it including those who had been afflicted. At family reunions the joke was that the family crest should be three guys in straightjackets.

Then adulthood came with a vengeance, after college sometime, maybe 27, and I got serious and self-conscious about the very real nuts with whom I share a bloodline. Eventually, I also became afflicted with a good ol’ full blown nervous breakdown.

For the uninitiated, there is no such thing clinically as a nervous breakdown. Usually all sorts of other diagnoses are assigned to a person’s condition. Things like bi-polar with recurring anhedonia and occasional paranoia. Such fun and it comes with lots of medication too, and I’m not saying I’m down on medication. I’m glad I took it ’cause as the doctor said, it pulled me out of the hole I was spiraling further into, and once I was out, I was able to deal with the real issue of why I went there in the first place.

And may I tell you that coming out of the hole, out of the other side of a mental breakdown and yes, I’ll say it — insanity — is empowering. Yes, I’m saying this made me stronger, and it fascinates me how this kind of intense pressure and almost decimation of something that then survives and thrives more heartily afterward is reflected in nature.

One of the best things about the experience is that it made me lighten up about life and my family although sometimes I can start walking down that road again. The good news is I usually recognize the road after a short time instead of years later. Mainly, my experience allowed me to realize I had been too serious about myself. Let me put a fine point on that. I was too self-aware, too self-absorbed, too self-centered, and there is nothing more miserable. It’s also boring after a while.

I’m not saying everyone should have a nervous breakdown in order to gain strength, but if you have recently had one, don’t be ashamed. Learn from it and use it. And for the record, I do talk about this as my real identity and have absolutely no shame about what happened. I made a mistake. I had beliefs and habits that needed to change, and they did. It would have been great if I hadn’t suffered, but that’s not how it was going to be for me, and now I don’t care.

Speaking of crazy, yesterday, I highlighted a blog with ‘crazy’ in the title, and today, I’m going to highlight a few more:

Mad Scientist. Crazy Mom — very interesting person and blog. I will be spending more time there.

The Crazy Thing about Hugarians — isn’t that redundant? No, I’m just kidding. I’m learning some interesting facts from this blog.

youmuttonmeeecrazy — oh yeah, this guy is talking my language although I’m not quite as jaded as I used to be. Thank God.

My Richard Armitage segue: I would love to see him playing a character who is losing his mind or has lost his mind. Maybe we’ll get a taste of that in The Hobbit: There and Back Again. This screencap is from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but it could hint at some of what we may see in the next installment:

HobbitAUJ-218[Click to enlarge]

Yes, I would love to see him play insanity with more subtly and layers than Thorin has, but for now, I’ll run with this one.

See your tomorrow

9 Comments

  1. There’s always some crazy to be found in every day. My family has had its share of crazy’s though I’m only aware of them in my mother’s side of the family.

    We had a strange aunt who used to come by now and then and just sit and chat. She wore a dusty blonde wig (she was more Spanish than Filipino-looking) and her dentures rattled when she talked. And though I never said it then for fear that they’d lump me in with her and make fun of me any more than they already were because I was either too weird for their taste (writing poetry and stories instead of playing with dolls or whatever – but then my mother bought me these beautiful dolls that she then would lock up in the closet because she didn’t want me to break them, so go figure), I actually found her interesting. She did her own thing, never had children and my mom and her sisters were all concerned about what would happen to all her money when she died. She ended up coming the US and I last heard, marrying a guy 30 years her junior. They never heard from her again.

    I don’t think she was crazy though – she just danced to the beat of her own drum. They also used to say this one uncle was crazy, and it wasn’t till I got older that I realized that he wasn’t crazy at all. He just loved to do yoga and meditate – but in a devoutly Catholic country, that was seen as blasphemous, and thus, I guess, crazy.

    You’re right about a nervous breakdown, or peering into that abyss and coming back from it, empowering. Sometimes it’s the only way one can realize just how strong they really are, because in the process of these momentary crazy moments, you are free to really see and often accept who you really are, warts and all.

  2. Thanks for this post, Frenz…. I too have family dealing with mental health issues, one currently and two, like you, thankfully in the past. Interesting to realize that the two who have been there and back from “nervous breakdown” are probably now the strongest people in my family.

    I admire so much your willingness to come to the light and shine hope with your experiences… my loved one is still finding the light and it’s not my story to share. While I’m told I shouldn’t struggle with guilt, at times I still do. Perhaps I have a complex about how much difference I should be able to make, eh? :) I clearly can’t fix everything…. even though I feel my sensitivity should always be out there catching it all (love never fails, right??)

    I guess the thing I find myself doing now is to look for the quiet one, that perhaps no one else notices, smile and speak. Maybe nothing more in case that alone embarrasses them. Maybe for someone, that and my prayers could be enough to push back the dark.

  3. I just followed the link to your rosebush story, btw…. you just made my whole day (grabs a kleenex)! Love this.

    It will be interesting to see how Richard brings “majesticThorin” to crumble. I agree that “subtle” is not the word for Thorin, but not so sure about the “layers”…. maybe some layers will be involved, unless someone more familiar with the book says that’s not how it happens…. ?

  4. Thanks so much for your honesty, Frenz! It’s so hard to talk about mental health issues. I know the experience of breaking down, building back up and examining the process. I believe that we create our own cages. Today I am accepting of who I am. Even with my flaws. As long as you look at yourself HONESTLY, and don’t pretend everything is “fine” when it’s not, I think you have a shot at making changes that will improve your life. My family is filled with addicts of one kind or another.

  5. Thank you for sharing, most people don’t want to talk about mental health but yet it is something we need to talk about. It even seems to be a don’t touch subject in the police officer world, that is what happens to others but not them. But what they have to see it does effect them.

  6. I really liked this post :) especially when you said “insanity – is empowering”. It couldn’t be more true. It is funny that we do judge others though, especially more funny when it’s our family. One of my aunt’s filmed and took photos during my dad’s funeral…is that the norm? Really? Well, it might be in her world.
    I really do agree that insanity can be empowering. I suffer from OCD and yeah there are times you want to go bury yourself in a little black hole and never surface, but other times when you’ve overcome hurdles, you stand tall with your chest puffed out.
    I look forward to more of your posts in the challenge :)

  7. It’s funny how laughing about something can be so far from judgment. I had to figure that out the hard way.

    Thank you, and I look forward to more of yours! :)

  8. Velvet,

    I think there have been so many people who were not insane but made to feel that way because they didn’t fit in. Some of that is the case with my family and some of it is not. There are some things that have been done, that I could never repeat because I just can’t bring myself to say what’s happened. This is one reason SO encouraged me to stop writing a non-fictional book and go with fiction. I am doing that, but it’s slow since I am in no way a natural writer.

    Coming to accept yourself is so huge. This is the aspect of my breakdown that was extremely beneficial. That and the fact that I realized I don’t have to play God.

    SH,

    Isn’t it cool how there is always a new beginning? No matter how bad something may be, that’s always the case! I love that.

    Marie,

    I appreciate what you said. It’s been almost 20 years since I had a breakdown, so I’ve had a lot of time to rebuild, but in some respects, I don’t know if the reverberations from something like that every fully recede. And maybe that’s a good thing. I still get to learn something new, and best of all my kids are benefiting from it, and for that, I am so thankful. If it meant I had to live through that hell again, I would do it!

    Katie,

    My father was in law enforcement for almost 40 years and my mother was an assistant DA. You’re right. It most definitely affects them!

    Thank you all for your lovely comments. It is indeed a hard subject for people to talk about. There is still a lot of fear about the stigma that goes with it, and especially with respect to someone’s employment or business. Generally, people do no like to do business with someone who has flipped out. They tend to be afraid it will happen again. I’ve never flipped out with respect to work, but people don’t know that and could easily judge me if they know my history. You know what? I don’t care.

    As soon as I got over the fear that I looked like a weakling for having a breakdown, I thought, “If someone doesn’t like me because I had a breakdown, f*ck ’em.” In all Christian “love,” that’s really what I think. Doesn’t mean I hate those people, or think they’re going to hell or even want them in hell. It means I usually don’t waste my time on people like that.That’s what I mean by f*ck ’em.

  9. Marie,

    I just realized one of my sentences got butchered and may not make sense! In some very significant ways I have broken some cycles that were in my family and my kids won’t wrestle with those particular things. If that’s the only way it was going to relieve my kids, the hell was worth it.

    To everyone, my last entry on e is about as depressing as I’m going to get. I don’t like hanging there. But honestly, that kind of thinking is where I used to hang a lot of the time. It’s a miracle my husband didn’t get sick of it. He has the patience of a saint! And thankfully, I’m not so melancholy anymore. :D


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