Being crazy is awesome.
The word itself is so fun to say. Crazy. CRAYzeeee. CuhRAYzee. So much more fun than “mentally ill” or “living with mental illness.” And way more fun than “healthy” or “normal.”
But there are many more actual reasons than just how the word sounds. And as your resident crazy person for the day, I’m delighted to share the amazingness of my world with you.
My variety pack of crazy includes bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, and a dozen or two other anxiety disorders. It’s like getting the variety pack of candy for Halloween, and all you’ve got are Necco wafers, black licorice, and candy peanuts.
The thing I enjoy most about being crazy, or, in PC terms, a person living with mental illness, is that societal expectations go out the window. Oh, you’ve got mental illness? I’m so sorry, please carry on dancing down Main Street in a tutu during a thunderstorm.
Or starting a podcast about how to live life on your own terms, fueled entirely by a stack of sticky notes and a permanent marker.
Or create an entire business around coping mechanisms you’ve learned from being crazy.
Nobody expects you to be a functioning member of society, and when those expectations vanish, so do the restraints on what you “have to” do.
Go chase your dream of being a circus clown.
Get a Bachelor’s in Puppet Arts, Nautical Archaeology, Farrier Science, or Egyptology.
Start a dance studio, a bakery, or an online crafts business. People don’t care that you’re crazy if you can dance, bake, or craft.
Being crazy also teaches you invaluable coping mechanisms. You spend your life asking yourself, “Where’s the evidence of that? Show me proof.” when your inner voice tells you you’re stupid, worthless, and a waste of space. It gives you great resilience when your co-worker, boss, friend, or loved one says negative things about you.
You don’t even have to ask them those questions out loud; you can simply ask yourself where the evidence and proof are, and if you can’t find any, let it roll off you like water off a duck.
You also spend your life in perpetual crisis mode. What’s going on? Who’s there? How is that happening? When am I supposed to be somewhere? Is it that time yet? What’s going on? Who’s there? You imagine reactions for every possible scenario that could ever conceivably happen.
Then, when an actual crisis hits, you don’t have to think, you can just react the same way you planned to when you were obsessing over the potential of it happening.
Drowning goat in the pond you pass on your way to work? No problem. Hit an endangered orangutan with your car driving through Maine – and the nearest one is in a zoo in Rochester, NY? Plans are in place. Your cat spontaneously combusts in the next room? You’re ready.
Crazy people are also highly creative. You can’t even imagine the stories our brains tell us about what’s happening when things aren’t going as we’d expected.
Recently, my caregiver wasn’t answering her phone. What was actually happening was that she’d left it on her bed and gone to the bathroom. What my brain told me was that she’d suddenly decided to go to the store (when she doesn’t drive and there’s no public transportation), got kidnapped and taken to Mongolia to work as a slave, and would be harvesting potatoes with only one raw potato a day to eat.
She messaged me when she got back to her room, less than 5 minutes after I called, but I already had her digginging potatoes with her bare hands at the crack of dawn, with a bullwhip cracking overhead, outside of Ulaanbaatar.
My other caregiver doesn’t answer his phone? He’s wrestling with a rabid wildebeest to save 11 preschoolers (not 10, not 12, 11) from being trampled, bitten, and turned into Croatoan virus-like zombies a la Supernatural, somewhere along I-75. It couldn’t possibly be that he just left it in the car. Or that he’s vacuuming up Fluffy after the whole spontaneous combustion thing.
Between creativity and perpetual crisis mode, crazy people have great problem-solving skills.
Caregiver gets kidnapped to farm potatoes outside of Ulaanbaatar? No problem! I’ve already got contact info for the State Department, the Centre for Human Rights and Development in Mongolia, the government of Mongolia, and the United Nations.
Rabid, rampaging wildebeest trying to infect preschoolers? Got ya covered! I have full riot gear in the trunk of the car, a cattle prod in the back seat, and the bullwhip I took from the potato farmer in Mongolia. I can force that wildebeest into the pond where the goat will take it out.
Gotta create a new report at work from sketchy data about the number of orangutans currently living in captivity vs in the wild, the exact location of each one, and why on earth one was on Round Mountain in January? Boss, please. You don’t even scare me.
Being crazy makes life more interesting. Sure, sometimes in bad ways, but good ways can get fascinating. For example, non-harmful psychoses can be entertaining.
An army of house centipedes (or firework bugs, as I prefer to think of them) marching in formation up and down your walls is beautiful to watch.
Conversations with cats that aren’t there, who are speaking languages you don’t speak are thrilling – especially when you realize you’re speaking entirely different languages but completely understand each other.
But my favorite thing about being crazy is that it gives me a platform from which to inspire others, crazy and uncrazy alike. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times someone has said to me, “I can’t believe you did, said, created, made, wrote, published, recorded, videoed, whatever, this amazing thing. That can’t have been easy with your mental health issues. I’m blown away.”
Of course, I’m always blown away by them being blown away, but that’s because this is just my reality. I invite people in, not with the intent of saying “let me inspire you by how ‘normal’ I am when I’m crazy,” but just wanting to show them “hey, if I can do this with my crap, so can you with yours.”
Showing your weaknesses is a surefire way to let your strengths fly far above them. Be vulnerable. Be insecure. Be crazy.
Kriss Judd is the Positivity Powerhouse, a mindset and motivation coach helping busy Gen Xers and Millennials overcome overwhelm, de-stress and reassess, so they can find their focus, define their goals, create actionable plans, and go forth as new Positivity Powerhouses in their own right.
Kriss has built Positivity Powerhouse on top of more than 30 years of experience in the mental health field. Not as a practitioner, mind you; she doesn’t have the alphabet soup after her name. Her experience is that of a person who lives with mental illness, and has for most of her life.
Kriss is a strong believer in setting intentions before embarking on a course of action. In 2017, she declared it the year of Resilience, constantly reminding her that she was stronger than she knew. 2018 was the year of Ananda, reminding her to seek joy and delight in all things. This year and last have been the year of Yawp, reminding her to take bold, courageous action while trusting that the Universe will either catch her when she falls or teach her how to fly.