Warning: This poem incorporates concepts and descriptions from people with various mental issues. Not everyone may feel comfortable with the same terms or choices.
"Some Achieve Madness"
They say "crazy" like
it's a bad thing but that's
not necessarily so.
What people call madness
is not a monolithic thing,
and it's not all bad.
This is variation and diversity
as well as aberration and pathology.
Sometimes it's innate and
other times an injury.
Dramatically different experiences
of reality are all equally valid and okay.
People with different mental
and emotional landscapes aren't
always "disabled" but may have
valuable insights and skills to contribute
because of their mental differences.
In some cultures, divine madness
is respected and Sacred-Crazy
is an honorific, not a pejorative.
Even the "crazy" people can be
responsible for their actions.
It's not a synomym for "abusive."
A sociopath may have
a meticulously constructed set
of personal morals, which are
no less good for being handmade.
Compulsions can be much easier
to handle when someone has space
to perform them in a respectful atmosphere
so long as they're not harming anyone.
A megalomaniac may crave a fantasy world,
but whether it is malevolent or beneficent
is a matter of personal preference.
Panic attacks are no less terrifying,
but are much less hazardous,
with a friend to stand watch.
Sometimes what people need the most
is not a "cure" but permission to be mad,
a safe place to be crazy in, and a little help
recognizing how to keep themselves and
others safe without having to act "normal."
Intentional neighboring and supportive ties
are just as healthy as independence.
People can be mentally different
yet still fully functional, if their brains
and feelings and experiences are not
the same as everyone else's.
A welcoming community
can make the difference between
divergence and disability.
Some are born mad,
some achieve madness, and
some have madness thrust upon them.
Others choose to take it by the hand
and walk together as friends.
* * *
“Some are born mad, some achieve madness, and some have madness thrust upon 'em.”
― Emilie Autumn, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls
Derogatory terms for mental illness can increase the tendency toward discrimination, which harms everyone. Here are some ideas for improving the situation.
In some cultures, divine madness is respected. One of my favorite books on this topic is Crazy Wisdom.
I could not find a reference for sociopathy that was anything other than obnoxious. >_< If anyone has a more neutral reference, please post it.
Compulsions are intrusive behaviors.
Megalomania is a fantasy about great power.
Panic attacks can happen to anyone under enough stress. When they have no identifiable cause (such as living in a warzone) and occur often enough to impair everyday life, it's called panic disorder.
People with mental illness need understanding and validation most of all. Learn how to support someone, and what mentally ill people want from their friends and families. The ideal of intentional neighboring holds that each person has strengths and weaknesses, the purpose of community being for neighbors to help each other do the things they find difficult. So nobody is seen as unable or needy; it's a healthy exchange that benefits everyone.
As a topic of discussion for people who live with mental issues of any kind: What things do you actually find helpful, as opposed to "helpiness" when people try to saddle you with things they think you should want?