Mentals Anonymous – Why Being Crazy Isn’t All Bad And How Mental Ilness Helped Shape The World We Live In
Hello, my name’s Mike, and I’m a Mental. All of my friends are also Mentals. This should come as no surprise to anyone who pays any attention to life and society in general. Crazy people tend to recognize each other and flock together, which pretty much explains Local Government, Twitter and the teaching profession. So I’ve decided to trammel this herding instinct and use it for the power of good. Here goes:
Once again, “Hi, my name’s Mike, and I’m a mental. Welcome to the inaugural meeting of Mentals Anonymous”. This is a club for all of you who have experienced that touchy feely “find a safe place”, “see me as a facilitator”, “for the love of God, take your medication” approach, and find it a bit tiresome. In this forum, we see what makes us different clearly and we call it what it is. We are Nutjobs, Crackerjacks, Headbangers if you will. If we’re going to have labels, lets have the fun ones.
The Normals call me a Manic Depressive. My friends and loved ones prefer the term “Fucking Lunatic” . There is a modern trend for calling Manic Depression “Bipolar Disorder. I don’t like this trend. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, “Manic Depression” – the old fashioned term – is just more descriptive. Secondly, there are too many opportunities for cheap laughs, even for my liking, with the “Bipolar Disorder”. Bipolar Expedition, Bipolar Bear etc, etc.
Being a Manic Depressive means that sometimes, I do very little other than eat and sleep. Mainly sleep. Whereas at other times, I can’t sit still for a minute and do enthusiastically self-destructive things. And what’s more, I do them with a smile on my face and an icicle blade of pure, cold terror slicing through my heart.
No, that wasn’t sarcasm. This is the first meeting of Mentals Anonymous, so let’s start off with a bit of raw, naked honesty. We often complain, us Mentals, that the way we are ruins our lives, wrecks our finances, scuppers our relationships etc, etc. Fair enough, it does. Absolutely no doubt about it. From my point of view, waking up feeling like there’s a black marble millstone resting on my chest is bad, unbelievably bad. Conversely, however, waking up convinced that I am the most amazing human being that ever walked the Earth is good, indescribably good.
Come closer and let me whisper a second in your shell like ears.This is Mentals Anonymous and there’s no Normals to act up in front of now. You can admit your guilty little secret here. A lot of the time you fucking LOVE the way you are. Go on say it, you know you want to. What’s that? How dare I mock your affliction and suggest that you might in some way find it tolerable, or even enjoyable. Please, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying you positively revel in it. At least a little part of you does. Let’s try a classic little thought experiment.
Let’s say that one morning you have woken up to find yourself transformed, Franz Kafka fashion, into a Normal. Suddenly, without so much as a by-your-leave, you are well balanced and all your issues have been resolved as far as it is humanly possible to do so. A bright, hopeful sun streams in through your bedroom curtains and only plain, old fashioned laziness can stop you from achieving your full potential.
Take a moment to allow this scenario to gel and solidify in your head. Got it? Absolutely bloody terrifying isn’t it.? I’ve been picturing it myself for knocking on a full minute now, and my entire system is going berserk. Every aperture and sphincter in my body is banging open and shut so rapidly that I sound like a distant standing ovation. Even my irises are joining in. I can barely write this. It’s like trying to type under a bank of strobe lights at a rave, and someone’s cut my E with industrial strength laxatives.
I’m not special, and neither are you. Well, you are, but only in the specific scientific sense of the word. And Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity wasn’t called that because it was better than his General Theory. He didn’t wear the General one during the week and save the Special one for church on Sunday He wouldn’t have worn anything as Sunday best, all his clothes were the same. Besides, he was Jewish anyway. No, you are special as in suited to a particular set of circumstances. Mankind is a big, clunky Heath-Robinson machine, and you are lost cogs rattling around in its oil sump. Genetic adaptations that are no longer understood.
Take your schizophrenics, for example. Nature’s shamen, in touch with a scary hidden world. Useful until they were superseded by the mushroom eaters and the bead jigglers.
Your basic depressives were there to allow children to practise caring for sick people who were in no immediate physical danger. You wouldn’t want a six year old tending to a spear wound, but they could make sure that someone who won’t get up off their pile of furs is clean and has water. They can tell someone if it looks like the patient might get up and jump in front of the next passing mammoth.
The Bipolars were great for making intuitive steps forward. Who else would sit and play with little jagged bits of flint for three days and nights without sleep and come up with the Clovis Point.
And so on and so forth.
So let’s get together and celebrate the fun stuff about being a bit wonky in the head. Then we’ll band together properly and regain our rightful and respected places in society then take it over and run it ourselves.
Sounds radical, but I doubt anyone would notice the difference.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013