Don’t say it’s crazy

May 24, 2021

I’ve decided to start watching my language and stop using words that imply that there is a clear line between sanity and insanity. I will try to stop the casual use of words like “crazy”, “insane”, “nuts”, “loony”, etc., instead substituting more descriptive words like “ridiculous”, “nonsensical”, “irrational”, or other adjectives.

In my 22+ years of work in the computing industry and in social life, I’ve met SO many people who have admitted to some measure of mental illness: Asperger’s/autism spectrum, ADHD, anxiety or panic disorders, depression (so much depression), and many more. In fact, I run into people with some amount of mental illness SO REGULARLY that it seems like it’s just a part of being human.

I’m not a mental health professional, but my understanding is that mental health, just like physical health, is a continuum: we are not simply either ill or not ill; we all have some characteristics of health and illness. We go through bouts of good times and bad, and we develop skills and behaviors to compensate for our weaknesses. (I’d appreciate if my friends who ARE mental health professionals would correct me if I’m mistaken!)

In any case, I hope that by using less-judgmental language I can help to continue decreasing the ridiculous (see what I did there) social stigma against mental illness, and encourage more people to get help without feeling persecuted. I hope you will join me in doing the same.