“Crazy” is Subjective
There are many times in life when a person with a mental illness is subjected to judgment and false accusations. Harsh and ignorant words are often used to describe the person who draws attention due to his abnormal behavior. False claims are often made in regards to mental illness, creating an extremely negative stigma.
In society, it is common vocabulary to refer to someone or something as crazy. The word is used in a variety of settings and scenarios. For example, if a person thought that he was going to score badly on an assessment but actually received a high grade, he may react by saying “That’s crazy!” If an upstanding member of society was convicted of a felony unexpectedly, people would respond similarly. “Crazy” can have many different meanings. Most often, it implies a sense of surprise or alarm.
Sometimes, the word can be used in a derogatory way. Without being politically correct, those with mental illnesses such as depression are often labeled in such a way as to be called crazy. People who are considered crazy are most often different than the mainstream of society. Some are outcasts and some display abnormal behaviors. However, abnormal is subjective. One person’s idea of abnormal could be entirely different than anothers. Abnormality could even be based on cultural differences. For example, in some cultures, it is abnormal for a person to walk inside a house without taking off his or her shoes. It is common to refer to abnormal behavior as crazy. However, different does not equal crazy. Therefore, abnormality does not equal craziness. This definition also explains why it is inaccurate to refer to someone with a mental illness as crazy. However, as stated in “Stigma Towards Mental Illness: A Concept Analysis Using Postpartum Depression as an Exemplar,” mental illness stigma is a serious issue in all cultures and ethnicities.
There are many negative stigmas regarding mental illnesses such as depression. Negative stigmatization of mental illness can be a theoretical death sentence for the self-esteem and confidence of an individual. By spreading a stereotype such as craziness in regards to illness, the problem itself escalates further. For example, discrimination against those suffering from mental illness prompts many people to not seek proper treatment. The fear of being judged by others inhibits their psychological well being as a whole. People often do not seek treatment for serious health concerns due to the fear of being judged or accused of having self-inflicted their issues. As stated in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in an article entitled “Mental Illness Stigma and Care Seeking,” fifty to sixty percent of people who would benefit from mental health treatment do not seek or receive it. People who suffer from these types of illnesses have to not only deal with the symptoms of the disorder, but they also have to deal with the struggles presented in society. Michael W. O’Hara explains in his article “The Nature of Postpartum Depressive Disorders,” that depression can have a significant effect on a person’s self-esteem. Therefore, the social stigma only worsens these feelings in an individual. They may face discrimination in the workplace or possible judgment in social environments. This negativity is created by the many negative stigmas that revolve around mental illness, and it does nothing but create false perceptions of the disease.
Negative stigmas can lead to hurtful labels, and it can lead to symptoms of loneliness and distress. The common term of calling someone crazy if they are different in any way plays an extremely significant role in the field of mental illness. Calling someone crazy is an ignorant way of looking for causation. Since mental illnesses such as depression are not well understood, it makes people uneasy. Therefore, calling someone crazy is an implication that blame has been assigned. Assigning blame to a mental illness such as depression as a method of reasoning does nothing but worsen possible symptoms and negative feelings that one may be experiencing. It does not make sense that a serious illness that is most often caused by traumatic events or biological chemical changes can be one’s “fault” for having. People are not blamed for illnesses such as cancer or diabetes, such it is unfair that others are blamed for having a mental illness. The lack of knowledge that many have of the illness causes a stigma that those with postpartum depression are “crazy” and looking for attention.
In addition, since many people with mental illness are assigned blame for their feelings, it may cause them to assign blame onto themselves as well. However, such thoughts are backwards and entirely counterintuitive. To be frank, the idea of depression as a whole makes people uncomfortable because it is not well understood. In response to this uneasiness, society attempts to “justify” depressive feelings on the basis of them being insincere. Depression is not brought upon willingly or intentionally by any person, so it is counterintuitive that people feel the need to assign blame for the disorder.
Overall, labeling someone as crazy for an illness is not productive in any way, shape, or form. Negative stigmas revolve around these types of illnesses, which do nothing but worsen the lives of those who suffer from them and their families. It is important that the prejudice and complete discrimination of those suffering from a mental illness stops.
Mental illness, specifically depression, does not have cause for blame in a person. Assigning blame to a mental illness such as depression as a method of reasoning does nothing but worsen possible symptoms and negative feelings that one may be experiencing. It does not make sense that a serious illness that is most often caused by traumatic events or biological chemical changes can be one’s “fault” for having. The lack of knowledge that many have of the illness causes a stigma that those with depression are “crazy” and looking for attention. In addition, many women with the illness are assigned blame for their feelings, which may cause them to assign blame onto themselves as well. However, such thoughts are demented and ignorant. To be honest, the idea of depression as a whole often makes people squirm because it is not well understood.
The stigmas related to the illness are so great that many people feel uncomfortable even talking about them. Therefore, minimal progress has been made to broaden people’s knowledge of mental illness. Instead, in response to this uneasiness, society attempts to “justify” depressive feelings on the basis of them being insincere. Depression is not desired by any person, so it is counterintuitive that people feel the need to assign blame for the disorder. Therefore, assigning blame for depression does nothing but worsen heavily stigmatized thoughts on the disorder as a whole. It is the hope that over time, society will become more accepting of mental illness and all that it entails. Society needs to realize that being different does not make someone less of a person. Discrimination and prejudice related to the topic needs to end.
Hocking, Barbara. “Reducing Mental Illness Stigma and Discrimination — Everybody’s Business.” MJA.
Pinto-Foltz, Melissa D., and M. Cynthia Logsdon. “Stigma Towards Mental Illness: A Concept Analysis Using Postpartum Depression as an Exemplar.” Taylor & Francis,