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When People Say 'but You Don't Look Crazy'


When I decided to disclose my struggles with generalized anxiety, it was the most daunting task to accomplish in my life. Meeting new people, attending college and establishing my career have been cakewalks. Throughout my life, I’ve been described as funny, beautiful, down-to-earth, gifted, intelligent and brutally sarcastic. So after disclosing my struggles with anxiety, some individuals responded, “You don’t look ‘crazy’ — you’re so put together.”

Blank stare.

I didn’t know that “crazy” had a phenotype? I postulate my traumatic life experiences reproduced with my familial genotype and created a baby called “crazy.” I mean, who should I look like? Joan Crawford from “Mommie Dearest” screaming “no wire hangers?”

According to Dictionary.com, crazy is defined as mentally deranged, senseless, and impractical. However, crazy was also termed as intensively enthusiastic and passionately excited.

So yes, I can be intense at times because I am enthusiastic about helping children and adolescents with disabilities and mental health challenges. I am passionately excited about what’s to come next in my life. Just because I struggle with anxiety, it does not mean I am deranged. I experience and perceive the world differently; my responses to the world can be extreme — but when does extreme equate to crazy?

Being labeled (and treated) like you’re “crazy” is dehumanizing and disheartening; thus, it is very unfortunate. Not for individuals suffering from anxiety (or any other disorder/disease), but for those labeling and laughing at you (me) for my internal battles.

These persons are missing out on establishing relationships with some dynamic, creative, and loyal individuals who just happen to have invisible wounds.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one phrase you wish people would stop saying about your (or a loved one’s) disability, disease or mental illness? Why? What should they say instead? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


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