Mitch Hedberg once said that addiction is the only disease you can be yelled at for having. Unfortunately, I have found in my life that people are just as willing to yell at you for being crazy. So ultimately he got it wrong.
If you have a mental illness, people often get upset with you for it. Post-partum depression is one that people really just don’t get. Often people think that if you just have more time to bond with your baby that things will be alright. Or if you have anxiety they get angry because you can’t always do the things you want to do, or planned to do. Those who have never experienced these things often get angry with the afflicted person. Even if they truly wish to be understanding, at some point they get mad.
Now the problem with this is that it is completely counter productive to tell a crazy person to stop being crazy. You can’t tell someone with OCD to knock it off, it doesn’t work that way. I can’t shut off my OCD any more than I can shut off the need to eat and drink to live. I don’t need OCD to live, but I’m hardwired for it. Getting angry with me because I see the world different isn’t fair. It’s not like I have an opinion you don’t agree with, my brain literally works differently than yours does.
Lots of crazy people end up with addiction problems and then get yelled at even more. Well I think that if we were more understanding in the beginning that some of these people would have never turned towards self-medicating to feel better, or feel nothing. When everyone around you doesn’t understand you or accept that you have a problem it is tough to recover, whether you’re an addict or have a mental illness, we need love and support. Screw that, as humans we need love and support.
Now there is love and support, and there is smothering. You can just be there as a friend to be loving and supportive, you do not have to constantly go over to your friend’s house to make sure they are alive, a text works. A phone call to show you care. Be there when they need you, so they know it is okay to ask you when they need help. Be prepared to be frustrated, those of us who are crazy and know it are a tough bunch to be around. You have to understand that we can’t always control how we feel, most people can’t control how they feel all the time anyway, so why expect us to be able to.
We are a little different, maybe even slightly broken. This doesn’t mean to throw us away, this means you sit around while we stich up our gaps. Just existing helps us more than advice. If you don’t understand it you can’t fix it. Those of us who do understand our illness can’t fix it. We think differently, and that’s a good thing. If everyone in the world saw things in the same way, then it would be a very dull world.
Embrace the crazy. Don’t be angry about it, learn how you can live with it.