“She’s Crazy, But in a Good Way.”

Yes, I deal with mental illness. But please don’t call me crazy.

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Photo by Timothy Paul Smith on Unsplash

TW: suicidal thoughts.

“You’re the least crazy person I’ve ever dated.”

It just felt right. Easy. I loved who I was with him: competent, adventurous, clever, sexy. Anything was possible.

And then he said it, lovingly, offhandedly:

“You’re the least crazy person I’ve ever dated.”

No, I told him. No. No. No. I’m definitely crazy. How do you not know yet that I’m crazy?

I wondered how I’d hidden it this long. The behavioral equivalent of wearing first date underwear every day and night for months? I knew I was crazy. I knew that to have a real, lasting relationship, to spend years together, he’d need to see it all: not just the black, lacy panties with the bows on the sides; but the ripped-up, stained, ill-fitting ones that you put on because you’re in need of something familiar and comfortable. You know you should probably throw them out, but for some reason, you just can’t. If you did, you’re afraid you’d be left naked.

He thought I was sane?

I’m crazy. I promise. You’ll see.

One year later, I had a panic attack while snorkeling off the coast of a deserted Thai island in the Andaman Sea.

Just that month, we’d gotten engaged.

Now we were watching sea turtles in the wild. Life felt too good to be true. And so I started to worry.

We were in the water, swimming and talking, when he dove underwater before I finished my sentence.

My mind told me: He’s trash. I’m unlovable. The whole world’s a mess. I should just die.

I started bawling, then hyperventilating. I felt entirely alone, and suddenly sure I was going to drown.

I needed him to lift his head back above the water — not to save me, but to see what he’d done, to know I was going to die and it was his fault for not listening enough.

He saw me, and he saved me. He swam back to shore, carrying me the whole way.

Eventually, once I was breathing regularly again, and the surety that I was dying passed, I spat out:

“I told you I’m crazy.”

I fancied myself as Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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Photo by Valerie Elash on Unsplash

And I was afraid he saw me as his manic pixie dream girl. To me, “crazy” didn’t refer to my dyed hair or my quirky pet rats or how I stripped my clothes off and ran into the freezing ocean with him right after we met.

Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s looking for my own peace of mind. Don’t assign me yours. — Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Crazy meant I had literally made plans to kill myself. The possibility was inside of me, and it was something he needed to know about.

I made a suicide-themed mix CD to listen to while I ended my life. I planned to use low-quality online greeting cards to deliver the suicide note.

Crazy was not something I wanted to be. Crazy was not cute.

I didn’t know if I was borderline or bipolar or “just depressed.” I’d self-diagnosed myself with all of it. Mostly, I knew I needed help. I knew I wasn’t okay, even if this relationship had been bringing out the best in me.

“Yeah, she’s crazy. But her crazy’s beautiful to me.”

I’m married to that guy now. Five years ago, I promised him I wouldn’t kill myself, as a condition of having a kid together. I’ve gone to therapy. I’m doing really well.

Today, my daughter and I are listening to the radio in the car. NPR’s doing the pledge drive, so I’m scanning for music. The first song I find is country; my finger’s itching to keep scanning, but I ignore my musical prejudice and let my kid hear it, so she can develop her own preferences.

“ Her day starts with a coffee
And ends with a wine.
Takes forever getting ready,
She’s never on time, for anything”

I’m rolling my eyes and, as usual, trying to imagine how much my kid understands, and how much I’m screwing her up at this very moment.

“Yeah, she’s crazy
But her crazy’s beautiful to me”

Wait, what?!

I find out later the song is Beautiful Crazy by Luke Combs. Over and over, he sings,

Yeah, she’s crazy
She’s crazy
Yeah, she’s crazy
But her crazy’s beautiful to me
Her crazy’s beautiful to me

We don’t get any good clues about what makes his beloved so “crazy.” I mean, coffee in the morning and wine at night sounds like the definition of basic.

Other clues from the lyrics:

  • She makes plans for the weekend.
  • She says, “Let’s stay on the couch and watch TV.”
  • She falls asleep on the couch.
  • She wears her heart on her sleeve.

Crazy, right? Get this lady some help!

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Clearly crazy. Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

So now we’re calling women crazy just for existing? For drinking coffee in the morning? For falling asleep on the couch watching TV? Is this how society gaslights an entire gender?

Call me crazy, but I don’t get heart-eyes when a man tells me I’m crazy. Not even if the word beautiful is mish-mashed in there.

My husband doesn’t call me crazy.

I can call myself crazy all day and night, but I don’t want him to. It’s a sure way to hurt me. The few times he’s said it, out of anger, one pointed look from me has been enough for him to immediately apologize.

I didn’t like it when he thought I wasn’t crazy, because I felt like he must not really know me yet. But once he saw more of my complexity, I still didn’t ever want him to call me crazy.

I deal with mental illness. A lot of us do. But, please don’t call me crazy.

“Do you still think I’m the least crazy person you’ve ever dated?”

I ask my husband. We’ve been together 9 years now, and he’s seen it all: the slew of meds I went on to handle my post-partum depression and anxiety, and, even worse, the withdrawal I went through when I decided to go off them.

“Do you still think I’m the least crazy person you’ve ever dated?”

“Well, no,” he says. “But you’re also not the most crazy. You’re like, medium.”

Written by

Empathy for the win! Published in Gen, Human Parts, Heated, Tenderly —Feminism, Sexuality, Veganism, Anti-Racism, Parenting. She/They darcyreeder.substack.com

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