Has it ever occurred to you that what we label as mental could in fact be synonymous to different? I have thought of this a great deal since reading Paulo Coelho’s Veronika Decides to Die, where he touches upon this issue.
The book conveys an interesting perspective of how no behaviour displayed inside a mental institution is considered unusual or crazy because it is assumed that every person has a little crazy in them. If you think about it: people in mental institutions are there because of their absurdly different behaviours; and if you reaaaaaaaaally think about it, what stops these people from looking at us and thinking that we are mental because we behave differently than they do?
Of course, that is only my (very humble) opinion, but I think that people in such institutions are there because we, the “normal” bunch that is, don’t know how to deal with anything different or anything that is considered outside of the norm. For what easier way is there to deal with difference and abnormality than to hide it away? Hence, institutions – designed for that very purpose.
I now want you to take a moment and consider the world we live in today; we have a variety of people who, in my opinion, exceed abnormality. You have the alcoholics, the drug dealers, the junkies, those on anti-depressants, gangsters, punks, metal heads, and then of course, you have the mobs, mafia, rapists, and murderers. Yet, they all get to live a relatively normal life – until, of course, they commit some heinous crime and plead temporary insanity at the courtroom to get out of long-term imprisonment or even execution. Whereas, other completely harmless people are stashed away in mental hospitals to be treated for their abnormal, yet harmless, behaviour.
Obviously, I understand that there is a distinct difference between being “mental” and “ill”, but you cannot put those two together and call someone who is different in many ways “mentally ill”. I find it rather demeaning to do so.
I believe that everyone is somehow crazy, although the intensity may differ from one person to another. Let’s not judge those who are different too harshly. In fact, we should refrain from being dull and normal just to fit in. Let’s go out there and savour every mad moment, every whim, and every impulse we feel, so long as we do not cause destruction to those around us.
The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
[Alice checks Hatter's temperature]
Alice: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.