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I've Been to The Psych Ward 17 Times. Here's Why I am not Crazy.

by Sianna Knight 3 months ago in stigma
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Needing Help Does Not Make You Crazy.

When one hears the term "mental hospital", it's safe to assume that most people's minds would go to strait jackets, halls echoing with screams, and patients having conversations with people in their heads. There is so much stigma around the idea of being hospitalized because the media portrays it as a place serial killers and "crazy" people go. What many people don't know is that getting admitted, or even just having harmful thoughts, is more common than you think. According to the CDC, in 2020, 12.2 American adults seriously considered suicide. While thoughts of harming yourself or others may not necessarily be normal, they are a common occurrence, and asking for help should be normalized.

My Story

In my early adolescence, I struggled greatly with suicidal thoughts and attempts. Between October 2017 and October 2022, I had been hospitalized a total of 17 times. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder at the age of 15, and before that, I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder.

I lost my entire adolescence to hospitalizations. I missed out on so much school, I lost so many friends, and I ruined my reputation. I spent my 13th birthday and my 17th birthday is the hospital. Until I graduate high school, I will be known as a crazy girl by so, so many people. But what exactly makes someone crazy?

What Does it Mean to be Crazy?

I'll start by saying that having a mental illness does not make you crazy. Needing more help than other people does not make you crazy. That word has been overused so much that it has lost its meaning. Calling people with chronic mental illnesses crazy is very harmful because it reduces the chances of people with those mental illnesses reaching out for help. It makes people feel isolated, and like there is something wrong with them that they become too ashamed to fix. It causes people to repress their emotions from that shame.

"It's not that deep," someone may say. But take a look at men's mental health. Take a look at the number of men who have committed suicide because they are taught that they should be ashamed for feeling human emotions, having mental health issues, and experiencing dangerous thoughts. While men's mental health is definitely one of the most stigmatized topics, mental health in general, for all gender identities, has so much misinformation and stigma surrounding it. The label "crazy" just adds to it.

I personally believe that crazy people exist, but the word "crazy" should not be a term used to shame others. It should be a term used to describe people who are a harm to others, or possibly even themselves, but they're at the point in which they're so mentally damaged that they're not capable of functioning in society without harming people. I feel like a lot of people deemed crazy could have been helped in their adolescence if they were given access to mental health resources, such as psychiatric wards. Because of that, for some people, it does get to the point where they are not in the right headspace or don't have enough awareness of reality to better themselves. As I said, crazy shouldn't be a shameful term; it should just be used to explain the reality of some people's lives. This may not be a shared opinion, and that's okay.

So, to reduce the number of people who reach that breaking point; to reduce the number of people who harm others and themselves, we should be letting people know that it's okay to ask for help. We should encourage hospitalizations when someone is at the point where they genuinely will harm another person or themself.

Why I Am Not Crazy

I have borderline personality disorder; one small inconvenience can trigger me to the point where it feels like my world is ending. And it's not because I'm "crazy" or "deranged"; it's because my brain is constantly in fight or flight mode.

People with borderline personality disorder tend to have a smaller amygdala. The amygdala is a part of the brain's limbic system that plays a huge role in regulating your emotions, remembering things associated with big emotions, and responding to emotional stimuli. When the amygdala is smaller, it is much more hyperactive, so we experience heightened emotions. As I said before, essentially our brain is always in fight or flight mode. Borderlines also typically have a less developed PFC, which is what regulates the limbic system. So we have these extremely intense emotions and struggle with being able to control them. But that does not mean we are unable to control them.

I have been in therapy for about six years. I went from constantly depending on a favorite person to live, and attempting suicide anytime something went wrong with them; to maintaining a life outside of my favorite person. I have my own job, I have multiple friend groups, and I have my own life. I haven't been to the hospital in almost a year. I've been clean from self-harm for almost a year. I am a healthy communicator, I don't lash out at others when my emotions are heightened, and I know how to de-escalate my mind when I'm in crisis.

Let me clarify that just because my recovery took less than 10 years, does not mean everyone else's will. It is not a linear process; there are constant ups and downs. I still have days when I have harmful thoughts. I still have so much to improve when it comes to communicating. I still have very low lows and very high highs. I have not fully recovered, and I'm not even close. But I am not crazy for admitting that; I'm just self aware. And that's a very powerful tool.

Being able to admit thats something is wrong, no matter what mental health issues you may have, is somthing incredibly admirable, and it should never be seen as crazy. And even when encountering someone who could be labeled as crazy, it is not something to be shamed for.

stigma

About the author

Sianna Knight

I am 17 years old, and I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder at the age of 15 and bipolar 1 disorder at the age of 14. Writing has become my way of expressing myself while creating a space for others to feel seen

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insight

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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