The origin of this post lies in a reply I began writing to several of you ~ and your candid and courageous comments and conversation ~ sparked by my posts Coming Out Crazy” in Class… and Living Fast... published earlier this week.

Your dialogue with each other teaches us all life-lessons…

I love following your online discussions ~ and believe you me, I do. I read every word. Even if I cannot reply personally to each of you ~ though I try ~ your words mean a great deal to me because I learn so much from you and about you.

Your dialoguing defines the essence and spirit of “Coming Out Crazy” ~ both the process and your processing. Noun and verb.  As you find words for your feelings, you’re evolving. Sharing. Learning. Growing. You delight me and you make me feel proud and worthwhile. You validate my dream for this blog. Kudos to all of you. Bravo!

Embedded in your conversations is a powerful theme…

This discussion is exploring a powerful theme in mental health, wellness and recovery. I haven’t yet addressed it directly here, but now seems like a perfect time.

Perhaps it will inspire more interaction. Provoke thought. Ruffle a few feathers. Isn’t that what we’re all about here? Removing walls. Dismantling the boxes. Thinking in new ways. Looking at traditional ideas through unorthodox eyes.

Ask yourself…

“What words describe me? My essence? My uniquenesses?”

Break new ground. Be a little madcap. Test-drive the feelings of freedom a little craziness can kindle in you. Be you. Not your diagnoses. Forget the labels. Let’s be a little crazy. Different. Madcap. What can happen?

Can you live and thrive knowing you’re a little different?

Or, do you need a psychiatric diagnosis to feel you’re okay? To feel you belong? Perhaps this reflects a medical approach that is illness-based. That suggests that there’s something “wrong with your mind”?

You may receive medication to fix you. And it may help. Or therapy and medication. Which may help more. But what if you’re okay just the way you are and you just don’t know it?

Too many people, I’ve found, want a diagnosis to explain their individual behaviours. Explain why they’re not the same as they perceive their peers. To feel they belong.

Why do you need a diagnosis to feel you belong?

Often, this happens when someone has received one or more psychiatric or psychological diagnoses or labels pertaining to any problem that could be seen broadly as a “mental health issue.”

Or as simply being “difficult” ~ everyone is different.

It may start in a classroom, when you’re a child and you don’t conform. Your teacher can’t make you ~ a little square peg ~  fit into the round hole all your other classmates fit into.

You may be seen as disruptive, when you’re actually an original thinker. Creative. Talented. Curious. With an experimental nature. A different way of thinking. A different kind of mind.

The teacher consults the principal. Your parents are summoned. They ‘re told you’re a problem.

That’s how this can begin.

“All children are geniuses until they go to school.”

My mother has always said that and there’s wisdom in it.

I never fit in at school. I failed English composition because I wanted to write my way. Not by the rules. “My way,” wasn’t the way my teacher expected me to write. I was different. Seen as “difficult” because I didn’t conform.

That “non-conformity” was the reason I was eventually sent to a psychiatrist. I entered the psychiatric system. Was labeled in 1960 with schizophrenia.

Labels have a habit of sticking.

Now I had a mental illness. A mental disorder. An emotional problem. There was something wrong with my mind. But that was then.

How do you see yourself, now? Do you see yourself as well? Ill? Different? Dis-ordered. Dis-abled? Or simply, intriguingly, complexly and interestingly, you. With all your specialness. All the wondrous and perhaps challenging qualities that make you, you?

Can you belong to yourself, first?

Or do you feel you need to belong to a group with a diagnosis to feel a sense of belonging? To feel an identity? To feel better? Do you need to internalize that diagnosis? Is it you? Or, just one facet of who you are?

Think about it. There’s no right or wrong answer. Just something to ponder.

As for me, I belong to myself. No one else can belong. No one else fits. Just me.