I’ve not been blogging as of late, largely because I’ve been working on the dissertation. There’s always something grabbing my attention, though, and Sarah Lund’s new Book Blessed Are The Crazy was it! As we raise awareness to National Mental Illness week, I’ve decided to break the silence about the reality of mental illness existing in my family!
I have had a long relationship with mental illness existing in my family, but it was like a distant relative; it never affected me. My Mexican mother raised me with loose connections to her family, I think in part due to the history of mental illness and addiction existing in her family. These features of life remain taboo, and folks are stereotyped as being crazy! In fact, following a brain aneurism that I had when I was 16 years old while living in San Antonio, TX, my paternal grandfather called me ‘crazy!’ Just because I had brain surgery! How naïve I thought as a 16 year old, recovering from two craniotomies. My father’s family, too, had mental illness; my great aunt was living in a facility and she was being treated for her paranoid schizophrenia. Again, my family would call her ‘crazy’ for thinking that the TV wires were talking to her. I remember feeling sad for the folks that my family would call ‘crazy,’ and even would get upset that they (meaning my paternal grandfather) would call me ‘crazy’ for having to have brain surgery. Mental illness always has a way of finding us, whether it’s depression, anxiety, or something more taboo. We need to find ways of talking about these illnesses so as to create a safer place in our communities and supporting those who are in need. I’m writing to break the silence around mental illness–to suggest that we all have the potential of living with masked mental illnesses and that we all can thrive in this world, but we must be willing to accept the differences that other’s enflesh. So, I say, Blessed Are The Crazy, in a crazy good way!