Nuts, Crazy, Insane

I wanted to write a post on We Need to Talk About Kevin, a disturbing and thought-provoking book written by Lionel Shriver. The novel has been made into a film starring Tilda Swinton and it comes out this fall.

Image from NutsforLife.com

However, I am running out of time so I’ll leave that idea for another day.

Recently, I’ve become more sensitive to words associated with mental health:

-You’re crazy!

-That’s insane. You’re off your rocker.

-He’s nuts! Why would he do something like that?

These are common phrases used among adults and kids alike. But, at the risk of being too politically correct, do they damage our understanding of mental health? Obviously saying, “you’re crazy!” is meant as a negative. So, lately, I’m trying to avoid using: nuts, crazy, insane, wacko, nutty, etc. in daily life. It’s a challenge.What about you? Do you agree with my train of thought here?

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6 responses to “Nuts, Crazy, Insane

  1. Oh, Lisa, words are powerful. You hear stories about how one phrase said to a person either encouraged the person forever or damaged their self worth. This is a good reminder.
    j

  2. Okay, wow. I never really thought about my use of those words and their negative connotations til this post. Gives me something to think about…

  3. I do agree, and I’ve been realizing lately that one phrase I say to my sons often, jokingly, is “that’s crazy!” Your post helped me know that my gut was right. I need to find another word because language is powerful. I remember as a kid when people would say, “That’s gay!” and I would think of members of my family who are gay and it made me feel terrible to hear that word used with such disdain. This is the same thing. Thank you for pointing it out. What other words are you using?

  4. Pingback: Monday Madness from week of May 9 | Motherlogue

  5. If someone personally tells me they don’t like the use of a particular word, then I make an effort not to use it. I do entirely respect that and thank you for sharing this point of view.

    However, this is just another point of view. I have to admit that I sometimes use wording similar to the above, probably along the lines of “you’re crazy” or “he/she is crazy.” When I do use such terminology, though, it is not even associated (to me) with mental illness. Rather, I think of the behavior the person is exhibiting at the moment and even then, it is not associated with mental illness.

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