Rachel (luckysafire) wrote in artificialjoy,
Rachel
luckysafire
artificialjoy

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You or me, amplified.

For some reason, "Girl, Interrupted" never gets old to me. This is my favourite quote from it:

was i ever crazy? maybe. or maybe life is.
crazy isn't being broken or swallowing a dark secret.
it's you or me, amplified.
if you ever told a lie and enjoyed it...
if you ever wished you could be a child forever...
they were not perfect, but they were my friends.


Until I heard that, I had never really thought of "crazy" like that. This made me think of it in a new light.

The occasional liar, amplified. Where does one draw the line between that and a pathological liar?

A person with mood swings, up and down, from happiness to depression. At what point exactly do those swings get severe enough for that person to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder?

Someone who has internal debates and mulls things over in their head, looking at situations from varying sides. Is that just a step away from dissociative identity disorder?

Yes, I know there are specific symptoms that one must have in order to be diagnosed with such things. DSM-IV, the Bible of mental health and all that... but I can't help but wonder about the origins of it. Who's to say that the people who wrote it, edited it, revised it over the years, didn't have some kind of mental illness of their own, some "flaw" that didn't even have a name at that time?

Maybe we are all crazy, just to varying degrees. Thinking about this makes me picture a sort of chart. Just a horizontal line, with "normalcy" in the exact center, and millions of tiny dots representative of people to the left and right of that center. The ones furthest out are those people that society would label as just completely fucking crazy. Psychopaths, sociopaths... And of course, the closer a dot is to the center, the more normal that person is.

And yet, who can accurately define that center? A dictionary defines it as "conforming with or constituting a norm or standard or level or type or social norm; not abnormal." That last bit reeks of frustratingly circular logic-- defining a word by simply stating that it is the opposite of another word. So I look up "abnormal," and of course the definition of that word is just another antitheses -- "not normal; not typical or usual or regular or conforming to a norm."

Well, following that logic, I can supposedly define one of the longest words in the English language: antidisestablishmentarianism. The definition is obviously "not disestablishmentarianism," right? Breaking it down further, the definition of "disestablishmentarianism" is then "not establishmentarianism," and so forth. Incorrect, I know, but it's just another example of why defining things in this way can leave so much open to interpretation.

So, back to that scale- how can any of those little dots solidly define what that normalcy actually is, when none of them are exactly on it? Some people seem to want to be on that exact center. I don't; it would be a very lonely place.

It's almost like the blind leading the blind. Humans diagnosing other humans. But do we really know what we're doing? For example, we can look at two lab rats, run tests on them, and find out all kinds of things about them that other rats would never know. Things that rats would never even know that they don't know. Surely there are things about us as humans that we don't know, things that we don't know that we don't know, etc. What if we've got it all wrong?

Hmmm. I'm not really sure what brought on all that existentialism.
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