According to the medical intelligentsia, one out of five Americans suffers from a mental disease. It follows that if you are in a room with four other people and they seem normal, you are the crazy one.
We can’t escape addressing mental illness without plunging into taboo territory. It is hardly flattering to be regarded as crazy in all its permutations. In an alternative universe crazy could have merit, but last I heard, distorted minds deserve our concern, even derision.
Atomic Clown. Google Images 2016
Mental disorders are as real as cancer and diabetes. To deny their existence is to delve into denial and a callous surrender of concern and compassion. As a matter of procedure it takes the keen maneuvering of a lawyer to pin point insanity, if it was a legal context where mental competency was at stake, and only a shrink could competently expose the psychotic among us. Outside of the domain of legals and medics, designating a person as mentally ill is as daunting as trying to pin jello to a wall. Either you are crazy and you don’t know it. Even scarier is that you are and everything about your weirdness causes detriment to the rest of us. One option is that you have lost touch with reality while cruising in Lulu Land. You think you are Napoleon incarnate, the Muffin Man, or the next Diva to be.
If we inspect longer and deeper, we will realize that more people are bordering into crazy than appears to be the case. It could be us. For example, one way we portray mental instability is the way we go about pursuing romance and singleness. It is possible to pursue singleness with the radicalism of a homophobic hermit and social outcast. You want nothing to do with your fellow men and are inclined to decline friendship and love. You are unwilling and unable to be vulnerable and intimate.
Have you ever observed a friend or acquaintance and question their viability as loving partner? Men and women go about thinking they deserve the One who will “save” them, who will fulfill all sensual and material fantasies. It is easy to have Cinderella dreams and visions given the constant barrage of propaganda to which we are exposed, but reality is a different slice of cake. The Prince in shining armor might be no other than a deranged fool wrapped in aluminum foil. Get over it. It is not going to happen. Even if you managed to get married to Jesus, he would deconstruct your romance fantasies. Jesus didn’t always attempt to solve people’s illusions , capriciousness, or problems (Luke 12:14, Matthew 20:21). What would Jesus do? He would rather you engage in serious soul searching and ask that you remain single because the heat of marriage and love would burn you.
Admittedly there are times when we can’t ask for help. We have crossed a threshold. We are in danger, hoisted on the thread of insanity beyond the pale . Some forms of personality are merely manifestations of full fledged madness. The more people you are connected to, the more you will spot crazy. Inevitably people’s frame of mind have a way to transfer to relationships. Relationships can be lethal. Love, literally, does and often kills. But don’t hurry to shift blame and point the accusatory bony finger. Your man or woman may not be fully cognizant of their actions, or if they are, they lie below the radar of responsible awareness. The Christian duty is to get help for them. A common caricature is that guys stay insane until about age thirty, after which they grow up and stop looking for a mom. On the flip side, girls sink into mental illness once a month, depending on hormonal fluctuations. Stereotypes as these have a ring to it, if you happen to fall within the spectrum of dozed mentality or you know someone who does.
And then there is the fear factor. You might not be mentally ill. Your problems lie in the relentless preoccupation with all things fearmongering. It may look like this: you are hunkered down on your own world, isolated and paranoid, believing that the world conspires against you. We all have our fears and foibles. Yet beyond the curve of normality exists this extreme condition called paranoia and psychosis of fear.
Fear is one phenomenon that we love to exploit or we abhor to have. As long as I have been alive I have been told that there is something to fear. Many fears (terrorism, ISIS, Alqada, Swine Flu, UFO’s, Ebola, the IRS, Global Warming, communism, and even bacon), prove eventually to be unfounded, based on statistically insignificant data or half-baked understanding of real facts. Unscrupulous media pundits and politicians know all too well how to dig into people’s emotions that they venture into playing fear games in order to manipulate the uniformed, naïve, and impressionable masses as a means to bolster support, votes, purchases, and ratings.
If you are devoted to finding things to fear, be my guest, the world has plenty horror in it for you to freak out. Is it fearful to be single? It will be fearful if you want it to be: think of the night-long loneliness, the silence, the possibility of perpetual isolation. Maybe you are one of the commitment phoebes and you can’t get around to forming meaningful relationships. The reason? You don’t believe anybody is worthy of you. You are afraid. You fear rejection, intimacy, and genuine love. You are afraid that love will lead to your undoing. That is a real possibility, but have you thought of the alternatives? Staying single can lead to your demise. Isolation has never been an optimal condition in terms of promoting longevity. Married people outlive singles.
If I were you, I’d ensure my mental affairs are in working order. A wholesome and meaningful life flows from a healthy mind. So long as there is a way out to redemption and healing, there is no shame in the admission that we are sick in the mind. Ignorant and cruelly stupid people would use your condition against you in order to shame and humiliate. If that is the case, know that the Devil has good allies in the accusatory leagues and is therefore in your best interest that you prayerfully stay away from negative forces that detract, rather than enhance your happiness. Life could be a lot more significant if your state of mind anchored on health and virtue rather than vice and self-destructiveness. Life is worth living on sanity’s side. Make it count. We have enough of madness already.