If you’re going to call someone ‘insane' or a 'psycho' as a means to deride them, to dismiss them, to treat them as less than human, maybe first you should sit down with me so I can explain to you what you are saying.
I can tell you what it was like to be helped into an ambulance as blood soaked through my jeans from a wound I didn’t even feel.
I can tell you about the girl who shook in my arms crying her way through flashbacks, and more importantly about her activism, her volunteer work, her strength in supporting her friends.
I can tell you about medications making me manic, making me numb, making me nauseous, giving me headaches, blinding me in daylight, making me forget the day of the week twice in an hour, making me lose whole days, making me gain and lose alarming amounts of weight, making me unable to come, making me sleep two hours a night or sixteen, making me miserable, and making me discover for the first time what the feeling of contentment is like.
I can tell you about one of the most giving and caring people I know eating a head of lettuce and two crackers in a week, having full-body shakes and crying in loud hiccups over a half-cup of Ensure.
I can tell you about the queer activist who scrapes together the money for anti-anxiety pills because there is work and the work needs to be done.
I can tell you about the schoolmate who weathered cruel jokes about her suicide attempts without blinking, who lost her shit quietly in her room in the dead of night and aced art and chemistry and mathematics by day, who watched over me like a mother bear when I was scared and alone.
I can tell you about showing up to ED group with my face and neck crosshatched with box-cutter slashes and feeling like a freak not because of that but because I wasn’t an affluent middle-aged blonde woman.
I can tell you about holding vigil, waiting to know whether a tough-as-nails girl was strong enough to survive opening both radial arteries.
I can tell you exactly how it felt to have three bags of cold saline drain into my arm through an eighteen gauge needle while I watched my heart rate hover around fifty BPM after I overdosed on painkillers and antipsychotics.
I can tell you all of these things knowing that the people in these stories are real humans, good people. Strong people, deserving of love and admiration. Not scapegoats or monkeys in a cage. Not walking diagnoses. Not monsters under the bed. Not punchlines.