I don’t trust anyone who says they’ve never felt crazy. But I don’t trust the ones who say they have, either. The only ones I trust are the ones who tense for a moment, struggle to look you in the eye, and then smile and say, ” A little, I guess.” Those are the only people who actually know what it feels like to feel crazy; the only ones who feel like they’ve run away from so many things, so many crushing anxieties and soul-sucking emotions that they’ve found themselves at the precipice of a cliff in their own minds. Some tumble over the edge, but I don’t know how to identify those people yet. The ones I know, the breed I’m all too familiar with are the people who have found themselves there, and have had to lower themselves quietly to the ground and dangle their feet over the edge.
The reason that I trust these people, above all others, is that they know what a good day feels like, and they revel in it because they also know what a very bad day feels like. They know what it is to love the feel of sunshine and what it is to detest it and what it is to wish that you had no idea how to love or detest anything. They know that a good day means feeling something, going 24 hours without the panicky rush of heat all over your body, and feeling content enough to do the things you love. They also know that a bad day means feeling so profoundly unhappy that you can almost feel the cloud, that deep shadow of darkness following you, into the shower, into the kitchen, into your car or onto the bus. They know that a bad day means trying and failing to grapple with an intense desire to simply not exist. On the really bad days, maybe you wish for death. Maybe you even think about being the cause of your own. But the really bad days are, at least for my particular brand of crazy, less frequent than the bad days, which appear without warning and sometimes, with an alarming frequency.
I only trust the people who have felt a little bit crazy because they know that dark, hollow ache of nothingness that comes with not wanting to exist, and still: they exist. Aching, burdened, saddened, boldly, brilliantly, and defiantly, they exist. The people who have felt a little bit crazy are the most beautiful because they have experienced a piece of the white-hot intensity of being happy and sad at the same time and not quite knowing what that means.
People who have felt a little bit crazy are beautiful, even when they are not. Even when they cry or scream or make so little sound that it scares you, they are beautiful. When they lift their eyes to yours, when their dark cloud starts to dissipate and their bad day gives way to a good one, you’ll see what I mean, you’ll see why they are beautiful. They are beautiful because they exist, even when they don’t want to.
Remember this: the people who have felt a little bit crazy are beautiful. Look at them and see that. The next time they scream or cry or they look at you and their eyes refuse to look at yours, you will understand, I think. They will need you to understand.
They will need you to find them on a good day and enjoy existing with them, and they will need you to find them on a bad day and help them understand that they are not alone. They will need you to find them on a bad day and tell them that getting help doesn’t mean that they are “messed up”. They will need you to find them on a bad day and understand that they can’t talk and that there’s something wrong or maybe that there’s nothing wrong and that they can’t possibly articulate what they are feeling when they stop wanting to exist. They will need you to find them on a bad day.
I only trust the people who have felt a little bit crazy because people who have felt a little bit crazy know something about life that the strictly-sane do not. And you’ll know it when they look at the ground and smile and say, “A little bit, I guess.”