The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Still Crazy, After All These Years

Posted on | December 17, 2012 | 36 Comments

The loony bin, the funny farm, the nuthouse — it is not politically correct to refer to therapeutic institutions in such slang terminology, but this PC attitude of apologetic sensitivity toward the mentally ill doesn’t really help anyone, least of all the kooks themselves. If someone is dealing with clinical depression or paranoid schizophrenia, insensitive slang isn’t their biggest problem. It’s not even in the Top Ten.

Maybe you won’t take my word for it — hey, what do I know about being crazy? — but I’d urge you to heed my friend Lisa Graas:

Msgr. Charles Pope has written a personal story about mental illness that I recommend. He offers that people die from mental illness every day. His sister was among them. I have nearly been counted among them multiple times, having been put behind locked doors for my own safety. Mental illness runs in my family, and so, I am not the only person in my family who has spent time behind those locked doors. As Msgr. Pope points out, not enough people are behind locked doors for their own safety because too many people believe mental hospitals are “inhumane” ways to deal with the mentally ill. In reality, it is inhumane not to confine people who are a danger to themselves or to others.

Read the Monsignor’s story, and when you’re finished with that, go hit Lisa’s tip jar — every time someone hits her tip jar, an angel gets his wings.



36 Responses to “Still Crazy, After All These Years”

  1. Lisa Graas
    December 17th, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

    That makes my little Passionist heart go thumpety thumpety thump. <3

  2. Catholic Bandita
    December 17th, 2012 @ 3:21 pm
  3. Stogie Chomper
    December 17th, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

    I have clinical depression but was just kidding about paranoid schizophrenia. (Why do you have it in for me? Why are you following me? Did you poison my drinking water?)

    If you want to know what clinical depression feels like, remember when you first realized that Obama was going to win re-election? Yes, it feels like that, all the time. Fortunately a pill makes the depression go away and I am still hoping for one that will make Obama go away. So far that latter horrible aberration remains untreatable.

  4. JeffWeimer
    December 17th, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    I don’t know what you know about being crazy, but I do know you can’t out crazy Stacy McCain

  5. ThePaganTemple
    December 17th, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

    I still want to know who’s going to be in charge of deciding who is or is not crazy. Is this going to be another function of ObamaCare?

  6. Msgr Pope: People Die from Mental Illness Daily - Catholic Bandita
    December 17th, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

    […] Linked by The Other McCain. Thanks, […]

  7. Lisa Graas
    December 17th, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    Your doctor should. Nobody else.

  8. Lisa Graas
    December 17th, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    I would posit that Obama makes depression worse among those who have an ounce of moral reasoning.

  9. Stogie Chomper
    December 17th, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    Ah, we can only try! But at least he’s interesting, and that makes it okay by me.

  10. Library Gryffon
    December 17th, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

    I’m inclined to agree. I had to start back on anti-depressants after over five years last month. And the election was definitely the tipping point. Well, that and finding out I was losing my employer-based health insurance, and will be stuck with just Tricare now. Which is Ø and the Dems’ fault, adding to the depression of his re-election.

  11. Lisa Graas
    December 17th, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

    Emotions are not really voluntary. No one really has control over their emotional reactions. When the brain chemistry is off, emotional reactions can intensify. Depression isn’t a weakness of the will. What we choose to do with it when it happens is where our will comes in. Unfortunately, for those with illnesses that also affect reasoning, bad choices are more likely unless one has faith that it’s best to hold onto objective reality instead of what your brain is telling you to do. Adam Lanza may have been unaware of the objective reality that he should not ever kill anyone even if his brain told him he should. But Asperger is not a disorder that causes delusion. It may be that he just was never brought up to believe that it is ALWAYS wrong to kill innocent people.

  12. K-Bob
    December 17th, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

    No way. Those people are crazy.

  13. K-Bob
    December 17th, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

    My favorite Ayn Rand quote is this one:

    Production is the solution to the problem of survival

    (I think it’s from “Philosophy, Who Needs It?”)

    I maintain the same holds true for those battling mental “illness” (a term of pop psychology that covers far more ground than it ought). I would modify it thus:

    Production and creative effort are the solution to the problems of mental distress.

    The desire to be a part of something, especially something bigger than yourself, is a very common human trait. The things that tend to depress our emotional states, our general sense of happiness, are often related to how others perceive us, or how we think they perceive us, and/or our sense of accomplishment.

    Forward motion, even in small increments, is a way out of the despair. Put on some music, and move.

    It won’t work for everyone, because more serious problems will require intervention or medical help (and some folks prefer to produce for their own benefit, without regard to what others think—so they have to be their own gauge of success). But depression follows us all, to some extent. Those lucky enough to have it only occasionally can benefit from ordinary motion, creation, or production.

  14. SDN
    December 17th, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

    And who will your doctor work for? Hint: not you.

    We have seen multiple “studies” that supposedly tie being crazy to holding conservative views. Every totalitarian has used government psychiatry to remove opponents; 0 will be no different.

  15. Bob Belvedere
    December 17th, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

    All we can hope to do is walk in his deranged shadow.

  16. Bob Belvedere
    December 17th, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

    Wonderfully put.

    When my Black Dog takes hold, I find that being productive and/or creative helps me emerge a lot more quickly.

  17. Finrod Felagund
    December 17th, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

    Indeed. I called in sick to work the day after the election as a mental health day, because I figured there was no sense in inflicting my foul mental state on my coworkers.

  18. Finrod Felagund
    December 17th, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

    “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” — Hunter S. Thompson

  19. Quartermaster
    December 17th, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

    Glenlivet if you like Scotch, Jameson if Irish, Maker’s Mark if you’re into Bourbon. A friend likes Barnacourt 5 Star. All will cure what mentally ails you.

  20. richard mcenroe
    December 17th, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    You CAN outcrazy RSM… but don’t try it on property you own or owe on… (between the deer and the fireworks and the car, there’s usually some pretty notable collateral damage).

  21. Paul H. Lemmen
    December 17th, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

    Thank you dear friend for your pointer to Msgr. Pope’s article and for your steady voice of reason about mental illness issues. You and yours are ever in my prayers and daily Mass intentions.

  22. ThomasD
    December 17th, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

    I work in long term care (aka nursing homes) and have for over 20 years. A growing portion of that patient population is now comprised of people with serious underlying mental health issues.

    Twenty years ago it didn’t use to be that way, it was just old people and more old people, with the occasional severe trauma patient and the rare congenital defect person. Now, it’s a mix of true seniors – people in their 70’s, 80’s and upwards, the mentally ill, and those other atypical types.

    The mentally ill people are typically younger – 40’s, 50’s, 60’s but not that you’d know it by looking at them. Being much sicker – usually from a lifetime of poor self care and/or substance abuse. Most of them won’t live nearly as long as those older residents, that’s how bad they are. They are the ones who were de-institutionalized back in the day and left to their own devices. Brutish, nasty, and short barely begin to describe their prior existence or their future prospects.

  23. ThomasD
    December 17th, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

    Blanton’s is the World’s Finest Bourbon.


    Try it and you’ll thank me later. I was never much for straight bourbon until someone gave me a glass.

  24. ThomasD
    December 17th, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

    “Man would fain be great and sees that he is little; would fain be happy and sees that he is miserable; would fain be perfect and sees that he is full of imperfections; would fain be the object of love and esteem of men, and sees that his faults merit only their aversion and contempt. The embarrassment wherein he finds himself produces in him the most unjust and criminal passions imaginable, for he conceives a mortal hatred against that truth which blames him and convinces him of his faults.”

    Blaise Pascal

  25. Adjoran
    December 17th, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

    The problem is that society – and it hasn’t been just the USA, all of Western civilization seems to have undergone the same process – went from one extreme to another without much thought, research, or discussion of the consequences.

    Previously, we tended to lock people up too quickly, sometimes just for being too quirky or inconvenient to deal with, when that should be the last resort for treatment. Then, suddenly – spurred by a couple of sweeping court decisions – we went to the opposite extreme of not treating the mentally disturbed in a confined environment until after they had committed some crime or other act proving themselves dangerous.

    Those fellows homeless on the street muttering to themselves may not be a danger to others but they certainly aren’t just “being free” – take the chap in NYC the cop bought new boots for. It turns out the man has an apartment, paid for by his disability, he just doesn’t stay there. And a week later he had lost his new boots and had no idea how, when, or where.

  26. robertstacymccain
    December 17th, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

    It is important to distinguish between:
    A. Clinical depression, a mood disorder; and
    B. The rational reaction to the objective reality that your life sucks and the world is going to hell in a handbasket.
    Viewed objectively, B is actually worse in the long run but — look on the bright side — at least you’re not crazy.

  27. JeffS
    December 17th, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

    I will. For a reasonable fee. Sent through PayPal.

  28. Stogie Chomper
    December 18th, 2012 @ 12:07 am

    Stacy, when you have A, you feel like you have B. Two for the price of one!

  29. Stogie Chomper
    December 18th, 2012 @ 12:09 am

    I have found that productive work does indeed lessen depression.

  30. K-Bob
    December 18th, 2012 @ 12:11 am


    (Extra marks for sneakin’ in a Churchill reference.)

  31. Bob Belvedere
    December 18th, 2012 @ 8:00 am

    You’re welcome.

    Putting in Churchill references comes easy to me, as I am he reincarnated!

  32. Bob Belvedere
    December 18th, 2012 @ 8:21 am

    The swing began with the documentary Titicut Follies by Leftist lawyer/filmmaker Frederick Wiseman. [I saw it in the early 1990’s and it is very disturbing, but one wonders about the technique he used, called ‘affective editing decisions’.]

  33. McGehee
    December 18th, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    The problem is that society – and it hasn’t been just the USA, all of Western civilization seems to have undergone the same process – went from one extreme to another without much thought, research, or discussion of the consequences.

    Scientific method: Change one thing and observe the result.

    Political method: Change everything and blame your predecessor.

  34. Stogie Chomper
    December 18th, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    Putting in Churchill references comes easy to me, as I am he reincarnated!

    I would have guessed Benny Hill 🙂

  35. K-Bob
    December 18th, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

    Pascal. Interesting fellow. Chose faith over “negative reason” (my term for it) based on the impeccable logic that it couldn’t hurt, and might be the safer course.

  36. Bob Belvedere
    December 18th, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

    Ah, Stogie, you wound me to the quick – thank God, it’s Nestles Quick.