“Crazy” by Sam Petersen.

Trigger warning: Negative sexual language, verbally abusive language, physical and mental ableism.

When I first heard about it, I felt a feeling of loss.

And shame, for feeling that loss.

That it’s wrong to say “crazy”.

That it’s wrong to say “stupid”.






Anything degrading that refers to a mental state.

I knew about the physical words like, “spaz”, “lame”, and the R word, “retard”. But I didn’t think further.

And I know many people do not know it, so I give them the room.

But it hurts so much.

The subconscious revulsion.

How did I not see it?

It’s a shock now every time I hear someone else use them.

I can not not think about it now.

And anyone’s problem is everyone’s problem.

This next bit only compounds the problem.

I’m constantly driven up the wall by people’s infantilism.

Infantilising is when people treat other people as lower than themselves.

But you know what is worse?

Sometimes people change when they see me talking.

It’s quite eerie to see it happening.

Of course a part of me thinks, “O yeah, take my smartness and swivel on it.”

But that is quite rapey.

And I feel wrong too because I believe saying a person is “smart” is just as bad, because it’s a seesaw of the same thing.

And I think, “You arrogant! Arrogant!! Shit!!!”

How dare you treat me differently.

You should not talk to anyone that way.

It’s like a person in rags and then he turns out to be rich.

The difference in attitudes is quite marked.

Of course a rich person has something to offer, just like a smart person, but that is only under our doomed system.

A person once said to me they start talking low to people and work their way up.

Good, but,

I didn’t develop as fast growing up, partly because of the world infantilising me.

Talking low.

I can’t help but wonder how many others with a mental disability have been further mentally disabled by infantilising treatment.

Institutions still exist.

It’s in the way people speak.

I have become so allergic to infantilism that somebody said, “Yay, crunchy leaves,” on a walk and shuffled through them.

I thought, “Oh shit, here we go again,” and my heart ached because I wanted it to be real.

The simple delight.

But they were being real, really enjoying it, and the leaves were crunchy.

We learn best from each other.

And people are denying us that, by not being real.

A person once said to me that people born with a disability are different to people who gained a disability later in life.

Because they hadn’t learnt how to behave. They hadn’t learned how to be, quote unquote, “normal”.

To me, this was a gross generalisation, but it did make me think. That people with disabilities aren’t the problem, people around us are the problem.

I said to them, “What about me?”

They said, “You’re different.”

But I wasn’t in this case. I am really fucked over by the infantilism too.

And that plus constantly saying there is something wrong with us, people with mental disabilities, like, “don’t be an imbecile.”

“Stop freaking out.”

“I’m so cracked.”

“What a wacko.”

What to use instead?


“Does not compute”, maybe?

“Angry” is fine, because it tends to be accurate.

Someone said “bananas”, but I feel it’s just as bad.

“This is wrong?” Maybe?

But that is so binary.

I really like “wild”, and “gnarly”.

Oh, and “ridiculous”.

But really, it’s a new way of thinking.

I’ve been telling my support workers not to say “crazy” and so on, and the other day one of them said how freeing it is.

If you realise that the negative use of “crazy” is a social construct, you are a lot more kind to your own mental abilities.