I don’t do crazy, at least I don’t do it well. I lack the necessary compassion and patience to deal effectively with the mentally ill. I’m not talking about folks who experience the occasional bout of depression or anxiety, I’m talking about people who exhibit the symptoms of clinical neurosis or psychosis. Crazy people can make you crazy.
I take my hat off to those individuals that can handle that kind of emotional drama, especially the mental healthcare professionals who deal with it everyday. I’ve had plenty of experience with crazy people, I think most of us have if we really think about it. I’ve encountered it with immediate family, relatives, friends, acquaintances, customers and those strangers that just come at you out of the blue. I know in my brain that it’s an illness, but my emotional response is typically: just get over it (but of course they can’t).
It was always one of my failings in trying to follow the Buddhist path—my lack of compassion for my fellow human beings. With animals it’s different, I’ve always had plenty of compassion for the critters. What’s up with that? I’ve always hoped, with increased emotional maturity, that my development of compassion would catch up with the rest of me. Such has not been the case. The more craziness I’m around, the crazier I get. I am a much healthier person (and happier person) when I distance myself from the emotional drama and crisis of others.
Being around a crazy person is analogous to boiling a frog—as the craziness slowly unfolds you find your tolerance level increasing, to the point that you start taking responsibility for the other persons craziness. Maybe in my next life I will better cope with such unbalanced behavior, Karma would suggest the possibility. Until then, I will continue to hope and strive to do better in this present life. If you are one of the compassionate few, I applaud you. And I thank you.
Note: By crazy I mean clinically, pathologically crazy, and not merely eccentric. Most of my friends are eccentric. I can appreciate eccentric. I can do eccentric. I know the term crazy is not politically correct (PC), but never mind—you know what I’m talking about. And they can’t (or won’t) be fixed, least of all by the likes of me. And the ones that stand a chance of being fixed seem to fight tooth-and-nail not to be fixed. If they deny their illness, then they are not ill. We are quick to seek a doctor’s help when dealing with a physical illness, but shun the advice of others to seek a doctor’s help with mental illness. People lacking compassion (such as myself) often stigmatize that which we fear—and mental illness scares the bejabbers out of me. So, I suppose, I am very much a part of the problem. I’m not sure I always recognize normal when I see it, but I sure as hell can spot crazy. Where do you score on the compassion scale? On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate myself at about 3.