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“Mama Weer All Crazee Now”

Posted by purplemary54 on October 22, 2013

Really, Dangerous Minds is getting to be my favorite pop culture blog ever.  Among today’s posts was this gem, which just made me laugh out loud.

Normally I don’t think mental illness is anything to laugh at.  And I certainly don’t find the deplorable and degrading conditions of insane asylums of the past very amusing.  But there’s something about this, well, insane list that you just have to laugh at. If you were to use this list as a proper guide for diagnosing mental illness, we’d all be locked up.

Good thing for Quiet Riot that egregious misspelling wasn’t on that list.  Although I suspect they would’ve qualified under one of the other reasons.  I’m officially nuts according to this.  I’ve engaged in novel reading many times, and what’s more, I intend to do it again.  What reasons would get some of y’all locked up in West Virginia’s Hospital for the Insane?  Anyone get kicked in the head by a horse?  Anyone?  Been eating snuff for the last two years?  Had any bouts of dropsy?  (Here’s a larger image of the list, just in case you want to give it a more thorough examination.  I’d insert it into the post, but it’s a bit too large.)  I’m sure we could all find something wrong with ourselves.

On a slightly more serious note, I found it a bit disturbing that so many of these “reasons” for commitment to an insane asylum were related women and their bodies.  I’m not surprised by it; there’s a long history in psychiatry of trying to attribute any sort of mental problems to simply being biologically female.  But it’s a little scary seeing categories like “imaginary female trouble” listed.  (I wonder what qualified as “imaginary.”)  The level of sexism on display here is pretty breathtaking.  And commitment to mental hospitals was regularly done by family members or employers because the lunatic in question somehow didn’t live up to their standards for “normal” behavior.

I’m glad we can look at these kinds of things and have a little chuckle now.  Even though it’s still highly stigmatized, mental illness is acknowledged as having real chemical and biological bases.  And treatment is better today.  Mental hospitals are as clean and safe as any other hospital.  There’s proper medication, that actually works for most people.  While it is kind of fun to look back on the ignorance of yesteryear, it’s also important to fight the ignorance that still persists today.

Repeat after me:  Mentally ill people aren’t “crazy.”  They have legitimate medical conditions that will improve with proper medical treatment.  The only crazy people are the ones that think they’re normal.



2 Responses to ““Mama Weer All Crazee Now””

  1. 45spin said

    The only difference between crazy people and normal people are that normal just don’t realize that they are the crazy ones. Nice post about the dangers of stereotyping people.

    • I heard somewhere that if you’re asking whether or not you’re crazy, then you’re not, because the really crazy people don’t think there’s anything wrong with them. 🙂

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