In addition to “nuts” and “crazy” (or “going crazy”) and “insane” (see the last couple posts), a few other slangy synonyms regarding being mentally unwell—among many others too numerous to mention—are “losing one’s mind,” “nervous breakdown,” and “going mad.” Such terms are often used loosely, usually not intending harm, but it’s important to recognize how and when we use them, as these words can feel stigmatizing and/or offensive to some.
Even the commonly used term “mental illness” is not acceptable to many.
Below are some quotes using the above examples of “psycholanguage” (meaning “words about the psyche”):
Jane Wagner (The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe): “See, the human mind is kind of like…a piñata. When it breaks open, there’s a lot of surprises inside. Once you get the piñata perspective, you see that losing your mind can be a peak experience.”
Bertrand Russell: “One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky: “Deprived of meaningful work, men and women lose their reason for existence; they go stark, raving mad.”
Rodney Dangerfield: “My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you’re ugly too.”
Margot Kidder: “When I was crazy, I didn’t think of anything but being crazy.”
Albert Einstein: “A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”
Mark Twain: “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”
Sam Harris: “It is merely an accident of history that it is considered normal in our society to believe that the Creator of the universe can hear your thoughts while it is demonstrative of mental illness to believe that he is communicating with you by having the rain tap in Morse code on your bedroom window.”
Robert Anton Wilson: “Of course I’m crazy, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.”