(Don't) Call Me Crazy

(Don't) Call Me Crazy

Who’s Crazy?What does it mean to be crazy? Is using the word crazy offensive? What happens when such a label gets attached to your everyday experiences?In order to understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. Because there’s no single definition of crazy, there’s no single experience that embodies it, and the word itself means different things—wild? extreme?...

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Title:(Don't) Call Me Crazy
Author:Kelly Jensen
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Edition Language:English

(Don't) Call Me Crazy Reviews

  • Heidi Heilig

    Hey, I just met you

    And this is (NOT) crazy

    But here's my essay

    So read it maybe

  • destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    As someone who struggles with her own mental health, I’ve appreciated the recent uptick in representation in the YA book world—as it’s so necessary and I think it can do so much good, especially for young readers coming to terms with their own mental health—but there are two things I’ve found sorely lacking: nonfiction presented in an interesting and approachable manner from authors that readers already know and love, and representation that reflects even the more marginalized segments of the me

    As someone who struggles with her own mental health, I’ve appreciated the recent uptick in representation in the YA book world—as it’s so necessary and I think it can do so much good, especially for young readers coming to terms with their own mental health—but there are two things I’ve found sorely lacking: nonfiction presented in an interesting and approachable manner from authors that readers already know and love, and representation that reflects even the more marginalized segments of the mental illness community.

    With this in mind, you can imagine how ecstatic I was when I learned that

    would fill

    of those needs.

    The first thing I have to rave about is the wide variety of representations offered in this book. Not only are there authors from so many different backgrounds—queer, trans, bi/multiracial, Latinx, and/or Native, to name a few—but there are so many important diagnoses and topics discussed.

    There’s Dior Vargas’ discussion of how hard it is to be a person of color with a mental illness in a society that depicts MI as a “white” issue, S. Jae-Jones’ narrative of what it feels like to

    the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Mike Jung’s relation of

    (and the fact that it is not an illness to be cured, no matter what certain “activism groups” claim)… In fact, I’m just going to include a list at the bottom of this review.

    Something else I loved about this collection is that there are so many different viewpoints on healing/coping. There are stories encouraging, others encouraging therapy or meditation, and even one I related very strongly to, where Heidi Heilig discusses feeling like “A Bad Crazy” for choosing

    to medicate or to strongly pursue a “cure” for the time being. No writer ever vilifies another path to coping or healing;

    The finishing piece from s. e. smith, “Call Me Crazy”, even talks about reclaiming slurs and hurtful terms, fighting back against stigmas, and being proud of ourselves—mental illnesses and all.

    This may go without saying, but

    , as there are certainly quite a few triggering topics. There are discussions of sexual assault, abusive family members, eating disorders, hospitalizations, self-harm (including the comic by Yumi Sakugawa, which depicts a cartoonish character harming themselves), transphobia, racism, sexism, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, ableism, and more.

    Finally, I just wanted to share a few of my stand-out favorites and the ones that meant the most to me on a personal note:

    thoroughness in branching off from a discussion of trich to describe its sister illness, dermatillomania, which I have dealt with literally as long as I can remember and have

    seen depicted in a book, nonfiction or otherwise.

    commentary on how the romanticization of mental illness in women causes an environment that is not conducive to women seeking and receiving the help they need.

    admittance that she considers herself “A Bad Crazy” for not seeking out a cure or treatment for her mental illness—I think a

    of people will be able to relate to this.

    story of her struggles with addiction, in which she reminds us that healing is a forever process.

    history of her disordered eating habits and the desperate need for control that they stemmed from.

    narrative around the combination of anorexia and depression—and just as notably, the underlying message that nothing is stronger than a woman who is brave enough to love herself in a society that tries to tear her down.

    incredibly relatable piece on depression, numbness, and the general lack of desire to exist—I literally feel like Emery Lord and I are mental illness soul sisters after reading this, and I cried, a lot, because talk about feeling

    explanation for why she stays so busy. Her reasoning is precisely the same as my own need to constantly be

    something, even if it’s at the risk of “being present”—and her struggles with obsessive thoughts even began in the same way that mine did, by revolving around an all-consuming fear of losing her parents as a child. From another kid who grew up compulsively listening for the sounds of my parents continuing to breathe while they slept, I see you, Victoria. ♥

    Those are just a few of the gems in this collection, though, and I think there is honestly something in this book for everyone and anyone who has any experience with mental illnesses of their own. I cannot recommend this collection highly enough, and hope that it will become a staple item in teen libraries everywhere. Between the stories of hope and healing, the resources offered, and even the uplifting comics and fun lists of movies and books with healthy rep, this is a fantastic resource and one that I will be recommending to friends and loved ones for years to come.

  • Emily May

    This book made me cry, but for all the right reasons.

    When you start putting parts of yourself out there on the Internet, people begin to wonder about you and to form their own stories. I've seen theories about me circling on Goodreads and Twitter. How I am an evil villainess waiting to tear down the latest YA book. How I review books to be mean or contrarian, or because I am too stupid

    This book made me cry, but for all the right reasons.

    When you start putting parts of yourself out there on the Internet, people begin to wonder about you and to form their own stories. I've seen theories about me circling on Goodreads and Twitter. How I am an evil villainess waiting to tear down the latest YA book. How I review books to be mean or contrarian, or because I am too stupid to do anything else. But here's the truth:

    I am mentally ill. I have depression and anxiety. I am a suicide survivor. I have spent many many years of my life wondering what was wrong with me. I am, if you will, crazy. And that word is fine with me. I recently found out that a lot of the social problems and strange habits I had as a young child (and still have to some extent) are because of high functioning autism - things I remember, like my tendency to not "get" jokes and sarcasm, and things I don't remember, like covering my ears, throwing myself on the floor, and screaming when my parents first tried to take me into a busy preschool class.

    I didn't know for so long why I was bad at existing and interacting in ways that are considered socially acceptable. It was two years after my suicide attempt that I discovered Goodreads. I was not in a good place at that time, but this site turned out to be exactly what I needed. Thinking deeply about how books made me feel and turning that into reviews was the perfect food for my weird analytical brain. And I'm still here because this place has been better for me than any of the meds I've ever taken.

    I'm telling you this because we need to talk openly about mental illness. And I am so so thrilled that the brave writers, actors and artists in

    came together to open up this discussion. From Holstrom's piece on trichotillomania to Kuehn's misophonia to S. Jae Jones' examination of the manic pixie dreamgirl to Meredith Russo's experience of mental illness as a transwoman, this book talks in a frank open way about the realities of mental illness and its treatment options.

    It's both fun and heart-wrenching, breaking up beautiful and important pieces on PTSD, substance abuse, BPD and eating disorders with funny inspirational artwork and reading lists.

    Not surprisingly,

    takes us to the dark depths of mental illness at times - what

    describes as a "black hole" and

    calls the "rituals" of anxiety and OCD - but I think, ultimately, it's an uplifting book. As

    tells us in the opening piece, mental illness does not define a person, and there are many many treatment options available.

    We just need to break down the stigma around mental illness and talk about it. People need to be educated about it, not only so those with mental illness can understand themselves, but so that the people around them can offer compassion and understanding instead of a "You're crazy!" And I believe that what

    says in her piece is true of pretty much everyone, mentally ill or neurotypical:

    It's certainly how I feel every day.

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  • Jessica

    I'm a huge advocate for the idea that we need to talk more openly about mental health. People with mental ilness need to know they matter and that they can get better. People without it need to know they can help. In the last year, this idea has become an increasingly important part of both my personal and professional life.

    I try not to be a nudge and talk about my job on here, but I work for the children's book imprint of the American Psychological Association, and it's unbelievably rewarding

    I'm a huge advocate for the idea that we need to talk more openly about mental health. People with mental ilness need to know they matter and that they can get better. People without it need to know they can help. In the last year, this idea has become an increasingly important part of both my personal and professional life.

    I try not to be a nudge and talk about my job on here, but I work for the children's book imprint of the American Psychological Association, and it's unbelievably rewarding to say that I can connect people to tools that can address mental health concerns. I wish my parents had these resources when I was a kid; maybe it would have saved me a lot of money in therapy bills as an adult.

    But I'm also getting braver at telling people about my own mental health issues. I started writing about it here, which remains relatively distinct from my offline life, and talking with other friends I know are in therapy for similar things. But I recently stood up in front of all 600 APA co-workers and talked about it, I've started talking about it on Facebook, and I talk about it more with friends who aren't struggling themselves. It relieves some of the pressure off my own head, and I feel like it relieves some of the pressure off of others who needed permission to start their own conversations.

    I hope so, anyway.

    These kinds of conversations are going to save lives, so thank you to Kelly Jensen for this collection. You're helping to make it easier to talk about this stuff. Not every essay in the collection worked for me, but it's important that it's out there. It's going to work for someone.

    One essay that did get to me so hard was Adam Silvera's piece on hope in the face of suicidal ideation. I recently wrote a review of his latest book that boiled down to "You know how to burrow beneath my skin in a way few others do and it's amazing." But his essay burrowed beneath my skin in a way that I wrote him an email to thank him for it. I've never written a fan letter in my life, but I wrote one about being depressed.

    Guys, read this book. Give it to people you love, especially teens. Learn how to talk about this shit and it's going to help someone get better.

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)

    Mental illness anthology written with Victoria Schwab, Adam Silvera, and Libba Bray! Who else is HYPED

  • S.

    I have an essay in this anthology! It's about bipolar disorder, manic pixie dream girls, Korean fairy tales, and writing

    .

  • Hari ~Brekker-Maresh~

    They had me at Victoria Schwab and Adam Silvera.

    But the idea of this is amazing!

  • Victoria Schwab

    I wrote an essay for this anthology on mental black holes.

  • Kelly

    We have a cover!

    Add (DON'T) Call Me Crazy to your to-read shelf & preorder a copy from your favorite book store. Let's crack open this conversation about mental health.

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