When Algonquin sent me (Don’t) Call Me Crazy I was instantly intrigued. An anthology about mental health featuring some of my favorite authors? Count me in.
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? disturbed? passionate?—to different people.
(Don’t) Call Me Crazy is a conversation starter and guide to better understanding how our mental health affects us every day. Thirty-three writers, athletes, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and do not talk about mental health, help for better understanding how every person’s brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy.
A whole anthology about mental health was always going to draw me in. How could it not? I was incredibly intrigued by the differing points of views, in terms of whether or not to call one crazy. Above all, I adored that idea that we should not be defined by our mental health.
The spectrum of voices and stories is wonderful to read. Not only that, but it mixes already published pieces as well as original memoir type stories.
(Don’t) Call Me Crazy deals with the power of diagnosis/labels not being the same for everyone, and the inequality in the mental health discussion.
It is an anthology that stresses individual experiences, support, and listening. If you want to read more about it, Jensen also includes a reading list. So it leaves you not only with more experience, but a jumping board of where to go next. It is equally hopeful, cathartic, inspiring and real.