Thursday, February 15, 2007

Almost a Clinical Diagnosis

I have to say, it's kind of cool that we now have a new term for crazy.

For a while now, "batshit crazy" has been my term of choice for about as crazy as you can get.

I tend to use the term crazy rather cavalierly. I never gave any thought to different types of crazy, or actually trying to define what I meant by "crazy" until I was in a book club in San Diego with a group of psychologists.

I was working at Children's Hospital, and became friends with one of the women I worked with, who had a PhD in psychology. She started a book club, and all her friends, except me, were clinical and research psychologists.

I remember very clearly that we were discussing Mating, by Normal Rush, which is an excellent book - really interesting and so well written. At some point I said something about the main character being crazy.

One woman asked, "What do you mean, 'crazy'?"

"Well, I mean, well, I don't know, crazy."

I went on to give examples of the behavior she was engaged in that make me think, "Wow - spiraling into insanity!" But I didn't have the technical vocabulary to narrow down the type of crazy I meant.

These women, however, they all had the DSM IV at their mental fingertips. And so they would actually discuss character behavior and which particular category of mental illness one might fall under.

And so I learned that under the umbrella of crazy, there are many, many specific and technical definitions. I couldn't just freely throw around "crazy" without being questioned. It was both odd and interesting.

Now that I'm back in DC, however, all my friends are lawyers. I have been using "batshit crazy" with impunity. But now, now I've started using "900 miles in a diaper crazy." It's so descriptive. I like it.

I used this new favorite term, "900 miles in a diaper crazy" the other night, and this guy at the bar said, "God, you know, my ex-girlfriend told me today that even if she calls me 18 times a day, at least she's not as crazy as that astronaut."

"Wow. Was that, um, a relief?"

"Well, yes and no. She's not really someone you want to use as an example."

"No. You're never going to get someone to get back together with you by using Lisa Nowak as your point of comparison."


  1. LOVE IT! I'm totally stealing "900 miles in a diaper crazy."

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one still thinking about Astronaut Lisa . . . that whole "diaper means no rest stops" scenario just amazes me, and I'm not at all squeamish about such things.

    Karen (a random reader)

  3. LMNt - you are welcome to it!

    And Karen - I know, it's just so bizarre! If you're going to stop for gas, why use the bathroom while you're at it?

  4. Sometimes, I still refer to myself as my DSM IV title. People usually think it's my inmate number.

  5. I'm taking it too! (But I'll totally give you credit.)


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