It’s impossible for readers of my blog to ignore the fact that I’m neuroatypical or, to use the vernacular, crazy. I talk about it. I probably talk about it in exhausting detail. I think about it in even more exhausting detail, going over and over the psychological math – I thought this, and this, but not that, and I did this compulsion but not that one, am I having a low-crazy day or a high-crazy day?
I’ve hit the point with my new job where, because I hit the ground running in a lot of ways due to a very busy two week period, I’m just now cropping up against some of the details, systems and rules I hadn’t been told before. Doing ALL THE THINGS? That, I’m good at. I’m a workaholic from top to bottom. Being told I did something incorrectly, especially when I wasn’t informed? That, I struggle with. A lot. But complaining doesn’t help, especially since nobody expects me to have done it correctly. I just have to fix it.
Magically, there are things I will probably never do. I’m not going back to High Ceremonial Magick. The compulsion to check repeatedly to make sure everything is just so when there are so many variables and they are all so important is just too much. Leaving Catholicism freed me of much of the fear of sin that is common with OCD; I’m not going back to a religion where I can fixate on that any more than I currently do.
I can’t tell you how someone with different neuroatypicalities will feel about this or that thing, or how it will affect their ability to do magic. Hell, I can’t even tell you how a different person with OCD will feel about something. I can make educated guesses, but we’re all different people with different hangups, different mental loops, different manifestations. Don’t lump us together and don’t assume – I don’t complain if the offerings are not lined up neatly, and I don’t worry about germs coming from the communal horn during sumbel.
I can tell you that I’m a little tired of the romantic ideal that craziness makes you closer to the gods, or that mental illness is a stigma that’s entirely made up by society. There are things that are stigmatized, absolutely. But I don’t think my anxiety brings me closer to the gods or makes me better at magic. None of my less-functional phases were shaman sickness, to the best of my knowledge. I don’t believe I’m being tested – if nothing else, I’d hope I would have “passed” by now.
I can tell you that I’m tired of the word “crazy” being thrown around by pagans in a derogatory way, to describe someone who has different UPG, or who believes in UPG instead of strict reconstruction, or who engages in some practice you think is useless or silly, or who stirs up drama or lines to be the center of attention. Sure, maybe that person has an actual psychological issue like Borderline, or maybe they just like being the center of attention. If you know him or her really well, maybe you can make a guess… but if you only see that person at gatherings and rituals? No. It’s not your job to fix him or her, and therefore it’s not your job to diagnose him or her. Don’t play that game, because the person you’re complaining to? Might be depressed, or OCD, or any other disorder that you don’t know about because it’s not really any of your business, and now you’ve made an innocent person feel stigmatized, like if you found out about their mental illness, you’d treat them the same way.
You wouldn’t, would you? I’m just going to assume the answer is no, because otherwise I don’t want you reading my blog.
Being “crazy” doesn’t make me a better pagan or a worse one. I may be “better” or “worse,” more functional or less, but it doesn’t go away. It’s just a part of how I work and who I am.