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Undetected Mental Illness

Professionals have their own definition of mental illness.  Ordinary folks do not.  They just see me acting weird or crazy.  What is nice about pointing a finger at someone is that the thumb points back at you.

Familiarity.  We label people crazy because of certain behaviour observed over a period of the time: the woman who wears the same clothes and pushes a grocery cart full of clothes; the man who carries a sign THE END IS NEAR; the woman who cries when she asks for quarters; the man who has been sitting at Assiniboine Park with his luggage for the past three years and the man who talks to himself at a major bus stop but never catches a bus. 
We call it mental illness because such behaviour happens in public.  Yours happens in private, behind closed doors, but you also display some mental illness to people who see you regularly at Starbucks, on the street, bus or any other public place.  They have questions about how you dress or act and why you are at a certain place at a certain time.

Two women wearing identical yellow winter hats entered the bus today.  One paid the fare, while the other took a seat and looked intently at everybody.  After paying, she walked past and took a seat far from her friend or sister. 
Something clicked because after a minute or two, she joined the other one, who sat down first and stared at everybody.  Guess what?  The starrer stood up and sat opposite her, two yellow hats across from each other.  When we got off at the last stop, they held hands and crossed the street.

On what basis did I label them crazy?  I know nothing about Psychopathology or Sociology. There were two common denominators, the yellow hats and paying the bus fare.  Does the seating preference imply mental illness?
In fact, I’m the crazy one, watching two yellow hats on the bus, instead of minding my own business.
By:  Nonqaba waka Msimang.


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