Rant + Ramble

The Effects of Going ‘Crazy’

Our need to unlock undaunted joy is an act of mental health care

Sierra J. McKissick
8 min readJan 26, 2024


Perhaps the best place to start this discussion is by clearly stating I have no disbelief in the significance of mental health care. Our timelines and dinner tables often reflect (un)health disruptions and the number of people affected daily. Just in the United States, 22.8% of adults experienced mental illness in 2021 (57.8 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults.

Among these numbers are people with severe psychological conditions that negatively impact their quality of life and make them desperately in need of interpersonal care and medical treatments to improve their condition. However, it would be an overstep to neglect the number of people, precisely people from underrepresented groups, who experience psychological trauma due to unjust social and environmental conditions—for example, cultural erasure on the human psyche within Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States and the rising rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.

As much as the presence of psychological disorders remains a biological mystery in many ways, there are particular factors and conditions we can isolate to improve health outcomes. In short, any conversation about mental health care involves a critical discussion about nature versus nurture, with the ladder needing to direct a considerable amount of attention toward psychopathology. The guiding question remains: how can we create spaces for people to thrive mentally, physically, and spiritually?

Maybe the answer to this question is hidden in the consequences of allowing people to be free — that is, live in a society that isn’t driven by oppression — and encourage people to do crazy things.

Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

History has proven that some of our time's best innovators and forward thinkers have been viewed as crazy. Whether we are discussing the radical approach of physicist Albert Einstein or one of the hundred overlooked female directors, like Greta Gerwig, with a vision for human expression, that is a heftier notion than a singular film can fully capture. Remarkable visions and visionaries foolish enough to believe in infinite possibilities are often considered difficult and labeled crazy.

But should that be a bad thing?

Definition taken from the Oxford Dictionary

Understanding word sense disambiguation is helpful when we need a method for discussing subject matter that seems too robust to capture in one form. Explaining the human mind falls into that category. Although the term crazy has been stigmatized to only address the challenging illnesses many people face, we aren’t limited to the first definition of the term.

As the rise of “neurodivergent” research continues to expand our attempt to describe people whose brain differences affect how their brains work, we can closely examine and deconstruct unhelpful systems and technologies. For example, we know people within this population have different strengths and challenges from people whose brains don’t have those differences. When recruiting, hiring, or providing services to people who qualify as neurodivergent, companies should consider what might best serve them when designing spaces, choosing detailed programming and report systems, or scheduling time for weekly ideation and free-thinking independently or in teams.

Still, the term crazy needs rebranding. Your mind isn’t a threat to your mental health. If anything, learning to manage your mind is an integral part of repairing your brain from trauma and uncovering thought patterns. This approach can even be strengthened by diet and exercise.

So, why should we be crazy?

In short, becoming more enthusiastic about your life and what excites you will make you happier. There is a reason passion projects exist: they drive visionaries forward. We know the physical response when you are excited about something; your increased heart rate, breathing, and perspiration prepare you for physical action. But mentally, your arousal triggers good hormones like serotonin and dopamine that signal to your brain, “We like this!” When you are enthusiastic about several things, it’s even better, and an increase in these experiences can drastically improve your mood and quality of life.

‘And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.’ — Friedrich Nietzsche

The Subjectivity of Perception

Nietzsche’s words were unknown to me the first time I ran out the front door of our apartment complex as a young teenager to dance in the rain. My mother stood in the doorway, gawking at me as I performed my best rendition of Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain. My seven-minute expression of freedom and pleasure could have easily labeled me unstable. Nietzsche’s words and the subjectivity of perception invite us to consider if the person dancing hears sounds we don’t and presents a call to action: Will you join in the dance? In truth, music is all around us. Whether it is the symphonic sound of clocks ticking in an office or the buzzing of a bee in a window, it is music in our ears if we allow ourselves to accept basic sounds as a form of melody.

If we allow ourselves to change our learned responses and opinions, we can experience joy. When we embrace simple or uneventful moments as an opportunity to experience profound, undaunted joy, enthusiasm becomes a cure we can access freely and regularly to improve our quality of life.

Accessing Undaunted Joy

Earlier, I mentioned that underrepresented groups are often impacted by fixable conditions that stem from oppressive beliefs and practices. The need to recover from the social and environmental dangers that commit violence against their personhood to reach sustainable joy practices is essential to improving their health mentally, physically, and spiritually. Individuals ' move toward undaunted joy is only sustainable with an integrative approach that changes systemic and structural principles.

With this in mind, it is vital that people in these groups fully understand the proposed practice and state of being we seek to obtain. With a clear understanding of our destination, we might avoid some pitfalls that perpetuate superficial performative attitudes that evade our media and collective vision for society. Undaunted joy is anti-oppressive, and the feeling of pleasure is not intimidated or discouraged by difficulty, danger, or disappointment.

Accessing undaunted joy means to:

Feel at home in your body.

Somatics enable us to understand our bodies' sensations and responses to danger, stress, and moments when we are happy, among other experiences. When we become in tune with our bodies, a sense of oneness is achieved where the mind can sense what is happening in one’s body, where it is occurring, and why. Exercises like guided meditation and intense stretching help me connect with my body, observe, and explain my feelings and why.

Any resource you find helpful for healing can be adapted to work alongside other healing practices. One of my favorite resources over the past three years has been podcasts that seek to create space for healing and expand understanding of human emotion and the body. Try listening to some of the shows below.

Set your own values and core beliefs.

Reflecting on the core beliefs you have internalized throughout your life is a large task. Still, it is one worth prioritizing and completing with a mental health professional who can offer support throughout the journey. Our families, schools, and religious traditions are primary sources for defining our identities, yet some unhealthy beliefs and practices leak through and corrupt our psyche.

Take time to examine what you believe about yourself, if you can experience pleasure, how often you can, and who can be included in your experiences. If you find that your views are self-limiting and cause pain, consider adjusting the worldviews you have adopted. Finding a balance between tradition and what you need to live well isn’t an overnight destination. Be patient with yourself and others who might be confused about the change. Again, having the support of qualified professionals to guide you through your journey will aid your transition and self-care practice.

Pursue your goals and accept failure as part of the course.

One of the primary functions of oppression is to devalue and dehumanize an individual. This attack on a person’s self-concept is effective in causing an individual to freeze. People from underrepresented groups often work through feelings of mistrust, imposter syndrome, and shame because oppressive systems and people who perpetuate stereotypes have reinforced self-limiting beliefs and predicted their failure. None of this is based on fact.

As you move toward adopting undaunted joy as a lifestyle practice that enables you to experience pleasure and extreme enthusiasm, you will have to unlearn the belief that you are not good enough or capable of achieving your goals. If you fail, you can recover if you rely on your intuition and ask for help. Your understanding of self-efficacy is the belief that you can control your motivation, behavior, and social environment. With that in mind, you can work toward achieving the reasonable goals you set for yourself.

Are you interested in taking your life to the next level?

Sign up for my weekly email and podcast for women ready to be honest about what they want. We’re a crazy group of people ready to live freely and feel joy. Check out this post I shared with my community on the #smxcoaching page on Instagram.

Post from Instagram on @smxcoaching page


No, you’re not seeing double. I want to tell you about my shirt.
So, my oldest sister got it for me.

“Crazy? I prefer the term hilariously unstable.” I love it!
‘Crazy’ has been stigmatized to describe various states of a person’s mental health — this is outdated and offensive.
However, there’s a healthy level of crazy we all need that can be found in the second definition.

Crazy can mean extremely enthusiastic.
Extreme enthusiasm can look a little unstable.

My birthday was yesterday — I turned the big age of 34 — and I started thinking about how I’ve been extremely enthusiastic at various times, aka crazy.

I was crazy when I was nine years old and wanted to be the President of the United States. — On second thought, it’s probably not that crazy anymore.

At 16, I was crazy to think that my life could exist beyond the finite resources and experiences I’d had up to that point.

In my 20s, I was crazy to believe that maintaining my integrity was worth being STRONGLY disliked.

In 2017, I was crazy enough to believe that [God and] I could start a company that would change how people live and significantly transform their thoughts.

In 2021, I was crazy to think that my mentorship gifts should be shared with other women [and men].

In January 2024, I am crazy enough to believe that if I’m wise, I can help you unlock the next level of your life by sharing my journey to freedom.

Will you be crazy with me? Can you get extremely enthusiastic? Go crazy? If you can, we could unlock a new level that helps us feel joy and live freely. Let me know in the comments if you’re in.

Krueger, R. F., & Markon, K. E. (2006). Understanding Psychopathology: Melding Behavior Genetics, Personality, and Quantitative Psychology to Develop an Empirically Based Model. Current directions in psychological science, 15(3), 113–117. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0963-7214.2006.00418.x
Taschereau-Dumouchel, V., Michel, M., Lau, H., Hofmann, S. G., & LeDoux, J. E. (2022). Putting the "mental" back in "mental disorders": a perspective from research on fear and anxiety. Molecular psychiatry, 27(3), 1322–1330. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01395-5



Sierra J. McKissick

I’m a writer and educator. I write about behavioral and spiritual health choices and inclusive creative strategies. @iamsierrajecre