How do we choose our dearest friends?
In a sense, they are chosen for us—
Plunked down in the same time and place as we are—
And then by some inner magnetism—
We are drawn toward them.
By knowing them, we become, simultaneously,
More like them and more like ourselves,
For they awaken in us and validate
Our craziest, most private thoughts because
They too are crazy, are perhaps more insane,
In the way that we are insane.
This mutual validation of insanity is, ironically,
What keeps us sane
Because we need acceptance of our innermost,
Socially awkward and inappropriate selves,
Like we need sunlight and underwear
And regular cardiovascular exercise and
Vegetables and laughter and hope.
I wrote this about the close, confiding relationships I developed before my depressive episodes and still maintain today. I count myself quite fortunate that I had loyal friends and family who not only advocated for me throughout that period but also held onto hope when I could barely hold onto it myself.
I have a complicated relationship with the word “crazy.” It is often used as a derogatory word to dismiss certain perspectives, but here I’m embracing it to describe the awe-inspiring and life-giving experience of being granted access to another person’s thoughts that aren’t usually shared.