You Found a Poem By

Sam Petersen

Trigger warning: Negative sexual
language, verbally abusive
language, physical and mental


When I first heard about it, I felt a

feeling of loss.

And shame, for feeling that loss.

That it’s wrong to say ‘crazy.’

That it’s wrong to say ‘stupid.’





Anything degrading that refers to a

mental state.

‘Silly’, is kind of ok, but it’s a bit of a

gateway drug.

It’s important for us to reclaim our

words, but the majority of society

doesn’t understand yet.

I knew about the physical words

like, ‘spaz,’ ‘lame,’ and the R word,

‘retard.’ But I didn’t think further.

And I know many people do not

know it, so I give them the room.

But it hurts so much.

The subconscious revulsion.

How did I not see it?

It’s a shock now every time I hear

someone else use them.

I cannot not think about it now.

And anyone’s problem is

everyone’s problem.

This next bit only compounds the



I’m constantly driven up the wall by

people’s infantilism.

Infantilising is when people treat

other people as lower than


But you know what is worse?

Sometimes people change when

they see me talking.

It’s quite eerie to see it happening.

Of course a part of me thinks, “Oh

yeah, take my smartness and

swivel on it.”


But that is quite rapey.

And I feel wrong too because I

believe saying a person is ‘smart’ is

just as bad, because it’s a seesaw

of the same thing.

And I think, “You arrogant!

Arrogant!! Shit!!!”

How dare you treat me differently.

You should not talk to anyone that


It’s like a person in rags and then

he turns out to be rich.

The difference in attitudes is quite


Of course a rich person has

something to offer, just like a smart

person, but that is only under our

doomed system.

A person once said to me they start

talking low to people and work their

way up.

Good, but, I didn’t develop as fast growing up,

partly because of the world

infantilising me.

Talking low.

I can’t help but wonder how many

others with a mental disability have

been further mentally disabled by

infantilising treatment.

Institutions still exist.

It’s in the way people speak.

I have become so allergic to

infantilism that somebody said,

“Yay, crunchy leaves,” on a walk

and shuffled through them.

I thought, “Oh shit, here we go

again,” and my heart ached

because I wanted it to be real.

The simple delight.

But they were being real, really

enjoying it, and the leaves were


We learn best from each other.

And people are denying us that, by

not being real.

A person once said to me that

people born with a disability are

different to people who gained a

disability later in life.

Because the ones born with a

disability hadn’t learnt how to

behave. They hadn’t learned how to

be, quote unquote, ‘normal’.

To me, this was a gross

generalisation, but it did make me

think. That people with disabilities

aren’t the problem, people around

us are the problem.

I said to them, “What about me?”

They said, “You’re different.”

But I wasn’t in this case. I am really

fucked over by the infantilism too.

And that, plus constantly saying

there is something wrong with us,

people with mental disabilities, like,

“Don’t be an imbecile.”

“That’s absolutely bonkers.”

“I’m so cracked.”

“What a wacko.”

“You loon.”

“You nut job.”

“You psycho.”

“That was a bit daft.”

“What a twit.”

“Right royal numpty.”

“Totally insane.”

What to use instead?


‘Does not compute,’ maybe?

‘Angry’ is fine, because it tends to

be accurate.

Someone said ‘bananas,’ but I feel

it’s just as bad.

‘This is wrong?’ Maybe?

But that is so binary.

I really like ‘wild’ and ‘gnarly.’

Oh, and ‘ridiculous.’

But really, it’s a new way of thinking.

I’ve been telling my support workers

not to say ‘crazy’ and so on, and the

other day one of them said how

freeing it is.

If you realise that the negative use

of ‘crazy’ is a social construct, you

are a lot more kind to your own

mental abilities.