We live in a mad world, and navigating it as a mad person can be doubly maddening!
People with lived experience of madness, mental illness, mental health challenges, and/or neurodiversity - we use a wide range of different words to describe our unique realities - have long been called crazy, insane, bonkers … it goes on.
We decided it would be empowering to reclaim words, and invent some new ones, to both playfully and accurately reflect our perspectives.
To this end, 40 mad artists and authors - comprised of members of NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action (OMQ's publisher) and the broader Sudbury community, have crafted this Dictionary of Madness. Inside this 160+ page, 5" by 8" full-colour book you will find dozens and dozens of made-up words and art illustrating real-life experiences and emotions related to mental health (however tangentially).
Note: All the words within were written by people with first-hand experience of what they are writing about. For example, someone with schizophrenia wrote "schizofunnia" (p. 120). There is power in shifting the use and connotation of language when it's recovered by those who have that specific experience. We encourage everyone to reclaim the words that relate to their own experiences, but not to appropriate or misuse those that don't.
To that end, this is your dictionary, too! What words would you use to describe yourself and your experiences? At the back of the dictionary you will find templates to write your own words and definitions. We welcome you to snap a picture, and share them on social media with the hashtag #DictionaryOfMadness and email us at [email protected]
This project has been possible thanks to support from the Arts & Culture Grant program from the City of Greater Sudbury