I remember , many years ago, I was sitting inside a bus, and thru the window, I saw a woman outside- like La Louve said-hair unkempt, clothes awry and a bunch of kids harassing her, that scene haunts me still. Seeing such people makes me wonder, what cud have been that singular instance which proved the final straw to upset that fragile demarcating margin between so called sanity and insanity?? I have felt that every individual has a certain level of eccentricities/ idiosyncrasies which can still be passed off as normal. Each of us have our own obsessions, passions, phobias, quirks, but there is something that differentiates us as normal people. And at some point, for some people- comes that delineating factor –often invisible-which tilts the scales.
Another fact is that when a person is seemingly normal, but actually has severe adjustment problems, depression- extreme mood swings, others are not able to identify that the individual needs help, and then it is even more cruel. People term their behavior as obstinacies/ and treat them with anger, contempt, while actually they are helpless.
I say this, becos I have seen somebody treated this way, and finally when she was taken for professional help, it was way too late. She was diagnosed as having gone beyond the margin long ago. The painful irony is that her relatives still sometimes refer to her behaviour as deliberate stubbornness and refusal to conform, while actually she was ill.
And worse, the stigma that catches on and does not leave even after a person becomes normal. There is a malayalam movie in which, it is believed that the male members in a family were destined to become insane after a certain age, and everyone around keeps harping on it at all times, and after the protagonist crosses that age, everybody begin reacting as if he is insane, the slightest temper tantrum, any behavioural change is taken as insanity, while actually, the said person was perfectly normal! Uff! That movie was picturised very well, the acting was excellent, the ending was tragic, and watching it was agony.
Just goes to show that actually, every individual has these subtle shades of the abnormal- like a friend said- perhaps jus a shift in the value system, as also a shift in perception!??