Have you ever met someone and after spending five minutes talking to them you think to yourself, “Oh my god that girl is fuckin’ crazy.” Or did you ever walk down the street when you were little asking your parents why that man using a shopping cart as a closet is talking to himself and heard your parents respond, “Don’t worry honey that man is just crazy.” People throw the word crazy around like it’s a hot potato fresh out of the oven. And yet no one can answer what is really meant by it. Does it mean the person is weird and therefore should be avoided? Or does it legitimately mean the said person has a mental illness? And if it does, then why is it used as an insult? Essentially what we want to know is what does the word crazy mean to you?

Our names are Alisa Chester and Lillie Kasim and we are your new mental health columnists. To start off let us tell you about ourselves. Alisa is a fourth-year sociology major. She’s a pretty normal girl who loves going to the beach and curling up with a good book. Yet, she deals with anxiety and depression and has struggled with an eating disorder. Lillie is a fourth-year global studies major who loves spending time with her friends and having a good conversation. She spends most of her time at the library or mooching off food from the Corner Store. Yet, a little over a year ago she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and continues to struggle with anxiety and depression. We’re college students just like you. We party just as much as the next person. But we just have a bit more of a struggle than the average college kid. And the funny thing is, you would never know it by simply looking at us.

After four years of dealing with these issues on our own we began to realize that there are more people going through similar situations or even worse. We’re sure there are plenty of you who walk around campus who either have a mental illness or know someone who does. And there are even more of you who have dealt with anxiety and depression. Then there are those who don’t even know they have it. Still, nobody talks about it and most of us have no clue that our friends are dealing with a problem. It’s a taboo subject that gets cast away in the same category as drugs and sex. Yet considering we have a column called the Wednesday Hump, we might as well follow suit and start talking about mental health.

Over the next year we’ll use this space to explore different aspects of mental health. Ultimately, our hope is that by writing about it for everyone to read, we will spark conversations about mental illnesses and eliminate the stigma that seems to hover over them. We’re not here to educate you in a boring Wikipedia way. That’s not what this is about. And we’re definitely not here to be Debbie Downers and make people feel sorry for us. We are here to provide you with interesting columns that incorporate our experiences with funny stories. We relate mental health to a lot of things and try not to make it too much about ourselves. For example, our future articles will touch on issues like schizophrenia, Adderall, homeless people like Pirate, OCD, hallucinations, smoking pot and getting drunk. Hopefully, by reading our column, you will gain a greater understanding of what mental illnesses really are, understand what it’s like to have one, and realize how many people they affect. And if you ever feel like we’re not representing a disorder adequately enough, please let us know. We don’t bite.