Being ‘Extra’ and Mental Illness

Today I had a discussion in which I learned a new term: Extra. As in, “My mom is being so extra today!”

This term came up as I was discussing the Cognitive View of things like paranoia. On this view, almost everyone experiences slight paranoia at times. But for some people, such as those diagnosed with psychosis, paranoia is more pervasive and outstanding.

My interlocutor said it’s like being extra.

When I looked up the term ‘extra’, I noticed it has some negative connotations in some definitions. Set those aside for a moment and consider: Having a psychotic disorder is just falling in the 3% mark on the bell curve. One is not an alien. One is not a monster. One is not a different species. Paranoia is a normally occurring thing in the human species but happens, in a small percentage, to be severe and pervasive in only some.

It’s like having a little extra. Or being a little extra.

So, next time you think of someone with a mental illness, think of them as having the same qualities and experiences as you–but just a little extra.


Author: Jennifer Lawson

Philosopher. That is all.

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