->'''Delirium:''' His madness... His madness keeps him sane.\\
'''Dream:''' And do you think he is the only one, my sister?
-->-- ''ComicBook/TheSandman'' #31

Sometimes the world you find yourself in is so [[CrapsackWorld grim]] or [[{{Dystopia}} stressful]], if not [[DarkWorld horrific]], that the only way to keep from going crazy is to... well, go crazy. You thus end up acting in [[SillyWalk silly]], if not [[CloudCuckooLander bizarre]], ways, just to keep from truly [[AxCrazy losing it]] [[FreakOut for good]] due to all the horror and depression and genuine ''[[WorldGoneMad lunacy]]'' surrounding you.

Basically, it's when the standard of "sane" is lower in this world.

A common trait of {{Byronic Hero}}es. Often a staple of wartime environments and the resultant BlackComedy which often transpires, where the psychological demands of having to deal with death and suffering on a daily basis requires pretty extreme measures to retain one's grip on reality. Compare BoredWithInsanity, and SafetyInIndifference, which is another popular coping mechanism for the same predicament. Contrast with the so-called "[[MortonsFork Catch 22]]" situation, where going crazy is conclusive evidence that you're sane enough to stay on the job.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* This is the CentralTheme of ''LightNovel/DenpaTekiNaKanojo'', to explore the ways in which humans rationalize trauma. The antagonists (and one of the protagonists) had a DarkAndTroubledPast, and the only way they found to keep themselves functional in the world after crossing the DespairEventHorizon was to become CrazySane. So TheyLookJustLikeEveryoneElse until they have their particular FreakOut…
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'': Much of the cast exhibits various expressions of this trope, both whether for good, evil or something grayer. With all the [[TraumaCongaLine terrible]], [[GoMadFromTheRevelation horrible]] [[EldritchAbomination things]] [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters and people]], most characters need to abandon some part of their sanity just to stay functional. [[spoiler: For example, following the Eclipse, Guts abandoned [[SociopathicHero much of his empathy]] to pursue [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge revenge against the demons, the Godhand and Griffith]] regardless of civilian casualties ([[SuperpoweredEvilSide though that brought other problems]]) and Casca regressed to [[CuteMute an infantile state]] to deal with the horrors she herself suffered during the Eclipse, in particular [[{{Satan}} Femto]] [[RapeAsDrama raping her]].]] The CrapsackWorld of Midland is ''just that bad''.
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'': Eren Yeager. Seriously, if his UnstoppableRage and Titan Shifter powers weren't extremely useful against the giant man-eating mutants whose existence caused them in the first place, he'd most likely be in a padded cell. Notably, he already had the UnstoppableRage even as a small child, long before witnessing his mother's murder and long before he had the strength and skill to back it up.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' doesn't have anything absolute, but there is a general fandom idea that many of the ninjas' various quirks (Kakashi's "reading material," for example) are all actually coping mechanisms to deal with living in a harsh world. Given the amount of very memorable characters based on quirks, there is an understandably large amount of evidence for this fan theory.

* The quote comes from ''ComicBook/TheSandman'', describing [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Norton Emperor Norton of San Francisco.]]
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'':
** Some interpretations of ComicBook/TheJoker depict him as "super-sane" rather than crazy: he sees how ridiculous and mixed-up the world is, and the only way for him to deal with it is by treating it as one big joke.
** Batman himself may also be a prime example. Creator/GrantMorrison has said in interviews that this is how he views Batman: "I never really subscribed to the idea that Bruce was insane or unhealthy. Bruce Wayne would have gone mad if he HADN'T dressed as a bat and found a startling way to channel the grief, guilt and helplessness he felt after the death of his parents. Without Batman, Bruce would be truly screwed-up."
** The idea that Bruce would be even more screwed up without Batman is shown in the JLA story "Divided We Fall" that split the two identities into different people. Bruce is reduced to a mass of rage and grief without his outlet as Batman. Batman meanwhile does nothing since he has no motivation without Bruce's anger.
* The Comedian from ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' dealt with the terrible things he saw and did by seeing the world as a huge joke. [[spoiler:He has a total breakdown when he discovers a horrible scheme that even he can't laugh off.]]
-->"Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense."
* Len Kaminski's interpretation of Comicbook/TheCreeper, as seen in the 1997-98 series: Jack Ryder has to periodically let the Creeper out, otherwise he'll go permanently insane.
* ComicBook/{{Deadpool}} may be a case of this. An optional dialogue in ''VideoGame/MarvelUltimateAlliance'', though of questionable canon, goes as follows:
-->"You know how people talk crazy because they're insane? I talk crazy to keep from ''going'' insane."

* In ''Concerning Us'' the only reason Janine is able to bear living on after [[spoiler: losing her brother]] is because she went insane.

* ''Film/{{MASH}}'' is an obvious example, with Hawkeye and Trapper being the most prominent in the film version.
* Private Handjob gets discharged from the Marines in ''Film/FullMetalJacket'' for [[ADateWithRosiePalms compulsive masturbation]].
* In ''Film/{{Zombieland}}'', Tallahassee suggests the gang smash everything in a store in order to keep from going crazy.
* Applied to the corporate world in ''Head Office'':
-->'''Jack Issel:''' What about you? You're not like the rest of them. How do you survive it?\\
'''Max Landsberger:''' I just go with the flow. I flipped out years ago. I only look sane, but I'm not. The secret is you have to be crazy to maintain your sanity up here. But you're sane, Jack. That's why you're going crazy.
* In ''Film/TheVoices'', what happened when, at the insistence of his therapist [[spoiler: and his crush Fiona's disembodied head hallucination]], the hero Jerry eventually took his pills? [[spoiler: He dreamed about dark memories of his childhood during his sleep, then brutally awoke in a disgustingly filthy home (in his altered state of mind, the home looks very bright and clean), and the pets stopped talking. Fiona's head stopped talking too, and now looked like a rotting corpse. Needless to say, Jerry is very freaked by this experience and immediately gets rid of his pills. When he awakes the following morning, things are back in their usual state, to his relief.]]

* ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'':
** In ''Literature/LifeTheUniverseAndEverything'', after being stranded for far too long on a primitive planet, Arthur Dent finally announces to the world "I shall go mad!"... just before running into his old Ford Prefect, who drags him into chasing a floating Chesterfield sofa across an empty field. Ford himself had gone insane to keep from going insane with boredom, convincing himself that he was a lemon and spending some time jumping in and out of a lake that thinks it's a gin and tonic (at least, he thinks it thought it was).
** In ''Literature/SoLongAndThanksForAllTheFish'', Wonko the Sane concluded that the whole world had gone mad after [[RantInducingSlight finding usage instructions on a package of toothpicks]], and made his house an inside-out "Outside the Asylum" (the rest of the world is "Inside the Asylum").
* The Duck Man in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series has suffered many setbacks in his life, some of which we've seen and some of which remain mysterious, and through it all he's remained intelligent, cultured and a wellspring of good sense -- except that he is never seen without a duck on his head, the existence of which he denies if anybody ever asks about it.
** We do see once that from his perspective he is constantly and inexplicably surrounded by people who see ducks where there are none.
* In ''Literature/TheNameOfTheWind'', this is actually a problem. Early in the book, insanity is mentioned as one of the ways people deal with pain, along with sleep, forgetfulness and death: when the world really is awful, sometimes the only way to end suffering is to escape reality. Later, we discover that the immortal [[BigBad Haliax]] has spent [[WhoWantsToLiveForever millenia dealing with horrible grief and loss]] while unable to sleep, forget, die or go insane. And so he has decided, rationally, that the only way to end his suffering is to end the world.
* In ''Brain Twister'' by Creator/RandallGarrett and Laurence Janifer, most people with a particular mental condition are catatonic or gibbering wrecks. The one known exception is Miss Thompson, who is not only ''compos mentis'', she's arguably the sanest and most sensible character in the book -- except that she's unshakeably convinced that she's a 400-year-old immortal who used to be [[UsefulNotes/ElizabethI Queen Elizabeth I]].
* ''Literature/MobyDick'': Captain Ahab is a pretty competent TheCaptain, and seems perfectly normal until he talks about his AnimalNemesis. Pip [[GoMadFromTheRevelation goes mad from the revelation]] when he drowned twice and becomes a TalkativeLoon with very interesting conversation. After a chapter tells us Perth TheBlacksmith’s tragic life, Ahab himself asks why Perth averts this trope:
--> ''Well, well; no more. Thy shrunk voice sounds too calmly, sanely woeful to me. In no Paradise myself, I am impatient of all misery in others that is not mad. Thou should'st go mad, blacksmith; say, why dost thou not go mad? How can'st thou endure without being mad? Do the heavens yet hate thee, that thou can'st not go mad?''
* In Literature/{{Elantris}} this is said to be the case with Aandan who decided he couldn't face his FateWorseThanDeath in Elantris sane and chose to go mad instead. [[spoiler: He becomes sane again after Raoden defeats him and shows him a better way.]]
* Gabriel Syme from Creator/GKChesterton's ''Literature/TheManWhoWasThursday.''

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{MASH}}'' follows directly in the movie's footsteps, practiced by several characters throughout the series' run, most notoriously by [[AscendedExtra Klinger]] (who wasn't in the film).
** Dr. Sidney Freedman specifically said this about Hawkeye:
--->"Anger turned inwards is depression. Anger turned sideways... is Hawkeye."
** In one episode, a fellow soldier [[{{Envy}} eats Klinger's heart out]] by being sent home for making sock puppets and talking to them. Well, until he starts firing ''REAL'' bullets at imaginary gliders and equally-imaginary enemy soldiers. Then even Klinger called him nuts.
* John from ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' goes gradually crazy over the seasons. The alternative would have been trying to keep it together, then snapping and destroying the universe with a geometrically growing wormhole.
* ''Series/{{Psych}}'' protagonist Shawn Spencer has this to an extent. It's implied some of his quirky behavior and mannerisms are his way of dealing with the truly serious situations of detective work. Most notably in the Yin-Yang trilogy of season finales, as he has to ask his StraightMan and partner Gus to do it because of how the murderer singled Shawn out for the sick game.
* One interpretation of the Doctor in ''Series/DoctorWho'', at least according to Creator/MattSmith:
--> '''Matt Smith''': "That’s what interests me about the Doctor because, actually, look at the blood on the man’s hands. 900 years, countless very selfish choices, and he’s literally blown planets up. [[WhereIWasBornAndRazed His own race]], you know, that’s all on his hands. Which is why I think [[StepfordSmiler he has to]] make [[CloudCuckoolander silly jokes]] and wear a [[NiceHat fez]]. Because if he didn’t, [[DespairEventHorizon he’d hang himself]]."

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* When Wrestling/MickieJames first started feuding with [[Wrestling/LisaMarieVaron Victoria]], it was because Mickie was crazy, crazy enough to keep coming back after defeats, to blindly charge her larger opponent even when Victoria was armed with bat. While Mickie did realize she was crazy and try to reign herself in Victoria was so tired of losing she tried to make herself crazy in hopes it would allow her to beat Mickie again.[[/folder]]

* In Jane Wagner's ''Theatre/TheSearchForSignsOfIntelligentLifeInTheUniverse'' (a one-woman show performed by Lily Tomlin).
-->'''Trudy:''' But I don't ever want to sound negative about going crazy. I don't want to overromanticize it either, but frankly, goin' crazy was the best thing that ever happened to me. I don't say it's for everybody; some people couldn't cope.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Johnny Powell from ''VideoGame/TheDarknessII''. Ostensibly a babbling lunatic, there happens to be no one else on the planet who knows more about the titular Darkness or a lot of the other supernatural goings-on than Johnny.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'': Subject 16 only managed to accomplish the very, very important task set to him by [[CouldntFindAPen doing]] [[RoomFullOfCrazy things]] that no sane person would ever do.
* Isaac Clarke spends most of the ''Franchise/DeadSpace'' series teetering on the edge of sanity, but managing to persevere and fight through Necromorph infestations. The second game in particular has him constantly being tormented by Marker visions and severe post-traumatic stress disorder, especially when he's forced to [[spoiler: once again board the ''[[CallBack Ishimura]]'']].
* ''VideoGame/TombRaider2013'': After learning his motives, Lara speculates to herself that Mathias has gone so far out of his mind that he's "come right back around to some kind of sane."
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', Hawke with a [[StepfordSnarker sarcastic personality]] often comes across as this, having become a StepfordSmiler and SadClown in response to all the cra ziness in Kirkwall and personal tragedies they've suffered over the course of the game.
* In ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'', this is a valid interpretation for a Sith Inquisitor, who is "differently rational" even under the best of circumstances. Doubly so for a ''Light Side'' Inquisitor, who is trying not to replicate the AxCrazy mentality that counts as "normal" for a Sith.
* In most ''[[Franchise/{{Nasuverse}} Fate]]'' works, the Madness Enhancement trait and the Berserker class represent insanity too severe to speak and be understood. In ''VideoGame/FateGrandOrder'', many of the new Berserker or Madness Enhanced characters can speak, and seem perfectly rational except on specific topics, either a BerserkButton or a fixation.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* LetsPlay/{{medibot}}, the CloudCuckoolander in LetsPlay/{{pokecapn}}'s ''LetsPlay/SonicTheHedgehog2006,'' endured the ordeal quite gracefully. [[LetsPlay/KungFuJesus Kung-Fu Jesus]], meanwhile, [[GoMadFromTheRevelation took a long time to recover.]]
* In Webcomic/SkinHorse, [[MadScientist Tigerlily Jones]] turns out to be this. "Let me tell you a secret. You think I'm crazy because I don't know I'm not an Egyptian princess reincarnated on Planet Lovetron. But I *do* know. I'm crazy because I don't *CARE*."

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Popular poster: "You don't have to be crazy to work here - but it helps."
* As Creator/UrsulaKLeGuin says, "What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?"
* Many people in the Nazi concentration camps would still go through everyday routines (e.g., pretending to shave with their fingers each morning) just to try to maintain some sense of normalcy in their lives.
* The aforementioned Emperor Norton of San Francisco.
* There's a euphemism for PTSD among veteran soldiers known as 'still sleeping with your boots on', as one of the more common but fairly benign ways the disorder can manifest is in a compulsion to wear shoes to bed, just in case of an unexpected enemy attack in the middle of the night, even months or years after returning from serving in an active warzone.