It’s not uncommon for us to feel like we’re out of our minds, to refer to ourselves as ‘crazy’ for reactions, behaviors or thoughts in the many of life’s moments. Busy schedules, lack of sleep and questionable diets don’t help the matter. A quick search engine query for “am I crazy?” reveals a jungle of so called ‘certified’ mental health quizzes and forum discussions from unreliable sources filled with misguided information.
But are we really mentally and emotionally unstable when we ask ourselves this exact question, then research the answer? The answer is most likely no, at least not in the medical sense. In fact, experts say that believing we’re crazy is often a testament to our sanity. When a person develops a mental illness such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, they usually can’t feel it happening. This is because a crucial component of ‘craziness’ is breaking from reality.
Life is full of fears, uncertainties, and tough decisions. Tackling them takes a great deal of mental stamina and can leave us feeling exhausted and ‘crazy.’ However, feeling and psychosis are two very different matters.
For instance, a mentally healthy, yet perhaps overworked person, may feel like the entire world is against them, but consciously recognize the fallacy behind their logic. In contrast, someone having a psychotic episode can truly believe that the entire world is against them and, as a result, display behavior and emotions that align with that belief.
But How Can I Know for Sure Whether I’m Crazy?
While self assessment may either confirm or alleviate your fears, below are three common yet intense occurrences that may shed light on the question:
The symptoms are clear: rapid heart rate, cold sweat, dizziness, trouble breathing. It’s a panic attack, and it comes out of nowhere. Many people experience at least one in their lifetime, and doctors have trouble identifying their cause. If you’re hit with a panic attack, it’s easy to feel genuinely crazy. But rest assured that you’re perfectly sane. Most panic attacks pass after a couple of minutes – enough time to convince you that something’s not quite right upstairs. Counseling can help you overcome your fears and go on living a normal life. Recurring panic attacks may indicate panic disorder, a chronic condition that can be managed with proper medication.
Loneliness and Isolation
We all feel disconnected at some point in our lives. It may be after a break-up or loss of a loved one, or while struggling to fit in with peers or co-workers. These feelings of longing are different than the fear of being misunderstood. When the feeling of disconnect exceeds a person’s rational threshold, they may lose their grip on reality. They may become distraught, act out or make rash decisions with their finances. If you’ve felt this way or fear that you may one day lose control, you’re not crazy. You should seek therapy. Group counseling is particularly helpful, as you’ll meet people with similar thoughts and fears.
Signs of Mental Illness
In some cases, our feelings may indicate the onset of mental illness. Before you jump to conclusions, talk to a therapist and have your doctor determine if any physical ailments may be to blame. Common thoughts and feelings that may (or may not) foreshadow a mental disorder include:
- Irrational obsessions that take up lots of time and energy
- Compulsions, or acting out regularly in attempt to assuage the obsessions
- Seeing or hearing things that others can’t
If you struggle with some of the symptoms above, it doesn’t hurt to seek help from a licensed mental health professional. Educate yourself on the options that suit your individual needs. Ask your doctor for a mental health referral, contact your local therapist or even ask your employer about existing mental health services.
Pasadena Villa programs set out to create a comforting and therapeutic environment. Our staff and residents learn and model appropriate social and communication skills, from daily mealtimes, to many fun and relaxing activities. Our mental health professionals work directly with residents. They observe them in actual social situations and incorporate these observations directly into the resident’s ongoing treatment plan. This individual real life personalized attention makes the Pasadena Villa residential treatment experience more relevant and beneficial for each of our residents, especially when compared to other adult residential treatment services.
The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. Our outpatient center is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. If you or someone you know may need counseling on mental health services, please fill out our contact form or call us at 407-574-5190 for more information.