Am I going crazy?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Going crazy?
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Being afraid you’re going crazy is a common fear.

When people are going through difficult times and are emotionally overwhelmed, it’s not surprising that they feel like they’re going crazy. If you’ve had that thought, there are several reasons why you probably are not going “crazy.” However, if you feel like you’re losing your mind, there may well be something else seriously amiss.

Crazy is not a destination.

Many people have come to believe that crazy is a destination, and going there is like being sent to Siberia. They fear that once they cross that boundary, there’s no coming back. So, they fight not to have a problem for fear of getting caught on the other side of that boundary which they think of as crazy.

Professionals don’t like to use the word crazy anymore, at least as it applies to mental health, because it’s very misleading. The truth is that most mental illnesses fall on a continuum from very mild to more severe. With treatment, sometimes even without treatment, people can move from being well to being unwell, or back to well again.

People who think they’re going crazy may have two mental health problems.

People who are under a great deal of stress may temporarily find their coping abilities overwhelmed. Stress can interfere with thinking and behaving and make you prone to problems with a lot of unhelpful thoughts and unpleasant feelings.

The other reason that people may feel they’re going crazy is that they’re experiencing an excess of anxiety. High anxiety can overload your cognitive or thinking system. People who are experiencing high anxiety find themselves having difficulty thinking and concentrating. I think of this as a computer that has too much information to process. Maybe you’ve watched one of those little wheels spin around on your computer while it tries to catch up? Most of the time, the computer does eventually finish processing that information. Though sometimes, you need to upgrade the memory. I think of what counselors and therapists do as somewhat like the memory upgrade on your computer. Sometimes when you have too much to think about, you can’t concentrate on anything.

Doesn’t going to see a counselor mean you are going crazy?

Not at all. Top-performing athletes and businesspeople frequently have coaches. Much of what counselors do is similar to coaching. The counselor will listen to you talk through things. They may make some suggestions to help you clarify things. Or they can help you determine if what you’re going through is normal, given the experiences you’ve had.

How will you know if your problems need professional treatment?

The four guides professionals use to decide if someone’s problems have become excessive, and their condition has moved into the area of a mental illness. Remember, mental illnesses do not mean you’re crazy, but they may come in mild, moderate, or severe forms.

You should seek professional help if what you’re going through has resulted in any one of the following four problems.

1. Occupational functioning problems.

If your problems are interfering with your ability to work, get or keep a job, or your schoolwork, you should seek help. Professionals using the DSM – 5 would call this impaired occupational functioning.

2. Social functioning problems.

If what you’re going through is preventing you from having satisfying relationships with family and friends, you may have impaired social functioning. Close relationships often have their ups and downs. Treatment for relationship problems may fall into the category of marriage counseling, parent-child relational problems, and so on. All these kinds of relationship problems may benefit from counseling, but they usually don’t meet the criteria for mental illness. Now, if your problems in relationships prevent you from having satisfactory relationships with family or friends, that would be a reason to consider it a mental illness.

3. Subjective distress.

If your anxiety, depression, or other thinking, feeling, and behaving issues are upsetting you, then your issue may meet the criteria for being a mental illness.

4. Problems in another important area of functioning.

If what you’re experiencing has caused you to give up activities that you use to enjoy, or if because of your anxiety or depression you can no longer engage in your hobby, you may be developing a mental illness.

Does feeling like you’re going crazy mean you must take medication?

Many mental health challenges can be helped by medication. It’s important, however, to remember that while medications can control symptoms, no medication will cure you of a mental illness.

Good treatment for most mental illnesses includes much more than just medication. Counseling or therapy can be helpful and may result in a reduction or elimination of your mental health symptoms. Some mental illnesses can be treated by behavioral modification or exercise. A healthy diet, adequate sleep, increased activity, and improving social relationships can all help manage, reduce, or even eliminating mental health issues.

If you been feeling like you may be going crazy, I would encourage you to seek out professional assistance.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

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