You're feeling a sense of impending doom, your mind is in a fog and maybe you're having some thoughts that don't seem to make sense. Is this the beginning of the end-are you going crazy? The good news is, you're probably not. The fear of going crazy is a common one, and while it might indicate something is going on, it's not likely to make you completely lose touch with reality or cause permanent psychiatric damage.
What is crazy?
Crazy is a tough concept to describe. There is no such mental disorder as "crazy," although the word might conjure an image of a person in a psychiatric hospital, maybe acting erratically and saying things that make no sense, sort of a stereotype of a person with schizophrenia or a similar illness. Insanity is a legal term rather than a medical term-used to claim a person had no control over their actions while committing a crime, usually because of a mental illness or psychological stress.
Crazy is more of an abstract concept than something that actually exists, but mental illness is probably closer to what you are actually worried about. Even if you have mental illness, though, you are in good company-one in five Americans are estimated to have some form of mental illness, from depression to schizophrenia. The majority of these illnesses are treatable with therapy, medication or a combination of both, making it likely you would still be able to have a fairly normal life.
Signs of mental illness
If you fear you might have some type of mental illness, take note of any signs or symptoms you are experiencing and be sure to let a health care professional know. Some of the most common signs of mental illness include:
In many cases, you may not be the first one to notice if you have a mental illness. Family members or friends might be the first to notice the signs, especially for illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. For this reason, it is also important to have a discussion with a loved one if you notice they are showing symptoms of mental illness. You may not be able to force them to seek care, but you can be as supportive as possible, helping them make appointments and encouraging them along the way.
While mental illnesses tend to be treatable for the most part, they won't get any better if you don't get help. This is especially true of suicidal thoughts. If you fear that you might injure yourself or attempt suicide, be sure to reach out to someone. Calling 911 or your local emergency number is one option, or you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You can also reach out to a family member or friend, a minister or spiritual leader or a health care provider. At any rate, you don't have to go through whatever you're feeling alone.