Marty Livingston, Ph.D., a New York psychologist, said that a person who is having an onset of psychosis believes that it is true.
In this article, called “Am I going crazy,” you can find some signs that can help you figure out if you are going crazy or not, and what you can do to feel better.
The difference between mental health and mental illness
Almost all conditions that occur during mental illness can also occur in healthy people under certain circumstances.
The same hallucinations that everyone is so afraid of can be in a healthy person.
For example, at a high temperature or while taking all kinds of funny substances, we can see what is not, hear voices that do not exist.
And in connection with this subtlety, the whole world has long wondered: “Where is the line between health and pathology?” Defining it is not possible but straightforward.
The World Health Organization has identified seven criteria for mental health:
When experts call this word, they mean the person’s ability to criticize himself/herself, his actions and beliefs, and also to question the information that comes to him/her from the outside.
There was such an experiment: on one channel, people were shown fake news.
One of the stories was dedicated to a rally in a neighboring city.
It was winter, but the people in the report stood in T-shirts and shorts on the green grass.
Surprisingly, more than 50% of viewers believed in reporting. This is an illustration of how critical thinking may be undeveloped.
Criticality is also manifested in the ability to doubt yourself and your beliefs.
If you periodically doubt your thoughts, question what you have been convinced for decades and ask yourself the question “Am I a psychopath for an hour?”, it can mean you passed the test for healthy criticality.
This criterion illustrates how we respond to environmental influences.
Imagine the situation: you are going on the subway, and then someone steps on your foot.
Means, he offended you a little bit, and an adequate reaction would not be big either: for example, if you said, “Please remove your foot.” The inadequate response is if you were stepped on your foot, and in return, you got a gun.
Another example of an inappropriate reaction: a person stepped on his foot, but he did not say anything.
And if he does nothing further, then this tells us about his inadequacy.
In this case, the situation with domestic violence looks like both are not healthy: the one who hurts and the one who bears the pain.
People have completely different characters: some like to be in the center of attention, others can be called introverts, others are always in a state of euphoria, and for the fourth, it is essential that everything is clear and understandable.
Therefore they and professions choose those where everyone acts precisely according to the charter.
From the adaptability criterion, a healthy person is one who has many characters inside, and in different situations, he includes a suitable one.
Any type of attitude is typical, but if a person has no choice, if he has only one way of behavior, and he cannot include others, then this is a pathology.
If you suddenly think, “Is my character normal?” the question itself is a little incorrect.
The characters are all normal. They must turn on on time so that you have a choice.
A healthy person is one who has this choice.
But a not very healthy person is one who behaves in only one way, and, unfortunately, does not know how to do it in another way.
Planning assumes the ability of a person to plan his future life and adequately implement this plan.
There are conditions in which a person can only lie in the direction of his/her goal.
Such people fantasize a lot about what they have achieved, but for some reason, they are not able to perform any actions.
If it seems to you that a person does not have enough will, then this is not entirely true; in fact, it is merely one of the options for mental illness.
Another critical point is the ability not only to achieve what we want but the ability to accomplish these inappropriate ways.
In this regard, workaholism and perfectionism are also signs of deviation from the norm.
Psychologists know that workaholism is the ability to achieve your goals but in an unhealthy way.
And often, workaholics can lie down and rest in only one case – when they cannot stand.
Such people, of course, achieve their goals, but is this goal worth the money they spent?
As a rule, workaholics sacrifice themselves to achieve something, and this, too, is not a mentally healthy story.
Predictability tells us that a person in the same situation will behave the same.
Violation of this criterion looks like this: for example, a person, each time going to a lecture, behaves differently.
Once he/she just walked in quietly, then he/she talked loudly on the phone, maybe the person did not notice that there was a lecture, the third time he/she came in a spacesuit and with an anteater on a leash.
The situation is the same, but he/she behaves differently.
A grownup, mentally healthy person should be able to put off his desires for later.
It is usual for children to want candy and not to get it now, making a scandal, but for an adult, it is not a healthy sign.
People who have this criterion deviated from the norm often break the rules.
Such people are especially visible on the road. What is most surprising, these people are incredibly attractive because they behave differently from others.
They know how to shock and thereby attract attention.
In this world, it is a little muffled, and you perceive it as if from under the water?
Does the brain work in one direction, the soul in the other?
All this is a violation of the criterion of the constancy of self.
This happens in a state of grief or loss.
When the person is exhausted, it is depersonalization and derealization.
Three Criteria that Signal about Mental illness
Three main criteria are signals about mental illness.
Each of them is enough to talk to a psychiatrist. Here they are:
- Behavior that is harmful both for you and for surrounding people;
- Inability to adequately realize the goals that people set for themselves;
- Conditions that occur, including ordinary people, but with an illness, they occur either too often or without appropriate circumstances.
A healthy person can experience all these criteria too, but if they manifest themselves too often and interfere with functioning, then this already is a sign that maybe “you are going crazy.”
Gerald Goodman and Marty Livingston
Gerald Goodman, Ph.D., an emeritus professor of psychology at UCLA and Marty Livingston, Ph.D., a New York psychologist, and author, say that there are other possibilities to check if you are going crazy, besides using mental health tests:
A panic attack is a sudden onset of intense anxiety or fear. It includes at least four of the following symptoms:
- Pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate,
- Trembling or shaking,
- Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering.
Panic attacks can make you feel like going crazy.
Goodman says that having panic attacks is normal, and there is no need to worry about mental health.
But if you have them quite often, it can talk about panic disorder, which can be handled with therapy and, if needed, medication.
Livingston advised many people who feel lonely and insufficiently understood to question their mental well-being.
Such people often say that nobody understands them and that they are meaningless and make no sense.
Livingston says that it is not about loneliness, and is more severe than that; if people have lost a close person and miss them, they can feel lonely, but if they claim that nobody understands them, so they are isolated, it talks about something more profound.
People who feel disconnected, in stock, worry about losing control and going crazy. Such people need mental health help.
Start of a mental illness
In rare cases, it is possible that when the question “Am I going crazy?” sticks in a person’s mind, it signals about a developing mental illness.
If you notice things like seeing and hearing things that others do not understand and listen, or if you have obsessional thoughts that make no sense but make you worry, you should meet your doctor to check if there is any mental illness.
What should I do when I have worries about going crazy?
People ask questions like ‘am i crazy?’ or ‘am i normal?’ This is because they worry about going crazy. When you have worries about going crazy, you should:
- Talk to a trusted person (or people), and tell him/her (or them) about your fears,
- Talk to a mental health professional to wind your worries or if needed, to get professional help,
- Avoid using legal and illegal drugs, as they can feel like nervous breakdowns, which can harm your condition,
- Eat healthy food,
- Do regular physical exercises.
Recommended books and sources
- HFNE “Agoraphobia Treatment”
- HFNE “Alcohol and Anxiety”
- Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
- Movies and Mental Illness
- Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts
- Show Me All Your Scars: True Stories of Living with Mental Illness
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
FAQs about the topic “Am I going crazy.”
How do you know if you are going crazy?
You can know that you are going crazy if you have some of these general symptoms:
– Confused thinking,
– Prolonged sadness or irritability,
– Extremely high and low moods,
– Extreme worry, fear, or anxiety,
– Social Isolation,
– Delusions or hallucinations,
– Inability to solve daily problems,
– Suicidal thoughts,
– Denial of obvious questions,
– Unexplained physical problems,
– Drug or alcohol abuse.
Can someone go crazy from stress?
A person can go crazy from stress only if it is ongoing chronic stress.
He/she can get mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, or/and personality disorders.
Can anxiety make you think you have schizophrenia?
Anxiety can make you think you have schizophrenia due to its symptoms, which are:
– Chest pain,
– Itchy skin,
– Consistent restlessness,
– Tensed muscles,
– Unstable sleep patterns,
– The trouble with concentration,
– Tetany and others.
What are the five signs of mental illness?
The five signs of mental illness can be:
– A change in personality,
– Extreme worry, fear, or anxiety,
– Social withdrawal and Isolation
– Behavior that is harmful both for you and for surrounding people,
– Hopelessness or feeling overwhelmed.
What are the five emotional signs of stress?
Five emotional signs of stress are:
– Changes in psychological background – depression, anxiety, or mood swings,
– Strong negative emotions – bouts of anger, aggression, Isolation or alienation feeling,
– Differences in character – lowered self-esteem, suspicion, or strengthening of introversion,
– Anxiety neurosis,
– Asthenic neurosis.
What are the early warning signs of psychosis?
The early warning signs of psychosis are:
– Obsessive thoughts,
– The person’s belief that someone is secretly threatening him,
– Strong inappropriate emotions or apathy,
– Inconsistent speech – for example, a quick transition from one topic to another in one phrase
– Memory and concentration problems,
– Spending much more time alone than before,
– Extremely suspiciousness,
– A drop of self-care.
In our article, you could learn about the difference between mental health and mental illness, about the seven criteria of mental health, as well as some ideas of psychologists G. Goodman and M. Livingston.
If the thought, “Am I going crazy?” worries you a lot, and you feel like having mental health problems, you should follow our tips, as they can be helpful for you.
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