Anxiety and the Fear of “Going Crazy”

I never questioned my sanity before anxiety took over. In college, I was a Psychology major and we would study extensively about psychosis, and not once did I fear it would happen to me because I felt fairly grounded back then.

And then my panic attacks started and I just KNEW I was losing my mind. The mix of horrifying physical sensations with the inability to control my racing thoughts with the feeling like I wasn’t connected to myself or my surroundings was enough to make me question everything.

So I became obsessed with the fear or psychosis. It was what fueled my panic attacks. When I would start to panic, I’d immediately believe I was “going crazy,” which only made the attack worse until I was totally inconsolable. I was terrified that I would start hallucinating and not be able to “find my way back.”

Depersonalization and Derealization, especially, were the symptoms that were most difficult to separate from “losing my mind.” I felt so floaty and disconnected, so it seemed only plausible that one day I would just disconnect completely.

So I would Google and research and seek reassurance that I wasn’t losing my mind. I even went to see a special mental health professional and had her “test” me like she would her patients with psychosis. Of course, she was only humoring me and confirmed that my anxiety wasn’t psychosis.

In my frantic researching I found that:

-Anxiety, Panic, and Dissociation can never themselves LEAD to psychosis. You’re not going to all of a sudden feel so much anxiety that you lose your mind. Anxiety is a completely separate condition from psychosis.
-The fear of going crazy is a very common symptom of those with anxiety because anxiety can often make us FEEL like we’re losing it, but that doesn’t mean that we ARE.
-People with anxiety are actually hyper-aware of their thoughts and actions, and more in control than most people.

But seeking this reassurance would only quell my fears temporarily before I would again become afraid of losing it.

Because it’s not about being reassured that we’re sane. Because I would just start to think: “okay, that’s all fine and dandy, but it could still happen.” And then I would be back under the stronghold of fear.

When we get into fears and obsessions like this, what we’re really scared of is the fundamental uncertainty of life. We want to control. We want a guarantee. We want to know that we’ll always be okay. We want to know that there’s nothing to fear, otherwise we can’t relax. We’re always on guard.

It doesn’t matter what the fear is. As soon as I would feel reassured about my fear of insanity, I would find some other unanswerable question to obsess about: What if my parents die suddenly? What if I get cancer? What if I become an addict? These are all intrusive thoughts that we attach to in order to not have to feel the terrifying feeling of not truly being in control.

But guess what? There are no guarantees. There aren’t any surefire ways to control this uncertain life.

At some point, we have to be willing to accept uncertainty. We have to be willing to drop into the place within us that knows we don’t really have any control. Otherwise, we’ll be spending our lives frantically gripping at things that can’t be predicted.

Can you open to trust? Whether that be trust in a higher power, the Universe, Love, yourself.

Can you trust that you are strong enough to handle whatever comes your way?

Can you trust that everything is unfolding for your highest good?

Can you sit with the strange sensation of not knowing?

There’s a magic in the “not knowing.” When we sit with uncertainty, we realize that anything is possible. Not just the scary things, but all the wonderful things. Focus on that. Invite that in.

What wonderful possibilities for your life can you manifest?

2 thoughts on “Anxiety and the Fear of “Going Crazy”

    • mbradsh2 says:

      Hi Vicky! I have the belief that everything that happens in my life (even the “bad things”) is teaching me, helping me grow, and for the benefit of my soul’s growth in this life. So in this way, it may become easier to trust what unfolds. If a “what if” pops into my mind, I would work on trusting that, if it were to happen, it would be a lesson I needed to learn for soul’s highest growth. Don’t know if that makes sense haha. But of course, if this doesn’t resonate with you, no need to hold onto it! I’m all about finding what feels true for you personally 🙂

      Like

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