One of the most common symptoms of anxiety disorder is the belief that you’re going crazy.
You have the sense that you are losing your grip on reality and that you are literally on the verge of a mental breakdown. Anxiety disorder can cause a deep seated fear that sooner or later you’re simply going to go mad.
However, despite this overwhelming fear of possible insanity, the fact that you fear it, and are aware of insanity as a state of being, is precisely why you’re not crazy.
Crazy means a lot things to a lot of people, however, for the sake of clarity let’s say that for our purposes crazy means a mixture of insanity and psychosis . Let’s look at insanity first and how it is normally defined. In the United States, insanity is no longer a medical term and, in fact, is mainly used in legal definitions.
You have heard people say that someone is “legally insane” generally meaning that they cannot comprehend the meaning of “right” and “wrong”. They simply don’t understand what it means to do something horrible, like killing another human being, for example.
Under this definition of crazy or insane would you qualify as such a person? If you have an anxiety disorder the answer is no. You have your mental faculties in order, and you know exactly what right and wrong mean. You know the social norms of society and you follow them.
In other words, you don’t walk around with your underwear on your head because you know that society views this as unacceptable behavior. The second and highest level of so called crazy is a mental state of delusion and abstraction known as psychosis.
Psychosis is associated with conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. These conditions fall under the psychotic types of mental illness. These conditions are debilitating brain disorders that can seriously hinder ones life.
When someone is psychotic they may hear voices or have hallucinations. In addition they might have a serious paranoia and a feeling that everyone is out to get them.
When someone is deemed psychotic they exhibit disorganized thinking and strange behaviors of various kind. Their very perception of reality is not what you would call “normal.”
It is seriously distorted and disconnected from normal definitions of reality. Moreover one of the most critical aspects of psychosis that does not affect anxiety sufferers is a lack of insight.
Having a lack of insight is just another way of saying that you don’t know that you are behaving or acting strangely. As an anxiety sufferer you spend a lot of time thinking you’re crazy or on the verge of crazy but if this were true than you wouldn’t know it. You simply would not be aware of the fact that your thoughts and behavior were strange or “crazy.”
When you have anxiety you are certainly filled with dread and worry. You experience psychosomatic sensations that make you feel terrible and make you think that you might die soon. It’s pretty scary sometimes.
But the bottom line is that your level of mental fitness is not the same as someone that is psychotic or crazy – it’s much better.
You have the ability to make sound decisions, you don’t hear or see things that aren’t there, and you know the difference between real and unreal. Even if you experience feelings of unreality, or dream like states, you are still aware of them as such.
Unfortunately if you were to ask someone tagged as crazy if they were actually crazy, they would probably say something like “crazy, who me?” They just wouldn’t know that they were in mental distress the same way that you would be able to know.
As you can see you just don’t fit the profile of an insane or psychotic person. So the conclusion must be that you are not crazy. When you have anxiety disorder will you have tricks of vision? Yes. Will you have strange sensations and worry all the time?
Yes. But despite this your condition is a completely different tier of mental ailment. You have an anxiety disorder and you will not graduate to a greater and more terrible mental state.
You’re an excessive worrier racked with tremendous amounts of stress, but you are not crazy by any stretch of the imagination.