The fear of going crazy, also known as dementophobia, is when someone loses the sense of reality or when someone is extremely worried, with intense anxiety symptoms, which causes an intense fear that there is something wrong with them in their mind.
There can be different reasons for this, like growing up in a toxic family, having certain conditions like going through periods of high stress, having relatives with mental health conditions, or having already an anxiety disorder, meaning anything that causes intense anxiety, this could be a phobia or when someone has a panic attack.
In the past, people with mental illness were seriously stigmatized and treatments were often torturous. So people with older relatives who underwent those types of treatments fairly often suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, headaches, and other symptoms due to a not unreasonable fear of suffering the same fate.
The common denominator here is the severe anxiety and how difficult it is for some people to be able to cope with their anxiety symptoms and physical sensations.
It may seem like an irrational fear, however, the feeling of not knowing what is happening, and on top of that trying to go through the uncomfortable physical symptoms due to the severe anxiety, is something that takes a lot out people, so having negative thoughts and thinking the worst it’s not uncommon, and this is what causes strong emotions like intense fear.
Whatever your particular risk factors, some of the same general tips can be helpful. Let’s talk about some generally useful approaches to protecting yourself from this not unreasonable fear.
Practical Coping Mechanisms
First, realize that there is hope. No matter what your family background or personal history, there are people who have overcome similar issues. Also, new research and new treatments are constantly coming out.
Look For Role Models
Find role models who have similar issues. Look for biographies, documentaries, and histories in order to learn about real people who had problems like yours and overcame them in some way.
Even if they didn’t overcome them, that’s no reason to despair. Reading their stories may help you infer what went wrong and how to improve on it.
Make it a habit to read up on the kinds of mental health conditions that run in your family or the kinds of personal problems you have experienced. In the information age, there is a wealth of information that was not available to previous generations.
Not only is there a wealth of information available, but it’s also available at your fingertips. You can access a lot of it with the smartphone that you probably have in your pocket or purse or right now. This means that you have more hope than ever of finding useful answers.
Keep Up To Date On The Latest Research
New research is constantly coming out. This means that even if there are no answers available for your issues today, they may be available in the very near future.
Do not read the abstracts and go on that information. Only read abstracts to help you decide which articles to follow up on. Abstracts are sort of like advertising blurbs and do not always accurately sum up the research.
So read the abstract only to decide if the study was about something that you want to know more about. Do not draw a conclusion about how to manage your mental health based on abstracts.
Look To Your Physical Health
If the mental illness in question can be managed to some degree with drugs, then it has a physical component. With every passing day, there is more evidence that diet and lifestyle have a significant impact on physical health and this has a significant impact on mental health.
Studies have linked brain inflammation to depression and have shown which foods help protect the brain and which foods make things worse. If you do enough pertinent reading, simply eating right for the condition in question may do wonders to help protect you or to mitigate the worst symptoms.
Exercise has also been shown to help with mental illness like depression. Exercise does not have to be a big burden. A brisk walk counts as exercise, which means running errands on foot a few times a week can help you get the exercise you need to protect your physical health and mental health.
Be Kind To Yourself In A Crisis
We all go through stressful events. No one has a life that is so cushy that they are exempt from stress.
Stress tends to show the “cracks,” so to speak. When put under pressure, we tend to “crack” in the same pattern most of the time.
This does not mean you are going crazy. It means you need some sleep, a good meal and some self-care to get you through your current crisis.
One of the ways to combat with a mental disorder is to be objective and check your facts. This is especially true if you are surrounded by people who are questioning your judgment, who see the world different from you, who are outright lying to you or who are otherwise making you wonder about your grip on reality.
A journal can help you track information, explore your thoughts, and develop your mental models. This can be very helpful in keeping you grounded in reality, regardless of what other people around you are saying.
When you can’t trust the people around you, trust your eyes over your ears. Take notes and revisit them as needed.
Take Care Of Yourself and Problem Solve
There are two main sources of mental health issues: Physical ailments and social issues. Your mind can be messed with because of things going on with your brain. It can also be messed with because things going on with people around you.
Whatever is causing you stress, focusing on taking care of yourself and on problem-solving can help resolve the issue. Working on resolving the issue can do wonders for your mental health.
We have the expression “crazy-making” for a reason. Some situations in life can drive people literally crazy.
Guarding against those things can protect your mental health. This may include guarding against getting involved with people who will lie to you and take advantage of you. It may include guarding against various forms of financial abuse, which can really mess with your mind while people around you overlook how serious the issue is.
Seek Professional Help
It’s always important to have support because if you go through everything alone is really tough. So if you have family members or people you trust that can help, that is always a positive thing, however, a mental health professional who specialized in this kind of anxiety disorder could be very helpful.
The mental health professional will work with you on a cognitive behavioral therapy approach that has proven to be helpful for anxiety disorders.
If Necessary, Leave
If you are in an abusive relationship, leaving may be the best protection there is for your mental health. Abusive people will try to tear you down and tell you that you can’t support yourself, you can’t make it on your own and so forth. Don’t simply agree with their conclusions.
Quietly keep a secret journal and quietly problem solve and make plans. Don’t let them know and don’t let them brainwash you.
The problem may be an abusive spouse, extended family, or even the entire community where you live. Moving to another city entirely and starting life over is not unreasonable if it helps you get away from the sources of your problems.
It’s not crazy to have a fear of going crazy. It’s not crazy to worry that you could end up “like” some relatives who had a bad ending.
Just don’t let fear paralyze you. Instead, use it as a clue that you have some things you need to work on. Use it to spur you to action.
Look for inspiration and practical resources. Pray, meditate, or read philosophy. You can actively work towards a peaceful life and a peaceful state of mind.
Many have done so before you. Their journeys can help you find your way on your own journey.
And if you are having issues to cope with the anxiety, you can look into this article that will show you a 5 step process on how to deal with panic attacks, which is just a high state of anxiety and fear.