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Are You Crazy, or Am I?

Image of bucking bronco at rodeo. Raleigh Psychotherapy, Katherine Broadway, counseling

“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”

“You're just crazy… this is crazy… they are crazy…the world has gone crazy…I’m crazy.”

I hear these words all the time, both in my therapy room and in life. Situations and people can make you feel like you cannot make sense of them, and can lead to confusion, strong feelings and distorted thinking. It may make you wonder, “Am I crazy or are they crazy?”

Have you wondered how would you know if you or someone else is crazy?

Everyone can be irrational at times. Everyone gets overwhelmed by life and relationships and may act irrationally. This does not make you crazy.

Having intense emotions does not make you crazy.

Being grieved does not make you crazy.

Feeling lost and alone does not made you crazy.

Feeling you have no direction in life does not make you crazy.

Having different ideas and beliefs does not make you crazy.

Feeling like you don’t deserve the things you want in life does not make you crazy.

These are all normal human emotions, even when they are seemingly out of control.

It makes you human.

All of these feelings and thoughts have meaning and tell you something about yourself. By paying attention to what you are feeling and experiencing, you can begin to find the meaning of the messages embedded in your reactions. In turn, this can lead to knowing and understanding yourself. Rather than feeling crazy, you can begin to have a better way to live your life.

All humans go through a similar growth and maturation process involving important developmental task. No one has their needs met perfectly or are able to complete every developmental task. Given the right constellation of conditions, everyone will struggle with situations, events and relationships.

Here are some common patterns and reactions that can be observed in people.

How do you distinguish between being crazy and simply needing help interpreting the meaning of your experiences? If you find yourself struggling with these kind of feelings and thoughts or find these situations difficult, therapy might help you.

Are you afraid of closeness but distance scares you?

It feels okay to be close to friends, family or lovers but only for a little while. If it goes on too long, you become afraid that you will be smothered and lose your identify. Distance is equally frighting. It makes you feel abandoned. You feel safe when you leave but when someone you care about leaves, you become afraid and feel that you are being abandoned.

Do you feel like you don't know who you are?

Do you have a hard time knowing your own thoughts, opinions and ideas? Is it hard to impossible to make your own decisions? Does it feel easier to let someone else make the decisions, that way you will not be responsible if things go wrong? When asked your opinion, does your mind go blank or you can’t get the words out? When you have time alone, do you feel afraid, forgotten, lonely and have no idea what to do?

Do you feel like you want things/relationships/success, but feel conflicted over pursuing them?

This may come in the form of an internal message that tells you that you don't deserve what you want, or what you want is bad. Perhaps there is a brief thought that there is not enough to go around, and if you get what you want you are being selfish and will deprive someone else of what they need.

You may think that your wishes and desires will hurt others.

This could be related to the belief that another family member will be hurt by your success. It may be that you believe that you do not deserve what you want, you are not smart enough and you don't work hard enough. After all you have enough to live on and get by.

Is your life working but, feels chaotic and on the verge of becoming unstable?

It feels as if you live from one crisis to another. You have the money to pay your bills but you forget or just put it off until they are overdue. Your house is in disarray and feels overwhelming, but somehow you can never get things in order. You make it to work but can’t make it on time. Your work gets done but in a haphazard way; if you make the deadline, it is at the last possible moment. You try to get organized but just can’t make it. It’s as if you are barely making it and things are just not quite there.

Do you feel anxious all the time and occasionally feel panicked?

Anxiety is a normal part of life. The anxiety you feel goes beyond situational anxiety; it is a constant companion. It clouds your thinking and makes you procrastinate. Instead of facing life with optimism and excitement, you feel frightened and you believe that you cannot handle the stress.

When you are in a relationship or have a close friend, is it hard for you to imagine what the other person is feeling and thinking.

It feels like the people you are in relationships with don't really care about you, no matter how much they say they do. It is as if they don’t try to understand you and don’t care about how they hurt you. It feels like every time you get close to anyone you get hurt. You feel angry all the time and don't understand why. It feels like they are in control of the relationships.

Conversely, there are times, you don't feel anything. In general, your feelings overwhelm and confuse you.

These situations do not mean you are crazy. It just means that you might find that therapy will help you understand and manage life’s circumstances. It can lead you to feel better about yourself and life.

Call me if you would like help in sorting out your life. I can help. Katherine at (919)881-2001.

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