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Am I Losing My Mind?

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From a young man in Canada: : Hi,  i am a 21 y/o male and i really need some advices on my situation. I feel like i am losing my mind and i have no control on the situation.

It all started 3 years ago when i had a really stressful event and since then, i just don’t feel like me anymore. I feel disconnected from myself and the world around. I also have strange thoughts that scares me because they make me feel crazy. It went really bad for the last 3 years, but for 5 months, last summer, it felt like i was normal again.

Sadly, it all came back around last Christmas, but not like before, in fact, it is now way worse. Instead of just having a feeling of dissociation, i became really disconnected and people can notice it. I struggle to have a long conversation and i feel awkward in social situation. They began to stress me out. I feel like there is a wall between my brain and me and i need to work hard to get through it. I just don’t know what to say anymore and it scares me so much. I used to be the guy that makes people comfortable by being funny and charismatic, but now, i struggle to find the right words. I don’t want to go out anymore.

i don’t drink because it only makes all of it worst and i feel completely hopeless. Going out and talking with my friends used to be the only thing that made me feel better, but now, it makes me feel like i am socially retarded. I never heard any voices or anything like that, but i think it might come soon. (I have an aunt that struggles with schizophrenia and developing this illness is my worst fear.

Thank you so much for reading. (Sorry if my english is bad, i am a french Canadian!)

Am I Losing My Mind?

Answered by on -

A.

I’m very glad you wrote to us here at PsychCentral. Three years is far too long to be so worried and upset. You didn’t share the nature of the stressful event. I can only guess that it was serious enough to be traumatic for you. If so, what you are reporting is not at all unusual for someone who has been traumatized. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can show up months or even years after the event (stessor) that causes it. Common symptoms are:

Intrusive memories: Unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event; flashbacks (feeling like you are reliving the stressor); and over-reaction to something that reminds  you of what happened.

Avoidance: Avoiding places, or people, or activities that remind you of the stressor.

Negative changes in thinking and mood: Hopelessness, memory problems, feeling detached from people, decreased interest in things you used to enjoy, difficulty maintaining relationships, feeling emotionally numb.

Changes in physical and emotional reactions: Increase in startle reflex; trouble sleeping or concentrating; irritability; self destructive behavior (like self-harming, abusing alcohol or drugs, etc.)

It looks to me like you were recovering last summer, but something triggered you around Christmas. People can be thrown back into the stressful event by such things as a smell, a sound, people who remind them of the problem, the anniversary date of the abuse — just about anything that “triggers” the memories.

You have suffered far too long. It’s time for you to seek out a licensed therapist who specializes in trauma. Such a therapist will be able to do what I can’t— ask you specific questions to determine if the problem is PTSD or something else.

I doubt you are experiencing onset of schizophrenia from what you wrote. But if that concerns you, the therapist will also be able to screen you for that possibility. After he or she gets to know you and hears your whole story, they will be able to recommend steps you can take to get back to your old self.

If you could recover by yourself, you would have done it already. Please follow through and get the help you need and deserve. You don’t have to live with the constant question of whether you are “losing your mind.”

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

Am I Losing My Mind?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Am I Losing My Mind?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/06/15/am-i-losing-my-mind/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Jun 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Jun 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.