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mazingerz88's avatar

Would you know If you are going insane for real and how?

Asked by mazingerz88 (26226points) April 17th, 2011

I heard someone said no insane person ever knows that he is in fact insane. But wouldn’t a person before he actually goes over would at least develop a suspicion?

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19 Answers

lookingglassx3's avatar

Well, it’s all mental. In our heads, what we do and how and why we act is normal. So while a person’s mind is developing and changing as they turn insane, they wouldn’t notice – as to them, their new attitude makes perfect sense, as they’ve experienced it develop, and possibly haven’t noticed a difference. Also, should someone suggest you were insane, you’d deny it, wouldn’t you? We’re bound to side with ourselves, and besides, an insane person wouldn’t tell the difference as it’s what they know and believe to be normal. A professional psychiatrist would give the best diagnosis for insanity.

HungryGuy's avatar

I’m insane, and I know I’m insane…

wundayatta's avatar

@lookingglassx3 Do you have any personal experience with mental illness? Because, based on what you just said, I think you don’t have a clue.

My experience is that I did know. I saw the changes as they arrived, one by one. If I knew anything about mental health, I probably would have recognized what was going on, but I didn’t know.

When my brain started racing, I kept asking people if I was talking to much or if what I said made sense. I felt like my brain must be about to die, so it was trying to get as much thinking done as it could before it passed away. When I started acting out sexually, I felt like I was doing things I wouldn’t do.

I started snapping at my family. I even pushed my son so hard he cried. I knew something was wrong. I never behaved like that before. Never.

Then I started rapid cycling. I would go from ecstasy to depression in a month. This happened over and over. There was a new woman with each cycle. I felt horrible. Worthless. I didn’t deserve my wife or my kids and everyone would be better off without me.

I knew something was wrong. I thought about seeing a psychiatrist, but I didn’t do it. Maybe I thought I didn’t want to know what was happening. Maybe it was too hard to do it all by myself.

Eventually, I confessed what I was doing to my wife. I don’t know why she didn’t toss me out, but she didn’t. She got me to a psychiatrist—and pulled a lot of strings to get me seen in a few days. I did some research on mental illness the day before, so it was absolutely no surprise when he told me I had bipolar disorder.

What was a surprise is that that was only the beginning. It go so much worse. Oh, and thanks Dr, B, for telling me that one in five of us don’t survive.

I know a lot of people with mental illness now. I’ve talked to them about their experience and what they think when they find themselves doing these inexplicable things. Every single one says they knew it was weird. For some, it was like an out-of-body experience. They watched themselves doing these things and couldn’t figure it out and couldn’t stop it, either.

It’s a weird, weird thing. It might have been easier for me because it happened after I’d lived five decades. I knew what I was like normal. People who start young really don’t know themselves any other way. It could be harder for them. Still, I think we are all aware of how we thing. The problem is that we don’t know what that means. We know it’s different, but we may like it or have other reasons for denying we are different.

rock4ever's avatar

I was insane at one point (not diagnosed) and I didn’t realize until I came out of it.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Not all forms of insanity make one believe that their way of acting and thinking is normal. It’s pretty easy, for instance, for someone who hears strange voices to get confirmation that it’s not normal, and so understand that they might be insane.

Cruiser's avatar

Yes….it’s when everything makes perfect sense.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I really, really loathe the word ‘insanity’ or ‘insane’. It seems so archaic, as compared to mental disability, be it physical or psychological.

There are many types of mental illness or disability. The brain is a mysterious organ. The medical field may have uncovered how different parts of the brain operate certain motor skills and thought processes, but it still remains a mystery in some aspects.

My personal opinion is that most, if not all, know that they are experiencing some type of mental disorder. Some seek help on their own, some (like @wundayatta…and thank you for sharing your story) accept the advice of loved ones and follow through, and others attempt to hide it until it is brought to the surface and addressed by authorities.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes. My brother knew he was “going crazy.” It’s burned into my brain, the look in his eyes, how scared he was, actually terrified really. We were my car, it was night and he was kind of slouched down in the passenger sea† and he looked me right in the eyes and said “I think I might be going crazy” and indeed, tragically, he was. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia about a year and half later but he was pretty far gone by that time.

MilkyWay's avatar

Insane is when… you do insane things.

wundayatta's avatar

I think part of the dehumanization of mental illness is that people do have this belief that the mentally ill no longer see things the way real human beings do. People think we live in a world of our own devising and are completely out of touch. Like animals, there is no talking to us. So they have no compunction about throwing us in jail, or shoving us around like cattle. What’s even worse is that there are psychiatrists that think the same way—we aren’t human and we have nothing of use to say. Our bodies belong to them, and we’re too stupid to know what to do.

I am not kidding. Friends of mine have had psychiatrists like this. It is particularly true when you are on Medicaid and you get the bottom of the barrel types. But it is also true in the upper ranks of research psychiatrists who don’t believe anyone could possibly know more about the patient’s health then they.

People discount our feelings and our awarenesses of our bodies. Everyone from professionals to college psychology majors to lay people do this. They advise us not to use meds without the psychiatrist’s supervision.

Let me ask you this. How could a psychiatrist (or anyone else) know your body and mind better than you do? Guess what? Far too many people believe that is possible. Hell, they even believe they know better, even though they never studied the subject. Maybe their sister is ill. That’s enough.

Winters's avatar

A few yes and a few no. Someone who has lived their life fairly sane for a decent part would probably notice some irregularities probably i.e. By the time I was 9–10, I began sporadically hallucinating a girl, after confirming that no one else saw her, I came to the conclusion that I was in fact hallucinating.

GladysMensch's avatar

Had a friend with schizophrenia. She knew the voices in her head weren’t real. So yes, she knew she was “insane”. She told me that knowing the voices weren’t real, but not being able to silence them frightened her as much as the voices themselves. Being aware of her brains tricks weighed heavily on her.

ddude1116's avatar

Doesn’t it also depend a lot on the severity of the case..?

ucme's avatar

I’d know I was frolicking on insanity beach if I ever questioned the wife’s lovemaking prowess or indicated that yes indeed, her bum did look big in that dress. I’d soon return once again to dip my toes in the waters of reason, only with a very sore head :¬(

Foolaholic's avatar

I’ve found that a quick questionnaire can help resolve the situation.

1) Have the voices in your head recently changed gender or language?
2) Are you afraid of conspiracies penetrated by giant bunnies?
3) Have any friends or close family recently been replaced by a walrus? If so, does anyone else notice?
4) Do you find yourself arguing politics with inanimate objects?
5) Have you recently sighted any major deities? Perhaps a Cthulhu? If so, did you get me an autograph?
6) Are you still taking any of these questions seriously?

If you answered yes to some or all of these, then you may be a carrier of the crazies.

rock4ever's avatar

@Foolaholic I related to #3, it’s Capgras syndrome! When I was 5 I started to think my cat was replaced by a robot. I thought I’d set up a giant magnet to test but I never got the chance. I thought this until I was 10-ish and I still have my suspicions.

lookingglassx3's avatar

@wundayatta I have some knowledge of mental illness; although it’s not personal experience, my brother and his girlfriend both suffer from different mental illnesses, and the way my brother described his mental illness is what I explained in my answer. However, it does differ from person to person and I should have acknowledged this in my answer. Hopefully, my knowledge of mental illness will increase when I study Psychology at college next year. (: But hey, sorry if my answer offended you.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Foolaholic I hate to be all humorless and everything but that list is not particularly funny, at least not to me, not to someone who had to watch her brilliant, funny, charming brother be eaten alive, inch by inch, by mental illness, by schizophrenia.

chewhorse's avatar

Only if your sane to begin with.. Insanity deals with fantasy and loss of reality, how can you determine anything if reality no longer exists? If you think your going insane then your still sane.. If you have erratic or no thoughts at all then that is the red flag.

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