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The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

If you lost your mind, do you think you would know?

Asked by The_Compassionate_Heretic (14626points) August 4th, 2009
33 responses
“Great Question” (5points)

Suppose something happened to your brain such as the growth of a tumor or a major head injury which caused your brain not to function the same way it had before and you started acting in a way people thought was not normal. If some brain functions were impaired, would you be able to identify yourself as the one who changed?

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barumonkey's avatar

It depends 100% on which disabilities you acquire in the incident. There are many cases in which you wouldn’t know, and many cases in which you would. Almost all of these are documented in medical journals and textbooks.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Yes. My family would let me know immediately. ‘Course, they already think I’m crazy.

cyn's avatar

I lost it long time ago….

reactor5's avatar

I think you wouldn’t know except from an outside source. The definition of going crazy is that you go crazy. You don’t know it’s happening.

I guess it’d be technically called what, delusional?

PerryDolia's avatar

I think I would be able to tell in almost every case.

Even though it might be possible that the “new reality” of the craziness would seem just as real as the “old reality” from my previously sane days,

it seems more likely that I would notice that things seemed different, I was valuing things differently, I was just not the same as I was. I would see the change and be perplexed by it.

The ability to remember our previous perceptions and values of things would enable us to see the change.

PerryDolia's avatar

Last night, after I turned off the TV set, it told me that I was not to worry, because I am not delusional.

ShanEnri's avatar

Wouldn’t that depend on the part of the brain affected?

Quagmire's avatar

Of COURSE I would know. One of the voices would tell me.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

honestly, I kind of think I’ve been losing it a little the past year or so. I’ve been getting pretty crazy migraines two or three nights a week, and I’ve just been doubted my ability to correctly analyze my own thoughts. I think something, and then go “the hell does that even mean?!” it’s very strange. My mind is constantly racing, 1000 miles a minute night and day, it worries me sometimes.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I have a built-in early warning system. I’d know but I probably wouldn’t like it. I’m happy with where my mind is right now.

Aliza's avatar

If you lost your mind, you would not no…but if you are going crazy and haven’t lost it completely, you will probably suffer through the knowing your mind is going part. That is an unfortunate situation I don’t wish on anyone, yet it is happening all around us.

Strauss's avatar

~I thought I lost it already, but found out I only misplaced it…I just can’t remember where it is!~

But seriously, I witnessed the progression of Alzheimer’s in a great aunt. Toward the end, she still had moments of lucidity when she knew what was happening. Between those moments she was blissfully unaware. I would prefer the latter.

efritz's avatar

I would think most of the time you wouldn’t be aware that you’re losing your mind . . . meaning, if you’re worried about it, you shouldn’t be.

nebule's avatar

I have started down the road sometimes of losing my mind…and I think up to a point you are aware of it…

syz's avatar

As my grandfather’s Alzheimer Disease progressed, he became more and more frustrated by his failure to recall certain words and his perceived lapses in attention and memory. Until that oh so cruel disease eradicated all of his self awareness, he know something was horribly wrong.

syz (35679points)“Great Answer” (1points)
lloydbird's avatar

Is there something that you want us to know?


tinyfaery's avatar

A saying from one of the treatment facilities I worked in—If you think you’re are going crazy then you’re not. Crazy people think they are becoming more and more sane.

whereisfreespeech's avatar

you wouldnt thats why its called losing your mind

Jack79's avatar

I think it depends on the problem, but I’ve come pretty close and I’ve always known. I also knew when I had a concussion that I could not operate properly, but I had the memory of my mental abilities before the accident so that I could compare them to after the accident.

YARNLADY's avatar

My son had a severe stroke nearly two years ago, and he is fully aware that there are many things he cannot remember or do. He has had to learn how to walk all over again and several parts of his body still refuse to function properly.

He is learning to speak, again and since he lives in Sweden now, he is learning Swedish. His English remains fairly functional, and he has recovered the ability to type, so I am in regular communication with him, but his partner tells me she “helps” him with his words a lot. I can tell when she is away on business trips.

wundayatta's avatar

When I lost my mind, I was aware I was changing. My mind kept on going faster and faster. It was really weird. I’d never felt that before, and I thought maybe my mind was doing one of those evolutionary things—like thinking everything it could as fast as possible because it knew it was about to go kaput—from cancer or something.

After a while, I stopped trusting my own judgment. I started reacting in ways that I thought might well be inappropriate. I even asked people, and they said I was ok, but after I was diagnosed and treated, I look back and think that I was not acting appropriately.

In essence, I was watching myself go crazy. I started doing things I had never done in my life—seeking out sex wherever I could; yelling at my children; constantly being irritated by those I loved. I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea what it was. told my doctor, and he said he’d give me a referral to a shrink, but he didn’t say he thought I should see one. He left it up to me, and since he didn’t seem to think it was urgent, I didn’t go until my wife told me it was really, really urgent.

I knew I was losing my mind. I watched it go. I didn’t recognize myself after a while, and that lead to problems figuring out which me was the real me. After being treated with drugs and therapy, I have come back to being the old me. Still, I was a crazy me for a while. Some might think I still am, but they have no idea what I was like when I really was crazy.

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 I think you may well be right to be worried. One of the people in my group also gets severe migraines which are related to her bipolar disorder. Your other symptoms sound like me before I got diagnosed. You might want to research bipolar disorder, and if it sounds too familiar, then get yourself to a psychiatrist as soon as you can. It will get so much worse if it isn’t treated.

Garebo's avatar

Been there, and done and not fun. When my stress factor reached plus 300 in my early 20’s. First and last time I saw a shrink, he helped some, but once he saw the big picture and all the events he got mad as if he wanted to say you dumb ass, this whole time, I thought you were molested.
I do remember getting so scared, it was almost as if I became psychic, I sure felt that way.
The way I look at it excess stress is like lifting weights except its your mind that gets stronger, and in the long run, you become better at coping with stress.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Well, I sort of lost my mind when the depression set in. I can identify with the observation of the mind running faster and faster, because that is what mine did, and then the voices became much more malevolent. When I had the urge to stick my head under the wheels of a moving truck that was arm’s length away, that was when I knew it was time to seek help.

Now the drugs are helping and the thoughts move slower, the voices are back to normal, and I am afraid of the truck wheels that pass me within arm’s length every day.

mattbrowne's avatar

It depends on the mental illness. Alzheimer’s was already mentioned. Drugs can also destroy parts of the brain. I think most meth users realize they are losing their minds.

stratman37's avatar

What if there were no more hypothetical questions?

YARNLADY's avatar

@stratman37 shhhhhhh, they are on the list of no-no’s, but we can’t spoil everyone’s fun, can we?

stratman37's avatar

guess not(?)

dpworkin's avatar

Charles Whitman seemed to know. He left a note asking for an autopsy, and indeed there was a tumor.

Strauss's avatar

I would like to add some an example to the list: multiple personality disorder.

If a person is deteriorating into a multiple personality disorder, each personality (or division of personality) is formed when a person is unable to cope with life as it exists and compartmentalizes certain traits into multiple personalities, each of which is totally unaware of the other. So I think, yes, in this case a one can lose one’s mind and not know it.

I have a friend who is dealing with his wife going through a multiple personality crisis. According to him, it runs in her family. I’ve never talked to her about it, but he has expressed his concerns to me. On various occasions, she has asked for his help, told him she wants to separate or divorce, has been suicidal, or wants him to come visit her in hospital every day.

flutherother's avatar

People we think of as crazy can be very rational and logical. It is just their perceptions that are messed up. So they can feel quite sane and indeed are quite sane within their mad universe. If you are interested in this topic you might like to read this account of the descent into madness. (It was written by a journalist.)

Inspired_2write's avatar

Isn’t that what Alzheimers and dementa experience.
Usually the first sign is forgettfullness in remembering words or simple tasks?

Inspired_2write's avatar

And at that point they Do know that something is wrong.

nebule's avatar

I’m am about the read Brain on Fire which might help to answer this question…it looks fascinating

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