Meet Phrenophobia — The Fear Of “Going Crazy.”

Ever had anxiety about getting anxiety? You know, that deep inner fear that you’ll get anxious again, become uncontrollable, and possibly “go crazy?” Well if this sounds like you, there’s no need to worry. Many people suffer with this, and it’s a treatable condition known as phrenophobia. Phrenophobia is when you have anxiety about getting anxiety, for fear of “going crazy.” It’s the fear that you’ll loose control of yourself and never be the same again.

Phrenophobia is a difficult headspace to be in. The uncertainty of what you’re capable of becoming, the what ifs, and if just maybe you’ll get into an irreversible psychological state that you’ll never come back from is a lot to bare. Although the brain is a very powerful organ, and capable of doing a lot of extraordinary things, you may be surprised to know that “going crazy” takes a much longer time than just having one intense negative emotion. To loose control of yourself and develop a severe and chronic mental health problem would take months if not years to develop. But as you may already know phobias are almost never rational.

So you’re probably wondering what to do about phrenophobia if it’s something you’re grappling with? Wondering how to overcome in essence the fear of yourself, and how to stop second guessing what you could become? To help you with this I’ve listed three easy steps to start tackling this problem head-on:

  1. Acknowledge when you have anxiety about your anxiety. When does this usually happen? What are your triggers? Take a step back from the situation, and take a deep breath.
  2. Identify your thoughts that are fueling the anxiety. With anxiety the irrational thoughts are most likely catastrophic doomsday worst case scenarios.
  3. Think back to a past time when you’ve experienced anxiety. If you’re alive today reading this then it’s a sign that you’ve coped with it and got through it one way or another. Remember if something is difficult it never means you can’t handle it. Rationally speaking only your own death is something you can’t handle since when you die you’re not handling anything; you’re dead. Also remind yourself of things that could exist in the universe worse than having anxiety. This helps put the experience in prospective. When you wholeheartedly believe bad things can happen but they could always get worse, and that you can handle anything that life throws at you— you don’t feel anxious.

The irony of phrenophobia is the more you keep putting unrealistic pressure on yourself and panic about “going crazy” the faster you may get there. On the contrary the more you tell yourself rational constructive thoughts the more likely you’re not going to “go crazy.” The value of thought changing is that when you do it as frequently as possible you get better quicker. Don’t let irrational unhelpful thoughts go unchallenged and dictate how you feel. Try these steps and see if they make you feel less anxious about getting anxious.