Need help breaking free from addiction?
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Who Answers?

Crazy Thoughts


Dr Schwartz, I have been experiencing a lot of anxiety for a little over a week. I cant sleep, i dont really have an appetite, and im in a constant struggle with my mind. I have crazy thoughts, most of them starting with the words ‘WHAT IF’. Deep down I know that what I am thinking about is not true, but i have had this thought off and on for about a year now and finally i snapped. I now find myself looking back in my past and trying to find proof that this crazy thought is true. I can almost believe that this thought is true if i think about it for too long. I am 95 percent sure that i know the initial cause for these thoughts but even then i cant convince myself that the thought is not true. Something similar happen to me about 4 years ago and i went on paxil for less than a month and everything got better so i stopped taking the medication. I told my doctor all of this and he thinks i might have bi polar disorder. I really just feel like the symptoms of this disorder do not fit me. What do you think?

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

I actually do not know what to think because I do not know the nature of the thoughts you are having except that they begin with "what if." Generally speaking the term "what if" denotes worry and anxiety. If this is what you are experiencing it would explain why you felt better after taking Paxil for one month. What I do not understand is why you stopped the medication after only a month? It is usually recommended that medications such as Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft and others be taken for a minimum of six months to a year, depending on the age of the person and the severity of the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Anyway, the nature of your symptoms and the fact that the Paxil helped you indicate that you have an anxiety disorder with some depression.

As to whether you could have a Bipolar Disorder or not it is difficult for me to know for sure. However, anti depressants such as Paxil are contra indicated for people with Bipolar Disorder because it makes them feel agitated, anxious and manic. Anti depressant medications can be used for those with Bipolar disorder if they are already taking one of the mood stabilizer medications. Mood stabilizers help prevent people with BPD from having the mood swings from severe depression to extreme mania. During the time that they experience depression the anti depressants can be used to help them feel better.

What I strongly recommend for you is that you have your Medical Doctor refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist so that you can be properly evaluated and diagnosed to determine whether or not you need medications and, if so, what type of medications would be best. Then, too, the evaluation and diagnosis would determine the type of therapy that would be most helpful for you.

You have struggled with these symptoms for a long time and it is in your best interests to get the proper help now.

Best of Luck

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists

  • Anonymous-1

    This person's questions caused me to think about a few similar episodes that I have experinced.

    For instance I have on a few occassions been in a coversation with someone at work who I have a good relationship with and all of a sudden I think what would happen if I threw my coffee in this person's face or what would happen if I just punched this person in the face. Of course I have never acted these thoughts out but it really freaks me out when this happens? Is this normal?

  • Anonymous-2

    i have always thought about that kind of stuff but it has been in a playful way for example i would think what if i just threw my big mac at that cop that is in the other lane i dont think its anything serious unless you really have to restrain yourself from acting out if its just playful thoughts than i would say its nothing serious

  • Dr. Shields

    I in fact had these thoughts of my own, but it is perfectly normal because many people have these same thoughts. In fact, my thoughts have sometimes gone much further than a silly little "what if?" question. I used to think about how long forever is, if everything is real, and so on. But to simply answer your question, yes it is normal and you shouldn't worry.

  • Nati

    I need help.

    I'm a freshman in college and for the past 3 months or so I've been feeling very depressed and anxious. The beggining symptoms included crying, feeling sad all the time.... Nothing too out of the norm of being homesick.

    But, a couple weeks ago I began having these obsessive thoughts. Thoughts such as, "Who am I" "What makes me, me?" "Are human beings just mechanical, is any of this true?"

    Really really scary stuff. I don't know how to deal with it. My boyfriend lives far away from me, and when he comes to visit, my mind eases a bit, but thats the only time I get a little relief. What should I do? Am I going crazy????

    I just don't want to live life this way anymore. I am transferring next year to closer to home and closer to my boyfriend, which should make a difference, but is there any suggestions for now???

  • Allan N Schwartz

    Hi Nati,

    Although it may feel as though you are going crazy what is really happening is that you are experiencing intrusive obsessional thinking brought on by anxiety and stress. The freshman year of college is the worst for most students. Between the adjustment to being far from home, in a new environment, dealing with past relationships and their loss, coping with the work load and exams, etc, it is very stressful and you are feeling the impact of all of that.

    What I recommend you do is to see get an appointment at the colleges counseling or health center and talk to the therapist there. All the schools have this now because your type of problem is so very common. But, make no misake, the fact that your problem is common does not mean that it is minor. No, you are not going crazy but you feel miserable and need help.

    Best of Luck

  • nathan

    It's all normal, all of you are just letting it get to you to bad. If it wasnt normal, you wouldnt see all these different people posting up the same problem you have, think about it.


Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.


Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand