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What To Do When You Feel Crazy

When Grief Makes Us Feel Crazy

"My emotions are erratic. My mind either churns or completely shuts down. I can't rest. I'm always on the verge of tears," Claudia shared. 

Claudia's daughter Ashleigh was born premature. It had been a difficult pregnancy, and Ashleigh came out of the womb with a host of issues. Over the next 6 weeks, she had multiple surgeries and procedures, to no avail. Ashleigh never left the hospital. 

"I know she suffered. The thought of that drives me nuts. I feel unhinged, like I'm coming apart. I feel trapped. Sometimes I can't breathe," Claudia said. 

Claudia looked down for moment before continuing. "Maybe I'm going crazy," she concluded.


Loss can make us question our sanity

Most people feel crazy at some point (or at several points) in their grief process. Feeling like we might be losing it is natural and common for grieving hearts.

Our emotions resemble a poorly-constructed, out-of-control, and somewhat dangerous roller-coaster. Emotions unpredictably climb, fall, twist, turn, and drop. We don't feel anything like ourselves.

Our bodies betray us. Strange come-and-go symptoms assault us. Stress pounds our physical health. We feel like we're falling apart.

Our minds spin. Racing thoughts are common. We forget things. We can't concentrate. We feel like a shadow of our former selves. What's happening to us?

Like Claudia, we can feel unhinged at times, similar to being on the edge of a cliff or on top of a deep, could-give-way-at-any-moment sinkhole. 

Bereavement researchers refer to this as the “Going Crazy Syndrome.” It feels like we’re going nuts. The truth is, however, that we feel crazy because we're in a crazy situation. 

If we're immersed in craziness, we're going to be impacted by that. We tend to personalize things and think that the "crazy" is coming from us. 

Our loved one has died. That's crazy. We're in the center of this, and it will make us think we're nuts at times too. 

"Life without you is nuts. Yes, I feel crazy sometimes."

Possible action steps:

Feeling looney or unhinged is no fun. Here are some possible actions step to help:

  • Find a grief support group (local hospices, grief centers, churches, etc.). Being with other people who are experiencing their own version of "grief craziness" can be affirming and relieving. 
  • Reach out to a grief counselor, therapist, or minister. Sometimes reassurance and feedback from a professional can help immensely.

Feeling crazy? Chances are it's not you. It's grief.

Adapted from the newly released bestseller, Shattered: Surviving the Loss of a Child


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About the Author

Gary Roe is an author, speaker, and chaplain with Hospice Brazos Valley. He is the author of the award-winning bestsellers Shattered: Surviving the Loss of a Child, Please Be Patient, I'm Grieving, HEARTBROKEN: Healing from the Loss of a Spouse, and Surviving the Holidays without You and the co-author (with New York Times Bestseller Cecil Murphey) of Saying Goodbye: Facing the Loss of a Loved One. Visit him at

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