10 Surprising Ways to Lose Your Mind

Experiencing a Trauma
A federal investigator examines the remnants of American Airlines flight 1420. You can kind of see how climbing out of that wrecked plane might mess with your mind. Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images

In 1999, Julia Ferganchick was aboard American Airlines flight 1420 when it crashed near Little Rock, Arkansas. The plane slammed into the ground at 184 mph (296 kph). Ferganchick survived, made her way out of the tangle of twisted metal and flame, jumped to the ground and started helping others [source: Wolff Perrine].

Although she survived, mentally "I didn't even get out of the plane," she said in an interview with Self magazine. Ferganchick became depressed. She couldn't maintain a relationship. She argued constantly with family and friends. She took a handful of mind-numbing Xanax and had to be rushed to the hospital. "I didn't want to die," she said in the interview, "I just wanted to stop hurting inside."

Plane crashes, car accidents, natural disasters, war, physical or sexual assaults, and other trauma can make people feel as if they are losing their minds. That's because people who often go through these events often experience flashbacks of the event or have nightmares. The nightmares might be so alarming that they soon develop insomnia [source: ASDI].