Paranoia, it drives you crazy

Posted on September 27, 2013

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I know I owe my blog quite a few posts right now, this past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind and i’ve not had the headspace to do any writing.

They’ve been a great few weeks though, and i’ve been the happiest i’ve been in a long while.

Just feeling generally ‘ok’ for more than one day at a time, not feeling down or depressed ever – just purely, well, NORMAL. It’s been great.

But all my life i’ve suffered from occasional bouts of paranoid anxiety.

I don’t know how many other people in the world like me, suffer from this – buts its debilitating.

When it comes, I’m suddenly ‘convinced’ that certain people around me are hating on me. It’s mostly in the workplace that I experience this. It’s like I can feel negative energy targeted at me and I can’t tell whether i’m genuinely ‘picking stuff up’ like in an intuition sense, or if I’m just imagining it. it’s really quite an ego driven disease, to feel like all anyone is doing is thinking about or talking about you, as if they haven’t got other things to concern themselves about. It’s silly really, and quite a self-involved illness that is obsessive and can easily spiral out of control causing communication breakdowns, loss of earnings and in some cases self fulfilling prophecies.

Paranoid anxiety causes me to withdraw, feel depressed, lack confidance and my self esteem plummets. I find myself reaching out to people to try and dissipate the negative feelings, only often to regret my efforts – as it seems only to provide more evidence to prove the ill thoughts in my mind. All it takes is one person to not say hello when you walk past then, or a conversation to stop suddenly when you walk over to a group of people, to feel paranoid. Any other time, these things I wouldn’t even notice but when my anxiety is high, I start to see ‘evidence’ in so many things. I often can get convinced in these bouts of paranoia that those around me don’t like me, that they’re irritated by me, that i’ve done something wrong and it’s a truly horrible feeling to experience.

Of course, the reality is that people in the workplace have other things on their mind. My colleagues don’t care enough about me to actually have a massive conversation about me or a bitch-fest or gossip session. I haven’t fucked up so badly to warrant waves of significant disapproval and everyone is so caught up in their own dramas that the likelihood is that if I do a sneaky exit from the annual conference, for example and don’t go to the pub they probably won’t even notice. And if they notice, they’re not going to care enough to use that against me.

Yet this is exactly what I did today, and I came away feeling highly anxious about it. Yet the last thing I wanted to do was go down the pub and have to put on a brave face and make small talk with everyone. Even though, by pulling myself away from the group I am disassociating myself from them and avoiding any bonding. I then miss out on any post-conference chit chat, and give them an opportunity to talk about how slack I was by doing a sneaky exit without saying goodbye.

See? Its evil.

Paranoid anxiety is a nightmare.

Literally.

Last night I couldn’t sleep for 3 hours, awake in my bed with my mind whirring over and over about what I may or may not have done wrong last night over our stakeholder dinner to the point that I made myself ill. My dreams were filled with paranoid fears, and I kept waking up to go to the loo – I actually gave myself diahorrea, from worrying so much.

This doesn’t happen to me often, thank god. I can’t bear to think how it would feel to suffer from this on a regular basis but when i’m depressed it can be a major side effect of my mental well being (or lack thereof) and its very disabling.

But you can’t ever stop people from talking about you.

You can’t prevent anyone in the workplace from assessing your work or your behaviour and if you do something wrong and get pulled up on it, you need to be resilient. Constructive feedback, or feedback even (not always constructively) is important in life because it all comes from somewhere. We’re humans, not machines, and we often learn the best from making mistakes. Well, I know I do. And you have to be able to listen to all kinds of feedback, take it on the chin and process it to ensure your own positive development. But when you’re suffering from paranoid anxiety, it lives off the fear of not being perfect. So the fear of not being 100% liked – or loved – is crippling, and it can take just one tiny thing to set it all off.

With me, I tend to find that when I am not exercising, when I don’t get any sleep, when i’m drinking too much, and if I get drunk at work events (and especially if I don’t remember what I did), and if people around me take the piss out of me or talk to me like like a c*nt – I tend to find my anxiety gets triggered and I suppose I end up reliving some negative experiences from my childhood. It can be very painful and take a few days to get my head back together.

Paranoid anxiety is a very complicated, very disabling, extremely painful disorder and it literally can make you go mental.

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Posted in: The Truth