Right now I am paranoid. I am not wearing tin foil or tracking conspiracy theories. I am, however, full of “mistrust, hypervigilence, difficulty with forgiveness, defensive attitude in response to imagined criticism, preoccupation with hidden motives, fear of being deceived or taken advantage of, inability to relax, or are argumentative.” (http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/paranoia-and-delusional-disorders) I am a unique paranoid person in that I can see how illogical I am being, and continue to believe illogical things. The day before yesterday was the Orlando Mass Murder. I think that the United Methodist Church and the backers of the transgender bathroom bans are largely responsible for it, and I am very angry at these groups. The people who fought the NRA after Sandy Hook are second-most in my ire; why did they give up the fight when it was no longer fashionable? If only they had kept fighting. I could write treatises about how my beliefs are not correct, but that wouldn’t stop me from believing them.
My paranoia began last week with two big losses: my support group and my father. My support group leader attacked (notice the paranoid word there: attacked) my writing, and my therapist had serious questions of whether it was healthy. It started with the “defensive attitude in response to imagined criticism” right there. I became “argumentative” about everything. I lost my trust and became hypervigilant, imagining those against me to be bigger and more powerful than they are. Then came the Orlando attack, and there you go: Garden variety paranoia. My supports have turned against me. My writing must be completed (grandiosity). One of the guest ministers at church is plotting against my husband.
I sit, and cannot sit still; I lay down and my mind wanders down dark corridors of imagined slights, inconsiderate people, things I should have said. Then I sit some more, read the internet (which somehow reinforces my odd new beliefs), eat fritos and yogurt and go back to bed. This has been going on for most of the past five days. I’ve taken Ativan, played computer games, and written some very bad prose. I try to lay low because I fear greatly what could come out of my mouth. I have already accused a very nice Methodist of complicity in the Orlando affair on Facebook. I blocked calls from my father and the group leader on my home and cell phones. God only knows what would come out of my mouth. What has come out of my mouth in the past.
It sucks knowing you’re paranoid and being helpless to do anything about it. I’m just wasting time until it somehow magically goes away. Or gets worse. They say I’m an unusually self-aware crazy person, which I think means I know when I’m paranoid. This time I’m going to try a couple new things:
- Writing the accusations and obsessive words on my body. Instead of self-harming (which does stop the paranoia effectively), use ink. Get it out. See it.
- Talk back to the voices. When I can see on my body what is in my mind, figure out who said it when in real life, and stand up for myself.
Honestly, I’m afraid it’s my parents. They were such good parents, but sometimes they said hurtful things, things that echo in my mind to this day. This probably happens to everyone. I don’t want to sink to the level of parent-bashing, I really don’t. So I’m afraid to look, to listen, to talk back. Doesn’t it seem odd that the cure for paranoia may be talking back to the things you really are paranoid about?