Coping With Paranoia

Down below is a poem I wrote when my mind would not slow down from the constant paranoid thoughts I try so well to hide. Unfortunately, a lot of my anxiety comes from thoughts I cannot control. It can be hard coping with paranoia.

I am unsure why my thoughts get so out of hand. The only thing I can really make sense of is going through what I did as a child has me fearful of the world. Here are some of the thoughts I have dealt with in the past

  • I can’t go to the store because I might get shot so I will barricade myself in my room and wait for this shooting nonsense to stop. (I did not leave my room for 2-4 months at one point in my life)

  • I can’t make friends because people are out to hurt me both physically and mentally or I always mess up my friendships because of my mental health. (Completely irrational, I know)

  • I can’t sleep with the blanket over my head, or I will suffocate and die. (Sounds like something from the movie Croods, right?)

I can include many more examples, but I think you get my drift. I am in the process of overcoming things like anxiety and my irrational thoughts to become a better version of myself. It is the most difficult thing I have done, but it is worth it.

By sharing my journey with advice and guidance I am hoping to help others that may be going through similar feelings and emotions understand they are not alone and that they too can get through this.

I will say, it is not easy, there are no shortcuts, and it is extremely uncomfortable. However, if you want to get out of that mindset you have to push through and keep going, even in uncertainty.

I started working on myself a little over four years ago. Now I am able to go out without all the crazy thoughts. When they do come up, I notice them and remind myself I am okay. I still have hard days, but they are easier to cope with.

If I had never taken the steps to change my thought process, I would have never been able to do what I am now. I would still be where I was for years to come. Miserable, scared, and hurting on the inside.

I am an open book about what I have been through and the difficulties I face because I had many therapists as a troubled teen. The only one who truly got through to me is the one who had experienced similar things I had gone through. She was open, guiding, and a wonderful person. Honestly, she is one of my inspirations.

I also want to help those who do not understand certain behaviors, like paranoia, understand it more so they can help others who may be experiencing similar things.

Keep reading below if you would like to know more about what paranoia is and ways to cope if you experience it.

Shut the World Out
By: Crystal Grasso

Shut the world out

Don’t let anyone in

No one’s real to begin

Made in a world with fictionist lies

Are you really who you think you are?

Or are you who they want you to be

Lost in an endless cycle

When will people open their eyes and see

This is not real

You and me

We are a product made by the world

We even come with a barcode

Social security number to record your history

So, now do you see

Shut the world out

Don’t let anyone in

Maybe you can be free

Of the lies, you are made to believe

 

This poem gives an inside look at how my mind thinks when I am going through my irrational paranoid thought attacks. For a long time, I hate to admit, I would overthink things to the point I was afraid of the world around me. I have a very analytical mind and I always try to make sense of things.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time I was completely irrational with my thoughts. Which led to irrational actions. It was not until a little over four years ago that I realized my thinking patterns needed to change if I wanted to succeed in life and not be so scared.

What is Paranoia?

As defined by the Online Webster Dictionary, Paranoia is 1.) a mental illness characterized by systematized delusions of persecution or grandeur usually without hallucinations and 2.) a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others.

Defined by me? Paranoia is the constant thought of something horrible happening, the fast-paced thump of your heart as you try to calm your thoughts down. Paranoia is envisioning the worst possible outcome and believing the outcome will come true. So, you stay hidden in a room, safe away from everyone and everything. Paranoia is fear, loneliness, and a bad habit to let your mind slip into.

What are the Symptoms of Paranoia?

Mental Health America states Symptoms of paranoia and delusional disorders include intense and irrational mistrust or suspicion, which can bring on a sense of fear, anger, and betrayal. Some identifiable beliefs and behaviors of individuals with symptoms of paranoia include mistrust, hypervigilance, 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

Here are some of my  own signs of paranoia:

  • Thinking about the worst thing happening all the time
  • Isolating
  • Fear of basically everything around me when I leave my home
  • Overthinking to the point of having an anxiety attack
  • Talking myself out of going or doing something I wanted to do, out of fear of what-ifs.

What Causes Paranoia?

Mental Health America also states the cause of paranoia is a breakdown of various mental and emotional functions involving reasoning and assigned meanings. The reasons for these breakdowns are varied and uncertain. Some symptoms of paranoia relate to repressed, denied or projected feelings. Often, paranoid thoughts and feelings are related to events and relationships in a person’s life, thereby increasing isolation and difficulty with getting help.

I believe the things one goes through in life can contribute to paranoia.  Maybe your childhood was not great or you watched a family member have extreme fears that were later developed. Children do as they see if they see a parent constantly displaying fear they might begin to display the same thing.

Additionally, relationships with others can play a very big part in paranoia. Maybe trust was broken, and there were lies and/or abuse that caused a negative impact like paranoia.

How Can You Cope With Paranoia?

Here are some of the ways that have helped me. Remember, these are some of the things I have used to help cope with paranoia and may or may not help you if you were to try some of the suggestions.

  • Keeping a journal and writing down my thoughts whenever my mind starts to wander too far into the what-ifs in life.

  • Ask myself “am I overthinking this” and think about 3 positive things. This helps ease my mind.

  • Researching things that can help.

  • Learning about paranoia. By learning more about paranoia I was able to start seeing some of my thoughts were only making me scared and causing my relationships with family and friends to become shakey.

  • Finding an activity to do when the thoughts begin to get too much to deal with. I really enjoy coloring on my phone with an app called colorfy.

  • I recently started to use CBD oil to help calm my anxiety and it has helped with paranoia as well.

  • Keep trying and focusing on the positives instead of the negatives in life. I realized I spent so much time and energy thinking about all the things that could go wrong that I was not allowing myself to think about the things that could go right. I have to tell myself constantly that it is okay to be happy and think about happy outcomes.

Conclusion

Paranoia is irrational thoughts that cause one to become distrusting, fearful, and sometimes isolated. Paranoia can lead to delusional thoughts where the person experiencing paranoia wholeheartedly believes what they are thinking. Realizing there is a need for a change in thought process is a good start to help with.

Many people who experience paranoia also experience anxiety and depression. If you are experiencing any of these emotions, the posts linked below may be beneficial for you. I also included some great books to help with understanding and overcoming paranoia.

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