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Insane Paranoia

RichyRichy Registered User regular
edited April 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
So this is my curse. No matter what happens, no matter what people say, there's a voice in my head that always finds the most negative possible interpretation of reality, the one where people are cheating me and lying to me and mocking me behind my back. It doesn't matter how trivial and consistent with established patterns the facts and statements are, it does not matter how insanely reality has to be stretched and twisted to make it into a conspiracy against me, the scenario will automatically pop into my mind.

I've had this for as long as I can remember. Now I'm a mature intelligent adult, so I can recognize these delusions for what they are and ignore them. Sort of. It still takes a lot of my energy to dismiss them, and I've had more than one sleepless night because of them. Even if I don't trust them one bit, they're still present and darkening my mind and my life.

Example from this morning:
I sent a girl a "happy easter" message. She sent me a brief "thanks" message. All cool, right? Nope, my crazy paranoia immediately decided that since she didn't say "you too" and was so brief, she doesn't care about me. My normal mind immediately rejected this because the more likely scenario is that she's busy and couldn't type much. Indeed, a few minutes later she sent me a longer text with wishes and saying she was driving to church. But for those few minutes, those dark thoughts were spinning in my mind, even as I knew full well they were nonsense.

So, I guess my first question is, is anyone else like this?

And my second question is, how do you deal with it? I'm seriously getting fed up with myself having all these ideas screwing with my head, my morale and my life. How do I get rid of them?

Richy on


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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    I think a lot of people are like this. It's the human condition. Especially where persons of the opposite sex are concerned!

    Just remember that most people are too wrapped up in their own little lives to really bother with any kind of conspiracy or malice.

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    EuphoriacEuphoriac Registered User regular
    My brother's like this, and I am only occasionally.

    My advice? Stop giving a crap. People will think what they think but as CelestialBadger pointed out, most are too self-centred to care enough to do anything about it. Chances are you don't figure in their every waking thought.

    As for getting rid of your paranoia; My own moments of this are basically when I feel uncomfortable or vulnerable in a situation. If I'm not sure of myself or what i'm doing, those thoughts storm in and I have to re-iterate to myself that it doesn't matter; that I'm not doing anything harmful to anyone so whatever they think isn't important, and that finally; I'm damn awesome and people who think bad about me are dicks and deserve about as much consideration as the dirt on the soles of my shoes.

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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    There's a saying about incompetence and malice. I know some people interpret every bad thing that happens to them as being some sort of conciously made insult, whether because they like picking fights or playing the victim or are just plain paranoid. In my experience it's virtually never the actual case, though.

    As for getting worked up over a "thanks", though, iunno man. I usually don't put that much thought into responses unless it's something I've put a lot of time/creative/emotional effort into putting out there. So from that perspective, maybe you're also putting more importance on your own actions than they really require?

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    SpongeCakeSpongeCake Registered User regular
    If it's becoming a serious problem you should consider seeing a therapist, as this is precisely the kind of thing that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was built for - fixing faulty ways of thinking. To an extent, everyone has worries like this, I tend to overanalyse things myself (just responded to a friend's text, he didn't reply back, oh god I said something wrong and he hates me), but most people are able to realise that type of conclusion is batshit. CBT is about developing methods of identifying that it's batshit, and stopping it from happening before it becomes so bad that you're losing sleep. Might be something to consider.

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    LucidLucid Registered User regular
    When you say 'a voice in your head' are you speaking figuratively, or is there really what seems to be a voice speaking to you? What does it seem like the case is here?

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    RichyRichy Registered User regular
    Lucid wrote: »
    When you say 'a voice in your head' are you speaking figuratively, or is there really what seems to be a voice speaking to you? What does it seem like the case is here?

    No that's figurative, I'm not actually hearing voices. They're basically stray thoughts, random ideas that just pop into your head. Mine are ideas that connect trivial facts, words and actions into a tapestry of negativity.

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    schussschuss Registered User regular
    Assign that "voice" an internal name, and whenever you think like this, say to yourself "Shut up Jimmy" or something similar.

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    @Richy it was perfectly logically to think the way you did about that text message. Most people do this. It was probably more of your mind trying to justify what is happening and figure out if it was a friend worth having if they can't be bothered to reciprocate kindness (which she later did). Generally one takes a break and comes back to it a few hours later and then tries to figure out the correct response (if she never wrote back I'd seriously consider not being friends with them for instance).

    If your immediate reaction is to jump down their throat, again, take a bit and cool off and come back to it, that's usually what I do. Social lives are serious business.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    SentrySentry Registered User regular
    I do this too. It's not crazy... well, I mean, it's not healthy that's for sure, but it's not insane.
    It helps to rationalize it. When the crazy thoughts start just let them rant for a second, and then realize two things:
    1. Occam's Razor- Is it more likely that she's just busy right this second, or that she is mad at you/hates you for some imagined slight you can't remember doing?
    2. I read this study once about road rage that said that people perceive supposed slights by others to be about them... when you get cut off it's not because the other guy wasn't paying attention, it's because he deliberately cut YOU off, because apparently, despite not knowing you from Adam, he wants you to know that you should go fuck yourself. But when a person does the same thing themselves, it's because they didn't notice the other driver, or some innocuous reasoning that has nothing at all to do with the person you cut off. This is how we all are. The crazy thoughts you think are just a further expression of that. So, the next time you get a short text or e-mail or something that makes you think "uh-oh," instead think of situations where you would have responded similarly... you were busy, or driving, or getting ready, or whatever, and use that as your rationalization. Because chances are, that's the reason.

    But the advice about just not giving a fuck is also good. If you get so wrapped up in how people perceive you, you're going to end up like this a lot.

    When I was a little kid, I always pretended I was the hero,' Skip said.
    'Fuck yeah, me too. What little kid ever pretended to be part of the lynch-mob?'
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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    The other day I noticed my sister-in-law had de-friended me on Facebook, just after I commented positively on a cute baby picture she posted. So I got a bit paranoid - did I say something wrong? Turned out she just recreated her profile for some reason. The point is, most pessimists get this. Maturity comes in learning how to deal with it.

    It's harder when the person involved is very important to you - such as a girl you like! It's where jealousy comes from, and can ruin relationships unless you learn how to chill. But the self-awareness of knowing you do it is half the battle.

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    LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    I'm doing a CBT course on-line to help manage depression. One of the key things I've (re) learnt is to guard my thoughts, spot the lie thoughts for what they are, name them as such and then move on. Its hard to do at first, but it gets easier with practice.
    So, when I hear my voice telling me I'm useless and a failure and crap, I tell it to shut up cos its wrong. When I hear it telling me I can't do stuff I tell it back that I can. I also talk to my self positively - I remind myself what I've managed to do, even though I'm ill/tired, I praise myself for even the little things I've achieved. Sometimes it feels silly, but lots of the time it helps. I think we all have a voice criticising us, its how we respond to that voice that makes the difference. Try it, it might help you.

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