09 Aug

Eventually, I slept. Uncomfortable, sweaty sleep; the kind where every nice dream has a hidden monster and you wake every so often, afraid of the dreams but fearful of staying awake. Sleep which does nothing to ease the fatigue, and probably contributes to it.

Yesterday I told my mother that I didn’t want to look at the newly-refurbished market, or go in Superdrug, or buy anything from Boots. Avoided TK Maxx and insisted we have coffee outdoors, all because I couldn’t stand the feeling of being watched by everyone. Paranoia is raging through my head at the moment, and there seems to be little I can do to stop it apart from avoiding public places

When I lived with J, I became agorophobic. Not of open spaces… just of people. Eye-contact became a nightmare of “what are they looking at? Is it the piercings? Do I have mascara down my face? Is it because I’m ugly?”. I did try to go outside for a while – forcing myself to speak to shop assistants even though I was sweating and shaking – but it just didn’t work. The space outside of the front door became the enemy, and I locked myself away rather than face the stares and the comments I never heard, but knew people were saying cruel things as I walked past.


It’s easy to hide, you see. Since I moved back in with my mother, my bedroom has become a fortress; a sort of physical representation of the wall I’ve been building around myself since childhood. When life becomes too much to deal with, I can retreat to the safe space, knowing nothing can truly hurt me when I have my belongings around me and familiar things I can touch. It grounds me. Knowing where things are going to be and having everything just as I want it… it’s a security blanket.

I’m starting to give in to the paranoia again. It’s always been there – there’s never been a time where I don’t believe strangers are staring at me and weighing me up – but recently… it’s blossomed. A rise in anxiety was always the risk with taking Lyrica, and so far I’ve been weathering the growing storm as best I can, but it all feels like it’s becoming too much now; I don’t have time for it. I don’t want it.

Which is why, when S and I are settled into the new flat, I’m going to ask my GP about speaking to a psychologist. This is a big thing for me – I’ve had such negative experiences with the mental health system that I lied to the last specialist I saw and told him everything was fine, just so I didn’t have to go through with all the shite – and to be honest, I’m scared. I coped on my own for so long, and I thought I was doing well… but I’m still having delusions. Still hearing the voices.

I need someone else’s take on it.

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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Every day life


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38 responses to “Paranoia

  1. carlarenee45

    August 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm


  2. Shantelle Latreese

    August 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Paranoia is common amongst some introverts, it’s presence is made known in my numerology number (7)…when i become paranoid, i find myself mentally repeating affirmations such as ‘the love i have for myself is reflected through those around me’ ‘i am beautiful, i love and accept myself’ ‘my positive thoughts create my positive world’..etc
    I used to have a hard time with eye contact, I’ve gotten a lot better…but it is something not easy for introverts as we sometimes suspect people can view our private life by looking into our eyes. You’re not alone…with self awareness comes peace of mind…eventually :)

    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      August 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      You’re right about the private life; I really don’t like looking too deep into somebody’s eyes because I’m convinced they can somehow read what’s in my mind. Logically that makes no sense, and I know it doesn’t. Still, it bothers me. Medication helps, but it’s still a struggle.

      I try the affirmations. I just find that the paranoia takes over; even good words become twisted in my mind. I suppose it’s something which will take a lot of work and time to deal with.

      Thanks very much for your comment, Shantelle. I’ll keep hoping for that peace of mind. Heck, hope is all that keeps me together. Take care of you.

  3. Bourbon

    August 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    I wish you the best in accessing help x

  4. The Dark Side of Chaos

    August 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Speaking of social anxiety, I made this piece a while ago and posted it on deviant art. It is sort of the way social anxiety attacks me when I go out.

    You can feel free to do with it as you like, even dislike it ;)

    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      August 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      Oh, I AODRE this! <3 Hope you don't mind, but I've shared it to Pinterest and (I think) Twitter. You've got the whole anxiety experience spot on.

  5. willowdot21

    August 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    You do not need another take on this you have made the right decision. You know that you need to talk to a professional I know it is hard very hard I have been there. It does help it is not easy but it could be your best chance of a future with your new relationship, take a leap of faith. Be brave.

    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      August 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      Thanks Willowdot. I didn’t mean another take in that way… more that I would like the opinion of someone else as to what’s going on with me. As for my relationship, I’m not sure I’d class it as new anymore. Strangely, it seems to be the one part of my life which is unaffected by all this.

      Cheers luv <3

  6. Jaen Wirefly

    August 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    I’ve had times when my paranoia kicked in – it’s terryifying and uncomfortable at the same time. Seeking therapy is a good idea and in the meantime doing some meditiation may help. Hugs!

  7. stuff I said

    August 9, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I wish you the best in finding the perfect therapist. Sometimes it is true you can’t see the forest for the tresses and a new set of eyes maybe just what you need. xx

    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      August 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      Indeed :) I mean, it’s scary and it’s not really something I want to do, more that I know I need to… but a new pair of eyes can’t hurt. I can walk away any time I want, so hopefully I’ll find the right person. Thanks luv <3

  8. Irene

    August 9, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    I think this is a good move to get a psychologist! And moving into a flat! I hope, though, that it’s not too much all at once.

    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      August 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      I think it’ll be the right time. I’m going to wait for a bit first, make sure I’m settled in before I even think of speaking to my GP. Then… well, I imagine it’d be a long wait to see somebody.

  9. mm172001

    August 10, 2012 at 1:39 am

    I know where you’re coming from with voices and paranoia too, I coped long without really telling anyone because they told me all kinds of stuff to scare me. I’ve learned to cope kinda with medicine. I also have a serious issue with eye contact I fear they can see into my soul and mind.

    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      August 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      I understand the fear of them seeing into your soul. It’s a scary thought, and one I carry around a lot. Like… by looking into someone’s eyes, they can see all my horrible secrets and failures, you know? Eh, I know you know. I’m glad you’re coping somewhat. Medication is a godsend.

  10. judithatwood

    August 10, 2012 at 1:59 am

    All kinds of love from across the ocean! I saw my first therapist when I was 26, and I lied to him and everyone since then. I knew that if I told my real story, the therapist would laugh at me, or tell me I was imagining my troubles. When finally, in 2007, I hired a psychologist, and I decided to tell her that I would likely lie about my life. She said that was fine, as long as I was aimed toward telling the truth. If I were you, I would try not to worry about telling the truth — when I see the psychologist, explain to him/her that lying is my defense against your my own terrible history. the psychologist will understand, and slowly help my find the courage to face my issues. Choosing a psychologist is a great step forward. One day you’ll awake to find the paranoia a little less awful, and then day by day, less and less. As always, I am thinking of you, and wishing you the very best!!! 8-)

    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      August 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      I’m not sure what I’m afraid of more; the therapist laughing at me, or telling me I’m totally sane. It’s happened before. If I’m sane, then is this real life? If so, how the hell could I ever deal with it?

  11. verbalbanter

    August 10, 2012 at 2:45 am

    I understand reluctance to be open and have to do work when lying seems so much easier. Take a deep breath and open up to them, it does help and therapy tools can be very useful. I dont always use my tools as you may have read, and that’s ok when it’s my choice. I am with you on this journey.

    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      August 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks very much, I do appreciate you being with me. I think it’ll take a lot of deep breaths.

  12. lalalemzo

    August 10, 2012 at 6:24 am

    There’s really nothing to say that can make you feel better about this, I know. Talking to someone about problems that can often lead people to thinking wild things about you is not something I really like doing, I don’t know about you.

    It’s hard, I know, to think of what people might see when they look at you. Stay strong.

  13. bipolarmoms

    August 10, 2012 at 8:39 am

    You have the support of everybody who reads this blog; it’s all there in the comments. Talking to a psychologist is a big step. Some are better than others, but when you find the right one it’s all worth having searched for so long. I hope that your GP refers you to the one who’s right for you and that you find yourself in a better space soon.

    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      August 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Thank you so much, luv. I’ve never had what I’d call a “good” psychologist, so I can only hope you’re right.

  14. Laura P. Schulman, M.D., M.A., FAAP

    August 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    It’s great that you’re planning to see a psychologist. I don’t know if it’s possible in your health system, but sometimes it does take shopping around before you find the right one. Take care of yourself xoxo

  15. Ginger Ray

    August 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Congratulations!! I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! This award was inspired by the Sisterhood of Traveling pants and is an award for female bloggers to encourage the spirit of sisterhood. You can view more Information about the award on my blog at :

  16. faithhopechocolate

    August 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    As others have said, take the time to get the right therapist. It is theoretically possible on the NHS and I remember when I went for therapy that the therapist themselves said that if I felt it wasn’t right I ought to say so – which to me seems quite sensible of them and also positive, in that they acknowledge that for it to work you have to be working with the right sort of person to understand you.

    Praying for you, that you get a helpful and supportive therapist. Xxx

    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      August 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks chuck <3

      My only worry is I'll continue to hold back. Each time I've seen a therapist or any sort of mental health specialist, I've gone with the intention of being entirely honest but ended up just nodding occasionally and smiling and pretending it's all fine. It's almost like I can't control it, you know?

      • faithhopechocolate

        August 14, 2012 at 7:55 am

        I know I’ve mentioned this before, when you’ve “just” been going to the doctor’s, to write out what you want to talk about. If you were to write down in advance all your fears and worries about the therapy and give that to the therapist when you have your first appointment, and how you’ve reacted previously, it puts them in a far better position to be able to help you. Therapy is a bit like confession – it can only truly work if you are completely, totally and brutally honest, and you can only do that if you want it to work AND you completely trust the person to whom you are talking.

  17. YAPCaB

    August 11, 2012 at 5:26 am

    You’re making a good decision.

  18. April

    August 11, 2012 at 7:37 am

    I’m glad you’re seeking a shrink. I’ve had bad experiences with them in the past, too. But I’ve had really good experiences, too. I don’t know how mental health works in the UK, but if you have the opportunity, shop around a little and try several different shrinks before you make your decision about which one to stay with.

    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      August 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      It’s a little complicated in the UK, but it is technically possible to see somebody if you ask for them; the waiting times will be longer and obviously you have to know WHO to ask for in the first place, but you do have the right to see a certain therapist/psychologist. It’s perfectly okay to walk away from one specialist and try another, but it means waiting months inbetween each.

      Hopefully I’ll have a good experience without too much drama. Cheers, luv.

  19. I'm taking a nap

    August 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I am an introvert. A horribly paranoid introvert. I can’t go anywhere without my service dog because he keeps me grounded. Maybe getting a service animal could help you as well.

    With Velcro, my dog, people come up and talk sometimes and that’s ok when he’s around but if he isn’t, I will panic.

    You made the right decision on the therapist and, from experience, don’t go for a psychologist, you need a psychiatrist. There is a major difference in the two. I’ve been in and out of therapy for years, since I was 13. I too lied to them all except the last one. You will find the one that can get you better, WHEN you are ready and not before.


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