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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  1. 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 :)


    • 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.


  2. 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.


  3. 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.


  4. 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-)


  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. 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


      • 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.


  9. 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.


    • 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.


  10. 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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