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Personal accounts of paranoia

We think paranoid worries are very common but that they are rarely discussed. People seldom share their experiences of having unfounded or excessive suspicious thoughts. However it can be helpful to hear that others have similar thoughts and it can also be beneficial to write about our own suspicious thoughts. Therefore in this section we are keen for people to send us brief written accounts of their paranoid or suspicious experiences (up to 500 words). We will try to post these accounts on the website here.

Send in your story email paranoidthoughts@psych.ox.ac.uk

Please note: these accounts would be for sharing on the website - unfortunately we cannot provide clinical advice or feedback on individual experiences. The accounts may also be used in future publications to provide illustrations of common paranoid and suspicious thoughts. You can put your real name or you can put a fictional name. We want people to start to talk about paranoid experiences more!

Examples of suspicious thoughts from website visitors

Sally, USA
I have always been afraid of the dark. As i got older it has progressed. It isn't as much the dark that I'm afraid of now, it's the feeling of what may be in the room that i cannot see. I always feel like someone is there, and is going to either kidnap, rape, or kill me. Many times when I am home alone I feel that someone is going to break in and kill me. I always feel that someone is there. I have to look through my entire house in every room and closets to reassure myself that i am truly alone. It happens when I am babysitting for other families as well. When I put the kids down for bed, I feel that there is someone watching me through the windows and is going to break in and take the kids and/or kill me. At home I check under my bed and close my closet and bedroom door. Unfortunately it doesn't have a lock. When I go into the bathroom I check behind the shower curtain, I don't really think there is someone behind it, I just check as a nervous habit. I check behind doors as well. When I fall asleep I make sure that my feet are covered, otherwise I feel that someone is going to pull me out of bed, or cut them off. I also sleep with the phone next to me so I have it in case of emergency. When I'm in public alone, I often times feel that people are watching and plotting to attack/rape me. Ever since I knew about such things, I always feel like someone is going to take me away and rape me. This gives me many nightmares and bad visions. Also, when I hear certain little noises it really worries me. It's usually nothing, but it gets my mind thinking about every worst possible cause.

Vivian, US
Well when I'm in the car driving i think the person that's driving behind me is following me to where ever im going! and everytime I'm at a party and someone gives me a drink or i get something to drink i think its been laced with something and i start panicking.i also have this problem when i'm out somewhere in public like in a grocery store i get this scary feeling about men that they're following me plotting on me trying to set me up watching me to leave out the store so they can do something to me and i hate these feelings their so scary and annoying.

Tim, London
I am nearly 21 and over the last 6 months I have noticed that I am becoming extremely paranoid of those around me especially my friends and colleagues at work, all I think about is that they are plotting to screw me over or take advantage of me to better themselves and its driving me insane! I cannot trust anyone and don't want to talk or interact with anyone. on top of this I have just met a wonderful girl who would be a perfect girlfriend and because of my paranoia it is driving me away from her and causing tension between us. I used to use a lot of different varieties of recreational drugs up until I realised that something was wrong and still drink is tlarge amounts of alchol which I suppose doesn't help but it seems the only release for me at the moment and I feel like there is no-one to turn to!

Sarah, UK
I had an argument with a friend and we don't speak anymore. I'm now paranoid that she is going to kill me as she came to stay at my house a couple of times and knows where I live. I had thoughts last year that my housemate was trying to kill me and poison me. I even forced myself to throw-up some food he had given me as I was scared it would kill me.

Kate, Leeds
I took a lot of recreational drugs when I was 18/19 and when I was 19 I was in birmingham taking drugs and I took too many and felt really low, the first time I experienced a 'bad trip' and had to leave the club I was at and go back to our room. I smoked alot of bud and calmed myself down, then in March I took alot of coke, pills and skunk in one night and got convinced the guy who I was with (my dealer) could hear my thoughts and was communicating with me through the t.v that was on. It was horrible. Now whenever I even smoke weed I think everyone can hear my thoughts and start thinking everything in life is related to me, like films me and my friends may watch or music we listen to. It is damn annoying and I really hope I'm not the only one out there.

Mary, UK
Thanks to everyone who posted, it's all helpful stuff that I will be trying form now on. I'm very paranoid about stuff to do with work, I'm a manager in a big office department and I'm convinced everyone is out to get me and that everyone is talking about me behind my back all the time and waiting for me to fail. Every time I make a mistake, I feel like everyone is gleeful that I have done so, as if this only serves to prove my incompetence. I also dwell on situations that have happened months ago and imagine that my friends are always talking about me. And the worse point is when I try to go to sleep at night, all the things that are on my mind just whirr wound my head incessantly and I find it really difficult to clear my head. I feel insane!!!

Ahmed, India
Whenever I walk through the marketplace, I'm always afraid that people are judging me for whatever--my moustache, my prominent nose, my slightly lazy left eye. It may just be insecurity, but I actually am afraid that someone will just out of the shadows, with a knife, and attempt to gouge my eye out, shave my moustache (I have a disfiguring mole on my upper lip--so the moustache is another product of insecurity), or slice off my nose.

Pete, London
I feel reading these has helped, been having paranoid thoughts for a couple of years although everything in my life is as good as I can wish for. Really about watching horror films or anything in a film which I can picture it being me, then I will constantly think that its going to happen for weeks. cant get the thought out my head that someones planning it for me and think whats the point of going on, best to end it quick. Have a very vivid imagination and can watch a film then think how I could make it worse, and get feelings that someone knows this and will try it on me. Sounds mad writing this and explaning it to someone, can strongly visualise horrible things and think it could actually happen. get really negative when I have the thought that no one can say it wont ever happen.

Jen, England
i'm glad i've found this website, i finally feel like i can let out my feelings. whenever i walk down the street i feel like everyone is watching me from inside their houses. when i'm waiting for the bus i think that people are watching me as they drive past in their cars and when i'm on the bus i get the feeling that people are watching me and laughing at me because of my appearance. when i'm waiting for my friends i feel like everyone is walking past and laughing at me bacause i'm on my own. i don't even feel safe in my own home and i'm really suspicious of my neighbours. the only time i feel safe is when i'm with my friends and immediate family but i don't think i can trust anyone. i'm sick of these paranoid thoughts, they're ruining my life.

Katherine, London
I feel that everyone is talking about me behind my back, noone really likes me but are pretending to. I feel that everyone is looking at me and thinking bad thoughts, and that people hate me in general. I fear that people that say they care for me are saying it as a joke for others that I am not in on. I think everyone is lying to me and they don't ever tell me how they really feel about me. I used to as a child fear that there was going to be a fire in our house every night. I'd worry about going near rivers incase someone fell in and drowned. I'd worry about going too fast in cars incase we crashed. I'd sometimes feel in public places that I was (if sitting) sitting on layers of dirt and germs and it makes me feel sick. I fear someone is hiding in the dark when I can't see. I feel I am never invited to social events with my friends because they really hate me and have to put up with me because they are too nice/afraid to hurt my feelings. Social situations generally terrify me :/

Phil, Canada
In high school I went from being really outgoing and big on friends to being somewhat of a loner. Everyone knew me and i was cool with most people but for some reason I never hung out with them and they never called me. I just did not like big crowds. I am okay with public speaking and things like that... but big social crowds wierd me out... Eventually I realized I was only meeting people online or through friends, and then I think people thought I was a bit shy. By Uni I was starting to do drugs because I was depressed alot and seemed to have really disturbing anxieties about basically everyone. My physical and mental health deteriorated pretty quickly and I am for the most part clean after 2 years or so of fairly moderate drug use.. But the problems from the drugs are mostly easily identifiably different from the every day paranoia/depression that I have had for 7 years now. At work I feel as some have said "barely tolerated" in life its always some scheme, some serious social grief i interpret... its difficult to live like this- and it gets easier and then punches you back down. Like trying to get out of quicksand.

Sue, UK
Well I'm quite young, and experience weird thoughts that i know are unreasonable and extreme (I KNOW!) but i just cant shake them. They vary, and sometimes i am not completely aware of them (like they're subconscious)but some examples i am aware of include being absolutely terrified of walking off a bus in case i trip or do something embarrassing, or talking to a shop assistant, or walking around a mall on my own, or being alone around a group of people (because they are talking about me)it has become so bad- i withdraw myself from social situations and i also think i have social phobia.. im just all over the place (mentally). i also think people are watching me all the time, judging me, even whilst i am inside my house, when i am alone it is even worse. sometimes they tell me things like walk straight, and smile or fix ur hair (mostly about my appearances)also it is like i can *hear* peoples thoughts, like "move out of the way, you are blocking my view of the pretty girl" and i move.

Ellen, Brighton
I had issues with paranoia regularly for years due to the use of recreational drugs, too many of them, not enough sleep, out all the time with a bloke who thought very little of me and people I had little in common with. It was like I was trying to appear to be a party animal but in truth my head was in bits constantly. Things needed to change. Knocked the drugs on the head, only spent time with people I knew were my friends and got rid of the bloke ...bingo..last episode was 3.5 years ago. I still have to be careful what sort of clubs I go to as memories can easily be triggered but on the whole I am feeling great, you need to know when to call it a day if a lifestyle does not suit you. You have nothing to prove to anyone so enjoy life and have some control.

Richard, USA
Last year I thought the FBI was watching me because of a website I visited, even though it was legal. If I saw a helicopter and a police car or a suspicious car near me I would panic, convinced they were coming to get me. That same year I was convinced my new supervisor was plotting to get me fired or demoted. He would constantly downplay my workload for that night, hoping I would not do important work, so when the boss came in the next morning he would be annoyed and eventually fire me. I am chronically suspicious of everyone around me, fearing their going to attack me or are laughing at me. Living with this black cloud of fear and anger over my head everyday really sucks.

Jessie, USA
My husband loves to watch scary movies and I try to enjoy this with him but every time I watch one of these movies he always falls asleep while I lay awake thinking there is someone in my house going to harm me or my 3 kids. I'm scared out of my mind. I leave all lights on and lock all doors and I still feel like I hear someone coming upstairs or someone is in my bedroom. I won't even sleep at all. Too afraid. I feel like there is something wrong with me because I'm an adult and not a child.

Cheryl, USA
I feel like family members, neighbours are plotting and breaking my things and they think I'm stupid and don't know they are doing it. I accuse them and they deny it.

David, USA
I found this website very interesting. Don't know that I ever have read a similar one. I can relate to a lot of these people's testimonies. My thoughts have been a constant uproar in my life. I believe mine could have been caused by a young life of drinking and being brought up in a slightly dysfunctional home and dysfunctional town. I believe dysfunction probably exist in many different settings and environments. I can take a simple situation or conversation and my mind will blow it completely out of proportion with paranoia or irrational thoughts to the degree that it affects my health in some ways. I become highly suspicious of people and think someone may have it in for me. Then after I have time to sit down and think about things most of it seems absurd. My mind seems to magnify a situation into something it's not. 99.9% of my thoughts never materialize, it's all within myself. I believe I was born with a heightened form of thinking or some sort of hypersensitive thinking. Anyway found this site fascinating. The good Lord helps me stay in check.....Smile. Take care.

Celia, UK
I worry that my friends don't really like me and that they just put up with me, that I'm not really invited to events but that they feel they have to ask. I always think they like each other more than they like me. But, I also wonder whether my friends feel the same way too, I have one friend who is good about talking about this kind of thing and voices similar concerns, maybe these ideas are part of being human and are attempts by our minds to protect us, unfortunately I think maybe the margin of error is too large and these thoughts are emphasised, which help with self-preservation, but not with social interaction. Maybe it is a cost/benefit situation where being kept safe outweighs, in evolutionary terms, the need for love and affection. Paranoid thoughts must serve some purpose if they exist in so many of us. Indeed, if it was rare, we would not have a word for it, or it would be a little known word. Maybe the modern world is too fragmented to create the loving, understanding and nurturing environment for people to feel safe with each other. Also, I think we are all scared to reveal our private sides for fear that people will use it against us (I am anyway), we all try to project a public front because of this fear, and because we are all doing it all we see of other people is their public persona (because they too are scared to show their private persona) we feel that we are different or alien as we know that we are projecting a front, but we do not know that other people are. Maybe liberation from paranoia is to create environments of trust where we admit who we are inside, I think we will find that we are all very similar, we are after all the same species, how can we be that diverse? In passing a few weeks ago, I said that I was worried that I smelt too much when we were out, and my friend turned round to me and said "I thought it was only me who worried about that" and I said "you can bet your life that if you do something, somebody else does it too" I saw her again a couple of weeks after this and she repeated it to me and said it really resonated with her and made her feel better, it bridged a gap between us and she realised that we are the same inside. I think we could all do with realising that our behaviours are part of being human, we all do them, they are part of our, individual, social, cultural and genetic make up and do not happen in isolation, they are not created personally by us but are part of the COLLECTIVE human condition. I hope I haven't waffled too much and that this makes sense to you and helps you, as a human being, I like to help you. We must act with love in the things we do.

Jill, Nottingham
Since moving I seem to have contracted paranoia. I've never ever in my entire life felt this bad. I had issues at home..but never ever felt as if someone deliberately wanted to make my life a hell so theirs would go fine. I moved to be with my friend who said she could help me and give me the emotional support I needed. She did and now doesn't. I've been trying to cope with it but for some reason have gotten more and more depressed. I now take meds for this. Every time anyone calls my friend or talks to her kids upstairs I think that I'm being talked about.. everytime..and when I ask she says that I'm off topic and I'm not talked about at all. I just can't believe it. My friend talks about loyalty and I just think that she's betraying me all the time. I'm 20 years old and because of her I lost my job my car my friends my life.. because I supported her through everything and now.. urg I feel like she don't care about me anymore and all I can do is think about committing suicide ...sigh.. wish I knew what to do

Jack, USA
I believe that someone is trying to kill me. Since I was a child (about 7 or 8) I have had feelings that someone is out to get me.

At first I just thought someone was hiding in my closet or under the bed. I would imagine they would just be under there and when I would look, they would stare straight back at me. Of course no one was under my bed but that didn't stop me from checking anyways.

The more I thought about it, the more elaborate the scenarios got. I would think someone would be standing behind open doors with a knife. Soon I thought someone was standing behind the shower curtain. Every time I would go into the bathroom, I would check behind the door and the shower curtain, which sadly I still do today. I also thought someone was standing behind me when I looked in the mirror, so I would constantly turn around, which I still do today as well.

Recently, I have been getting the feeling that someone is following me when I'm out in public. I feel that when I'm get in the car someone is going to be in the backseat, so I check it before I get in. I also feel that if I'm standing near something with a small space on the bottom that someone is going to cut off my feet (e.g. an office desk or a bed).

I also get the feeling that someone is in my kitchen or standing in my doorway. I am constantly turning around to check to see if someone is standing there with a knife. If I don't, I imagine that someone is going stab my mother while she is sleeping and then come into my room and stab me in the back repeatedly until I am dead.

It's getting progressively worse and I am really sick of being so paranoid. I haven't told anyone which is probably a good thing or else they might think I'm a loon.

Sophia, USA
It is helpful reading all these posts. My problem is a little different in that I don't necessarily feel like people are watching me or talking about me behind my back. For me, the paranoia is a deep seated sense that they hate me. Everyone. Even my own husband and children, my family, my best friends. It is like the knowledge that they hate me is deeply etched in my psyche and I am constantly trying to convince myself it is not true. It gets so bad I feel like life is not worth trying and I want to hide. I am able to tell myself that this is a mental disability and that as powerful as the feeling is, I must not give in to it because it is not real.

Justin, UK
I have a real problem with people phoning me. sometimes i'll be trying to relax after a hard day at work and my friends will ring me so I wont answer because i'm tired or busy, then they don't stop ringing me and carry on and I start to get anxious and I feel like their going to come to my house and like break in or say something I don't wanna hear, if I hear cars outside I worry that its my friends have rang my ex and has drove them down. I get to the point where I can't sleep and im up for hours worrying and telling myself that its not gonna happen and im just being stupid but it doesn't work.

I worry about my friends, I feel like their going to slag me off and make things up about me.

I feel like people are looking at me and judging me.

I have days were I cant leave the house at all not even to see my friends, that's usually when I get anxious about my friends constantly ringing me.

I've been diagnosed by my doctor as having moderately severe depression and every time I feel as though imp getting better or things are changing it just starts all over again its like it goes in cycles. Depression and mental illnesses run in my family so I guess I've got no chance!!

I sometimes wonder if I really am depressed I don't feel good enough to be classed as depressed! I know that sounds stupid but I feel as though im just a mess and there's nothing more to it. I'm only 16 which is rubbish as the doctors won't prescribe me any antidepressants.

I'm scared to post this in case people just look at it and think imp pathetic or that imp making it up, I feel such an idiot. I used to have a councillor but she didn't really do much. now I just want someone who I can talk to who will just listen and know what to do.

Francine, USA
I have always been afraid/paranoid of being alone at home, the dark and many other things. Lately I have been constantly worrying that something bad is going to happen. When I am at home alone at night I jump at the sound of every noise and if I see something move like my shadow I think that it is someone and that may harm me. Lately, my fears are starting to become more intense and feel more realistic. However, I know that they are just in my head and that calms me down. It is hard for me to share this with my husband or anyone because I don't want them to think that I am crazy but I feel like I need help if a I want to live the rest of my life with inner peace especially now that I am a mother.

Tiara, USA
I have had nightmares since I was 4. I remember every nightmare I have had. I am terrified of the dark. Even if the lights are on I am afraid that something will turn them off. I always feel like my doors are going to close by themselves. I feel like a presence is in the room with me at night. I hate being alone at night and often get panic attacks. I lock my doors over and over. Even if I know I already did, just the thought will send me to the door again. I am terrified of 3 am in the morning. I always wake up just a few minutes before 3 and panic.

Katherine, Devon
I feel as if people that are close to me are trying to poison me, and every time I go to dinner there they are giving me more of the poison and soon it will kill me, I know they wouldn't do it but the feeling is strong that I feel as if they are I even feel dizzy whilst eating the food and thinking of the poison, I cant be at home on my own as I feel scared that a ghost, an object or a person is going to kill me, I feel as if the light bulb is going to launch itself at me or the tv is going to hurt me, I feel as if some one is going to break in to my place and stab me, I feel a horrible feeling in my back where I am going to be stabbed, I hear voices telling me I ain't worth nothing, they tell me people are going to die, I even feel very uncomfortable about writing that bit as the voices tell me not to, it is a deep male voice that I hear the most, it has been happening since I was little, I cant remember a age, I am 19 yrs old now, I cant have people touch me unless its my partner or my son, I get a horrible feeling even if people just touch my hand, I have to wash my hands lots of time to get rid of the feeling, I cant leave my food on the side as I think someone has been in and poisoned it or even something, I just chuck the lot away, I see things happen in my head e.g. I've got an image of 3 masked men standing in my living room ready to kill me I see that loads of times, and it is exactly the same picture, I see people gettin killed and myself getting killed I literally see it in my head as if it was real, I am trying to fight the voices as I am writing this it feels as if my brain is expanding and it is going to burst at any time, I am currently taking seroquil 50mgs, the physiatrist tried to say I have a personality disorder, but my cpn doesn't agree with it I am going to be seeing a different physiatrist and this time I have to tell him everything as I bottle a lot of stuff up as it is very hard for me to say as the voices tell me not to,...

Gemma, USA
I always feel that people are talking about me. I can't seem to have a good time at work, church, school or any place because I feel that people are saying bad things about me. When people I have been around smile at me, I feel that their smiles are vindictive because they know something bad about me. I have sabotaged relationships due to this horrible habit I have..I want help fast.

Jess, Ireland
Lately I have been extremely paranoid. I mean ever since I was little I was always worried. See me and my mom have been taking walks lately its usually at night Its like every person I see is a rapist or killer even though they are harmless and every car I see has someone who is going to jump out and try to kidnap us or every parked van has someone in it who is waiting for us so that they can get us in the van. Its really bad at gas stations. I just know I going to get carjacked or I'm going to walk in while the store is being robed and get shot. Since I have had this problem for I while I really am starting to get angry and I just wish I could enjoy something without being worried all the time

Janice, UK
Having gone through an abusive childhood both physical, verbal, mental and sexual I have suffered with severe depression now for over 10 years. Recently, following the break up of my marriage, I have started having paranoid thoughts. I constantly feel that I am being followed when I am driving the car. I have taken alternative routes to evade my followers and on one occasion really believed my abusive parents were following me. At other times it is the Social Services. I constantly have these thoughts and at the time can not justify them, become anxious, panicky and afraid. Only after can I calm down and quantify them. I also have had paranoid thoughts about people coming into my garden, re-arranging the plant pots etc and my home where I have thought someone has been in and moved something. When they are happening I go completely crazy and have even hit myself to make the thoughts go away. Sometimes I feel that I am losing my mind completely. My doctor has now put me on Olanzapine and they are somewhat easier to handle but still frighten me and make me feel confused and violated.

Ryan, Luton
In general Imp paranoid about almost everything. Every nice compliment or comment I get given I take it as sarcasm, or I think the person will go away and laugh at me behind my back. Imp scared to leave closet doors open, any doors, Cupboards, Curtains, Anything Like that I simply will not leave open. Imp always paranoid that imp being watched, or that people are plotting against me, Every time I walk over to my friends, if the air goes silent or cold, imp always paranoid they hate me. Or sometimes if I walk over to people and they snigger or jerk a bit, I get worried there plotting against me. I get worried about going the shop, Being followed, Crossing the road all stupid things. When I walk past people, I always get the feeling there watching my back. or they will throw something at me. Imp stupid because I provoke things by trying to be me too much. The fact I have more hair than other boys puts me down too. I like it, but I fear it makes me hated by others just for being myself. I always feel guilty about everything minor I do, and it will play on my mind forever. I always think everything I do sucks, and I'm no good for nothing, and i'm always paranoid that nobody likes me. Not even my family. I seriously need help coz people are starting to notice. There's so much more, But I just don't wanna rant too much.

Beth, USA
Since I was four, I've had trouble sleeping. I feel as if someone's going to get me at night or break in. When completely alone, I barricade myself into a single room, set the alarm, keep my dog with me, but still have trouble sleeping. Every night it's the same thing: Check windows and doors- Make sure everything is locked- Hear if there is any disturbances or noise- Don't look around the room; my mind makes me see human figures.

I've had a panic attack because I thought someone was chasing me, and I usually get goosebumps when I'm alone because I can imagine someone coming around the corner.

Stay away from horror movies : one of my number one rules. I also have terrible, gory nightmares.

Betty, Ireland
I find i'm paranoid all the time, be it in work,or at home theres never a let up of negative thoughts even in my sleep - i have bad dreams. I have a lovely partner who would never do anything to hurt me but i've found myself doing unnecessary things to check that hes not cheating or lying to me.I find myself even more frustrated after I do these things as I know its not right. Another problem I have is that I regularly walk through shopping centres thinking that everyone that walks by is judging me and doesn't like me, even though i know i'm just very insecure about myself and no one could care less how i look etc. ...I feel like the rational side of my brain is constantly fighting negative thoughts and paranoia and its very hard to prevent as i've felt like this since i could first remember. I find I can cope most the time but sometimes i have anxiety attacks and I feel like i'm losing the plot totally. Just knowing that i'm not the only one who suffers with these thoughts is comforting as I felt very abnormal growing up with such unusual thoughts.

Alice, US
Hi, I am 25 years old and my paranoia started after I was sexually assaulted. I feel self-conscious when people are laughing as if they are personally laughing at me. I feel that people attempt to send subliminal hints to me out of spite within conversations to make me feel inferior and like nothing and make themselves feel powerful and genius. When I ask them if the way that I heard things is what they meant they deny it. I want to trust them but my mind keeps telling me that that is the game that is being played and I have to keep my guard up because I am not stupid and people are attempting to out smart me. As if I can be controlled or kept at a certain level by someone saying something without them directly saying it. As if the game was that someone says something, and I can't get mad and insult them back because they say that they are just having normal conversation and I am just hearing things the wrong way. I am trying so hard to ignore the impulse to assume and dwell that everything is said to embarrass and or insult me.

Kay, UK
Paranoia is something that I've been dealing with for my entire life. I always feel as if everyone is laughing at me and talking about me behind my back. I feel as if I can't trust anyone in my life, including my own family. For a while I couldn't even leave my own home. It's also made me lose a lot of friends and I am constantly feeling depressed. I have attempted suicide multiple times just because of my mind running wild. First time ever that I've felt as if I can share and after reading about all these other people who are suffering from what I am suffering, it has helped a little. And all the advise to help deal with it that people have suggested HOPEFULLY will make me get rid of this god forsaken disease.

Dan, UK
After doing a lot of ecstasy over the course of a few months it got to the point where as id think paranormal entities are everywhere. It's been 5-6 months since i last done it and still the thoughts are there, like running up stairs at night, seeing stuff in the dark, hearing noises. It's almost impossible to walk through a bushy park at night as i think there is demons hiding in places...

Louis, UK
I'm 20,but ever since I was really young I would always make sure that I'm fully covered in bed, my hands under my pillow and I was curled up in a ball. Now I'm older, but this won't go away. I don't curl up,but I'm always afraid of my hands being chopped off,or someone pulling me out of bed. When I walk around, I always have to hide my thumbs in my hand, in fear of someone chopping them off.

I can't sleep without it being dark,but when I get up to turn the light off,I run to bed,and don't dare move until its safe.I constantly think that if there's a bump in the night that someone's in the house,about to pounce on me and if I don't stay completely still and hold my breath they will find me. I also hate watching horror movies! I once watched a kid movie,it was about witches,and that is what I believe caused my paranoia.I was scared of all that after I watched the movie.

Another thing,I can't go out alone,with out someone my age I refuse to go! My mum used get angry cause I wouldnt go to the shop for her,and when she sent my younger sister to go I was scared that someone would kidnap her. Luckily they didn't. Also,unlike most peoples experiences,I can't check under the bed or in the wardrobe,cause if the attackers are in there,they will kill me. Also,recently I was walking downstairs at night,and I didn't turn the light on. I could of sworn I saw a figure,and I was scared.I ran downstairs,and when I had to go back up,I brang one of my friends with me just invade.

Jim, UK
i go to bed at night whilst laying there waiting for the meds to kick in so i can go to sleep i see a shadow standing near the door just staring with those bright yellow eyes to scared to get up and check out i lay under my covers till i sleep i wake in the morning worrying about the day ahead whos watching me is anything gonna happen to me im finding im going out less and less now as when i go places like shops someone is standing on every street corner watching me as i get close to them i see there eyes just staring the blink funny then they turn round when i get to the turning there gone then i look furthur ahead and there they are again someone different standing there whatching me i feel theyve inplanted something in my head so they can see through my eyes the day to day running of human beings and that they are just watching me do this

Peter, UK
Like several people here, I've always been afraid of the dark (on & off). My imagination always gets the better of me and I imagine scary things which would be well suited to a horror film or an episode of the X Files.

It seems that as I've got older the problem has got worse. At the moment it's worse than it's ever been.

During the day I feel fine. Then as soon as it starts to get dark I feel spooked. I'm afraid of every noise, as I get tired I start seeing things in my peripheral vision & my imagination works overtime. I get so worked up that I cannot sleep. I'm scared to even go to bed because if I let my guard down, something may happen.

I can't stand being left alone at night. To start with I really believed my house was haunted but the more intense and delusional my thoughts became, the more I started to consider my state of mind.

There was a time I felt safe in other houses or hotels but now I think I'd get spooked anywhere. I live in an old house which doesn't help but once lived in a brand new house and was still afraid at night.

It's got to the point where I think I'm going to have to see my GP.

David, UK
This is to Anna in the uk, who has written an account.

I have the same thing, it started about 2 years ago after 2 night of drinks and drugs i was in a pub and tought a friend was after hurting me and he was going around the pub telling everyone to get me and it really messed with my head. I now have moved and its just as bad I feel that im living the Truman Show, everyone is setting me up for everyone to see, people are watching me, camaras in my house. 2 of my house have started walking late at night and I feel the go out to meet with the police and people to discuss what i have been doing. I wont go out to people house for food as i think they are putting stuff in it and they are trying to kill me off. I cant trust anyone!. I know its from that one night but its made me see thing that aint there (well in my head they are there)

Well thanks for reading and thanks for this website, I now know im not the only one with this horrible pain hope we all pull through it.

George, UK
I've always had some problems with trust, ever since I moved to London, leaving my dad. I still talk to him though. The trouble started at school. A stupid rumour was spread around about me, and of course I got upset. But the more I tried to reason with people, the more I felt like people hated me.

Jenna, USA
Voices command me to do things. They say if I don't, I'll die. Even if I don't want to do those ideas. I take my plates of food with me everywhere I go when I eat because I'm afraid that someone's touched it, or bugs have crawled into the food upon my turning my back. I cannot be out in a large crowd anymore without believing that someone is watching me, following me. Even when I'm walking my little sister to the bus stop, I feel as if a crazy axe murderer will come out of the bushes, or the neighbors will turn on me. Walking on the streets, I have to walk with a hoodie on, & the hood up. It gives me a sense of Security and makes me feel as if I'm safe. When I go to take a shower, I believe that a burgler has snuck into my home and killed my family, and will come back for me. I can't even get out of bed without being afraid that I'll be swept underneath it. I feel as if everyone's waching me when the bus pulls up to my stop. I don't look up because I'm afraid of meeting eyes with anyone. I realize I must sound insane, but reading other stories helps me realize that I'm not alone. Thanks for that.

Anthony, UK
This is really starting to get to me and it's ruining me life to be totally honest. I used to think my work colleagues were taking the piss out of me behind my back. I also thought they were making story's up and telling my boss about my personal life to make them selfs look better. It all started when I was about 15/16 I was always in trouble when I was younger than that. I was expelled from school at 14. Well 2 schools in a year. I have always put that down to my dislexuar if that's how you spell it lol if not I hope you know what I mean. To most people as I got older and read more it seem they didn't notice. But to me I was ashamed and to me this created the daft and at times aggressive person I was. It also gave me a good senesce of humour and very witty. For this reason as a very mouthy fat kid I took a lot of beatings. At first even tho they were all my falt I thought I was a big man witch ternd out I wasn't. From then on every time I walked past another group of lads I always thought they were going to attack me. It's really starting to get out of hand now I won't even walk to the shop I always drive. If my friends are in the pub I ring round to see if any one else is walking up. I always have thoughts of bad things happening like being burgled and that the car behind me is following me. Also when I meet girls I start to think what if there ex comes back on the scene. I also constantly think about the future and what's gunna happen if I am left all alone. This really can't be normal. The past few years I have use cocaine quite a lot. Every weekend in fact. Sometimes through the week. I abused xtc and cannabis as a teen but this feeling/problem has always been there. The drugs that I have and still do abuse can't help the situation but I doubt stopping them will either.

Nigel, USA
In the past few months i have become more and more paranoid about the people around me and random people in itself. I feel like they are hiding something from me and that they are acting to be my friend, like they are plotting something big. Sometimes i think they all think im retarded and just act to be my friend and ever since this encounter i keep thinking everything i have done was set up to be that way, like they didnt try or they already arranged it.

Nicole, USA
I always fear that someone is watching me even when I'm completely alone in my room. Maybe either because someone has put a camera in my vents, or my neighbor across the street has a camera facing at my window, or someone secretly put a camera in my room. I can't do anything, I want to dance but I'm so reserved.

Another paranoid fear i have is that people can read my thoughts. It can be someone I am interested in and they can hear my thoughts, and my thoughts are a bit weird. I feel like i am in a game or the "dummy" and people all over are watching my life for entertainment. As in this website could all be planned. I literally think I think out loud. Basically as if my thoughts are in visible thought bubbles, very clear to others.

I also have OCD. It's not "clinically approved". But, it's not necessary. It is obvious that i have the symptoms more stronger than others.

The main things that bug me is when I get scared something might or could happen to other I care for, or I am being watched. Which is really creepy to even say. I always look up my air vents like something is there as like in the movie "The Vacancy." I think that is where it mainly started.

I am always checking behind my shower curtains, and in the toilet. It's very annoying, and i am hoping that i overcome this very soon. The only thing i can do is pray and just remain hopeful.

Good luck to all of you struggling with similar paranoia. :) :)

Andrea, UK
For years I have feared that there is some sort of conspirecy against me, especially at work. I feel my colleagues and manager talk about me behind me back and hope that I mess up. I have also had thoughts that my life might be like the film The Truman Show, that I'm being watched, sometimes people seem to know things about me that I haven't told them like they have seen it happen in some way. This is affecting the way I am treating people, I resent them, and distance myself from them yet in another way I want them to like me and get annoyed with myself when I do things to try to make them like me. I continually worry what people think of me...same as the other people who have commented on here, I get worse when I'm tired...

Ads, Argentina
Ok , ive just come bck from a night out early because i got freaked out. Ive read what ye have said and i find it very helpful. Ive was never like this but recently maybe due to just being a social head, love drinking and random drug taking it has come to a head. i dont know how to comprehend what im going through but at least i recognise it for the better. So need to relax a bit and stay off the alcohol from what i get of this and alot of sleep which i havent got lately.Mediation is key also i reckon. Maybe its because im in a new city, new friend and just a little outside my comfort zone that i am like this. I really appreciate what ye have said, thank you

Julie, UK
after discovering that my daughter had been abused i went into severe depression and anxiety, along with it came paranoia. I was convinced that my dad had been hacking into my emails and that the telephone was bugged. I thought that people were talking about me and judging me as bad person. I believed that my family were doing things just to annoy me like chewing loudly.

Josephine, USA
After being almost killed by my ex-boyfriend when I was 16 I have had OCD. I have also developed paranoia about someone trying to kill me. If I have conflict with someone over anything I worry they are going to, or have someone come and kill me. I wake up worried someone is in my bedroom. I think about trying to be ready to protect my self if someone comes at me. I don't think I would have this if I had not been traumatized half my life ago.

Andy, USA
Since I were 21, I am now 39 years old (for 19 years). Most of the time, I get these strong feelings and thoughts that I am being watched by people at work, all of my family and friends (Everyone, basically) and the police including the government! I have grown so used to it now that I don't panic as I am so used to the thoughts! I hate it so much and it has consumed my whole life. I am not sure why they want to catch me doing something wrong.

I even get the thoughts that I am constantly being followed when I am driving by work, police or strangers and as I say that I am so used to these thoughts that I just accept it. I even look at my wife and I get so suspicious that they are all to set me up for something! It is a terrible way to live, I see a psychiatrist for anxiety and I have just started to tell him my thoughts (after 19 years, Lol) He put me on benzo's for anxiety and has recently put me on another med for my thoughts. I know I am to live with these thoughts for the rest of my life and that is why I accept it.

Qwan, UK
My paranoid thoughts don't cause a huge impact on my life, but here they are.

I think that people pretend to like me; they always seem to have something they want from me after all. I also think that when I talk to people, if one insignificant similarity arises, I assume they're both the same person, pretending to be different people to make a fool of me, even if they're obviously completely different people. I sometimes am paranoid I'm schizophrenic and the people I know aren't real.

If someone invites me out or asks me out I assume its a joke, even when we're together and they're enjoying my company. I sometimes think my thoughts are very easy to tell and that I can't understand any one else's thoughts.

I worry about getting stalked a lot; it doesn't help that I have been.

I often think that my GPs prescribe me poison or placebos, because they think I'm making things up about my health or that they want me to kill myself.

Tara, UK
Im so pleased I'm not the only person that has these thoughts. I'm 18 years old, and the thoughts started when I was at school, thinking that whenever I heard laughing, it was me that was being laughed at, but since I've left school and gotten a job it's gotten so much worse.

I literally worry about every little thing that I forget to do, and my brain imagines the worst case scenarios, and then it seems to triple them, so that it seems that much worse, but these are things that other people would just forget about instantly... Luckily my mum is very understanding, and I can speak all my fears to her, as she knows just by looking at me if I have something on my mind, and a lot of the time it does help, my boyfriend is also very good at listening to me and helping me work through my problems.

However, despite how much I talk it through, it doesn't seem to help my paranoid thoughts from stopping, and I find myself leaving work with my brain running through a list of things I haven't done, and then I panic about them, I think I'm going to have to go and see my GP, and see of he knows of anything I can do to help, but I'm glad that I'm not alone with these thoughts, so thank you for your own stories.

Richi, UK
had a massive mental breakdown about 3-4 weeks ago through heavy smoking cannibas from the age of 15 to now am 26 really scrambled me brain thinking crazy nasty shit which isnt me one bit really scared me stopped smoking cannibas there and then i understand it all a bit better now a was thinking from one negative 2 anouther negative and didn't have a clue wat was going really felt suicidal bottled it up for 3 weeks with out telling any one just constantly battling mind and parnoia finally told work colleges and family that was big weight off shoulders and got some tablets called sertraline which didnt really help just made is feel crap and fart all day long the biggest help has been trying figure out what happened to understand it and reading the bible and having a bit faith as for bad dreams and intense dreams that is nothing compared to what i went through a couple of weeks ago which was by far the worst time of my life really thought i was going crazy . smoking cannibas and doing drugs has been the biggest regret of my life it really messes peoples lives and wastes their money vastes amounts , i am now looking for redemption to purifie my mind body and soul and be a betterman,a goodman. PS i really hate all drugs now with a passion what a load of shit, my worst times for parnoia have been on a morning - dinnertime but the days are getting better one day at a time ,all the best to others PEACE

Abigail, Western Asia
I don't know if this is just me being weird or everyone does these things or something but I get scared, a lot. I can walk up my own stairs without feeling I'm being followed and so I run up them which gets me even more paranoid. There are parts in my house that may not have a light on and I can't go in them because I'm terrified someones watching me and will kill me or hurt me. I am even afraid of being watched right now I feel like someone is behind me laughing.. Almost every shower I take I can't close my eyes because if I do I think that someone will be there when I open them or they will kill me when they are closed, I fear that the water will turn into blood or something and its just all scary.. I'm scared of giving my emal and city here in-case someone could track me down. I don't know what it is but I feel like I'm the only one, when I walk down the street I feel I am being watched and I am a very cautious person, does anyone know what this is called or something? Because I don't know..

Ivy, USA
I have felt like someone is watching me ever since I was about six years old maybe. I have constant nightmares where I'm wlaking down a hall that just never ends but everytime I ffeel like I'm getting close to the end and I see a door and I run towards it, it dissapears, then I wake up (in the dream I wake up) and the ceiling falls on me, then I wake up for real. I am always so stressed I have constant headaches and stomach aches, my muscles always feel kind of tired and weak. I always have this weird feeling like somebodys in the house and everytime I see an open window before I go to bed and its dark out, I freak out close it and even though the screen would have to be broken I still get really scared and turn around every two seconds I become super paranoid, my heart starts beating really fast I get a headache, everything feels like a horror movie. then for some reason everytime that happens then the only way I can sleep sometimes is if I watch a funny movie with all the lights on get surrounded by my old baby blankets and stuffed animals, put on a hoodie, and put a warm wash cloth on my forehead and put earplugs in and think about happy things.

Ellie, UK
I can't stop thinking that my partner is recording or listening to my phone calls and can hear my thoughts and conversations with others. As a result I feel very inhibited and isolated. It feels like he is more in control of me than I am. I even question whether my thoughts and agendas are my own anymore, or whether they have been planted there. I "know" that it is 99% probable that people can't hear my thoughts or plant thoughts in my mind, but I still have a deep belief that it is happening. It's frightening. I also have strong suspicions that he has recorded us with either video or audio in the bedroom, and I know that he has discussed intimate details with others. It puts me in a double bind with regards whether to stay in or leave the relationship.

In the past I had beliefs that an alien was controlling my thoughts, a belief that it would kill me for eating and being fat, and a strong sense of suspicion about a black van that used to park outside my house. I've also been terrorized by some unknown dark malevolent force and thought that it was going to get to me through the TV.

I have Bipolar Disorder and now that my medication is being reduced I realize the vulnerability that being zonked out on medication causes. I haven't been properly vigilant against things and have been too trusting, have let things happen that I'm not comfortable with. I now accept that past paranoia was indeed paranoia but at the moment I truly believe that these things about my partner are true. It's almost paralyzing.

Chuck, UK
Im currently in my living room and i keep hearing foot steps from the kitchen i walked in i keep the door locked its open and unlocked i thought omg someones in my house and i hear things then i think maybe me brother just came in threw there then i think but how would he get in its locked and my mind jumps from onw thought to another the best thing you can do is face it i walked all over my house it was hard cause i was sure there was someone in my house but im alive and i made it threw the night so my advice is just face it no matter what you know its in ur head.

Apple, Canada
Paranoia is an ugly thing. Though it is rich with delusions and empty promises, you cannot see such things until you're already enveloped in this -- thing. As a paranoiac, I contradict myself by posting here. What will this accomplish? If anything, this will detriment my survival; the world is out to get me after all, why give it more information to satisfy their own sick curiosities? An experiment, am I? I may be one of the few paranoiacs who seek help, and I may be one of the few who fully understand what's happening to me, but when you've been ripped in two, and your psyche so severely damaged, you can't not help yourself. It's so hard to go against primal instincts; your leg is broken? You'd fix it, wouldn't you? Maybe we're masochists, and a large part of us doesn't want help lest it be false, but that doesn't mean that a part of us deep down wants someone to reach out, to help. It's madness, that is what it is. Our mind's madness.

I strayed from my original point but -- just stay strong, seek out help if you can. It's never too late.

Raphael, Australia
I am a 24 year old single male student. Several months ago I began to suspect that my neighbors were talking about me. They would stop their conversation on their outside balcony as I entered my home as though they had just been discussing me.

I then believed that I could catch snippets of conversation while inside my house, of them saying my name, the names of my visitors, physical descriptions that applied to me etc.

This then continued for several months. I had been depressed (unrelated) for a couple of years prior to this. I became increasingly isolated and spent almost all my non-university time at home.

Then one day I heard them discussing what I was doing in my house, short reports such as "He's on the couch" or "He's reading something". I was alarmed and couldn't figure out how they could know this. I became extremely paranoid and began checking my apartment for cameras.

This had turned from banal conversation about me to being able to view me in my house. I could not understand how they seemed so normal when I would encounter them in person, and was undecided as to whether they knew I could hear them or not. I didn't know what possible motivation they had for their constant monitoring.

I was completely aware of how 'crazy' this all sounded and so did not seek any help, utterly convinced that my neighbors were monitoring me. This led to an almost unbearable amount of constant stress. For reasons still unknown to me, I pretended as though I couldn't hear them while they were discussing me, and tried to go about my normal routines.

Finally, I began to hear their voices when I was away from my flat, among crowds where I couldn't see where they were, and thought they were following me.

I called the police and two great guys came over, it was apparent they had come across this sort of thing before and suggested I see someone at the hospital. I did, only wishing to be given some sedatives so I could sleep and not hear the voices anymore.

I met a great psychiatrist and gradually increased my social interactiveness, and in those moments when I was focussing on something else I couldn't hear the voices, and eventually they stopped altogether.

Phoebe, UK
I am constantly thinking there is someone behind me I sweat so much with fear and I can't get to sleep I was that scared that I actually went to sleep with a torch on so I could keep a look out once the torch ran out of battery I thought somebody had turned it off. I found that if I forget what is happening around my and just keep my eyes shut I feel almost relaxed. Or try listening to music that usually helps me.

Kay, Canada
I feel like once I tell someone a secret, the whole world will know. I always feel like someones watching me. I never feel alone. In public, I'm afraid that people are following me or they're gonna take me away. I even sometimes think my own parents are gonna kill me.. I'm also afraid to look out my window. I'm afraid a murderer will be right outside it. I can't really trust anyone.

Enrique, Mexico
Hi mi name is Enrique and this is very helpful to me cause I really couldn't ever tell people which things I was afraid of. Well many things such as people laughing at raves or partys used to scare me so much, also hear messages from the TV or the radio especific to me. Neighbors spying and hearing me.

Psicodelich drugs + sensitive schizophrenic profile = very very bad idea

I was paying for panic attacks and voices in my head buying drugs. I quit weed for about a year recieved medical atention and everything went better. I started smoke weed again and I found that every single time I smoke weed I get this light paranoid but now I'm aware that the problem is just in my mind in some cases with a couple of beers and smoking a minimun amount I can let the sh*t go away but sometimes I can't. I read this article about many many people who has been trough the same experience and they can calm down the anxiaty with a little medical anti-anxiaty pills.

And you could say, well and why don't you just cut the hemp? Why are you so afraid of reality that you have to smoke a joint to feel fine? Well let me tell you that I'm 25 years old now, I have a kid, a job and wife. And sometimes I can't just let the bad thoughs of monotony, relationship problems that I have to anesthetize me and weed makes me happy, I inmedietly forget about work issues and I laugh with mi kid and wife and everything seems cool to me again, I know that it doesn't fix my situation but It gives me strenght to continue the next day.

Thank you for reading me

Kate, UK
I'm very paranoid. I've had this strange feeling for over 2 years that someone trying to kill me; I won't drink or eat anything that has been left alone, as I feel someone has put poison in it when I wasn't looking.

And before I go to bed every night and check outside my window, in my bathroom, in my closet, behind the door, under my bed and the empty room down the landing to make sure no one will kill me in my sleep. It's spooky.

C, UK
I know I'm on a dark journey and have been for about 2 years. I have felt myself changing and hate being the person I am today. I start every day with knots in my stomach at the thought of what is going to be said by someone that day...as I know there is someone who will try and put me down or trip me up and enjoy watching me fail.It happens every day without fail...sometimes 3 or 4 times and I come home and cry every night, not being able to understand why people don't like me and want to see me this way. I spend the whole evening churning these thoughts around my head and have difficulty sleeping (nightmares or just panicing about the next day). I wake up with knots in my stomach........this is my existance and I don't want to feel this way. I know it is rediculous and that it is impossible for everyone to be against someone all of the time...but I can't stop the thoughts, stomach knots, heart pounding, crying and fearing the next day. At least I'm not alone hey!

Sarah, Australia
Im always paranoid about everything I think that someone's always out there to get me or when I watch a scary movie I think what happened in the movie is going to happen to me I feel asif people I know are out to hurt me or talk about me or if I don't to something a certain way I'm going to die or something Bad will happen and many other stuff aswel and it won't go away !!!!!

Kelli, USA
At night while I try to sleep it feels like someone is watching me and it gets so bad that it makes it hard to sleep.I'v been afraid of the dark since I was little but now its more like I'm afraid of what's IN the dark more than anything.I have to be covered up from my toes to my chin and sometimes even over my head with a blanket before I feel remotely safe and even then the feeling won't stop.The feeling is just bad and makes me feel unconformable.

Ryan, USA
I am paranoid about people being able to tell im "fucked" by looking at be or reading my mind. I feel like people think im going to kill their children or someting when im at walmart or stores. And when im driving i think people are following me all the time, i get nervous around people i know and havent seen for a while, but strangers arent as bad because i figure they dont know me. I dont show my face around my town, i always like to go to another town its so weird, i am going to try therapy...i think im losing my mind!

Ashley, USA
For the past month i have been feeling more not myself..im not as happy,i never smile anymore its more like feeling blank emotionally.but the hardest part to deal with is the thought of being spied on and being followed.I can be at home and feel like someone is watching me out in the woods..or just that feeling of being followed gets to the point to where i just want to cry.the feelings are so AWFUL!

Sophia, UK
i have lost a lot of friends due to the fact i think there stealing from me calling me names ect, until it hit rock bottom today i stormed through my friends house demanding she was robbing me routing through her drawers emptying her bags, i think every one back stabbs me witch has resulted me into being moody with everyone, i cant sleep at night becuase i am listening for thieves when i have someone coming to see me like a friend i hide all my favorite things so they cant take them from me, i know i need some kind of help but i am too ashamed to tell anybody how it really is and how i really feel and feel like the only one, i dont smoke weed but i used to about 2wice a week when i had alot of friend and used to take some other things on weekend nights out but i cant see this being why please if anyone has any adivce get back to me. X

John, UK
I've recently just got over an nervous break down last year, my heart wouldn't stop beating..... It felt like I was on the edge of a cliff, and someone had hold of the back of my t-shirt as I was leaning off the edge waiting for them to let go. I had this feeling constant. I started to get thoughts that people were looking at me all the time and every thing is about me , and im really ugly. When i told people these thought they would just say dont be daft you are handsome and that is why people are looking at me but i don't see it on. Also i use to be really confident about my self, really sure of my self I just want the old john back that didnt care about what other people thought.

Scott, USA
I enjoy reading these tips. I haven't been able to find a local support group, so have decided to start one. I believe there is much to gain by meeting with locals going through similar issues and discussing what works. What works for some might also work for me, not to mention the continual support and encouragement we could offer one another. Also, changing thoughts while sitting on a therapist couch a few times a month discussing issues that arose in recent weeks and what I might do or think differently next time they arise doesn't make as much of an impact as calling someone from a local group IN THE MOMENT I AM FEELING FEAR. There is something about talking to a friend who can actually relate to what I am going through that seems immensely powerful in the very moment I am struggling. Besides even if I could still afford the professional I was seeing, I would not be able to reach him every time a thought came up while in a fear cycle. I know much of what I need to do, but need weekly or daily (hourly sometimes) reminders & support. I used to belong to a running group; I realized that was the most consistent and frequent running schedule I had ever accomplished. I believe the same benefits could be found in local groups striving to overcome fear. Does anyone have experience starting a local paranoia group?

Becky, UK
Since I was younger, say around 12 I've suffered from paranoia (I'm now 29). Walking out of a room and convinced everyone's talking about you, judging you. I used to trip over my own feet walking down the street because I thought everybody was watching me from windows watching the way that I walked so I would really concentrate on my steps trying to walk normally which would end up in me tripping up. I watch people's body movements constantly and listen to the way they speak. I think that I can recognise signs of lying and can't focus on what people are saying if I've seen these signs. I watch TV but my mind wanders about corruption most of the time. I used to abuse drugs a lot in the past and drink lots of alcohol and I can truthfully say that since I stopped the paranoia has gone down a few levels. Oh it's still there but just not so debilitating. I've had the countless checks over my car, I've even been too scared while driving to look in the rear view mirror because I knew I would 'see' the bloke who's there ready to kill me. I wouldn't sleep for hours and hours because I thought as soon as I closed my eyes there would be someone standing there when I opened them. Same as in mirrors.(is this from scary films though?)

Recently when my partner used to do his night shifts I was convinced that my son was a product from Aliens and that they would appear at any time to take him. I used to think he was communicating with them with his strange noises and I used to see flashing lights at night.

Samantha, UK
all my life ive had peole laughing at me and i never understood why, now im in college everytime i hear someone laughing i automaticly think they're laughing at me it really gets me down and depressed i dunno if they are actually laughing at me or if im parranoid, i never used to believe in ghosts until i moved to a house a few years ago, i would hear things, or see faces in the dark, when i would be sleeping i sometimes id hear a voice or cold air blowing on my neck, when im in the shower, getting dressed, masterbating, or sleeping it always feels like someone is there, i dunno why but i never feel alone its creepy. we moved to another place a year ago and the same thing is happening the only diffrence is that its more scary, i hate the dark becouse i feel like im not 100% alone its driving me nuts, im 18 and sometimes i sleep in my mums room because im scared what 18 yr old sleeps in there mums room? everywhere i go i feel like someone is waiting for me, every where i turn i see people laughing at me, every second im alone i feel like someone from my past is gonna rape or kill me i cant talk to anyone because everyone things im trying to grab attention sometimes it feels like this is a sign that my time is comming and coming fast i dunno if its because of the horror movies ive bn watching, or my terrible past catching up to me, or the fact that im lonely but no matter what it wont go away. i dunno who to talk to if i talk to a coulceller i'll proberly get sectioned.

Jareth, US
I experience paranoia in many different ways and it's overwhelming as I pretty much have to sculpt my daily activity's around it. Since I was little I always felt as someone was following me or watching me. During the day I refrain from walking in the open and sticking close to the wall and when I go out to eat I must sit at a booth or a spot in the corner so no one walks behind me. I try to go out and drive as little as possible. During the night it is especially difficult. I have my bed so that it is in a corner and I have a view of my door, the closet always worry's me. It feel's like something is always there lurking in the dark... It just get's too much to handle sometimes and I have yet to tell many people about it, but it feels good to let it out.

Hannah, UK
I have had depression for nearly 4 years and often drink as a way of dealing with it. I always drink too much and end up doing things I regret. 2 weeks ago I slept with someone and regretted it so much. It is against everything I believe in. But the thing is people my age are always having sex and this isn't an excuse but I mean people are used to it and don't really comment on it. I knew itd be different with me. Before I went back to college I was so so scared of everyone constantly talking about me it made me feel physically sick I couldn't sleep. The worst thing is I know I deserve all the names I get called for it and I no it wasn't right and im now trying so hard not to drink but it isn't enough. I don't no if I'm being paranoid but I already felt like I was always hated and people just put up with me like they were all waiting for me to make a mistake so they can judge me and have a reason to call me thing s . I have always felt like people think this about me and are constantly looking for ways to make me look stupid I think there must be something wrong with me cos if I was someone else people might gossip for a day then get over it. I feel like everyone is against me and I can't stick up for myself cos i made this mistake so they will and have used it against me. I constantly feel hated by everyone even friends and family I feel they just see me as a joke . I can't deal with it. I really like someone but I know straight he realises who I am and how everyone sees me he will think it too. I cut myself and it helps but doesn't solve the problem. I also get paranoid in the dark or if I'm home alone that someone will come and murder me. When I'm with other people and it's light I no these thoughts are just in my head but feeling like no one likes me feels so real. Mega essay so doubt Anyone will read it but thank you it has done me good to write it all down as it was bottled up in my head and was so so frustrating. Praying for everyone who has paranoia social anxiety and depression xx

Caroline, UK
Like Julie, I feel that i may get fired from my job. I work in a small office. I am so stressed. When my manager's door is closed, i am convinced that he is planning to fire me. I repeatedly make silly mistakes and because of this, my work is constantly checked and this makes me feel completely inept. I do have an anxiety disorder and i am battling depression (which im sure has triggered my thoughts!)

It spoils my evenings having these thoughts, which in turn affects my sleep patterns and mood. It is a breath of fresh air to know that I am not alone and that im not a freak and that other people out there have the same debilitating thoughts. I am so glad to have found this website as it is full of valuable information.

Paulo, Philippines
I always think everyone around me is hostile. Everytime I hear people laughing, I always think it's about me and imagine that I've heard them talking and discussing obnoxious things about me. This has lead me to isolation and made me painfully shy and afraid of new people.

Michael, US
I have never been afraid of the dark, only what I cant see. I'm always freaking out now that someone is going to kill me and I'm too afraid to check. I try to always carry some type of weapon with me cause I always feel like someone is trying to get me. I'm constantly checking behind me because I feel like someone is always hiding behind me in the one place i cant see. I only feel safe when i have something to my back. I sleep completely covered up and with lights on. I usually sleep with a knife but sometimes i sleep with a baton or baseball bat. I have sleeping issues because i always feel like someone is going try to kill me during my sleep. I'm always paranoid and I don't know what to do anymore.

Nick, USA
Recently my parents left me alone in the house for 3 weeks while they went on vacation. I'm 18 years old. Currently I'm still on my first week and I've had multiple panic attacks. I own two cats, and it's been raining a lot lately so I let them stay in the garage, except they need to relieve themselves constantly so I leave it open just enough for them to crawl out. I've had multiple thoughts that at nighttime someone might try to crawl in and rob the house or murder me.I live in a really good neighbourhood so it's a paranoid thought.

I accidentally left the windows open a little bit on the top floor, meaning a draft could blow in and move the doors, and make it seem as if someone were slowly opening them.That was the root of a few panic attacks I had, infact, I almost called the police two of the times.I always keep a phone with me at all times incase I need to dial 911 quickly.

It's even more freaky because lately there's been a lot of short power outages, meaning that some nights I'm completely in the dark. I feel as if wherever I turn, someone is waiting to pull me in and stab me, so wherever I go in the house, I also carry a pair of scissors, or a butcher knife for self defense. I've even positioned all the furniture so I'm always facing the door, just incase something does crawl in or sneak it, and I'm prepared to attack at all times.

Ashton, USA
It really bothers me daily that someone is watching me after all the traumatic and triumphant moments which I've had in my life. After suffering a head injury at the age of 9 year's old that caused me to suffer retrograde amnesia my career looked literally narrow to educators, friends and family. However, I bounced back with seizures and completed my first of nine marathons at the age of 17 year's old. My point is that I am still this quite guy at age 39 today who has short term memory problems to this day. This prevents me from socializing with others in my society that I currently live in. It annoys me to think that someone is out to get me since I have no means of transportation every day.

Steve, USA
I'm terrified of being alone in the dark in silence. And for some reason, it's only when the house is silent. I start worrying that something is going to jump out from behind a corner and come at me, and I keep thinking that something is watching me from the window in my room, even though the damn thing is a good two stories above the ground! I even once thought I saw something moving behind my curtains and had the worst panic attack of my life! I couldn't move at all, I started getting tunnel vision, and the blood rushing through my ears almost made me think someone was screaming outside; I probably would have fainted if I hadn't realized the thing I saw was my own shadow. I can't even walk past the basement at night because I'm too scared that there's something down there that wants to eat my face. I know my paranoia is totally irrational and even silly when I think about it. When day comes or the TV's on, everything's perfectly fine, and the basement is even one of my favorite parts of the house. But when I'm the only one left awake in the house...

And I will never go outside in the dark any farther than the car in the driveway and for no longer than a minute at the most, and I run back inside if I hear any kind of noise. Because, for some reason, stupid stuff like zombie apocalypses and the owlman seem so much more likely when you're outside at night. I feel extremely stupid saying it, but it's the truth!

Felix, India
i always had trouble sleeping alone this gets worse if the room is dark well it all started when i was seven when i watched my first horror movie since then fear never left me, i always avoid my self from watching horror movies but i get attracted to them because they are very interesting.i dont feel afraid if some one is with me but if i sleep alone i always feel very afraid,my fear always been ghost especially female ghost with scary faces its like they are watching me or are standing or sitting close by me while i am sleeping ,i know everthing is in my head and i am makinking this ghost stuff up in my head but still fear doesnt leave me i somehow make my thoughts real and convince myself they are real this makes me go insane ,this is very hard because i encounter this problem everyday of my life . i sleep with lights on and i cant live alone.

Bobby, USA
I always think people are making fun of me. Sometimes, when I'm not paying attention to what people around me are saying, I think I overhear them saying mean things about me and then when I ask them about it they explain to me what they really said and it is COMPLETELY different from what I thought I heard. I think some of my friends from school aren't even really my friends and they only invite me places so that they can make fun of me behind my back. These thoughts are constant and freak me the fuck out. I don't trust anybody at all and I have a very low self-confidence level. When I get high, it is absouletly and completely horrible. I hate it with a passion and feel distant from everyone else around me at all times.

Deb, USA
I've been quite paranoid for awhile about being shot at my own wedding. Nothing has been done to me or said to me to make me feel this way. I know it is very irrational, but I suspect my fiance's brother is out to murder us at the wedding. I fear it is when our backs will be turned and as soon as the minister says, "until death do you part", we will be shot and killed. My fiance thinks I'm being silly but I cannot control these thoughts. They consume me.

Melissa, US
Paranoia takes over my life. I'm paranoid about other people, I'm paranoid of what they're thinking, what they may or may not do, what those thing smight do to hurt or harm me. I'm paranoid of whoever I'm dating, being a compulsive liar, I'm paranoid that others are lying to me, that what they are doing or saying isn't true. When I first meet a person, I dount their credibility and until I prove myself right and them wrong, I can't or won't let go. It gets to the point where I go into depth to find out what someone is hiding or lying about.

i'm so tired of being taken over by this frame of mind, it effects my personal relationships, my romantic relationships, my self-esteem, and my own credibility.

How do I cope?

I don't ...

Miriam, UK
I was diagnosed with a mental illness 5 years ago. I'm on tablets to suppress paranoia and voices. These work, excepts that sometimes I still experience paranoia. Its the worst feeling I've ever felt, and it comes on during the middle of the day and lasts till I go to sleep at night. I become paranoid about everything - that my keys are going to drop out of my bag, that my trousers are going to fall down, that the authorities will want to test me to see if i am really ill. I fear exposing myself in front of others, or saying something rude. I get mental pictures of me doing nasty things or them doing nasty things to me and yet something else is happening in reality. Like one of the other posts on this website, I think that I have a really miserable facial expression. I feel so depressed. I can see images of me hanging from the ceiling when I feel paranoid. I think that the devil is influencing me when i have these paranoid spells. I would do anything to stop these feelings as all I want to do is run from everyone when I have them.

Abigail, UK
When im in the house on my own and I start to hear noises, I start thinking someone is there and there behind me, so I cannot stand in one place for a period of time. Also once this has happened, i have to lock every window ands bolt the doors and have the dog on me at all times, and i have to have the telly on and my mobile on me at all times. When someone rings the house phone i get thoughts of weather i should answer or not, because it could be a man there who is watching me. I also cannot go out once i hear these noises, Im not sure why but i just feel like something bad is going to happen.

M, USA
I have always had trouble sleeping alone and have always hated being in the house by myself when my husband and I worked opposite shifts. I've always been paranoid that either someone is going to break in and harm me or kill me, or some freak electrical accident is going to occur because there's electrical issues going on with the hall light. I'm also afraid bugs will crawl all over me, or my cat will jump up on the bed and claw me 2 death. I'm afraid that extraterrestrial beings or supernatural beings will harm me (thanks to the shows and movies my husband watches) and I'm afraid of dying in my sleep either by some strange medical condition i never knew i had or by the devil possessing me, or by someone killing me in my sleep, or the illuminatti. Things i watch make me afraid of most of the ridiculous things i named, but these are real genuine fears. Now that my husband is on deployment, i'm more terrified now than ever before.

Emily, UK
I hate being alone. It makes me panic and my stomach knots up if I know I have to spend a night alone. I can't sleep for hours and I just cry and go through periods of hyperventilating. I can't tell anyone because nobody really likes me and although they say they do I can't trust them because I know they don't. They're just saying so out of politeness and because I fit in with their lives when they want me. It kills me to stay silent and when I'm alone I just want to scream. I'm scared of meaning nothing to anyone and I'm scared of nobody knowing the self-loathing that fills my head whenever I look in a mirror. I'm perfectly controlled in public but I can't shut it out when I'm alone. Even my boyfriend who I spend practically every night with doesn't know and I can't open up to him because I can't trust him because I know he doesn't love me. He doesn't even know me, so how can he love me? If I told him any of this, all he'd be able to say is 'aww, sweetie' and hug me which won't fix anything. Nobody will ever believe me about how bad this is but I'm scared that I'll lose myself unless I tell someone.

Lyn, UK
I'm paranoid due to a family history of dimensia I'm 48 and just started a new job, I forget things at work and I find myself constantly thinking I'm going senile. I am paranoid nobody at work likes me, I analyse everything at home after work thinking why did he say that? Were they whispering behind my back? Its ruining my life. I hide my feelings very well, I appear so confident but inside I'm so insecure and constantly looking for approval. Good luck to everyone who wrote on this site we are all lost at the time of writing..just hope we hang in there and over come our fears. X

Charlie, UK
I become very paranoid over noises and things that I cannot make sense of. Its hard to type exactly what I mean but if I hear a noise and I don't know where it came from I would often think it is someone that is there and hiding because they want to cause me harm. Another thing I have a serious problem is the dark and sometimes my mind tells me that dead people are in my surrounding usually outside my bedroom door when I'm going to bed and they will kill me if I make a noise the only way to get rid of them is to turn on the light but I cannot do it as I will make noise. In the back of my mind I know its not true and there is not really a dead girl there but my mind tells me different and in the situation I listen to my mind as I value my life. I am currently now in my bedroom in the dark and feel the darkness or something in the darkness is watching, I always feel as if I am being watched even if I am alone.

T, USA
i am terrified to drive a car, ill ride in one but i am stiff and anxious, because i think we are going to wreck. Im scared to drive because i think people are going to judge me how im driving and that ill make a mistake. That is my worst fear, i took drivers ed and passed, but i can not get in the car by myself and drive any where thats longer than a mile, i dont know why? i want it to change i need to drive. if i had a driving teacher drive with me a little everyday for like a month i think ill be used to it. idk.

i am also paranoid that when i walk into a store resturant or mall or any place somones house that everyone is looking at me and talkin crap about me, and no one likes me at all! And people smiling at me and talking to me are faking it. Im terrified to be myself around anyone.

also i stay in my house alot, i dont go anywhere, only feel comfortable around my family. if my neighbors are outside i wont go out because i think they want to talk to me.

Also, if em and my husband go out to a club i think every girl in there is prettier than me and is trying to get at my hubby behind my back, i think every chick we talk to likes him and is trying to make him cheat on me secretly, and every chance he has away from me i think is he with some one else or trying to find someone else.

i feel like no one likes me, not even my children or hubby, like hes always lieing to me and is just with me because our kids, he says he loves me and reasures it, i wish i could stop thinking negatively.

the doc said im deppressed... i am a lil i had a rough childhood but i think deep down there are other things that are wrong to! like i might have mood swings or changes, i try to act like i know whats going on all the time like if i walk in a room that my hubby and friends are in i feel like they where talkin crap about me and planning to do stuff without me and they are saying dont tell her and dont let her find out! like thats constant in my head, that close friends are hiding things from me and dont want me to know whats going on and they just want to do things behind my back because everyone tries to hurt everyone, like i feel like everyone i meet is going to hurt me in some way like try to be my friend and hangout with me to try and sleep with my man. or find out info about me to go make fun of me and laugh at me behind my back. why am i like this?????

Ann, USA
So many of these accounts sound like me. I'm convinced people don't like me. My husband tells me people really enjoy my company, but I still feel like they are just lying to him. Every time I'm not invited to something that my friends are, I am convinced it's because they don't actually like me and left me out on purpose.

I'm also convinced that my coworkers actually hate me and that I'm going to get fired. Every little mistake leads to me searching the internet to learn of signs that I will get fired. My boss has been really busy and having her door closed to concentrate, so I'm convinced it's because she doesn't want me to know she is going to fire me.

I am constantly convinced my indoor only cats are going to get outside or that they are in the dryer or oven when they are on. They have never climbed into either. They have also never gone outside without my knowledge nor even tried to run out the front door for over a year. I even live on a private drive, but I'm convinced they will run outside and get run over.

I know these worries are unreasonable, but I'm more worried about not worrying and being surprised by them if they actually happened. That would feel worse than the worry itself! The problem is that I know that there is a chance these things could happen, no matter how small, and so I feel safer worrying about them than not.

Steph, UK
I always feel someone is going to kill me, i am so paranoid at night, i hear footsteps outside my bedroom door, i see shadows of people and always think someone will break into my house and kill me and my kids. Every noise scares me even in the day time, when im in a car i feel like someone will drive into the back of me to hurt me or when im walking down the street i feel a car will try to run me over and someone will shoot me from their car window! I cant watch horror movies as i fear i might turn into a psycho!! I know these thought are irrational but i cant help feeling like this. I have lately become very depressed and withdrawn, I need to get rid of these thoughts so i can live a normal life!

Brandan, US
Well it began when I had my first panic attack from smoking Marijuana. I become sure that I would get Marijuana laced food. Now I cant go out to eat, eat fast food, or even eat something that I didnt get to watch cook. Everytime I eat something that I didnt watch I get on the verge of a panic attack for about 1 and a half hours. God it sucks. I just want to be normal again. I wouldnt even smoke pot if the anxiety went away.

David, US
anyway i am 20 year old man. i am not shy nor do i care what people think of me but i have serious paranomia, it's the feeling of who may be in the room that i cannot see. i am comfortable being alone as long as i fully aware of my surrounding. if friends or family are nearby i feel totally comfortable but if strangers then i like to keep them all in my eyesite and withen a meter from me so i can defend myself. i am not afraid to fight but i am afraid that i might not be given a chance to defend myself

Spring, Iran
I`ve had paranoid thoughts since I was a child,for example I thought my father is an addict,these things was because of my bad childhood,but paranoid has stayed with me for years and in the bad situation it becomes wrose,now I`m 23 and I am still suffering from it, I always think people are making plans against me,and I think they want to obtain everyone I love from me,for example nowadays I have a boyfriend and I`m always thinking everyone,even my sister want to get him from me!I know these are paranoid thoughts but I don`t know how could I control them!

Louise, UK
I am 41. I am a success at work and have lots of friends and a lovely husband. But ever since I was a small child I have had obessional fears. At school, I was terrified that my Mum wouldn't come to collect me. Aged 5 I would cry all day, through fear that she'd be killed. By 9, I had developed a ritual of crossing my fingers and wearing a 'special' necklace, and reciting a mantra to make sure she'd turn up. (she always did- I had very loving parents.) Sometimes, I was afraid that they were not my real parents, but robots/replicants who had replaced the true ones. I made my Mum perform a litany of 'special words' to prove it was really her. At 16, I began to have panic attacks. They increasingly got worse, and by the time I went to Unversity I was having several a day. I drank and smoked excessively to distract myself, and couldn't sleep till daylight because I was so scared of having a panic attack alone and in the dark.

I also developed a terror that someone would spike my drink or food with acid. I had friends who took drugs, and was petrified that they'd think it would be a joke to give it to be without me knowing. I would never, ever let anyone buy me a drink, and often suffered waves of panic when eating or drinking in public, in case the chef or barman had spiked my food or drink. There was never anything to suggest this could be the case. Aged 21, I married the first man who seemed to fall in love with me. He appeared safe, solid- someone who could protect me. As it transpired, he was an emotional coward and a compulsive liar. Over two years, my suspicions grew, and it finally all came apart when I refused to believe the lies (about money, work- he also stole from my family and alienated me from them) any more. He admitted everything- but we had a baby. I knew it would be wrong to deprive my son of a relationship with his dad, so he had regular access. But throughout most of his childhood, I was terrified that my son would be harmed, or abused, by his dad. Again, despite the lying, there was no evidence for physical or sexual violence. But I compulsively worried about it for years, despite my son appearing to have a very healthy, normal relationship with his dad (and a close relationship with me & other family members, so if anything had been amiss, he would have had plenty of people to support him and listen.) Now, my son is grown up- happy, healthy, successful and at university. And I have developed the fear that he has inherited his dad's 'darkness' (again, no real evidence.) It's as though I cannot believe he's as normal as he is. Whenever I read about a terrible crime, I think "how do I know he wouldn't do that?" It's torture, and the guilt of thinking it is overwhelming. My husband tries to listen, and put my paranoia in perspective, but I'm too ashamed to tell anyone else. I hope I can overcome this fear that has dogged my life, that something terrible will happen that I can't control. Ironically, when terrible things really have, I have coped well, and overcome the difficulties they've caused. It is such a relief that I'm not alone. I wish you all well, and I hope by sharing our fears, we can start to overcome the misery that our own minds inflict.

Robert, UK
I am always getting these feelings of paranoia, there awful, when im walking on my own down town, i feel like people are staring, i feel i look a state, and that people are laughing, and judging me, ive tried to tell people about these feelings but they don't understand they just say that im being stupid, but there not the ones who feel these feelings. when i experience these feelings, i become very dizzy, i try to act as normal as possible but this makes me feel even worse, im constantly looking at the ground, i find it hard to make eye contact. i was so pleased to know that im not the only one, ive been having these feelings for about a year now, i am fine when im with someone, it seems to be worse when im on my own, i hate it, i cant do anything by myself outside of the house, a simple trip to town becomes something of a nightmare for me, when i walk to work in the morning its just awful, its definitely worse when im tired. i remember a couple of years ago, when i was completely fine but it has taken over everything.

D, US
Im paranoid over a severe panic disorder. When I panic to the "hopeless" stage I think my loved ones are trying to kill me. Even when I moved across the country, and realised that 'Of course my parents werent trying to kill me! Thats stupid!" I just immediatly shifted the blame and the paranoia to my boyfriend. As if he had been poisoning me to make me sick, despite the year or so of the same symptoms before i moved in with him.

Actually its worse than that. I'm actively getting better (if slowly) and I will still think he's poisoning me. He is not. I know this right now. I will no longer know this the next time I panic.

Also, dopplegangers. Im paranoid about dopplegangers. Which I dont think are in any way real. Which makes me feel like an idiot.

Josh, UK
I have always had this fear of the dark every night when i goto sleep i will constantly think there something in my room under my bed in my wardrobe or even climb through window why im sleeping i will hide my head under the covers and watch the wardrobe door and watch my bedroom door and listen very carfully i even breath slowly and more quietly i have always done this and its become a nuisance in my life i dont get to sleep until early mornings sometimes wont even get to sleep at all and even when i go out at night i will look behind every bush look behind me will keep looking around and sometimes get's so bad that i panic and run even though no1 there but feeling inside me tells me someone is there. on a different matter i also from time to time will get these feelings that im going to die and makes me scared its a real feeling and i start to worry and go off somewhere alone and cry or even sleep to get thoughts out of my head.

Q, US
Every time I go out, people stare at me from the elderly to babies. Sometimes people stare so long and hard they don't realize I'm looking at them. It's been going on for years but more so in the past 5 years. I attribute it for being in a interracial relationship which people still aren't adjusted to it I guess. There're times when I'm without my spouse such as work, a the store, doctor's office or just out...people stare. I feel like I have dirt on me or something's wrong with me. It bothers me to the point that I challenge people to a "stare off" or I'll say something like "What's your problem?". Other than my husband, my coworker/friend have been with me when I have a problem with someone staring and she laughs at me and tells me I'm paranoid. My coworker never sees them staring just my outburst. Not only that, I feel like I can't trust anyone. This includes my husband, my mother and other family and friends/coworkers. I feel like they don't understand me...I have to repeat myself to get my point across. It makes me aggitated and they tell me I talk so rough and I need to calm down. I get frustrated sometimes when I have to repeat myself. I sense that the people close to me are laughing at me behind my back of who I am and of my faults/failures. The past two weeks, I really felt like I'm in a hole. Maybe this is temporary? I don't know...

Gee, UK
i always feel like people are plotting against me and that people are staring at me . i jump at the slightest knock on the door, or some thing thats outside . im constantly looking out of my window, and i only feel commfortable on my own or with a selected number of friends, wich isnt many

i try to block out every thing bad around me and only think about the good things but it doesnt work .

A, UK
yeah,I 've been reading about other people's experiences,and I can see myself ,I feel the same way,and always think that I'm being judged by others(co-workers,parents,friends...people)and they seem to be pretending,and they don't like me, and they are always talking about me,that they are gonna do something bad to me, if somebody is on the phone talking quietly, the first thing in my head is it's me being talked about.and I avoid social places,crowd,that's my biggest fear,even now I 'm thinking that all the posts(people's experiences) are not true ,that they are written down just because to treat paranoid sick people like me,and I think I dont exist, and I keep thinking about that if I don't get treated I'll have dementia or loose my memory,I really need help,but do not know who to talk....... it is just ruining my life,and I'm only 21,it really is,I badly need help!

Richard, US
There is something really bothering me. I feel, literally absolutely everyone is watching me, I feel they're all part of something and their main objective is me. I don't know why but everywhere I go there are people staring at me, most of the time they watch me when I'm not looking at them, but as soon as I turn around and face them, they lower their heads and walk away. I even believe my family is involved, my parents put things in my food, my little brother acts like he doesn't know anything. I can't trust anyone, family, friends, teachers, doctors. I believe that they are only waiting for orders or a deadline or something like that, but I'm afraid that if I tell anyone they will do it at that moment. I haven't told anyone about this. I sometimes think, what if this is not real and my life is going on as normal, and if I say something people will treat me like I'm crazy. but how can I know? I'm can't be sure if my mind is playing with me or its telling the truth. There was a moment that I said, "oh just live with it, as if you don't know anything, everything is going so perfect so why ruin it?" Until now, that the only thing that I'm at risk of losing the only thing that actually made me really happy, this have come into my mind once more and I seriously don't know what to do.

Dominic, UK
I realized I was paranoid after a fair amount of drug experimtation. I had the most amazing experiences with drugs initially and would not put anyone off trying recreational drugs but I do recommend care and attention. I consider my experience quite profound and in retrospect, something that I can be proud of. I feel that I have overcome the majority of my paranoia and almost feel protective of the last vestiges of this horrible state of mind (I guess it will never really go away). As you will all be aware, it is about perception. I cannot give any advice regarding paranoia experienced without drug inducement, but I think I was probably susceptible to it, but would not have experienced it's strength, without having had a period of brain abuse. Having said that, I still seek the occasional session which can be amazing or horrific and I seem to have no control over that. I have to stress that I have always avoided highly addictive drugs and have taken very little of the others recently. I have, however, come back from quite severe paranoia. It is hard to offer any real support as I do not really know how. The best I can offer is actually the truth. It's OK.

Sandy, USA
I often feel that others (co-workers, family, friends, etc.) are whispering about me behind my back when I am around them. I find myself having hurt feelings for no reason, because I suspect they are talking about how socially inept I may be, or how stupid I am, etc. It makes me withdraw and become very quiet, unwilling to share myself with other people, for fear they will only make fun of me for who I am. It's quite emotionally painful, and I have begun to consider suicide frequently as a way out.

Rachel, England
I think of myself as a very insecure person. I get paranoid in social situations and I'm frequently suspicious of people's motives, particularly those of men. I assume that when I hear laughter from another group of people, say on a bus or something, that they are laughing about me. I hate leaving the room when I've been sitting with a big group of people because I assume they all talk about me to each other once I've left: about my appearance and my personality. It gets so bad that I feel almost paralysed and I get panicky sweats. I've never told anyone this and the funny thing is that I seem really confident in social situations. I can talk to people really easily and am quick to make jokes. Yet, despite my exterior social camouflage, I can't shake this feeling of paranoia.

Craig, UK
I've been largely paranoid for about 6-7 years now due to misuse and overuse of recreational drugs. it all started 6-7 years ago when I was 15 and started smokin ghanj. after about a year of smoking heavy, mainly having shottys, bongs and cloud 9's all day long I took fet(amphetamines) for the first time. i'd never experienced a come down before and it scared me, I wanted to do myself in..i was afraid as i've ever been because of the huge wave of ideas and questions, answers, philosophies and doubts about myself all coming to me at the same time and that was the first time i'd ever experienced thoughts which I hadn't created and weren't my own. I don't do any drugs anymore(besides huge quantities of alcohol, and smoking tobacco).since then, every time I smoked weed it was like fet had opened a gate or do

Elise, Canada
Paranoia and anxiety are running my life. I am afraid to step out of the house alone for the fear of the neighbours looking at me and talking about me. I fear crowds and work because I believe people look at me weird and think I am strange.

Simon, Canada
For the past few years I have been suffering from an extreme form of paranoia. I have basically fallen victim to the suspicion that my thoughts and daily life are somehow being broadcast on television throughout the world. Basically I am under the suspicion that my life is exactly like that movie the "The Truman Show". I think that people I interact with in my life are actors. This paranoia has severely stunted my social development and plagued me with a general fear of people. I have thankfully learned to live with this paranoia and have noticed that as time goes on the suspicion had grown weaker and my confidence had grown stronger. But that paranoia is always in the back of my mind no matter how weak it becomes.

Laura, Scotland
I believe that all of my very close friends are out to get me. I worry all the time about them. If one of my friends doesn't text me back or doesn't answer my phone call i worry that they hate me or are ignoring me and that i have done something wrong even if i haven't. I also worry that if something goes missing it was one of my friends. I know this isn't true and i can talk about this with my friends but they are getting sick of me going on at them now.

Susie, USA
I have never really known what you would call what I suffer from. Maybe its paranoia, maybe something else. I am suspicious of people talking about me or staring at me. My paranoia comes from so may more terrifying things. I am afraid of almost anything and it seems that the list gets longer everyday. I am scared of the dark, I am scared of closets being open, afraid of something sneaking into my house. Afraid of cars, airplanes. And not only am I afraid but I imagine the worse things happening. My furnace exploding, getting into a bad accident, the FBI breaking down my doors and busting us for having an illegal copy of a DVD. I have anxiety about everything that I do. Crossing the street, going to the store, packing. I think everything over and over and eventually begin to think horrible things about any situation. I wish there was some way to enjoy life and not be paranoid about everything in life.

Emily, UK
I have had a lot of problems with anxiety in the past but recently I have been so scared all of the time. I often think people are following me, especially when I'm driving. Often I think that someone in front of me is slowing down and waiting to see which way I'm indicating then going the same way. I think people are watching me. Tonight there was a car in the street outside and when he saw me looking out of the window he sped away. I cant stay at home on my own at night. I am just scared all the time that someone is going to harm me, try and break into my house or kill me :-(

Joanne, Canada
I tend to generally have a lot of problems at work with my paranoia. Whether it comes to the social aspect of my work, or even my job security - my paranoia is there. More recently (within this past week), people have been doing a lot of whispering, note passing and things like that. Immediately my paranoia tells me that it's about me and they're talking about me behind my back. It's something I have a great issue controlling. I feel horrible, I feel like I don't matter, and it just makes me feel like crying all the time. I don't like not being liked, I like social interaction. The paranoia makes me feel like I'm blatantly ignored, not included, or anything. Do I know if these thoughts are rational' I have no clue. I don't even know if they even think that. The girls here know I have an anxiety disorder, but in the past few years it's more like a paranoia personality disorder as opposed to anxiety. My anxiety was mostly resolved with medication (which I no longer take), and counselling. It breaks my heart that I constantly feel this way about everything. My mom doesn't say she loves me on the phone every time we talk - I constantly wonder if she's angry at me for something. Work is the only social aspect of my life I really am worried about. I feel as though I'm only barely tolerated. That is the worst feeling in the world.

Robert, London
I find that I start feeling stressed out or anxious when I lose a job for example, or the night before i only had 5 and a half hours sleep, my paranoid thoughts are at their highest then. I find deep breaths in and out and relax this does help, but does not help the feelings of total fear disappear, the fear seems to overpower me (totally) which is quite a strange feeling when you have travelled the world with absolutely no fear and then out of the blue it hit you BAM, I do think it is caused by too many things in one's life happening at the same time and then our coping mechanisms' seem to either cope or not and when we cannot cope we get anxious and then stressed out and this can then lead to nervous breakdowns, however, the good news is that if we catch it before it gets to that stage we can stop it going any further...it's all to do with our coping mechanisms and how we cope with life and the things going on in our life, but having said all this, i still have overwhelming feelings of total and utter fear which can hit me at any time, place or country. I also think it is a build up over the years and then one day it catches up on you, for example one might have been mugged say ten years ago (talking about myself) and then one day BAM it hits you (no pun intended).

Michael, USA
A lot of the time I feel someone, I have no idea who, is watching me. When I'm out in public, I always get the feeling that someone is either following me or is watching me. I really don't trust anyone but myself anymore. This has only started happening recently (within the last few months) and I wish I could get over it. I've never told anyone about this, I just always watch my back and take care of myself. Another thing that makes me not want to trust anyone is the fact that I always think everyone I meet is going to use me for something and then leave me when I have nothing left. I can't get close to people and when I do I'm way too over protective.

Julie, USA
I can relate to those who've posted here saying they seem most paranoid when in a bad or low mood. I was fired from my last job for seemingly no reason and now I am incredibly paranoid about getting fired again. I don't relish my job, but the pay is good and the people are decent to work with so I don't want to be fired. This is a low stress job, but I feel like if I don't pretend it's my life's dream being fulfilled, I'll get fired. Don't people know that not every job can be exciting' Can't people/bosses realize that while, yes, there may be pleasant or interesting aspects to a job, I'm mainly here to do my time and get a pay check so I can live' Not everyone figures out or lands their Dream Job. That's why we're able to get people to scrub toilets and clean hotel rooms; people need to work. They didn't dream of doing that work. They just do it. Frankly I wish I could never work again. I just don't understand life. And I think most people who meet me do not like me. I am paranoid that strangers are talking bad about me. Every time my co-workers have a chat without me, I think it's ABOUT me. Whenever my boss makes less eye contact with me during a meeting than anyone else, I think she hates me. Maybe she does. Who knows. I just don't know how people do it. How do you find a job you're good at AND enjoy' How do you know when someone really likes you' How do you find love' I don't trust anyone.

Amber, USA
Last summer I had a real hard time, I thought some one was trying to put drugs in my food. I would not eat anything that was not packaged, I would have to open my own food prepare it my self not even my husband could do it for me and then I would only eat a little bit to make sure it was ok I got really sick because my food intake was so small and had to start taking antidepressants which helped me.

Stephen, UK
I hate my paranoia, i think people are going to attack me for no reason. I can't get on public transport, i often think i hear the doorbell and there's no one there. I hear people saying my name out in the street when i'm sitting in my room and there's no one there. I think i hear the phone ringing as well. The doctor has put me on Seroquel (300mg) every day. It's taken over my life, i'm absolutely sick of it, I sometimes start to get really angry. I'm getting angry speaking about it now, it makes me feel stupid. Not right in the head. None of the doctors seem to want to help.

Amanda, USA
I have trouble staying by myself at night. The fact that I have 2 daughters with me doesn't make me feel any better about it. I only feel better when another adult is with me at night. I hear things bump outside, or feel someone is peeking in the window (blinds). I start imagining things that might harm me like ghosts or aliens, even though I don't believe in either. I only have these thoughts when I am alone at night. I can't even make myself go to sleep when I am alone. I am afraid I will wake up and someone will be standing over me trying to hurt me. Even when I dose off for a few minutes, I keep waking back up. I have to leave every light in the house on when I am alone and the TV must stay on to keep me from hearing any strange bumps. I have 3 dogs that stay inside with me at night who would attack anyone coming in the house, but I am still scared to death to be alone at night. I am just as afraid now as I was when I was a child. I have always imagined somebody (I don't know who) trying to harm me at night.

Anna, UK
I have always been a little anxious about what other people think of me, and if i have upset anyone. But recently this seems to have become worse on graduating as a nurse. Now that i have begun my new career i feel as though i am not capable of carrying out this highly stressful occupation, and worry that i am constantly getting things wrong, and that my colleagues are discussing this behind my back.
It is only in recent years that i realise that perhaps I feel this way because of past events, such as the arrival of my step dad when i was 12 years old, and the abuse he inflicted on me and my siblings, such as violence towards us and my mum, sexual abuse against me and one of my sisters, which i know of so far. I am sort of reconciled with my mum now, after the anger i felt towards her, and i have had counselling in the recent past, but at the moment things are starting to get on top of me again, although i am reluctant to seek help for fear of others thinking i am mad. also i used to be able to speak with my husband, but lately i do not believe he wants to know, and does not really listen any more, even now i believe that once people read this they will think i am being stupid and self pitying.

Anthony, Brighton
I too think that people are laughing at me or talking about me when I pass them in the street. I don't mind if I can find a reason for it, maybe my hair is a mess or something like that, but when there is no obvious cause my mind starts making more and more irrational justifications for the laughter. My favourite one is that there is something about me on the internet that everyone knows about except me. Of course, just because I can never find it doesn't mean it's not someone on the World Wide Web.
I think part of the problem is that I think everyone SHOULD like me and so I become overly concerned with what people think of me. This is totally irrational because it's utterly impossible to have everyone like you, some people will just take out their own insecurities on others for the most stupid little things. I would do well to focus more on what I think of me.

Katherine, Canada
I have experienced the ups and downs of anxiety and depression since my teens. I am now in my 30's. I have a medical condition that causes me to have a visible disability, so I know that people do look at me, and I think internalizing that all the time has led to some of my paranoia. Also, because of this disability. I have been quite insecure and especially afraid of failure because I've experienced many disappointments and barriers. That said, I am never able to enjoy my achievements when they do happen. I always seem to sabotage myself when things are going well in my life. My brain kicks into overdrive, and I start feeling like people are watching my every move, determined not to let me succeed. All eyes are on me. Everything is about me. Every conversation I overhear in a public place is about me. Everyone I meet already "knows" me...that sort of thing. When people say "Nice to meet you, I've heard lots about you.", I freak out inside, thinking that everything they heard must be bad. Right now, I'm even paranoid about posting this comment...afraid it will bring me bad "karma"! It is agonizing to go through this every time I get a good break. I recently got a good job, after coming out of a severe depression, and I can't even be proud of myself for it! I'm trying to tell myself that these feelings will pass, once I get familiar with my new job (provided I don't get so freaked out that I defeat myself)...but in the meantime, I have to keep all of this inside.

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David, United States
Since I was in my early teens, I've been concerned that people around me were conspiring to harm me in some way. As a student, I thought it was the teachers - they (as a group) were plotting to fail me in school. At my work, I thought it was my employer and the other employees - they were plotting to fire me. At church, it was the minister and other members of the congregation - they were plotting to kick me out of the church. In almost all circumstances of my life, I perceived someone was out to get me. This always caused me anxiety but my response was to work harder so that they couldn't justify actually completing their plot. (That actually has served me well in life).
It never occurred to me that perhaps these thoughts weren't real until they started to get extreme. At one point in my life, I began to believe I was under surveillance by my employer. I believed there were video cameras hidden around work that were monitoring my every move in hopes of catching me doing something that could justify my being fired. I thought they were coming into my office when I was gone and going through my things. I became obsessed with "covering my tracks" (even though I had nothing to hide). I started staying at my office until very late at night - sometimes all night - to keep a watch on my things. The constant stress eventually caused me to get very depressed - at which time I finally sought out treatment.
The psychiatrist decided that it was all related to depression and treated me for that. With time, the depression went away and I stopped the treatment. But the suspicious thoughts never really did leave. They still cause me a lot of grief from time to time. But I have learned to try to dismiss them - that is never easy and sometimes almost impossible. I no longer believe them, which helps me function better in all aspects of my life. But that doesn't stop me from constantly thinking them.

Paul, Wales
I always seem paranoid. I think when i hear people laughing, that they are laughing about me and slagging me off. The television, radio, books, mags all are disclosing personal information about me, like reading my mind. When i cant find something in my home i always think my friends or mother have stolen from me. I hate talking in groups because i think i am being judged by everyone.

Rebecca, Belgium
I often suspect my friends' motives, even seeing compliments as veiled put-downs. I sometimes imagine them as having constructed elaborate scenarios so they can put me down to my face as a means of bonding with one another. I cling to my partner for reassurance and explanations/ interpretations of others' behavior. He gallantly claims I'd be annoyingly perfect without PPD. I'm overburdening him.
Work wise, I've been a temp all my life. Personality clashes happen, not surprisingly, and I want out, rather than to trust that it is possible to come to any understanding. Trust is the hardest thing.
I've been in and out of therapy since I was 17. I've learned a lot about the way I think but not how to change it before the paranoia kicks in. My brother, grandmother, and great-aunt were all institutionalized with paranoid schizophrenia at different times during their adult lives. I've stayed sane enough to avoid that but am worried for how long.
I moved to a country where I do not speak the language. Being mute enables my isolation and, ironically, graces me with perfect Belgian etiquette--one doesn't speak to strangers here. Talking to strangers back in the US helped meet my need to feel connected to other people. I feel safest when I perceive myself to be in control of the image I project. I fear that people can't really like me once they know me.
Every night before sleeping I imagine terrible scenes in which I have to heroically rescue my daughter or my partner. I can feel my heart race. Could I be addicted to adrenaline' Is that part of why I imagine any of these things' My temp is always at least one degree below normal and my blood pressure is very low. I wonder if part of my manufacturing anger/ fear is an attempt to normalize my circulation.

Liz, Germany
i have thought that the posters on my wall were real and that they laughed at me or thought that i am fat and stupid and that people outside whenever i pass 2 or more people i know they are talking about me i only have to here a laugh or a bit of conversation and i think its about me, its especially worse at this time of year when more people are out and about.

Clare, Spain
I'm a 21 year old student. for the past 2 years i've noticed myself going paranoid over simple things like going out for shopping , stationary n stuff. It has become extremely difficult to go out even in a group. Walking alone on the road scares the daylight out of me. i feel extremely uncomfortable to the extent of fear of some unknown force. As if everybody is staring at me and talking about me. that everything, from the way i walk n dress to wat i say or how i say it is being monitored and judged. quite similar to wat others said here if m walking by n somebody laughs i feel they are laughing at me , making fun of me.
Sometimes i feel that the security in our campus is investigating me. a few times i feel that i have conveniently forgotten huge parts of my memory.

Amanda, UK
Like Sarah, I am scared of the dark. As a child I hated the dark but on and off. Since having my baby I too have started to fear the dark. I worry that there is something paranormal (maybe the devil) coming to get me or my child. Although I know that it is not rational thinking I think at the time - how do I really know for sure' During the day I am quite relaxed and wonder why I worried so much the night before, but it can also keep me awake and interfere with my sleep. I have become more nervous when driving, fearing other cars on the roads especially on coming traffic (which is also during the day) fearing an accident although it is not so bad now. I have to check all doors are locked at night and may double check them, just in case. I hate worrying and would like to enjoy life and make the most of it.

Sarah, United States
I often have trouble sleeping at night because of paranoid thoughts. For me, paranoia has been a life-long struggle. It started as a child when I was terrified of the dark. I would imagine monsters at the window, or in the air vents. My two brothers did not make matters any better with their constant teasing and trying to scare me.
As I got older, my fear of the dark did not go away, but I could get over it by singing, or sleeping with the television on. I remember having other paranoid thoughts like someone watching me in the mirror. I mean, someone actually behind the mirror, watching me. I would grab a towel and bolt past the mirror...or, even more embarrassing to admit, taunt the 'people' staring at me. Actually talk to them.
Of course, the whole time I knew that in reality those mirror people weren't there, but there was always a conflicting part of my conscience that plagued my perception, and ultimately affected my behavior.
The complex lessened with age until very recently. I had my first child, and, while I am no longer afraid of the mirror people, or the monsters in the dark, I am still unable to sleep for fear of my baby's well-being.
This may sound common in new mothers, but given my background of skittish scaredey-cat patterns, it is conceivable that I have become a little delusional. I fight with myself every night to not let those thoughts materialize. But they eventually do. I envision strangers breaking in with weapons and threatening my child and myself, and my boyfriend being hurt and unable to help us.
There are thousands of scenarios I have walked through before sleep. It usually takes an hour or two for me to finally go to sleep. But some nights, like tonight, the eerie feeling won't subside, and every noise alerts me to no end. If my baby wakes up at any time in the hour of 3am, I immediately become scared. This is "supposed" to be the demon's hour, or something like that, so it is hard for me to get up and go take care of my child! Am I eight years old again' I am starting to feel tormented and may seek professional help; although, I'm not sure if that is necessary. From what I've read, many people have these fears.
I have never talked about mine before. At least not in such length. And I certainly have never admitted to anyone that I was afraid of the mirror. How silly is that' Still, I am looking for a way to enjoy my new life instead of constantly creating threatening scenarios in my mind, and losing sleep.

Elizabeth, USA
Ever since I was a child I have felt that people are staring at me or talking about me. I used to express it but now I never do, I keep it all to myself because I know it sounds crazy.
I feel like people get in my way on purpose in stores or on the street, especially when there are only a few people around; why do they need to block me or be near me or move exactly when I move exactly where I want to move to'
I feel like some people "know" who I am, like I am famous and they know that I am watched and bothered by some kind of external force, perhaps to measure my reactions, like an experiment. And these people that stare at me are stupid because they are letting me know I am special, and I am not supposed to know. I always think they are going to get in trouble for not being discreet.
If I am not 100% perfect, at my job, at my home and in life, I get problems. I get fired for making one mistake when I spend months doing everything else right, or I park slightly off and get a ticket. I always go the speed limit, and one time I went a little fast and got a very expensive speeding ticket. If I am not perfect in every way I will get into "trouble" somehow. I spend a lot of time making sure everything I do is spot-on. When I slip up there is always someone to tell me or some penalty.
I just wonder if you are paranoid but you KNOW it sounds crazy so you never tell anyone, are you really crazy'

Alan, United States
I travel a lot and have worked for many people. No matter where I go I always tend to think my supervisors are out to get me. Or the people at my job conspire to fire me. This causes a multitude of problems in my life. Recently I learned to accept the fact that I'm not perfect and when I make a mistake correct it quickly. I noticed a change in attitude of the people I work with and thus far have stopped thinking people single me out. Yet if I see people whispering or having a meeting that I was invited to, I still tend to think it's about me.

Louise, Australia
I sometimes get so paranoid that I think everyone is lying to me and that everyone is an actor (except me). It's basically like I am in the Truman Show and I am Truman. It's a really scary thought and I hope no one else ever experiences it because it is horrible.

Lee, London
I am a twenty three year old student. I often feel tensed and stressed while walking down the street past stationary traffic, I feel people may be judging me. Mainly though my fears stem from my own feeling of tension, self awareness and any awkward displays of body language. I also sometimes when in new social situations find myself tensing up and feeling extremely awkward yet I know meeting people generally should be an enjoyable experience. It affects the way I interact with people and I know I never make a good impression. I realize my lifestyle has caused this situation simply by taking to many drugs and developing excessive paranoia. I often wonder about the scientifically proven sense of telepathy and am curious to the extent of the connection.

Mac, London
I have had paranoid feelings for as long as I can remember. I am now 50. I had a very strict religious upbringing and just about everything was a sin according to my parents! This gradually turned me off from religion but as I became a mature adult I am left with paranoid and suspicious feelings. Let me give you an example, one day recently I forgot to put on deodorant after a shower. I became convinced that colleagues at work must have picked this up (nobody said anything!) but I am beside myself that someone might thing I am dirty! (I am actually very presentable!). For most of the time I can convince myself that this is being irrational but anytime I have something to look forward to, the thoughts return and it manages to ruin my evening! Its almost as if I cannot allow myself to enjoy myself or have a good time. This is just one example, I have hundreds of similar experiences that have managed to ruin the best times of my life.

Jenny, Spain
It goes way back, but now in my 30s, it's interfering with my life. I'm always sure I'm going to get fired. Any job... especially teaching. I was indeed fired once in my profession... three years ago. I've been called in, again, for a Friday after work session... I'm sure they will ask me to leave, buy out my contract, and have me escorted out with my possessions.
Also sure everyone at work thinks I've said something bad about someone... six months ago..I was always so popular at my last job... just can't shake the feeling'
I know this is silly, and that the world does not revolve around me... people have their own issues, that have nothing to do with this nice woman walking down the hall (me).

Jenny, Brighton
Like Alex I always think someone has come into my home and stolen the thing I can't find. My son always says 'who would want that'!' it is a family joke now but I still think it immediately something is not where I thought it would be! When very paranoid I think my phone is being tapped/I am being secretly filmed/being followed. I know it's not real but at the same time it is real: ignoring these thoughts just help them to grow. I have nightmares about someone being in my flat when I am asleep.
I have started reading the book and am finding such reassurance from other's personal accounts - such incredible relief to know I am fairly 'normal' for a paranoiac :o) I know why I feel the way I do but, before now, I didn't have any solution to stop these thoughts. Thank you for publishing your book.

Stacie, United States
I cannot sleep at night. I hear noises and I think that someone is trying to get me. No-one specific. Or that their might be someone in my house. I lock all the doors twice and I feel like I am losing it. during the day I am fine. My heart beats a hundred miles an hour when I am in bed. it is starting to scare me. I am starting to not sleep at all without a sleeping pill.

Elizabeth, United States
I have paranoia and feel like my very close friends secretly hate me and I am an obligation to have around. If I try to call one of them and their phone is off I can picture them looking at the ringing phone and laughing at me. This is a lot of my own insecurities and low self-worth that I am applying to people who generally care about me. Most of the time I can look outside of the box and realize that it's not true but in the height of paranoia I become anxious and convinced that it is true.

Teresa, London
Right now it’s Saturday evening. I've been looking forward to the weekend all week. Now it’s here all I can think about is the huge knot in my stomach and the thought that all next week every time people disappear into an office and close the door they are slagging me off. Saying how rude I am and unfriendly. I probably am a bit too! I want everyone to like me. I don’t feel able to relax with them. I dont know why...I suspect they think I am aloof and so don’t include me in things. I wouldn’t want to join in anyway as I cant enjoy myself for fear of saying the wrong thing and giving them more ammunition to talk about me.

Margaret, Slovenia
I often feel unsafe in the middle of the night, while walking around my apartment - or at any other place for that matter.
Sometimes when people (strangers) nearby talk and start laughing, I jump to the conclusion that it has something to do with me or my appearance.
I can't stand people walking behind me; to be exact, it's one person or two people. I usually slow down and sort of let them pass me by. It is incomparably "worse" at night: my mind instantly jumps to the idea that I might be in danger. However, it only happens if a man is walking behind me, even if a hundred meters away.

Sarah, Liverpool
I thought there was a camera in the lamp-post and a microphone in my button. I thought the cars behind were following me. People at work always seemed to use certain "phrases" - or I noticed them. Helicopters flew over our house and I was convinced they were spying on us and checking we were at home. I thought the phone was bugged. I really noticed policemen - they seemed to be everywhere and police cars and vans were there because of me. I did not think there was something wrong with my thinking, I thought there was something wrong with society. Why didn't society trust me' I learnt in the end that maybe it was me not trusting myself and maybe I needed to do stuff that I "approved" of and felt good about.

Robert, Whitehaven
I feel paranoid only when I'm in a bad mood (usually at work or when tired), and feel I have a constant miserable facial expression.
When I'm in this state I feel that people are looking at me, and possibly talking about me. I'm usually aware of any laughing.
If I'm in a good mood, paranoia or any other negative thoughts never even cross my mind. I'm assuming its human nature, but I still don't like it.

Jane, Cambridge
My husband left me and very swiftly started to see a woman who he had previously been good friends with. I blamed her for the split and for being forced to leave my home etc, and worked this up until I became certain that she wanted me destroyed so that she could steal my life completely. This affected me as I was very fearful if I heard her name and felt I had to go to great lengths to avoid her, I also had constant nightmares and felt very fierce towards her.

Mia, Sheffield
I'm a fifteen year old student. There are this group of guys in my school. They had teased me before but now, whenever I have my back turned, I keep thinking they are making jokes and saying horrible stuff about me. And when I turn around and they laugh, I think they are laughing at me.

Shelley, Essex
On a really bad day I hate people even looking at me - I image that they are thinking that I’m so ugly they really pity me. I hate it when people are walking behind me for the same reason. I’m sure that people hate being near or around me - and I agree with Ian that if I’m near a group of people and they start laughing I’m convinced they are laughing about me. Camilla, Bristol
I seem to feel that the people I care about the most, care very little about me and they conspire and talk behind my back about how they wish I would leave them alone.

Wendy, Sydney
At least once a day, I think that others may be following me and want to harm me. It usually happens when people stare at me or get physically too close to me. It can happen anywhere, whether I am walking or driving in my car. The thought pops automatically in my head. Because of this thought and believe I get scared walking alone at night and have felt afraid to stay at home on my own too.
I also tend to get very irritable when drivers get to close to my car while I'm on the road, as I think they want to make me go faster and control me in that way. I've never really coped well with being told what to do. Perhaps that's my paranoid thought that makes me believe that others want to control me,this thought makes me get annoyed and really stressed about it.
Used to have eerie feelings when going to the bathroom at night, felt as if there were ghosts or spirits that were around me, awful feeling. This has subsided. I also recall my dreams and when I am under stress, anxiety or worrying I get nightmares very often.
I feel that my paranoid thoughts have created more stress and anxiety.

Kevin, Dublin
Often when I'm sitting at my desk in work I think I'm being watched from behind and it makes me very self-conscious. Sometimes I'm even afraid to swallow! Sometimes I think that people judge me to be different or a threat. Life is most often a battle against others rather than a loving and supportive experience.

Alex, Sussex
If I can't find something, I always used to immediately think one of my friends or house-mates has stolen it or broken it and hidden it to annoy me and mess me about. I don't trust anyone.

Jennifer, New Zealand
I am 38. I used to think my husbands family hated me so much that they would entrap me and beat me up or kill me for 'taking their son'. At the time it was a real fear and I had an escape plan or hiding place everywhere I went. I even had dad build a secret escape hatch in our backyard fence. 14 years later I realise this was all rather stupid.

Angela, Middlesbrough
I am suffering from depression; last month while out driving I felt I was being followed. The car in question was a taxi, so I drove slowly. My suspicion increased as he never overtook me and also his end destination was the same as mine, even though it was some 15 miles in total. I thought someone was checking to see if my driving was compromised due to my depression.

Mark, Newcastle
I have thought people are stalking me round Tesco, talking about aspects of my private life in earshot. I have then thought a few weeks later I have seen the same people park their car near work and stare at me while I am on a break. I have thought people are moving things round in my flat.

Lara, UK
I have had constant paranoid fears since I was a child. The earliest I can remember would be since I was about 7 or 8, and I hope that Jack, USA reads this because I am in every way the same as he is. I used to lie in bed at night, frightened that someone would come in, kill my family and then stab me repeatedly in the back. It is always my back for some reason, and I have a problem with people touching my back even now, which I think is related to my fear.
I have always, always been paranoid about people hiding behind doors that are left slightly open. The initial fear is that someone is there, who intends to harm me, but my second thought is always that they have a knife.
My main fear is of someone coming into my house. When I wake up in the morning, I tip toe around each room cautiously checking to see if someone is there, and only relax and once I am certain they are not. The next problem I face, every day, is showering. I always think every sound I hear when I'm in the shower is someone in my house. It takes me about five minutes to pluck up the courage to actually leave my bathroom once I shower, and sometimes I have to check all the rooms again to be certain.
I have always had fears I was being watched or followed, even since I was a little child. And I now fear that I am going to be shot from a passing car when I'm walking down the street. I am completely aware my fears are irrational, but I can't shake them. I also have really bad nightmares quite often, usually involving people harming me, and I suffer quite badly from sleep paralysis. It's really getting me down. But it's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one out there who feels this way.

Paul, UK
It feels good to know that I am not alone. As I have got older - I am 23 now, the problem seems to have grown. It probably stems from the life I have had. I always expect and plan for the worst, and it seems that the worst is always realised. This is with both people and situations. With people, I always expect them to disappoint me in someway or another i.e. I always expect the worst in people. With situations, I always expect them to conspire against me so I end up the loser. This problem is having a real impact on my life in that I spend an undue amount of time deliberating events, instances, outcomes, and solutions. This causes me a great deal of anxiety and stress. The problem seems to have got worse over the past six months, in which I have been unemployed - after graduating. They say idle time is the devil’s workshop, and for me it's tumultuous. I am hoping this will improve over the next year as I have decided to go back to university complete a master's degree, although I fear it won't. I have not told anyone about my problem out of fear that I might be branded mad. I still think there is a stigma attached to any form metal problem. If it does not improve, I hope to get help, although I don't know how yet.

Jake, UK
Well when i am walking places and there are people walking behind me i think they are talking about me and laughing at me even if they dont know me and when i see people in front of me i have to walk a different way coz im scared that they will kill me and i cant sleep facing the wall in my room i have to sleep facing the door and i hate being home alone i feel like somebody is watching me.

Sam, UK
Having had a very abusive childhood I have suffered from severe depression for years. I think that people can read my thoughts, that people are talking about me and will harm me. I get very frightened in the house as the walls whisper things to me that the neighbours can read my thoughts and will get me. Life most of the time is hell.

Ruth, USA
I've always felt that, when I go down hallways with people in them, they're looking at me, making fun of me, ridiculing what I'm wearing, my hair, no matter if they are or not. It's even worse if I hear them talking about someone else, because then I just assume it's me. No matter who I talk to, I feel like I'm annoying them, like no one wants to talk to me. Because of this, I don't start conversations very often and only talk to a tight-knit group of friends. I reminisce on old fights with my family and friends, thinking they still hate me over things that happened a long time ago. In essence, I guess it feels like everyone's always out to get me, and that in reality, I'm a nuisance to everyone.

Ali, USA
Up until recently, I thought I was the only one having paranoid thoughts or racing thoughts. And for me, it's always someone trying to steal something from me, whether it's my talent, my work, my stuff, my pet, my identity. And I can't get it back. I'm embarrassed to say this extends to body parts! yes, I know it's not real. I'm grounded in reality, but the thoughts do bother me. I've been afraid to wear my own jewellery for fear someone will take it. It's terrible. It totally interferes with my life and my work. I'm glad that I'm not the only one. Makes me feel a little less weird. Thank you for everyone who's posted.

Holly, UK
Since a couple of months ago i have been suffering with anxiety related paranoia. I think?
I feel that someone wants to kill me or torture me. Every person that looks at me in their car and looks at me, I am convinced there is some major plot to get me.
Every time I see someone acting suspicious, parking outside my house or people just looking at me in the street send me into a crazy panic mood.
I keep asking myself, am I paranoid or is someone trying to kill me????
I have a really happy life and a family and I feel like I cant enjoy what I have because of this paranoia.
I have to rustle the cover over my ear in bed each night so I dont hear any noises that would sound suspicious to me. How pathetic.
I just dont want to feel like this any more. Im scared and really sad.
I feel so alone and wish I had someone to support me through all of this.

Frank, USA
hey guys i would like to tell u that i get paranoid every where i feel people dont like me that im a nobody and think that im aweird guy i have a lazy eye so that make me more negative thinking about myself i feel people keep looking at me i feel like im going crazy dont trust my family friends i feel they talk bad behind my back like last time i called off to work and they saw me buy beer with a friend i work at a supermarket and then the day after i called sick at work and next thing i know they tell me they were saying i had a hangover i was a drinker that affected me so much got me depressed and mad i dont know why i care so much what people think about me i just wanna be the old me when i was really happy

Chloe, USA
I have thoughts that people are always watching me, especially my neighbors, the entire time i am outside-i have feelings that they are standing at their window watching my every move. It does not matter if its the grocery store ,department store, once someone looks at me--thats it;now everyone is watching me. I think about death alot,too. I am a people pleaser, everything i do i want someone to compliment me on it. When they don't my feelings are hurt.

Vanessa, UK
I am sorry that you all have these experiences, but I'm so relieved to find that there are others like me. I take medication for anxiety and feel tense, anxious and paranoid ALL the time. I've been paranoid since I was little - I used to imagine that people were going to do something bad to our house or my sisters or mum, I was scared outside that someone would get me, I've always been scared of other people in class. Thirty years later, I'm sorry to say, this is just getting worse for me. I was just given a lateral transfer at work, and believe this is because everyone in my department hated me so my bosses thought it best to move me. Because of this, I think that in the new department I have to make a success but I'm so afraid that already people hate me and my new bosses think they've made a mistake by taking me on. I feel increasingly isolated from my family and think that they all just think I'm troublesome and not worth the bother. Because of this in the last few weeks I've even stopped calling them and getting in touch. I feel tense and anxious all the time, and at night just think of all the things that worry me through the day, it's so upsetting that I've had suicidal thoughts at times. I just feel that everyone is exasperated and angry that I'm stupid (I'm a graduate and speak 4 languages!). I just don't know what to do to help myself and I even feel too paranoid to go to the doctor as they will just think I am lying about being ill to get attention or something!!!!!!!! This website is a gift, at least I don't feel I'm completely alone in this. Thanks for sharing your experiences x

Sam, UK
i always think my friends dont like me and people are out to get me and i dont have any confidence in my self i think i am ugly and fat even though people tell me i am not i still think i am i also get depressed and angry very easly what can i do lol im glad im not the only one that feels like this though :)

Bethany, Australia
I relate to a number of experiences here. Some nights I cannot sleep, no matter how tired, because I am positive someone is in my house and wants to harm my family and I. I hear sounds and try to rationalise them, but always conclude it could be someone opening a door or stepping on the floor boards. I end up turning the TV on in our room and waiting till I fall asleep without noticing.
I also have feelings that people are talking about me constantly in a negative context and that they wish to see me fail in life. I interpret friends not contacting me for an amount of time as them avoiding me. This might actually be rational if I didn't think it of nearly every friend I have. I interpret situations as if someone is belittling me. I often try to be a high achiever almost as a way to reassure myself I am capable and can be recognised as a person who achieves a high status - but often I ruin my own chances by seeing everyone as competitive and wanting to take over.
I think that my husband's family constantly plot against me and don't want anything to do with me.
I'm not sure what's real and what's not anymore. I even have strong beliefs I will get a terrible illness or that I will have a car accident. I think about my funeral and I obsess about who I want and who I don't want to be there. I obsess about the details of something that will be out of my hands, like the music to be played, the venue, the burial.
The worst thing is watching this happen and almost knowing it's not real but yet the paranoid me, always has an explanation for why my paranoid thoughts are *not* paranoid. I'm really not sure how to deal with this anymore because it rules my every interaction with every person I meet.
It seems ridiculous that every person I come into contact with, would want to talk about me negatively to great lengths. I was even amazed the other day to voice that I thought a bug could have been placed in my house due to a friend making a comment related to a private conversation at home with my husband.
I think in some ways, it is comforting to know that I'm not entirely alone. Unfortunately my paranoia has sometimes been spot on, which leads me to further believe that I have a ridiculous ESP ability. I need to get rid of that idea and start addressing the fact my thoughts are paranoid.

Charlotte, UK
I have only recently become a bit paranoid (if this is what it is) - I have always felt that I never fitted in anywhere and that I was very different from other people in any social group, or that everyone else is somehow better than me - I usually view other people as being cleverer than me, more attractive, more socially capable and more popular, and I always feel that other people think of me as a bit of a weirdo, or a bit "mad". I always think that if someone wants anything to do with me, wants to meet me for lunch or invites me to their house or something, then they must be a bit peculiar (mad or weird) or strange themselves. More recently I have started to believe that a particular woman at work is 'tailing' me and waiting for me in the corridors so she can follow me with bad intent to see what I am up to, and I believe she suspects me of doing something dishonest at work and will report me to my superiors for this. I feel that my superiors at work are keeping notes about me and compare with each other if I am ever late or make a mistake or take too long for my lunch-break or something. I feel they tolerate me and they all think of me as being a special case. They might all secretly pity me for being "not all there" or feel that I'm a nuisance to them. I always feel left out of things in most situations - I feel that other people in any group have special relationships with each other that I am not invited to share - they might go for lunch together or to each others' houses, and I won't be invited. I always think other people in groups that I'm in have much more in common with each other than I could ever have, I always feel left out or excluded from most social or work groups. I also think that a group of people at the allotment I go to are invading my area when I am not there and are deliberately doing things to annoy me such as leaving my electric lights on after I switch them off and are making a mess and fiddling with my things when I am not there. I also think that they hang about saying nasty things under their breath about me when I pass, or if I hear laughing/giggling I always think this is directed at me (this is at the allotment not at work).

Thomas, UK
I've suffered with this for nearly 10 years now and it seems to get more intense as time goes on. I feel that there is a conspiracy against me, that a group of people I don't know what to harm me, or on really bad days want me dead. I feel that I can hear people walking past my house talking about me and criticising me or planning to harm me. More recently I've been feeling that people are stalking me, I see cars pull away when I go near or see people stood about watching. The fear I experience is immense, when I perceive an event being aimed at me my mind puts it all together and I get really anxious. All the small suspicious things that have happened to me in recent months are woven together.
I can't escape it and no matter how much I try to deny it my mind feels that if I don't believe it's real then I'm letting my guard down.

Evie, UK
I have suffered with paranoia for most of my life and i'm now heading for 40. The worse time i have with it at work. I had a manager a few years back who bullied me and got me thrown out of my job and made it clear that it was because I was a threat to her position. Ever since then I fear that in any job I do that people are talking about me behind my back, unfortunately in my last long term job I had this did turn out to be true. I am now in a job that is temp to perm and there has been issues in getting me perm and I cannot stop the thought that they never will and that they will get someone else in and they will take my place because of my paranoia as I am not fit to keep down a job.
The fear of being made unemployed and thus losing my place I live is tearing me to pieces. It hasn't been helped by my parents pointedly telling me that if I ever need somewhere to live I could not live with them as the only spare space they have is reserved for my niece and nephew whenever they stay over.
I suffer badly with self esteem and I know that a lot of this stems back to my childhood as my mother was always telling me that I was an accident and that my younger siblings were planned and wanted. My mother also is still to this day very happy to tell anyone who wants that she has never been able to love me and only tolerated me because she gave birth to me. I am doing my best to fight my paranoias but it is hard to keep going on your own. My doctors refuse to listen to me and just want to prescribe drugs all the time, but they just make me very ill and the only option open me they state is lithium and i refuse to take that or any other antidepressants as they don't solve the issues or actually help me.
I would like to thank all of those who posted their stories here and given me the confidence to post mine.

Pete, South Africa
About four year ago I started getting panic attacks out of the blue, for no reason, it happened mostly while i was asleep. I've always been scared of the dark, since i was a little child. I am now 28 and things are only getting worse. Ive had experiences with ghosts and even seeing the spirits of animals.. I would hear ghosts in my flat, they even used to touch me and sleep next to me, as I could hear them breath. Now for about the last 3 years i can hear a ghost's heartbeat, it sometimes goes away. The last year and a half ive developed extreme paranoia. Im scared someone would brake into my house and kill me.. I constantly check if the doors and windows are locked. Even though ive locked it a minute ago, i check if someone has fiddled with it. I always have thoughts of someone cutting of my burglar bars or climbing through my roof. When i have an argument with someone, days later it strikes me that they are planning on hireing someone to kill me. My worst fear is when im driving. I always get the feeling that someone is following me. When I see a car behind me, i get an overwhelming fear, my legs go lame and i start shaking. I always travel long distance, because of the kind of work i do. It feels like they are following me, with the tendency to push me off the road and shoot me. The other day i was driving and a car was standing along side the road, as i passed them, they jumped in their car and started chasing me. And the worst part was that it was the police. I still think they tried to kill me. My fears are getting more and more, Im constantly thinking about death. Im scared of dying or loosing one of my lovedones. I dont know what to do. Ive visited a doctor and ive been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. Im suppossed to go on medication, wich i have to go and fetch in another town. But im too scared to drive. Im at this stage where i dont want to drive anymore. Because it feels like im always getting followed.

Grace, Australia
I have had bipolar disorder for a number of years now and in past year the paranoid thoughts have driven me insane( even more so ).I think that when someones phone rings its about me, if I can't hear the conversation then its about me. That people don't really want me around they are just putting up with me. I feel that people think derogitory things about the way I look or the things I say, even strangers in the street. I feel that people are laughing at me for things I say or do. Suicidal thoughts are frequent, no matter how kind people are.

Anonymous, UK
ok, firstly, i am paranoid in case someone sees my name and city so i have put anonymous and just my country. so, i am paranoid every minute of the day, its killing me. i have a problem were i think i am ugly and look odd to everyone, and when i am in the street, or in a public place were there is lots of people, i think there talking about me, laughing, and judging me. it feels so real, and i dont even know if i am PARANOID. i was once at a party with my family, but there was a group of males over the other side of the room i didnt know, and they were looking towards me and laughing and joking, and i was so anxious and just scared they were laughing at me, it got that bad, i had to leave the building and go home, and as i was going home, all the cars going by were also making me nervous, it felt like everyone was looking at me and following.i now dont leave me house because this is how it is when i go out all the time. even my family, i feel they talk about me when im out of the room, i dont know if this is because i am insecure and feel like i am ugly and fat myself, but just a little look from anyone, my thought is straight away, there thinking i am weird and ugly. im so lonely because of this!!! argh!

Jen, USA
I spend a great deal of my time "lost" in my thoughts. I have these thoughts that are like chain reaction events..."if I go to the store I may get in an accident, kid may run out in front of me, my truck may catch fire...." I have alost gotten into accidents becuase my thoughts turn into images and I react to them ..like by jerking the wheel so I dont hit the kid that I am worried about running out in front of me! I know its all in my head. I also never feel alone. I feel like someone is watching me. I hate being alone. I hate the dark. Every noise I hear at night keeps me awake. I have to be covered from head to toe to keep me safe at night (not like my blanket is really going to keep me safe?) - I am sick of these thoughts...yet I cant stop them...

Margaret, UK
every night i am always having to check the doors and windows ect beause im scared that someone is going to break in and hurt my family my 6month baby especially i get horrible images in my head and bad dreams. i get so scared i have to set an alarm every night to check on my baby. when im desperate for the toilet i wont go im to scared to go downstairs unless my partner comes down with me. i also get paranoid about my partner cheating on me and always ask stupid querstions to him and i can see it frustrates him but i cant help it. i feel low and then start to get horrible thoughts in my head that he might be unfaithfull. this has all started since being pregnant and worsend after having my child. it has progressed due to things happened to my family,my partner going out and not coming home and people telling me my partner has been unfaithfull!! i can always tell when my partner is lying and he dosent seem o be lying when i ask him questions i just cant get it out of my head and it is really getting me down. and i just dont no what is wrong with me....

Russ, UK
my paranoid thoughts all seem to stem from my guilt over actions i have taken and things i have done wrong. i have been incarcerated in the past and now tried to move on with my life in a positive direction. i cannot be alone in someones house with just them, i feel im being set up. i dont like meeting people in public i feel im going to get kidnapped. i think at night people are going to break in and harm me and my family. i am being irrational but have had a gun pulled on me in the past when someone set me up for a car jack attempt, i managed to get away. its getting worse lately and i even feel my girlfriend is trying to set me up despite knowing that this is 100% not the case. i feel like an idiot

Geoff, USA
i just turned 20. for a few years i have been having suspicious thoughts about friends and people i am close with. it started getting bad last year. anytime i go anywhere and people laugh i know there laughing about me, or when people look at me i feel like there plotting against me. i have two close friends and i constantly think they are talking about me behind my back, and i just lost my fiancee due to the fact i can never trust her and she says i have been emotionally abusing her, which most of the time i never even realized i did. im not quite sure what to do.

Amber, UK
Well, what can I say? I am starting to believe that I genuinely suffer from one form of paranoia or the other. I started university last year and it has not been entirely easy, academically and socially. Although I have encountered feelings of anxiety and paranoia before in my life.
If I am with a friend, who maybe has a closer friend with them who does not talk to me as much in the conversation, I always get the feeling that that other person does not want me around, or is slightly resentful of my presence. If someone I text does not text back, I assume it is because they do not want to talk to me, and just ignore or delete my text. I also feel they must be annoyed with me for bothering them, and wish I would leave them alone. Also that they are only being polite with me in a conversation and eagerly want to talk to someone else who shows up.
When I am in shops or on the street, I presume they are watching me to see if I do something strange, so they can secretly laugh to themselves. Or if I have been in a group meeting, as soon as I walk away, they start making comments about how I acted. I also think people are going to make "look at loner/saddo" expressions when they see me on my own. I also panic and look to see if everyone else is with their friends.
I really want to be happy and stop looking behind my back for threats. I also don't want to quit studying, and would like a job as an auxiliary nurse, as I do enjoy working with people on a professional level. I have one best friend and two or three other close friends, and people I talk to. However, I wonder if people pity me or think I am a loner because I do not go out clubbing or anything, and don't have more buddies.
So do I suffer from paranoia, and/or low self-esteem? I really want to do something about this, and talk to someone professional who I can trust. But I am even afraid of a professional getting it wrong and putting me on a cocktail of drugs- which I don't want! I would rather talk. I'm scared that I am just selfish, and want everyone to like me or at least think I am alright.

Gavin, UK
aye was on alot of drugs like pills and was ah everyday dope smoker but aye stopt it all aye got really bad thoughts goingin throo my head 1 dqy aye can be fine then the next it all hits me hings av dun in the past r folk talkin about me aye get this alot still and aye suffer everyday really hate it need it 2 stop they say u will get better but aye keep gettin worse

H, USA
It was quite scary because my mother had passed away when I was seven, and my father was physically abusive. When I had gotten older, similar like the Truman show, I thought these guys that I liked were following me around and that everyone could hear my thoughts, because these guys would say out loud the things I was thinking. I started to think everyone knew what I was thinking and were weirded out by me. I felt like the Truman show and started to feel paranoid about going outside or even being at home because I could not control my thoughts and believed everyone around me, knew what I was thinking. These guys were following me around, and I didn't know why. I wished they would leave me alone, and as I continued with my medication, the feeling of being followed, watched, or as if ppl can read my mind has decreased and diminished. Now I am healthier, but sometimes, I get a moment of doubt and question whether it was real. Things in my life happen, and usually I try to convince myself that I am just imagining my old suspicions, However, because of my past experiences of feeling like I was being followed, watched, and known by everyone, sometimes, I get scared when I think that it was or is really true. I have to constantly remind myself that it's my illness, because I am diagnosed with bipolar.

Rick, USA
My whole life, (with few exceptions), has been quite traumatic in terms of interpersonal relationships and in particular relationship conflicts. Being perpetually on guard allows me to function at some level in society, where I can make 'risk assessments' of various situations and then choose how to react to people or situations, by the level of risk involved. So it becomes impossible to talk about being 'on guard' without identifying the different types of risk and danger, and also to talk about consequences of making any particular decision.
The biggest risk factor for me, (for whatever reason, I don't know), has been the fear of ridicule. Ridicule, and the risk of ridicule is perhaps the most persuasive and terrifying worry that I have to confront and deal with on a daily basis. Most of the time I will do, (or say), whatever I need to do (or say) to avoid ridicule. This practice includes habitual lying, deceit, and concealment activities.Other areas of risk that I access include financial risks physical danger, risk of failure, and fears of losing the good things in my life that I already have, IE: comfort, security, mental faculties ect. Fear of death is not one of these concerns, although I hope my death will be quick and as pain free as possible as I dislike suffering.
An example of some of the risk factors at any given time, including in this very room right now. You, as another person with free will, you could insult me, ridicule me, yell at me, physically assault me or even kill me should you choose to do so. Conversely, you could be compassionate, provide care and comfort, provide a sense of friendship and assist to alleviate some of my fears. So in making a risk assessment of you the assessment that I make of you determines how I will interact with you. This could be cautious, could be avoidant, could be joyful, and could be any number of other things that are dependant on the actual circumstances and my history of previous interactions with you.
Personal risk is only one component of the risk 'premium' in the room however. Other factors may be other people, what are my relationships to them, how are they likely to react to me, ect. The more people present, the greater the risk of unknowns, the greater the dangers of unforeseen and unplanned for events taking place that I do not have control of, or that I have insufficient control of.
As a result of forever being on guard and taking only calculated risks, I avoid crowds- the risk factors are too high, my personal control of events and circumstances are way, way too low. I consequently dislike activities like parties, music concerts, or even shopping in crowded stores for groceries. I even stress to my kids to 'spot the danger' to be ever vigilant to protect themselves.
Another factor would be physical safety. Am I safe here in this room? The furniture is likely flammable and could, with a source of ignition ignite and cause physical injury to one or both of us. The furniture or other objects in the room if picked up and thrown could be considered weapons that could cause me physical harm. How stable and well built is the structure we are meeting in? Would the structure provide security from the weather, and natural disasters such as tornadoes, flash floods, or Earthquakes? Other risks include wiring problems, and resulting dangers of electrocution.

Lucas, UK
im at the beginning of this awful paranoia just goin through all these gr8 comments and tips me my self im still struggling i suppose its cause im dyslexic i struggle to understand some of these gr8 solutions. Its horrible having an ex trying to make things better and theres paranoia kicking in then me thinking she hating me and wanting to be with some one else when in fact thats probably not the case as u can tell im still so bad bad want to get rid of this good luck to anyone with this all these comments should help any one who thinks chatting to some one with same prob feel free to get in touch

Sarah, USA
I remember always being paranoid trough out my life but never new it was paranoia. My friends would tease me and say "your so paranoid". As I got older it became worse. In February of 2009 I had gone through several weeks of severe paranoia. I thought everyone at work was conspiring against me. I believed that law enforcement was plotting to set me up. I thought law enforcement used my neighbors to plant listening devices and cameras in my home. I even heard voices that I was being set up to be killed. I covered all the vents in my home with tape, took apart my television for fear there was a hidden camera inside and cut the wires of all my smoke detectors. Everywhere I went I believed I was being followed. If I tried to talk to anyone about it they didn't believe me. I isolated myself from everyone with great mistrust of them. The depression and fear became more than I could handle and I attempted suicide. I was found and lay in ICU for 3 days then a week long hospital stay. During my stay in the hospital my paranoia continued. I believed the hospital staff was conspiring to kill me by poisoning my food or putting poison in my IV as I slept. I escaped from the hospital on the 3rd day but was found and brought back and strapped to my bed. After my week stay when my liver was ok, I entered a medical unit Where I was finally diagnosed with Paranoid personality Disorder and Bipolar Type 1. Through treatment and understanding of my illness I am better today. Although I still have small episodes, I am learning to distinguish them from reality. Cognitive Thinking is a useful tool. There is no known cure but you can triumph over this difficult disease with the support of understanding friends and family and the willingness and determination to get well.

Debbie, UK
I have always had the fear of being in crowds until recently i have developed more fears such as; checking under my bed, checking my closet door, making sure the bathroom door is locked at all times and the window in the bathroom is closed. I check myself out before i go to sleep or shower because i feel as though i will have a sudden change in me after something. I have issues with sleeping. I have to have two pillows, if one is missing i can't sleep, i feel as though someone came and stole it. I also have the fear of changing sheets often ( i know it's horrible but i try my best to change it every 2 weeks) because i feel as though when i put new ones on, my scent is not there anymore and i feel paranoid as if its not my sheets. I always have to have my phone next to me. I get panicky within crowds (especially very loud crowds such as; at a football match or protesting etc) But when i am around my own friends i feel fine until i daydream and i become insecure and start shaking as if everyone is talking about me. I can never sleep with my foot out because i feel like something will pull me. I also hate how mirrors get steamed up after a long hot shower. I'm so glad i came across this website. Thank you.

Anna, UK
A lot of what i've read here rings true with me, to the point i'm suspicious if this site has been set up - this has been my way of thinking for the last 6 months - that i'm part of some kind of Truman Show style psychological experiment. I've always been fairly self aware and known my way of thinking was far from 'normal'. I took a lot of drugs for a year and had a paranoid episode after a weekend of too many. Now my mind feels permanently altered, i'm in constant conflict between accepting i'm paranoid and thinking i've just come to notice whats been going on all along.

Ella, Canada
I feel there is a hidden camera in the house and is watching my every move. Whenever I go to the bathroom I never turn on the light for fear of being seen. At work when I see a group of people talking in the lunch room, I think they are talking about me. I keep moving things around in the house because if I don't move them, me or my family will be harm. At night before I go to sleep I make sure all the opening in my bedroom is sealed and the door is locked and bolded, for fear someone will let in the sleeping gas and then come in to rape me. I fear there are people out there that wants to harm me and I don't know what to do. It seems to get worse as I get older.

Mirika, India
I'm 21 year old and a student... I've always been very studious. recently I saw a program on dark magic. The day I saw I did not have any problems. Some days before my exams were about to commence( around a couple of weeks after watching that program)I suddenly began to get suspicious thoughts( like some one would be doing such things on me).. I know its totally stupid to think like that and such things are just fictional. But still I couldnt overcome such thoughts and I feel like its eating away my mind.. I couldnt even concentrate on anything.. I just hope I would soon overcome these feelings... Its horrible...

Leah, UK
I use recreational drugs and drink a lot which is probably what is causing it.
Everytime I walk out of a room I think my friends are talking about me... sometimes I convince myself I can hear them saying things.
I'm seeing a guy, and am constantly paranoid that he's with someone else.
I can't stay home alone because I get scared, I'm scared of the dark, of someone breaking in. And when someone is being nice to me I always think there's a hidden meaning behind it. Always trying to read between the lines when there's only one line.
When these thoughts come to me, I can hardly breathe, I get a bad headache, I can't concentrate, I can't think of anything else. Until i see the person or some thing reassures me I'l stay paranoid about. Even after i get reassured, my paranoia comes back within a day at the most.
It's horrible, I can see it becoming a problem and ruining relationships it has already ruined a few.
I'm only 18... but this is driving me insane. i feel like crying half the time then laughing at myself when it passes. I know the thought are irrational but I can't help them at all

Lydia, UK
I live in a day that recurs . No matter how hard I try to make things better or to rationalise something comes along and pulls me back into the start of the day. It is an eternal mightmare. I feel I am not listened to and no one understands my thoughts or feelings. Nothing matters to other people .I try to defend my self and no one believes me. I know I cannot make things better as nothing can help. They want me to die but yet the day keeps me alive. I dont understand.

Jay, UK
i have always had some problems growing up e.g ocd and depression which i delt with on my own but then at 16 i began to smoke cannabis and i am now 18 and have quit smoking it, i loved goin on a night out but recently i have not felt like doing anything and jus staying in i have felt paranoid for many months now but the last few have been severe i feel as though wen i go out someone is going to attempt to harm me and in confrontations with other people i cannot help but shake through fear i never have been like this before i used to be able to stand my ground but i feel as though i cant now

Liam, UK
Sometimes i would find myself in positions where i wanted to scream around to the people why they opposed me or hated me or were secretly talking about me. I found it hard to rationalise, it traumatised and scarred me mentally. It forced me into mental loneliness and unhappiness. But now I take a deep breathe, ask what makes you so special? why would any other person want to ridicule you like that? out of the 7 billion people in the world to the 400 in the room, why would the shed interest in you? Do you have interest in them? Stop analysing, start relaxing its easier on the mental health.

Richard, USA
I have extreme paranoia that someone wants to kill me and get rid of me. I have nightmares about it as well. I often want to leave evidence so they won't get away with it or so everyone will know I was killed and didn't leave or kill myself. I think people watch my internet activity and track my phone. I believe there are recording devices in my home and sometimes get angry at that and say offensive things for them to hear. I think someone waits outside my house and watches me. I believe these thoughts are very real and that I'm having a psychic intuition. I frequently have paranoia thoughts that my spouse is cheating on me. I think I know who the people are. I see there faces associated with the thoughts. I get heart sinking feelings and hear explicit detailed dirty talk in my head that she is sexting to another person. I think she has another phone that she hides from me. I recently started thinking that she is cheating on me inside the house while I'm occupied taking care of our kids. I sometimes run downstairs to catch her doing it. My ears ring throughout the day accompanied with thoughts of deception in which I can see the persons face who is thinking or talking about me. I thought both of my kids weren't mine at first and did a paternity test on my second child just to find out he was mine. I sometimes see other peoples faces in my kids that were my friends in the past and at first thought she cheated with that person. I still see hints of those people in my kids faces even though I know they are mine. I often think that when someone says something normal there is more to it and they were trying to offend me. I think the things people say are signs or warnings to me. I think people can easily guess my passwords and change them a lot.

Jess, USA
As a kid, I was terrified to come home to an empty house after school. Every day I worried there would be a robber there, who would appear and kill me if I set foot in the kitchen or back hall. I was too scared to use the bathroom and ended up with a bladder infection at one point. We moved into a new house when I was around 12, but I think the fear had mostly cleared up by then anyway, to be replaced with depression and migraines. Yay adolescence. That depressive episode lasted nearly three years. I started having occasional brief fantasies of people (myself, family, friends, strangers) dying in horrible ways- like a little movie playing in front of my open eyes. Not fun. I asked one friend about it, and her response ensured I never asked anyone again. Those lasted until I was about 20. Depressive episodes continued. I've moved into a new phase now, it seems like. I keep thinking people are taking my things. I know they aren't. I know I'm failing to put them away properly, or losing them, or something. But my first, initial thought on finding them missing is "…who took it?" It's scary, and I want desperately to learn to stop thinking this way. Mental illness (legit court-ordered-loonybin crazy) runs in my mom's family, and I'm worried that my dad's totally sane family won't be enough to override that legacy. I'd rather die than put any potential kids through what my mom's going through with my grandmother.

Rachel, UK
I am constantly obsessed with the deranged notion that people are trying to gain control of my mind and thoughts by infiltrating my head with thought-altering worms and hypnosis. I have felt this way ever since I was 9. I'm just thankful that - despite the huge, crushing effect this maddening regime of paranoia, distress and panic has on my life and social interactions - I'm not yet fully convinced that this remote mind-control is entirely real. I mean, it's an incredibly ludicrous thing to believe in. Maybe one day I'll be able to shake off my suspicions and go out in public without fearing for my consciousness.

Vicky, UK
Well since I was a child, my siblings and I would try to scare each other by saying there was something in the room, a monster etc... We would be in our beds, lights out & about to go to sleep and taunting each other as "jokes". I think I really started to believe it. I would be scared that something would climb out of this really big, old wardrobe my dad had. So I would check it to make sure nothing was there but had the scariest feeling something was present and watching me. I tried to be more religious by the age of 14 and one evening had the scariest experience. I had just finished reading the bible and said my prayers. I climbed into bed, with my back turned to the door, which was slightly open to receive some light and I saw a shadow appear on the wall and then I believe something proceeded to strangle me. I did not see anything, as my back was turned but i felt the presence of hand around me neck. My body was frozen with fear I could not scream...it was horrible. It lasted about 7-8secs and When I called for Jesus it stopped. I turned around and nothing was there....since then I have been soo terrified of sleeping on my own & in the dark. But things got really bad when I stated smoking weed. I was 16/17 and would smoke everyday with my friends. I realise now it doesn't suit me (even though I still smoke on occasion) as I have fallen unconscious after smoking etc... But one time I smoked like ALOT and came home to my empty, dark room. I started to trip out. I believed there were things in my room watching me,which wasn't the case but i was soo afraid. I feel asleep and woke up to the most terrifying thing ever. At around 3am I had a complete hallucination! I believed the left side of my face was melting & my left hand was completely deformed. It was soo REAL it scared the shit out of me. It lasted for about 6-7 secs and then everything switched back to reality. Since that day me life has never been the same. I am now 22 years old. I DO NOT sleep at night & will not be in the dark on my own. Particularly at night, Im always waiting for something to pop out at me. I see things at the corner of my eye and think some demon or monster is there. I use to have really bad nightmares aswell (16/17yrs old). I think things are lurking in the shadows and that I'm not safe. In my normal day to day life it's not as bad. I think people do not really like me (think this is a fact more than paranoia loool) But I'm just in a constant state of paranoia, especially at night. It's horrible. I feel like I need a relationship as well, just so that i can sleep at night....and actually feel safe. :( Really sad when I think about it....22 and afraid of the dark among other things.

Sam, UK
Everytime I go outside and walk down the street I am constantly paranoid that people are staring at me and judging me for the way I walk and the way I look. Also when I sit at home at night, all it takes is the slightest noise of a branch hitting the window to set me off into thinking someones gonna break in and kill me so I go into automatic alert mode and usually end up not getting any sleep at all. Sometimes when I work a night shift and get off when its dark out, ill be walking home and be constantly paranoid that someones stalking me or has plans to rape and kill me. What is wrong with me. Sorry if I have some bad grammar I just wanted to get this out there. I often feel like Im the only whos like this. The only disabilities that I have been diagnosed with are reactive attachment disorder, ADHD, & fetal alcohol syndrom. I dont know if its any of them that are a factor in my constant paranoia.

Melissa, USA
When I was a little kid, like most of my friends I've talked to, I started asking myself questions that always confused me. I always wondered what I was. What I was doing here and who I really am and where the voice I was talking in was really coming from, how it was really working. I feel like as we get older we gradually forget about all that because we are to focused everything else going on but I barley ever did anything for a while. I was homeschooled so I usually just sat ad dwelled on those questions which put me in a weird place. Before I was homeschooled though. (For high school) I was smoking weed all the time lots ad lots of it... Actually point is for some reason My highs are justo intense now. Here's a couple examples of some sober paranoia and high ones: Sober: my sober ones tend to turn into pretty bad anxiety. I won't talk to people really I feel to weird or different like they won't like me or something even though I know I'm really cool and funny. I just get quiet usually try to smoke cigarettes and never smoke weed around new people. I feel when I go to go to the bathroom the new people will talk about me as soon as I leave to the mutual friend of ours. Sometimes I'll even try to listen an I feel they know I'm listening so they change conversation. Typing this out I feel like I'm jus fucking crazy. That's another things I'm always wanton to go to a hospital like mental hospital because I always think I'm crazy r I really have something wrong with me. High: I feel like everything around me is so fucking amazing like beautiful and music souds so magical but I think this to the point of where I feel like my boyfriend thinks I'm annoying or super gay sometimes (most) I feel like he thinks I'm fake about what I love and that I'm not into it because I don't know as much as him. I know that it isn't a competition though I just always feel stupid an dumb and like I look really ugly and y mouth gets so dry and that makes my smile look gross I feel like. And I feel like I literally hear people talks hit about me just right there infront of me but I'm never sure if they are actually saying that or what.. Last night I got really fucking high out in the woods in this really awesome spot and the crickets an wind and everything was so loud I felt like I was really listening for the first time I just felt so captured into it. My heart was just like filled up with electricity or something and it was like flowing through my chest connecting me with everything. The first time I wasn't paranoid about someone killing me or watching me I felt like ridiculously peaceful and I felt stupid at some degree because even posting this on here if eel like nobody else has ever hear that before or felt like that. If you have plllllease let me know that'd e amazing because I would love to explain that feeling to someone else. I kind of just want a definite knowing that it did happen.

Jake, UK
I've pushed away so many people in my life and made work so difficult for myself, for thinking that every last person either dislikes me or talks bad of me behind my back. This firstly came about when I smoked cannabis, and it got so severe I pushed everyone away around me and sat by myself for days on end. Since then I have quit smoking, drinking and anything else that alters my mind. I now compete in Amateur boxing and have never been so happy, on and off spouts of smoking cigarettes or not training seem to bring it on severely. I feel being healthy is the ultimate cure, this doesn't mean getting down a gym etc. just try to avoid anything pointlessly harmful for example: Alcohol, Cigarettes and Constant junk food. I have been suffering seriously the past few weeks as I have been out of training with injury and it had made me realise how horrible it realise it is.

Tom, UK
First of all, i'm really thankful for everyone who's taken the time to share their stories. It comforts me to know i'm not the only person going through this. I've not only felt as if people were laughing at me outdoors, but i've also believed that people on live television and radio were laughing and making fun of me as well. There were also times that i've felt as if everything i did was being monitored for the sake of ridiculing me every time i made a mistake. Every time i err, no matter how large, small or shallow, i litteraly hear airplanes, helicopters and police sirens outside of my house - this tells me that authorities are out trying to catch my stalkers and their high-tech, peeping-tom equipment. Lol I used to think that people were reading my mind, but the Bible says that God is the only Person Who knows our thoughts, so I really don't struggle with that anymore. I also used to think that EVERYONE could see me "live" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (i know, that sounds bizarre to me just reading it). Here's the funny thing, i've NEVER done drugs or even smoked a cigarette AND my family has no history of mental disorders but my psychiatrists tell me that my disability comes from stress (i was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2000 btw). I've tasted alcohol, but that's about it. Beer tastes like crap to me and whine is semi-crappish. All i drink is water, literally. I've experienced so many coincidences EVERY SINGLE DAY for nearly 2 years that it's sickening! It just makes it all the more difficult to get over my paranoia. But every time i have one of these paranoid thoughts, I now try to fight it by being aware of what's going on inside of me, while remembering all of the other times i've debunked many other negative scenario's that i've "percieved" as really happening and this helps me feel better as a result. If it be in Gods Will, i'll eventually be able to fully condition my mind back into a non-paranoid state with the method i've just described. But if God really wants me to, i'll start taking medication. So, it appears to me that i may be borderline schizophrenic, if i'm not schizophrenic already. I hope this helps someone out there and please don't give-up or backdown! God Bless you all!

Jill, US
I am always paranoid to go to sleep at night. I'm scared to death someone is going to break into my home and hurt my family. As soon, As I close my eyes, Im up at the sound of any bump or thud. Sometimes when I close my eyes I get scary images I can't help and don't understand. It scares me to the point to where I can't even sleep or I cry myself to sleep. I'm so sleeep deprived I can't even do simple house hold chores.

Eric, US
Couldn't actually know these thoughts are paranoia, till I read some testimonies.it occurs to me all the time on the streets that somebody is watching,judging or having some bad thoughts about me. I have always thought people around me do not actually like me especially at the office-thinking they hate me, plotting some stuff behind me- have quit a job because these thoughts.my paranoi thoughts have left absolutely lack confidence,thinking people are criticizing my work-I can't believe in my self anymore-have alway isolated myself from group thinking they would not welcome my opinions. I am jobless now and it's driving me crazy.

Alice, USA
I was in tears when I started reading these confessions, I never knew that others where having similar thoughts until now. Since I was a child and first was old enough to be left alone at home I've been scared and kept a bat behind my door. I would basically roam the house looking in every corner to find I don't know what. I would eventually start playing with my toys until I heard a noise, then I would stand behind my door with the bat for hours until my parents came home when I would then put on a show that I was fine and didn't notice that they came home even though I was secretly relieved. I obsessively check behind the shower curtain from either side, during showers or using the restroom, it just seems like such a good place to hide to attack someone. I obsessively check out the front window at home even when I'm not expecting anybody to arrive. I read articles a lot about all the awful things happening in the world and hear stories that haunt me for months, years, and even decades afterwards. I've never lived alone, I went from home, to roommates, to a live in relationship. I'm scared of the dark still, but not as much. I worry that everyone is lying to me because I'm so honest. I can't stand lying and what it does to me, all the things you have to remember to keep up the lie is just too exhausting. I think that everyone at work either loves me and is obsessed with me or hates me and is talking bad about me all the time. I think my superiors steal my creative ideas and parade them as their own. I went to private school and I read a lot, a lot of classic literature as well so I speak differently than those around me and I think they make fun of me because of it. Then I will hear others use my unique turn of phrase that I have said to them at some point and it's flattering, but annoying. I think everyone picks up mannerisms from those around them, but in this case I feel that they are stealing my identity. I obsess about things I've done or said at work and that others always remember them. I feel that all males are constantly undressing me with their eyes and that I'm always on display(definitely that Truman show effect others have mentioned here). Even my boyfriend is always staring at me and making me uncomfortable when I'm getting dressed or taking a shower. I feel that everyone knows who I am and can feel all my secret thoughts so I have to keep them in check. I feel that the USA is a giant conspiracy and that everyone is being controlled by religion and people making and controlling the money. I especially distrust religious people because I feel that their morals come from a fake controlled source and that they would turn into masochists if their leader told them. I feel the same way about these gun toters in Texas, that they may rise up out of ignorance and kill all those who don't have guns or those who need to have an abortion. I have a knife I carry with me at all times, but I hate guns and am scared of them. I always have to have a dog and have them sleep in the room with me.

Colin, USA
I have always thought people were watching me. I really noticed it when I was 10. I was and still am shy to get naked when I'm by myself. My mind makes up that there is a person that I'm close to or really like watching me and judging me. So then I turn off the lights in my room or bathroom and get undressed , only sometimes I feel like there's a camera in there with me and that when I turn off the lights , the camera changes to night vision and everyone is watching me laughing at my body and the fact that I'm crazy. I try to tell myself in my mind that nobody is watching me and that I'm just paranoid but then other voices from people I don't even know enter my mind and laugh and say things like " yes we are silly " " we're always watching you ". Then they get louder and I can't really shut them up or fight them. They're always there. I feel like I'm in a movie a lot of the time though. Like the other actors are my friends or people in my life and it's a bunch of them. Only the people my mind wants to be there. They all sit with me when I'm using the bathroom watching me , or when I'm in my room. They go everywhere with me and I don't think I really need to go outside and make more friends because they're all I need. They make me laugh , they argue with me and make me mad, sometimes they make me cry but that's okay too. I don't need anyone else. But what if I meet someone one day and they all have to go away? I mean , I know they judge me but they live inside of me too. When I cook and eat , they eat off my plate. ALL OF THEM! Sometimes they don't even listen to me and I repeat myself and they still don't listen. They don't care. They do what they want. I want to get help though. I want them to leave so I can have a normal life and don't have to talk out loud and whisper to them behind everyone's back. I just want to leave it all.

Rena, UK
One of the hardest things for me has been friendships and close relationships. I never feel I can trust anyone. I always think they are talking about me behind my back or in the case of relationships running off with someone else and I ruin my life because of it. This makes me scared to be alone I keep pushing away people that I love and that I care for. I know it stems from my past from bullies that I had for 5 years straight and being talked about behind my back all the time being ridiculed because I had a goal in my life. I never thought anyone would ever love me. Yet I fell in love at the age of 17 and I pushed him away because I was always paranoid he would run off with someone prettier, funnier or smarter than me. I'm now 23 and am currently in my fifth serious relationship and after 8 months I can see myself doing it with him too, if he just wants a night alone all I can think is that he's doing something else, something to hurt me. I've tried to hold back my feelings and restrain my paranoia but it's so hard. I feel like I have no friends, probably I pushed them away somehow too, they organise to see each other and never invite me. If I invite them out they will come and see me but I rarely get invites back yet I know they will have gone somewhere without me just a night before. This is all made worse by the fact I don't want to push these people away I don't want to be alone. I want to be happy yet I keep destroying me life and I don't know what to do.

Sam, UK
I started having panic attacks after I was raped at 16 , I took alto of drugs and slept around, my own dad sexually abused my friend in front of me, I have been in violent relationship, and have used alcohol for lomg time, I have depression, social anxiety and paranoia. I wonder if I'm also bipolar. It has dictated how I live my life, there r chapters when I couldn't leave the house, I'd be up all night and sleep all day, I'm a single parent, I have a job as a carer, sometimes I think I will crumble and just can't do it anymore and where is the enjoyment in life. I get paranoid when I'm driving thinking people are looking at me and laughing and they know I'm paranoid and I literally am paralyzed, one time I even thought I'm just gonna abandon the car, I always feel uneasy talking with more than one person at a time, I find eye contact difficult and I always think people know I'm paranoid and they think I'm a freak. I'm such a sensitive pperson, I've even wondered if I'm superior to diagnose other people's thoughts and feelings. Taking my daughter to school and picking up can be a nightmare for me and causes me a lot of turmoil. I wonder what I have done to deserve this, I feel that if I don't learn to cure this then I will have to come back in the next life and do it again instill I have learnt, I feel that my childhood friends arnt really my friends and that they don't really like me, I think my sister and her friends take the pkiss out of me, I have thought that my neighbours know what I'm thinking and laughing at me, sometimes I wonder how I carry on, don't get me wrong there are days that are blissful and I thank the Lord for that, I try to practice mindfulness and yoga. Love a drink though but omg the next day my paranoia is even worse, maybe there is more light and better days to be had before I die, I keep going for my daughter and for those snippets of light that creep through the darkness, if anything I have learnt not to stigmatized mental health and to be empathetic to others and to appreciate what I do have, turn each negative thought into a positive one, don't drink caffeine, be a good person, and we can only try our best to help ourselves and hope that this isn't all for nothing and that we r not experiencing this for our sins in this life or our past lives, peace be with u all, it is comforting to know I'm not alone in all this but at the same token I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy either. Love n light Angel healing to us all xxxxxx

Rick, New Zealand
I was always quite popular at school, I felt people genuinely liked me, through my teens I partied hard and lost my way a bit in my late teens and early twenties. My confidence in social situations plummeted and while I had lots of friends gradually isolated myself from them, moving away from alot of them. If I felt someone suddenly didn't like me or was sniggering and laughing behind my back, I would just distance myself from them. I ended up emigrating and kept trying to make fresh starts. I am now older and more settled but these problems still haunt me, I think everyone hates me, plots against me and laughs at me behind my back, I can no longer even do what is natural and run away from it as I have a wife and son I love dearly, I can't quit my job, I can't move away, I don't have any real close friends. I try to just keep my head down and avoid social contact, but that seems to make it worse, then I try to make an effort and interact socially, sometimes goes well but I feel I open myself up to someones criticism or jibes that sends me back to the dark place. I wish I could go back to when I was young and confident and would eagerly await social situations and thoroughly enjoy them, I feel I am wasting my life being paranoid and depressed, I have lots of things to be thankful for, life is for living and enjoying - how do i do that????

Abbie, US
Why is it I'm always worring somebody will break in and kill me or what if I die while I sleep or in a car wreck. Where will I go when I die, what if somebody breaks in and hurts or kills my kids or grandkids? I can feel myself going Thur these emotions as if it is happening and start crying. I try to change my thoughts but it always comes back. I have gotten to where when I get home I don't even go out and my car sits till I have to go somewhere than I'm find my self going slower than the speed limit. I listen to the radio and or just start thinking crazy stuff and will start crying. I worry that my horses, dogs or cats will burn up if a fire starts in the barn or house and I can't get to them. None if these worries I can prevent from happening if it does happen. I feel like I'm loosing my mind. My hubby tells me it's as I'm expecting something bad to happen to either one of us and I worry to much.

Blake, US
I'm constantly terrified of everything. My paranoia is actually getting better too. Several years ago I would sleep in the bathtub because it was the only room in the house with no window ( I was paranoid that I would be shot). Back then I would not leave the house during the daytime because I thought everyone was out to get me. At one time, every Sunday, I would nearly vomit from the stressful thoughts. I would spend my days believing that everyone is out to get me. I disconnected my phone and deleted my Facebook. Im not as paranoid now, but I do everything by the book, and I'm still paranoid that I am going to get arrested for something I didn't do. It's terrifying. I'm afraid of having meaningful conversations with anyone. I think all of my old friends are out to get me. I sleep with a cell phone because I'm scared someone will rob my house while I'm sleeping. I was even paranoid that this website was logging my IP. I found a therapist who has helped me work through a lot of issues, but sometimes it feels never ending. Also, my gf helps out by reminding me that the paranoia is far fetched.

G, US
I never thought I would be one of those people that is afraid of going out I mean I heard about being paranoid but never thought it would happen to me so i looked it up. i wanted to know how crazy i was to feel what i was feeling and i came across this site. The stories I read here do in fact comfort me, I really thought I was alone. I was reading Sally's story and I do the exact same thing except for a few things. I would shut my phone off and take out the little chip it carries because I felt people outside where monitoring where I was. I kept thinking they would come in when I was sleeping to take me and lock me up. I checked my lights to see if they worked and checked for cameras, I figured people outside had installed them. I checked my window constantly fearing I was going to get attacked and memorize license plates, the people that came out of the cars, what they where wearing, etc. my family always asked what I was doing but all I could say was that I thought someone was stalking me. It got to a point where I had to have someone check before I got into my apartment just in case something popped out. I checked everywhere even the spaces where a person couldn't fit just so that I knew I was alone and even then I couldn't sleep. The lack of sleep made it even worse to function, I would sit in a corner and scan the room at night trying to keep myself from screaming and crying. Little by little I have been able to go out of the apartment for a few hours but with that knot in my stomach and constantly checking who is walking behind me. The feeling of not being safe anywhere is overwhelming but I do what I can. It helps when I'm around family although ill admit I distrust them sometimes. I know my family would never hurt me but there are times when I get a feeling they are hiding things and sometimes I don't tell them anything for fear that they might go to the people that I feel are out there trying to get me. Being paranoid like this is crazy and when I sit to think about what I'm feeling I tell myself it's absurd but I can't help it. One of the things that also helps me is when I do go out I count in my head or think about a place I would rather be than out walking, if I can't do that I take deep breaths and tell myself I'm almost home and it takes a big load off my mind. Now that I have read others stories I feel like I have a group of people behind me supporting me. I just hope one day I won't have to have anxiety like this and will be able to live life without being paranoid.


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