Personal accounts of paranoia

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.

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.

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.

Eric, US

Couldn't actually know these thoughts are paranoia, till I read some 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 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.

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.