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.