Paranoia, and the art of caring too much

I’m not sure if paranoia is a side effect of social anxiety, or it’s just another thing I deal with on a regular basis. The crushing paranoia that this person hates me, that that person talked about me behind my back, that every time I walk past a group of friends laughing, it’s directed at me. How foolish I feel when I realise that OF COURSE I’m not the one being laughed at. And then how utterly scared I am when I doubt my own logic – maybe they ARE laughing at me…after all, my shoelace was untied, my hair looked a bit funny, my walking style is different from usual?

This is the kind of struggle my brain works its way through, pretty much every day. For example, today in school. I was sitting, doing my work, and I looked up and around me, I don’t know why, maybe I got bored of my work for a second, or reached the end of a long paragraph in my essay. But for whatever reason, I looked up, and it just so happened that as my eyes wandered I caught the eye of someone across the room. So, naturally I smiled, the kind of awkward smile you make when you catch the eye of someone you’re not especially close with. And they smiled back. All good. I went back to my work. About a minute later, I looked up again. Somehow I managed to catch the eye of the same person, accidentally…again. This time, I didn’t smile; I quickly looked down again. And then it’s awkward. But that’s not the end, oh no. My brain was churning, and I just HAD to look up again…and this time I caught their eye instantly. Just as instantly, I looked away again. It was different this time. Now, I’ve got into the mindset that the person thinks I’m watching them, or stalking them.

That kind of thought process really frightens me, because I am the sort of person that wants everyone to like me. I really hate it when people don’t like me, because it must be something that is wrong with ME, that I’VE done wrong. So paranoia hits me hard.

I don’t have a very good memory. I always do really badly in that memory game where you lay things out on a table and then get a minute to memorise them, before you have to try and remember what you saw. Memory…bad. But when it comes to events I thought went really badly, that I have paranoia about, I remember for years. I still remember things from 7, 8 years ago, that were such minute details, no one should ever remember them. My mind doesn’t let me do that.

Anyone else feel the same way? Or, even better, ways to stop it happening…

Published by Harry

The shy, anxious guy in the corner

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