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Introduction to paranoid me
Posted by sarah33
5th Oct 2020

Introduction to the paranoid me

There is a thought that people with paranoid schizophrenia are on the edge, teetering to do something terrible. Get their names in the paper with a dramatic headline. People that the general public should be scared off, someone to fear. That is not me. I am more likely to be scared. Fear the world around me. Wonder who is going to hurt myself or my nearest and dearest. Not that the majority of the world will see that. The smile on my face, the warmness in my voice lead everyone to believe that I am a happy friendly person with only the scars on my arms hinting at the trauma that once was.

The whispers that follow me around. The conversations I donít want to join in on and that I pretend not to hear. The threats to my family. The confusion between the real world and my reality.

They say that they are in my head but I am never too sure. I donít hear them in my head they are all around me. Follow my every step, watch my every move. Hear my every thought, critique every action and response.

They appear into my line of vision, make me take a second look, just to be sure I can believe my eyes. I should know better than to look, to validate their existence but the fear sets in. The fight or flight response in my brain kicks in. My heart races, I feel as though my breaths are not taking in enough oxygen, the fuzz in my head. Panic freezes me.

I continue sipping my coffee, smile at my children but all the can think is stop, please stop. I need to breathe, to hear silence, to be able to trust the visions around me as fact, not the world in which my realty is not seen by others.

I have heard these voices and seen people that others cannot see since I was fourteen. I spent my adolescence trying to escape the reality that I lived in by being in a false reality created by drugs and booze. The feeling of escape helped while I was out of my mind but was always there upon the sobriety I felt in the morning. Other forms of escape became the norm. The feeling of a sharp blade piercing my skin, the hit of pain, that moment of release followed by the instant regret and shame.

The next level escape had me dabbling with the Russian roulette of overdoses. I always prayed for it to be the time, my time. The end of the pain and the release from my torturers. But I was either very lucky or incredibly inept at it. After 15 attempts I am still alive and still trying to live as though there was nothing wrong.

The noise, the uncertainty of fact and the absolute certainty that I believe, that I know with my whole being that it is true and in that minute, hour, week, month, however long my thoughts last ,they overwhelm me. Take me to a place of being out of control, of fear and desperation.


I know that trying to impart the understanding needed to truly empathise with someone who has these experiences is difficult but I feel I need to tell my story to allow my children to understand how hard I have fought to ensure them a ďnormalĒ childhood and why I hide my illness from the world.


It is the inside me, the me that only myself and my closest confidents get to see. The tears that stream down my cheeks, the struggle to breathe, to stop my heart from beating out of my chest. The panic that ensues me and leaves me unable to perform my duties as a colleague, a wife, mother and all the other roles that I have on my shoulders.

I donít believe in ghosts or afterlife or the paranormal. If I hadnít have experienced these situations I would find it hard to believe, I would say poor person, or that sounds terrible but I couldnít understand the control this has over someones life.





Lockdown

In recent years the safest I have felt is cocooned in my home during lockdown. It is only now that we have a tad more freedom that my fear has come to the front of my mind again. Most people are afraid of the invisible but very real germs that are causing so many to be ill or sucombe to an early death, leaving so many families in mourning. I have become more fearful of the danger that to everyone else may be unseen. I venture from my home, take my family places to give them a sense of normality or the new norm. But instead of being nervous of catching the big bad germs I hear the whispers telling me of the unseen dangers.

A pregnant lady walks into a shop, her mother and young child following behind her. The mother to be, is in a rush and leaves her bag on a counter by the entrance to toilet. She is obviously busting for a wee. I glance at the bag and the noise in my ears is deafening. ďBombĒ they shout, there is a bomb in the bag, run get the kids out of here, RUNĒ. My heart starts to pound, I feel the blood rush to my head, it swirls with panic and confusion. Every instinct in my body is telling me to get the kids out of there and call the police. Get help. I feel my feet twitching to stand up and get the hell out of there. But amongst the noise and chaos in my world. The rest of the world drinks their coffees, eats their sarnies and talks to their loved ones.

My brain is blown, how can there be two so very different situations going on at the same time. The calm of the cafe and the chaos and terrifying possible catastrophe and loss of life that could happen any second in my head. I have to make a choice and if I get it wrong I could loose everyone. Years of experience tell me that I have to trust the reactions of the rest of the people there and not my own. I pick up my coffee and take a sip. My head is still whirling and I donít seem to breathe until the lady returns and picks up her bag and takes it over to her table with her mother and child waiting. I keep my straight face, my breathing and heart rate slow. The voices continue to shout at me to take action but I pause and continue with my day.


The beginning of a life time of them

When I first started to have these experiences I was more scared than I had ever been in my life. I just wanted it to stop and go away. I thought I was broken and couldnít be mended. The only way out was to leave, permanently. I was fourteen, couldnít talk to anyone. I did not know where to start, the words wouldnít form outside of my head. I took every pill that was in the house. All it did was make me throw up. But determined as I was I made an appointment with the GP the next morning. Here was my chance, I said I had been sick and needed something to stop me being sick. I needed the overdose to work, I needed to leave this life behind and enjoy the nothingness that would follow. The GP told me to rest. Donít think I had ever been so furious. I was going to live.

Following the first disappointment of not dying. I put the idea of escape to the back of my mind. Found comfort in solitude. Hide from school and family. Started to drink and throw up mainly, never been very good at it. Trying to find some form of escape from the voices and people I saw. As I grew up I met people with better forms of escape. Drugs. They are called recreational drugs but for me they should be called escapism drugs. The sense of release and unawareness was what the DR ordered. I figured that if I was going to see things I might as well be in control and decide on if I was going to be off my head whilst all the other stuff was going on.

A mixture of cannabis, speed and LSD crowded my brain with more chemicals than anyone should have, let alone someone with an already dubious touch on reality. This led to me becoming desperate enough to ask for help. I made a plan. The words wouldnít still come from my mouth, my lids would move but no sound would come out. So I wrote a letter. I tried not to waffle and ramble to be the point but the desperation came across the page as the words flowed and sprawled into sentences, trying to explain my situation without it sounding ludicrous.



The return of the darkness

I think they are always with me but sometimes I cope other times my head just canít fathom what is going on. The questions whatís wrong resonates in my ears but I canít answer honestly because I will collapse to the floor in tears. Sob uncontrollably until there are no more tears left in my eyes. I always know when it is going to get bad, because I get signs or what is to come. I always try and change the outcome but even though I get early warning signs there is no stopping it. Itís like the sea receding before a tsunami. There is a silence, a calm and then utter chaos and destruction.

In the past there may have been times when I stopped taking my medication and that has attributed toward it but this time thatís not possible as I have a depot and have not missed a single one. I think the past few years have been so intense that I have been on auto pilot now there is a breather in the my busy life. Apart from work, family, decorating, ok itís not too quiet but it is without the intensity that the previous years have been. I think my brain has had enough and wants me to focus on it and the awful situations it causes.

Not that I think that they originate in my brain, that is what the professionals think but I am still to be convinced. That something that to me is external can be generated by my own brain. Itís like seeing a painting someone else has created and saying that I must have imagined it or that my brain has created it. Seeing or something with my own eyes or hearing something to me means they must exist externally from me. The things they say to me are not always things I know or think. The people I see are not known to me, they are not people from my past or current life. They are people I get to know, strangers who become an invasive part of my life, people who scream at me in the night, whisper during moments of quiet or chatter while I try and ignore them.

I feel like the light goes from my eyes, the smile disappears from my face. The joy leaves me and in return leaves despair, uncertainty and a sense that nothing is real. I become so unsure in myself that I believe that everyone can see what is going on inside my heart, soul and mind. That they know the turmoil that I am in and only wish to make it worse. To help the invaders in my life create such an awful existence that I will be left with no way back. I try to leave the ginger bread crumbs to find my way back but I am sure that I will run out. There are only so many good things to get hold of and claw back the happiness that I usually feel.


The Tv is listening to my thoughts

I canít watch the tv, I can barley be in the room when it is on. I know that they can read my thoughts and they are referring to my the they are talking. So I stick ear phones in my lug holes and listen to the music. I try not to think, have you ever tried not to do that? It is so hard, hopefully the loud music will drown out as much static thoughts as possible.

I recognise this is not a normal thing to think. I know that as I donít normally think it. I have heard of TV brainwashing our youth but never reading the minds of the middle aged.

After all these year and experiences I try not to question them as much as I once did. Try to think of an explanation, only solutions. I know that I am not going to be able to do that by myself so I have asked for help. I am still not sure what they can do. I have been on more medication than most people with my condition. I think the Drís started at the Aís and work their way through the alphabet and then back again. I donít know if the one I am on works but I do know that it doesnít give me some of the terrible side effects the other ones do. Just because of that I am reluctant to change it.

On the other end of the spectrum are the psychologists. Some I have liked and respected the ones that understand that baby steps might be required. Others have said that I am too ill for their therapy or too well. I think I need to be somewhere in the middle but not sure on how to achieve that. The most sound advice I try and use everyday, others I put it in the fuck it bin. My favourite ridiculous piece of advice was to sing to the voices. This actually made me laugh out loud, not sure it was meant too. He then said in your head, as if I was only finding the prospect of singing in the middle of the office to voices other people cannot hear was the bit I found daft. I am not sure the voices are big fans of a middle aged out of tune woman singing them a little ditty asking them to do one.

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