How To Get Rid Of Paranoia In Five Easy Steps
Paranoia is a feeling of intensified sensitivity. It is that feeling that something is not right, or that someone is talking about us, cheating on us, or that we are about to be fired. If you are reading this article, chances are you have felt at least one of these this week. To be clear, the kind of paranoia discussed in this article is not the kind associated with a psychiatric disorder, such as schizophrenia. It is the normal garden variety paranoia brought on by a stress trigger that plagues so many everyday lives. However, if left unchecked, it can interfere with our cognitive functioning, our relationships, our work, and can lead to other disturbances, such as anxiety and depression.
Sometimes, when we experience paranoia, it is due to a repressed fear we have that has decided to assert itself. We may have the fear that, for example, we have a devastating illness, like cancer. We become paranoid and every little bump and bruise becomes a symptom. The simple fix to ridding oneself of this uncomfortable suspicion that has grown into paranoia is to see a doctor. By obtaining credible information, we can lay our paranoia regarding the health issue to rest. This is a simple fix, but if we apply this method, this brand of logic to other areas of our lives, we will be able to allay fears and put paranoia to rest.
Now for the hard part. Sometimes our fears are substantiated, and we have a deep down feeling they will be. So, we avoid confirming our suspicions because we are not ready to face our validated suspicion as truth. The feelings associated with this type of suspicion can overtake us and cause us to make irrational decisions, or say irrational things to the object of our suspicion. A simple suspicion that sometimes we may ascribe to intuition turns into paranoia, and begins to eat us away; and it will, from the inside out.
If we do not address or confront our suspicions and seek credible evidence to either support or suspend our suspicion, it can grow into full-blown paranoia. For example, Jolie thinks her boyfriend is cheating on her. She is basing this suspicion on the fact that he has been late in getting home more than three times in the past few weeks. Because she has already been in bed and has to get up early the next morning to go to work, they have not talked about it. Due to limitations of time, there just does not seem to be a good time to bring it up.
Jolie begins to create scenarios in her head of where her boyfriend is, and with whom. She begins to retroactively look for evidence in past conversations. At first, she asks herself logical questions, like if maybe he told her he was working on a project and would have some late nights, but she has forgotten it. In their limited conversations, she may ask about work, but in a non-specific way.
After another week goes by, her boyfriend is coming home again at the usual time, but instead of being able to enjoy time with him, she is obsessing over the nights he was late. She begins to feel paranoid if he looks at his phone, or gets a call, or sends a text. She begins to lose sleep and avoids having sex with him, because she is convinced he was cheating on her. She is afraid to ask him outright because she is afraid two things will happen; 1) He will tell her the truth and her world will chatter; 2) He will lie and she will be left feeling this way forever.
If Jolie does not seek resolution to her suspicions, she is likely to end up ruining her relationship and even her own health.
Steps Jolie can take to allay her fears:
- Ask yourself what concrete evidence is there to support your fear.
- Ask if your suspicion is merely a symptom of some other problem.
- Ask someone else close to the situation about what he or she thinks.
- If fears still linger, again, reflect on evidence. If there is none, then chances are your suspicions are null.
- The obvious action to take is to confront the issue.
The reason people are hesitant to take the obvious step first is for fear that their suspicions will be confirmed. Sometimes, we are embarrassed to admit we hold certain suspicions. However, avoiding the issue only causes the suspicions to grow, and paranoia sets in and will overtake our thoughts and actions.
If after confronting a situation we find that our fears have been justified, then this is still a positive, for it helps us to make a decision about what to do at that point. Whether it is a significant other we suspect of cheating or that we fear we are about to be fired, allowing these fears to go un-confronted is unhealthy.
If you or someone you love experience persistent paranoia in spite of taking the five steps above, there may be the need to seek attention from a qualified mental health therapist. Paranoia is uncomfortable, and sometimes it is normal; however, when reason and logic fail to allay fears there may be an underlying mental health condition that needs attention .
For more information, someone to talk to, and valuable resources, visit BetterHelp.