If I am paranoid…

If I am paranoid, please look me in the eyes, calmly, and say, “Erin, I think you might be paranoid.”

Lately, with my treatment for my mental health disorder, I am learning to recognize when I am paranoid. I feel, that like Super Man has to recognize kryptonite, I have to recognize my paranoia so I can harness its power to overcome my obstacles.

Today, while at a restaurant having lunch by myself, I had a small episode in which I became a bit paranoid. I am embarrassed to admit that a security guard calmly asked me to leave the restaurant because I made a mistake about my food. I felt too stimulated by the way my coffee drink was made, and I complained to the manager in a way that alarmed her. I’m sorry.

If she had calmly looked at me and said, “Ma’am, I’m not a doctor, but I think you may be paranoid,” it would have helped me calm down. I would have left the restaurant and called my mother to pick me up, instead of stewing in my paranoia longer.

This is how I help myself when I am paranoid:

I have a list of options that I go through, in no particular order. They involve meditation, writing in my journal, people watching in a safe public place, and welcoming smiles from nice people. I may ask to work from home for the day.

This is how to recognize if I am paranoid:

  1. I am staring off into space for too long, and I don’t appear to be mindfully meditating on a stationary object.
  2. I say things that seem outside of your reality. For example, today I thought there was something in my coffee drink that I did not order. At the time, this thought is inside my reality, although it may not be part of your reality.
  3. I walk around a little too quickly, and appear to be pacing a bit.
  4. I may be a little too quiet because my thoughts are racing and I am unsure of who I can trust.

If you recognize any of these symptoms, please help me by calmly, humanely looking at me and saying, “Honey, I think you might be paranoid.”

The sooner I can recognize my paranoia, the sooner I can help myself. My goal is to help myself and harness my paranoia into a non-super-human strength.

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