‘Paranoia’, a fear, mistrust, or a suspicion: often without basis, of the motives or actions of others.  At some time I believe that all of us have felt a little paranoid about something, the motives of a workmate or employer, a friend, or the worst kind of paranoia; the feeling that someone or something unknown is out to get us personally.

There is the old joke; “You’re not really paranoid if people are out to get you!”  In the security industry where I used to work, we often said that a little paranoia and mistrust of people and events around us while on duty was not a bad thing at all as it helped to keep you on your toes and keep the edge.

But what happens if the paranoia starts to take over, if we allow the unreasonable fear take a real hold.

One thing that the privilege of writing this column has taught me is that although we are all individuals, with a common disorder, the way that it affects us varies in so many ways.  Yes, there are many, many similar symptoms that most of us have at some point or another and yet others that perhaps only a few of us have at any given time.

This is the value of the forums or chats at safe heavens like Bipolar World.  You find that you are not alone – some one else has gone through what you thought was yours’ alone.  Having giving a plug for the forums – let me lead you into my sometimes paranoid world.  Come on I promise it won’t hurt J

Now I have a good relationship with my psychiatrist, one of trust and confidence in his abilities.  So why is it when we are talking during our sessions at times – I can hear my inner voice telling me that he really doesn’t believe me; or why is he watching me that way, is there something wrong that he is not telling me?  When I talk about my auditory hallucinations I sometimes wonder if he thinks I am really bonkers or making it up.  Do I have any proof whatsoever that he is thinking this way at all – no; in fact the last time I  mentioned it this week, he immediately suggested I up my Seroquel dose for a while as it is possible the stress of my interstate move may be having an affect.

At other times I sit in public places like libraries or churches and even if there are many people around that I know well, someone will look over towards me and I am sure that they are watching me.  So I go into anti-surveillance mode and watch over my shoulder by using windows and mirrors; or stand at the end of the aisles to see if the person is getting closer or trying to get a visual on me.

Then I will leave the place and choose a roundabout way back to the car to try to throw any possible follower off.  Crazy?  You bet – but as I say to my family “It’s MY kind of crazy”.

Them there’s the paranoid thinking and dreaming I have about my wife and family occasionally.  My wife used to be late from work frequently (working for doctors is not a good career if you want set finishing times!), and I would first of all think that she might have had an accident, but then the little devil of paranoia would slip in and I would then start thinking about the nice doctors and patients she knew etc., etc., and before you knew it I had this enormous case in my mind of people being out to steal my wife and family from me by having an affair with her.

When my moods are in balance and everything is sailing smoothly I have only a touch of paranoia so can use it as one of the signals to watch how I am going.

Welcome to my world and thanks for reading my article – but I do have to go and check – I think some one has left a micro camera in my paper this morning!!!!!!

Graham Brown

10 February 2006

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