Tag Archive | Paranoia

The things I used to trip upon, I walk all over now. 

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“A little story about quotes”

​I’ve not written a personal blog for quite some time. I usually write about worries, insecurities, things that irk me. My paranoia is also a huge contributing factor to the basis of my blogs. 
The reason I’ve not written?
I’m in a good place. 
A very good place.
Don’t get me wrong, that place isn’t completely trash free. But me, well, I’m coping a little better than I ever used to, and that in itself is a huge achievement.
Making decisions to let things go, not worry or dwell on them, has made such a huge impact on my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a paranoid worrier who thinks I might upset someone just by the tone of my voice when I say “hello” , but essentially I’ve made friends with “reason” . Things bothered me more before than they do now. 
There are a few phrases I’ve used over the last couple of years that I’ve adamantly decided need to be put to good use. Practise what I preach, so to speak. And you know what? It’s not all mumbo jumbo inner self spiritual shit either. It’s worked. Or rather, it’s working. In progress. Some areas still require attention. But I am getting there though. I truly am. 
So what are these phrases and “rules” I’ve applied? Trust me, none of them are unachievable. 

 “Let go of what doesn’t make you happy”

It seems ridiculous that I even have to “action” that one, but I do. For some reason we all cling onto things just because once, at one point in our lives, it made us happy. Even though it has long since stopped enriching our lives, no longer provides any sort of enjoyment, we still keep it because once upon a time, it did. By this I mean friendships, relationships, clothes, trinkets and even memories. We clutch onto these things “just incase”. You know that drawer you have, full of bits and bobs, chargers for devices you no longer own, random bulbs and cables, that no longer have a purpose but you keep just incase they become useful again? Well our brains and hearts have the same compartment for feelings and emotions. But, just like that drawer, every now and then we need to have a clear out. The phone cable that charged your very first mobile flip phone, which was more than adequate to text and call could never be powerful enough to charge your all singing all dancing iPhone that you use as a diary, planner, camera, alarm etc that you have now. It doesn’t even fit. Just like the friendship that once helped you get through your awkward teenage high school years, is now not proving capable of having your back through adult problems. It doesn’t fit anymore. See my point? It can never be what it once was. It’s served a purpose for a while, but no longer does and never will again. There’s no point in keeping hold of it as it will never be able to offer the same function or fulfilment ever again. You’ve out grown each other. Accept it and move on. 
So many people stay in loveless, mundane, boring relationships because they made vows, promises, to a person who once upon a time gave them every reason to smile but now makes no effort to keep that spark alive. Despite trying everything, the relationship has naturally run its course. But rather than break free and seek what they crave, they stick with it because maybe, just maybe it’ll reignite itself. People stay because of the children, thinking it’s the right thing to do. It’s not. Kids pick up on unhappy vibes and it has long term and detrimental effects on them too. There is no shame, if, after trying everything, the relationship brings no enjoyment to anyone involved, in saying goodbye and parting ways. I was guilty of this, staying put when no longer happy, and all that ended up happening was me getting hurt, because I wasn’t brave enough to walk away earlier. Buried my head in the sand and went “la la la” and pretended it would all be ok in the end.  It wasn’t. It got worse. I saw the signs and ignored them because of what I then believed to be the right thing to do. Doing the right thing isn’t always rewarded,I know that now. I shouldve walked away when I’d started to feel lonely and question whether he even wanted to come home. But instead I chose to stick with it because I’d made vows. I was a proud woman and didn’t want to appear like I was giving up. 
I once kept a dress which had long since become too big for me, but I absolutely loved it and I wore it for such a special occasion so I couldn’t get rid of it. It was a big, full length dress that took up a lot of space in my wardrobe. It had been too big for me for 3 years when I finally got rid of it. Although the occasion I wore it for was of huge importance and I felt amazing in it at the time, I was only keeping hold of it for sentimental reasons. I never intended to wear it again. By keeping it, wasn’t I just setting myself up for being a bigger girl again – I’ll keep it just in case I’m ever that size again? If I do get bigger again, so be it,  I’ll just buy a new dress for a special occasion.
Get rid of anything stale and stagnant, physically and emotionally. 


 “Choose Happiness”

I recently went through a run of bad luck, some of it still hanging around like a shadow following me everywhere. One thing after another rained down on me and the weight became hard to carry. They say bad things happen in 3s. Well my quota was up before mid day and it wasn’t showing signs of stopping. I struggled to get motivated at work, my already crap sleeping pattern became even more disrupted, my skin was worse than ever. I was down. I was defeated. I forced myself to do a Happy Days challenge, where for 100 days, I post about something good that has happened that day, to prove to myself that even on the worst days, there’s a little glimmer of sunshine. Some days have been easy, days out with my other half, lunch with my parents, time with my son etc. But other days really were/are a “challenge”. As I write this, I am 53 days into my current self set challenge. And I’m proud to say, so far I’ve succeeded in finding something that has made me smile every day, even if just for a moment. The good things really do out weigh the bad. On the toughest days, I have felt like saying sod this, nothing’s gonna cheer me up, but then I decide to be happy, snap out of it and lo and behold something catches my eye and makes me grateful for the day after all. If you wake up hating the day before it even begins, you are on a downward spiral that you’ll struggle to get out of. Knowing I’ve set myself a silly little challenge to find that happy moment, I know I’ll be actively looking for it all day, thus forcing me, willing me, to make it appear.  I’m not trying to say to the world “look at me, I’m so happy, life is perfect”.  I’m simply trying to prove that a positive mind set can turn a negative, bad day into something not so bad after all. 


” Let whatever happens be ok”

Ok, ok, this one isn’t mine. I stole it from a friend and I know they won’t mind me using it. This is one I NEED to get on board with. I lose hours, day time and night time, worrying. I worry a lot about stuff that doesn’t matter. But mostly, I worry about things I have absolutely no control over. And it’s moments like that where I need to remember this saying. No matter what I do or don’t say, what I do or don’t do, the result will be the same. I can’t change or influence it. All I can do is hope that whatever does happen will be something I can cope with and deal with. I need to accept that some things are bigger than me and what happens will happen whatever I do or don’t do. I’ve always been brought up to be responsible for my own actions, so when events happen that are out of my control, I have a hard time letting go of the responsibility, even when it’s not mine! For example, my mum had an operation recently. No amount of worrying on my part could change the outcome, or assist the doctors. All I could hope for was that the procedure went well and my mum recovered quickly. Wasting a day fretting and pacing would’ve done no one any good. 


 “Be the bigger person”

Over the last few years, I’ve been lured into some serious games of tit for tat bickering. At first, my desire to defend myself was so strong, I retaliated and just ended up miserable and frustrated about what version of events people were believing. Until I learnt to ignore it and let go. Let the truth find its own way out. Stand down and let everyone else carry on digging their own holes. No matter how much the proverbial bear was being poked, I stopped biting. I refrained from bringing my opponent down. And it felt, no feels, so good. Slowly, slowly, by keeping my composure and not hitting out in defence, people are realising that things aren’t quite as they are being described. It pays to hold your head high and say “I’ve done nothing wrong”. There are various quotes about truths but mine is “there are three versions of truth, yours, theirs and the Chinese whispers created by those who mix the two”. When an untruth is told so many times, the person speaking it starts to believe it themselves. When you reach this stage, there is no point trying to prove they are lying anymore. Sit back and watch them tangle themselves up on their own lies.


” Life’s too short”

Since losing my sister in December 2013, this is the one saying I’ve grabbed hold of more than most. My sister was 39. No age at all. Chances and opportunities taken away from her with no warning. For the sake of my parents and my son, I’m not going to waste another day. This saying is the umbrella underneath which all the others sit. It encompasses everything I now believe and strive to put into action. 
Life’s too short to not be happy.

Life’s too short to waste time worrying over things you can’t control.

Life’s too short for regrets.

Life’s too short for “what if”.

Life’s too short for “if only”.

Life’s too short, eat the cake.
My sister didn’t know it was going to be her last day, the day she passed away. She thought there was a tomorrow. A next week. A next year, when she should’ve turned 40. There wasn’t. And it hurts and upsets me deeply that there were so many things my sister wanted to do but didn’t get chance, because she thought she had plenty of time. Don’t put off until tomorrow, things that you can do today. Tomorrow isn’t promised. I won’t waste a day. Even on a day off with nothing to do and nowhere to go, I go out at least once, just for a walk by myself, fresh air and exercise. I purposely take time to appreciate all that life has to offer. 

Another good friend of mine uses “Not my Llama, not my zoo”, which is her version of the phrase :-

not my circusnot my monkeys”  meaning its none of my business and indicates that one is not responsible for controlling or changing a volatile or delicate situation.

A lot of our time is spent stressing over other people’s situations, things that not only don’t affect us, but that we can’t do anything about anyway. I’m not saying we shouldn’t care, but why stress over something you could potentially walk away from? Why overload your plate even more when you’re already struggling to balance things? Leave it to those involved to sort out. 

I asked the question about what quotes do you live by to a forum I’m a member of on Facebook and the response was immense! So much inspiration! A couple I loved were along very similar lines as each other.
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken”

“If you walk in everyone elses foot prints you will never make any of your own” 

Be yourself. Make your own choices. Act how you want to act. React in a way that comes naturally. Laugh when you want to laugh. Cry when you need to cry. Wear what you want. Eat what you like. Hang out with whoever you want. We don’t need to justify ourselves to anyone. Our individual selves are the most beautiful versions of ourselves. No need to blend in. No need to pretend you’re ok about something if you’re really not. If you want to wear the short skirt , wear it, don’t worry if people are going to think you haven’t got the legs for it. Approaching summer I saw a great post being shared on social media. The caption read “How to get a bikini body in time for Summer”. The pic showed a beautiful plus size woman wearing a bikini. Underneath the picture, the answer said “Buy a bikini. Put it on”. I absolutely love that statement. 

I should probably also say that I have a friend who was born with no legs. His saying is #nolegsnoproblem . His attitude to life is so refreshing. Yeah, he can moan, but never ever about the hand life has dealt him. I think we could all learn a lot from him.

I think the answer that came up most when I asked which quotes people live by was simply
 “Fuck It”.

I can’t change who I am. Paranoid, over sensitive, worrier. But I can change whether or not I care.
Team the popular quote above with my all encompassing quote and, at the age of 41, I have discovered a motto to live by. 


” Fuck it, Life’s too Short”.

The Month of Meh, and how to lighten the dark.

​How many of you reading this are feeling fed up of February? 

I genuinely think its been one of the coldest and wettest February’s for a while in recent years.

Its “meh”. I feel “meh”.

I’m fed up of leaving my house at 8.15am so wrapped up I could easily be mistaken for an abominable snowman. Or a Yeti. Layer upon layer of warm clothes to walk to work in, leaving arms sticking out uncomfortably from your sides as you struggle to do anything while wearing the essential gloves needed to protect hands from the bitter cold. My skin is dry from being out in the cold, then into an artificially heated building. February is not kind to me. February is not selfie month.

And don’t even get me started on the rainy days. And the wind. Add those two elements into the mix and you’ve got the perfect recipe for my worst mood ever. Starting work with bedraggled, wind blown hair, ice reddened face, chapped and dry lips, mud splattered boots and trousers is a look I’m keen to see the back of. I’m longing for the days where I can breeze into work wearing a flowing dress, light jacket, if any at all, and the only redness gracing my cheeks with be the happy, healthy glow of fresh skin, all “Marc Jacobs, Daisy” ad campaign. 
On top of all that, I’m tired. Physically and mentally. I’ve not had a week off work since the third week of October. Retail management means we don’t get time off for Christmas.

I look terrible.

I am shattered.

I’m starting to hate every item of clothing in my winter wardrobe.

It’s too cold to go out and do what I want.

I’m too skint to go out and do what I want.
I should be bloody miserable. I’m not. Sure, I have my moments.

I’m the Queen of Paranoia.

The essence of Self Doubt.

A Gold Medalist in Worrying.

Champion of letting what others think, get to me. 

Ultimately though,  I’m happy.  More so recently than ever before.

And, there is a reason. I think.  A theory I’ve been toying with and inadvertently applying to my own life. I’ve made changes. To myself and around others. 


Fountains
and Drains
I came across this saying/reference when I stumbled upon the blog posts of James Wittering. www.witteringon.org.  I found his blogs fascinating, and binge read his posts so far. He’s a guy, who has been through some break ups, coming to terms with the implications and just trying to get through life positively and without majorly fucking up. I could relate to that. It was actually refreshing to read about these issues from the male point of view. He talked about how he struggled to watch programmes that he and his ex used to watch together. I too have spoke in the past about how my ex and I used to watch certain things together, yet near the end of the marriage they began to fill up Sky Planner as he was never around and how I have never revisited them since. He seemed of similar mind. I then read his blog about fountains and drains. At the time, I couldn’t really relate it to any part of my life, so I read it, enjoyed it and didn’t give it much thought after that.

 Until early this year. 
I was mulling a problem over and over in my head. Like I do, scared that if I told anyone about it, it would make the problem bigger, more real. I didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted to think. To procrastinate. To work it out on my own. Eventually, I did. I made peace with the problem in my head and managed to put a positive spin on it. Then I told a friend about it.  That friend then made a single comment that started with “but”… and everything I’d just reasoned to be true was thrown precariously back into doubt again with one fail swoop. This is when I remembered about the fountains and drains. 
Let me explain..

FOUNTAINS.

Think of your close circle of friends. The people you turn to with good news and bad. When sharing good news with a ” fountain”, they will drink in your every word, then gush with pride and appreciation and shower you with compliments and exclamations of how happy they are for you. They turn your one stream of excitement into a flurry. When faced with your bad news, they will try and put a positive spin on it, try all they can to help you see it as an opportunity. They will give your problem more life ,making it turn from a negative weight on your shoulders, into a fresh bunch of small bite sized issues that they will help you deal with. They are bright, sunny and positive people themselves. They have a positive outlook on life. They also care enough to ask the uncomfortable questions when they think you’re heading down the wrong track. They’ll want to get you back on the right one. Fountains are happy people who see the best even in bad situations. They don’t need other peoples constant approval.  

DRAINS. 

Same scenario with a drain. Tell them some good news, they will let you flood them with your enthusiasm, swill it around a bit, effectively filling them up with your own positive thoughts before they pull the plug with the simplest of statements such as “but” or “what if”, instantly draining your mood. They don’t necessarily mean to, these drains can still be friends, they just don’t know how to be happy if you are. Its their mindset, not yours. They don’t want to see you set yourself up for a fall, so they throw doubt in there to keep your feet on the ground. On the flip side, with bad news, they offer no solution. If you are trying to see light at the end of the tunnel, they will unintentionally flush away any hope of sorting things out, pulling you further down the drain with them. They want to be there for you but can offer no more than ” oh no”, “oh dear” or, if a good thing has gone bad, drains are the ones likely to say “I told you so”. They are often the ones whose own lives are full of drama and they can’t help but drag you in and down with them. They are impossible to please. Never happy.  Drains almost always self deprecate for no reason too. Try on new clothes and say they look fat when they don’t. Stand onstage to perform, and then rip their own performance apart. They aren’t able to say, you know what, I think it suits me. Or, I really enjoyed that, I gave it my all. They do need approval, someone to say don’t be silly you look/did great. 

We all do have both types of friends. Sure, we have drains in our lives that are intentionally trying to bring us down too, but I’ve long learnt to not let them effect my mood. (Or at very least I know about them, I’m aware of their motive, and I’m TRYING not to let them get to me!).

Since remembering about the fountains and drains blog I read, I’ve made a conscious effort to be selective about who I share my news with. Stepping back from the drains, they will only get edited highlights, be included in general chit chat, generic group conversation. Whereas, when I need to share news, good or bad that has effected me, I’ll turn to the fountains, the ones that will lift me up when I’m down and push me higher when I’m already flying high. I’ve put it to the test. I’ve stopped myself confiding in the ones that don’t seem to really listen, or don’t offer any advice. The ones that, after talking to, I only seemed to feel worse about a situation than I did before. You know, I live in my own head a lot of the time anyway, only admitting I struggle sometimes in these blogs, so its hard for me to talk about issues at the best of times. What I was finding was that interactions with drains weren’t helpful. I couldn’t move on. Their doubt was adding to my own. Made me wish I hadn’t said anything after all. Back to square one. Since taking that step back, the only negative thoughts I have to deal with are my own, as my fountain friends will only offer solutions, shine positive lights. I’m just battling my own demons and NOT the drains too.

My other half is a fountain. He sees everything in a positive light, makes the mundane, routine, every day stuff we experience in our lives seem exciting, different. He questions everything, makes me think, challenges my perception of what is “ordinary”. I share my thoughts on a bad day at work with him and he’ll talk about the good that’s happened, point out something I’d overlooked. He doesn’t even do it consciously, its just his natural persona. Upbeat, positive, despite having good excuses to be miserable himself. These are the kind of people I want to be around.
I’m not for a minute saying that I’m wanting to cut the drains out completely. No, not at all. There’s no light without dark. Everyone in our lives adds value in some way. I’m just saying I’m being more selective about how much access I give them to the inner workings of my mind. 

Another lesson I’ve learnt since working over this whole fountains and drains thing is that I too, want to be a fountain. We all know someone who, no matter what you’re talking about, they will have been through the same thing only ten times better, or ten times worse. Both making your own experience seem somewhat less significant. It could’ve been better. Or, oh no, at least it wasn’t as bad as theirs. Really looking into this I wonder if I’ve been a bit of a drain myself. True, the drama that surrounds me is NOT of my own doing, but it does seem I’ve always got something to say. Some big deal to talk about. Have I been neglecting the people that want to confide in me because I’ve been feeling a little miserable myself? I hate that thought. Have I been bringing others down because I always seem to have something to moan and worry about to the point where people who were once good friends have given up on me?

Shit…

So, with my new positive mindset and surroundings, I reached out to some people, friends, that I feel have slipped away from me recently. I’ve tried hard not to talk about my own issues unless they’ve asked, purely focusing on them. I’m not saying I stop caring what they are going through when I’ve got my own stuff to deal with, I’m just saying that I’m acutely aware that I disappear up my own arse. In life, like in these blogs, I tend to go on a bit, repeat myself, go off on tangents, bore people. So I isolate myself from talking about any and all problems until a very small window where I want to vent and get it all off my chest and share it with someone. If the person I want to share with is busy when the window is open, then I’ll slam it shut again, to fester and gather dust until I’m ready again. Its noones fault but my own. But because my head is full of my own unaired issues, I’ve struggled to take on anyone else’s. 

Until now. Now I see where I was going wrong. Focusing too much on the negative and letting other negative people bring me further down. I hate to see others upset or down, but if I was feeling the same I was  struggling to be of any use to them either. 

I’ve stopped sharing as many personal views on Facebook, as that is an obvious red flag for drains to cling onto your words and post their own opinions for you and your other friends to see. It didn’t help to vent on Facebook. My privacy settings are such that the intended targets of my rants would never see what I’d posted. I was simply being a drain on others peoples news feeds. I no longer will be. Lesson learnt. I will like and share and post the good stuff! The stuff that makes people smile. The stuff that makes people realise that no matter what life has thrown at you, you can still be happy, if you filter the people you surround yourself with as actively as you filter your Instagram posts. I genuinely want people to know that despite what’s been thrown my way, I’m good. I don’t want people to worry about me. Or feel sorry for me. And I most certainly am not the victim, as I’ve been accused of playing so many times. I want to inspire. I want to tell you about my insecurities, my issues, my problems but show you that it’ll all be OK. Because I’m OK. I want my words to be honest and helpful. I want to give you hope, not dim the light. 

So from now on, I’m re-routing the stream that is life. It will be pushed through and rationalised out through my fountains, and it’ll flow so fast past the drains that they’ll have no chance to pull the plug. 

Let me start right now. February has been shocking weather wise, but its also marking the end of winter. How glorious will it be to see the flowers of spring coming through? In only a matter of weeks the evenings will be brighter, the air will be warmer, plans can be made to do more outdoors. The bad weather won’t last forever. How much more enjoyable will the walk home from work be without battling the wind with your umbrella? Things to look forward to. To appreciate the beauty you first need to see the worst.
I want to be around fountains, I want to be a fountain.

It’s not you, it’s not even me. Its, erm, Complicated…?

I can see the headline now…“Instant Messaging Apps Fed My Paranoia”



I feel the need to apologise to everyone who currently knows me.

I’ve touched on my paranoid,over thinking mind before,and I even went as far as saying I no longer stress and worry about what people think. However that isn’t entirely true. 

When something “changes”, I assume the worst. My track record proves I’m usually right. That’s a hard feeling to shake.

I still worry. 

I’m still paranoid. 

I’ll still doubt you.  

I’ll still over analyise things. 

Its not your fault. Trust me though, its not really mine either. I wasn’t always this way. I’ve been broken, and although I’m essentially fully healed, there’s still a weak point. Certain situations balance precariously on that weak spot and, yes, it means I “have my moments”. Please, understand them and bear with me.  I am a better, stronger, more confident version of myself than I ever have been before. And, as much as I’m less tolerant of bullshit and being treated like crap, my good nature, and need to try and find the good in people and situations that really do have no good in them, still lingers. Its who I am. I care too much. Because of this, I struggle to remember not everyone is like me.

And here’s a confession for you. A blog exclusive, if you like.

I struggle to let go of things that were once so good but no longer are. My mind doesn’t accept that its often better to draw a line completely than try and salvage some of what once was, in order to cling onto a good memory. Now, this isn’t because I want things to be the same, or want someone back. Far from it. It isn’t every situation either. My marriage was so stale, and the good times were so long ago and so overshadowed by the bad times and revelations, that I successfully let go quicker than even I thought possible. And I have no problem moving on. No, the reason is because I don’t want something that was so meaningful to me to appear to mean nothing to them.

If you’ve read previous blogs of mine, you will be forgiven for jumping to conclusions and expecting me to go ” I’ve been cheated on, I don’t trust anyone “. I’m not going to. Yes. It played a part but it goes deeper than that. It goes deep into the depths of my self doubt and my own head. So, why am I saying its not me? Well, if it was me, paranoia would’ve played a part in my whole life and it hasn’t. If I was to try and pin point when it started, I’d say 2 years and 6 months ago. AFTER my marriage ended. 

When I started dating the person I ended up marrying, neither of us had mobile phones. Contact was made using an old fashioned land line, a couple of evenings a week. We both worked in town so it was easy to pop along and see each other at lunch time if we wanted to.  We got our first mobile phones together, but by that point we were living together. There was no chance to build up a routine of ” contact”.  I had no chance to start wondering “why haven’t I heard from him!”.

18 years later when I become single again, times have changed. I initially started talking to the guy I ended up dating just after my marriage broke up, G, on Facebook. Messenger has this handy little way of bobbing a persons picture down next to a message you’ve sent to show they have indeed read the message. Then it would conveniently show a wobbling “…” to indicate they were replying. Our messenger conversations had a very definate  start and finish. I wasn’t left hanging. We’d say goodnight and that would be it till one of us said “Morning”. We soon awkwardly exchanged numbers in my shop, remember G worked in the shopping centre where my workplace was located, and constant messaging commenced. I’m sure you’re all thinking my god she’s obsessive, but it genuinely was him more than me. He’d walk past my shop and wave, and by the next time I had chance to check my phone, he’d sent about five messages. I loved it. I thrived on it. In the later years of my marriage I wasn’t made to feel attractive. I actually told my then husband that I felt he would rather be anywhere but home with me and although he denied it, I knew how it was wrong that he’d come home later and later and then go straight to his ” office” in the cellar (how right was I in the end!?). I had sensed I was losing him, and despite his insistance it was all in my head, I was right. And he told me he hadn’t loved me for two years. So, he lied too. Now, I had a man texting me with things like “although my eyes are watching my boys play football, my mind is on you”. How is a girl not meant to love that!?!  After a few days of not seeing me, he’d tell me how much he missed me. Heading home after evenings at his, he’d message saying he wished I hadn’t had to go.  His favourite phrase in broken English was ” why you so lovely?”.  I got used to it. I got attached to the contact. No end or beginning to conversations, just a never ending stream of messages that only paused when we were together. I hadn’t had that kind of attention, hadn’t felt so wanted, in a very, very long time. Due to working in maintenance, he had early and late shifts to do work out of hours, but he gave me his time and made effort.

After a while together, his messaging habits changed. I’d not get a morning text if he was on an early shift. He stopped saying he missed me. Messages were ended with a “x” rather than “xxxx”. My work mates said it was normal. It couldn’t possibly keep up the way it was. My rational mind agreed, but my paranoid mind thought, and knew,better. It had changed without warning. I’m very, very intuitive. What was right..? Rational mind or paranoid mind? Two weeks after I felt things had changed, he ended things. The whole its not you, its me, routine. My paranoid mind was right. It had been fuelled with being right, so my inclination to trust my gut feeling rather than be rational dug its heels in and stands firmly by my side to this day. G adamantly promised he wanted to keep a friendship, so I tried and quickly realised it was only me making the effort. For months after, I kept a few special text messages from him locked on my phone. It was clear he didn’t treasure our time together as much as I did. That hurt. That made my paranoia look at it all differently and doubt what we had. When your paranoia is right about a feeling, its hard to ignore when it crops up again. It took me ages to delete those texts, even after I started online dating.

The good thing about texting though, was that you were never really sure if a message had been read. You know, I’ve since realised this ignorance is bliss. 

My next relationship was the alley cat musician. Meeting online meant I had no way of knowing he’d read messages until he replied. Sure, you could pay for membership to allow you to see when messages had been read, but I wasn’t quite at that stage yet! We exchanged numbers on my birthday, a week after we’d started chatting. Texts were consistent till our first date, then completely ramped up after meeting, again, on his part more than mine. When he went to Italy for three weeks he said it’d be hard to keep in touch daily, but I heard from him way more than I expected to. One particular text exchange went as follows:-

D:- I’m so excited xx

Me:- About what? Xx

D:- Us xx

How is a girl meant to respond to that? I was giddy with excitement. Remember my blog about the power of words? They need to be used wisely. You don’t use simple words like that if you have no intention of following through. Maybe I’m gullible….? I know I cling to such words. Words are my thing, remember. Use them on me and be warned, I’ll fall for it every time.

 After Italy, I got a new phone which enabled me to install WhatsApp, something he’d been asking me to do since we got numbers. Word of warning, WhatsApp is not good for a paranoid person. It was the beginning of the end for mine and Ds relationship. 

WhatsApp has 3 indicators for the status of a message.

1 grey tick- message has been received by WhatsApp server. (The recipients phone is likely off, out of signal or service is down if it remains on this for a while)

2 grey ticks- message has been sent to recipients phone but has not yet been read.

2 blue ticks- message has been read by recipient.

Added to this, you can see if someone is online. If they haven’t changed their settings, you can potentially see WHEN they were last on. You can even check what time a message was read. WhatsApp is creating stalkers! 

This is what a paranoid mind sees.

1 grey tick- the person has blocked you.

2 grey ticks- they’ve got it, why haven’t they read it? Are they ignoring me, they’ve been online since I sent it!!

2 blue ticks- they’ve seen it. They’re not typing. They are ignoring me. Its been an hour since they read it.  Oh, they are online now…. Nope, still not replying. I’ll send them another just in case… 

D would often go AWOL for whole evenings , with messages not even reaching his phone. I’d wake the next morning to find he’d read them at some ungodly hour of the morning but still not replied. Even after nights we were due to see each other. I’d send a rant. Which would get ignored.  I’d get paranoid that if I didn’t message him, he’d think I’d stopped caring and then he’d never message and I’d lose him anyway. I’d send another to be told “I’m not getting into an argument, you’re pushing me away”. The original messages long since losing their meaning. It infuriated me. When I tried the same tactics with him, he turned nasty on me! We never really broke up. I just gave up. He never explained nor apologised just kept telling me I was wrong. Maybe I was too much, but come on…. He’s meant to be coming to see me but his phone remains off all night…..?? I think I had every right to rant! I’d go on and on at him, like poking a bear hoping for a reaction. The more he didn’t reply, the more I went on. He told me on numerous occassions that I was pushing him away. Truth be told, I’d long given up on him but he kept telling me to ” give him time” and I so desperately wanted the “I’m so excited” text exchange to be real. 

Also, because I care too much, I worry unreasonably. On one particular night I was meant to be visited by D and he went AWOL, I woke up to the news that a man in his 40s had fled the scene of a car accident in the early hours of the morning, leaving his passenger who was in his 20s stuck in the wreckage. I knew that an ex band mate of Ds  was returning to his native country that day, so my worried paranoid mind convinced me that D had offered to give his mate a lift to the airport and the crash was them. Trust me, a mind like mine can go there. I felt sick as the day went on. Much later in the afternoon, he sees the messages, even ones telling him about the crash and my assumption. I guessed he was at least alive. Or dying in a ditch! He doesn’t reply. I rant. That night he messages to say he got drunk at a mates and stayed there. No acknowledgement of what he’d put me through. 

We remained friends for a while after, with him insisting I was one of his best friends and he trusted me, but when the ignoring continued and it was only ever me putting the effort in, I realised I had to let go. I tried telling him it was a pointless, one sided friendship and I got told I didn’t understand. That he was “sorting his life out”. Because I cared, I felt I couldn’t let him down. So he got chance after chance but nothing changed. How could a man once so ” excited about us” care so little now? I clung onto the hope he’d get sorted and a friendship would remain. It was pointless. I forced myself to let go. He begged to talk to me to explain himself, but I was done. He accused me of being “like all the others”. That hurt, because I care what people think of me. Even though I was cutting him loose, I didn’t want his parting impression of me to be negative. I battled with myself over the need to rant and justify myself to him. Truth is, he didn’t care, so I shouldn’t. Ignoring his plea to explain himself was probably the first time I ever went against my nature. I sometimes wonder what he’s doing now, but I know he’s probably putting some poor person through the same again. 

This paranoia doesn’t just haunt me in relationships, it extends to friendships and other situations too. I’m currently organising a charity fundraising gig so have been messaging venues and bands. I’m shy on the phone, I can get my point across using the written word so much better. Again, social media apps and instant messaging let’s me know if an enquiry has been read. Sure, I don’t expect immediate replies, but to not answer, EVER? Rude! My feeling is this, if you can take 5 seconds to open an app and read a message, you can surely take two more to type ” yes” “no” or “message u later”. As a result of my own paranoia, I try really really hard to not open a message and let it be seen as read until I can grant a reply. Although I realise not everyone is as obsessive about it as me! 

I’ve said before though, I’m paranoid because I care. Because the person or situation is important to me. I’m sorry. I can’t help it! Its not because I dont trust you, its because I’m scared I’ve done something wrong. I know, I know, the more I bother you, the more likely it is that I’ll end up doing exactly what I’ve been worried about doing!

So, If I’ve asked you a question and I know you’ve seen that question but haven’t answered for a few hours… My mind will go through one, some or all of the following:-

They’re ignoring me

I’ve pissed them off

Oh God they’re dead

I shouldn’t of asked that

I’ve upset them

They’re somewhere they shouldn’t be

They don’t know how to answer, it must be bad.

Paranoia is very, very real. It verges on anxiety. There are many levels. I’m not at the delusional stage. I’m not claiming I have a mental illness either, because, believe me, I know people that have and its way more than what I feel and experience. And I’m not paranoid in a negative way, not really. I’m only paranoid in those situations that are important to me. With the people I am, or have been, close to. Perhaps I have pushed people away in the past. Although my gut feeling tells me if my genuine concern and worry could push them away, maybe they don’t deserve my friendship after all and they were infact wanting to walk away from me for other reasons, just used my guilable nature and turned it against me. If I think you’ve stopped talking to me, I’m not angry at you, I’m worried I’ve done something to cause it! 

I jokingly tell the people who come into my life that I get paranoid. Truth is, its no joke.

My current partner and I don’t live together. I’m grateful he’s not a techy geek. Simple texts is all we have. No read receipts. A vague enough routine for me not to endlessly stress that I’ve said the wrong thing. 

Remember how much words mean to me.

Don’t promise me the world, and leave me waiting for the journey of a lifetime.

Don’t say you’ll get back to me, then leave me hanging.

Don’t tell me you’re excited, then show no evidence of it.
I wasn’t always like this. Maybe one day I won’t be again. If I haven’t driven you all crazy by then!

Eternal Sunshine of the Irrational Mind

Its quite stressful living in my head, but it certainly isn’t boring.

*WARNING, THIS IS A LONG ONE. GRAB A DRINK, (Preferably Prosecco), AND JOIN THE CRAZY TRAIN*

I thought I was getting over the being paranoid stage of my life, truly, I really thought that not caring what insignificant people thought about me was a huge step towards freeing my mind of overpowering thoughts that everyone is out to get me. 

Turns out I was wrong. I’m still paranoid. However, I’ve now decided that being paranoid isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In a lot of ways, feeling paranoia shows you care. You worry if you’ve said the wrong thing because you don’t want to upset someone. You worry if you don’t hear from someone because you couldn’t stand for them to not be a part of your life. You automatically think a visit from the area manager will result in a telling off because you want to do a good job and show that you are capable. Us paranoid people, we care. A lot. Its funny, as over the last three years I’ve become the strongest possible version of myself, and for some reason I want people to see I’m OK. That doesn’t mean I don’t wobble. I’ve mentioned it in a previous blog, I have my moments. Usually behind closed doors, but more recently, I’ve decided to let those few people I trust into my head to talk sense into me. 

A little under two weeks ago, my other half went on a holiday with 21 members of his family and extended family. It had been arranged before we met, however I was invited. Due to it being so close to my sons 13th birthday, on top of having him with me all summer and having two dogs, I had to decline. I was gutted. A holiday was exactly what I needed. I saw my partner on the Tuesday before he went on the Friday. With a promise to keep in touch while away, I knew I’d miss him like crazy, but didn’t doubt for a second that our routine of daily texts and wishing each other morning and goodnight would not stop. I planned a little mini break with my son to coincide with him being away. We both needed a change of scenery and my son deserved not to have his mum moping around the house missing someone. 

I had texts when he stopped for a break on the journey down there, a goodnight that night. Even though we wouldn’t of seen each other at a weekend if we had both been at work, I missed him because I knew how long it would be till I next saw him. Contact continued throughout the weekend. Early Sunday evening, I heard from him and he ended the text “HK xx”. Hugs and Kisses. That night I wished him goodnight and took myself up to bed to read for a bit. When I was ready to sleep, I checked my phone. No reply. Knowing he’d had a busy couple of days and how his hypothyroidism effects him, I was certain my Darling had crashed out fast asleep. Not being at work myself meant I had a good lie in on the Monday morning, so when I checked my phone I expected a text telling me what I’d suspected and his plans for that day. Nothing. This is where my silly silly paranoia kicked in. It was irrational. The last text I’d got from him was nice, even a little soppy. You can’t even imagine where my mind took me. And that’s the thing, I know I’m stupid. I just can’t stop myself. I always think the worst. I sent him a morning text but by late afternoon it was clear I wasn’t gonna hear from him. Maybe he’d forgotten his charger?  Nope, that was the last thing I reminded him. Perhaps there was no signal? He’s been texting from the cottage since he arrived Friday so there’s at least signal there. He’s broken/lost his phone? He’s a man, he wouldn’t have my number written down anywhere, how’s he gonna contact me when he’s back? He’s met someone.. (Yes, my mind really went there) You stupid woman, he’s with family, including his mum who has met and likes you!! Its stupid. Its irrational. I know this! The guy means so much to me that the thought of him possibly not wanting to talk to me hurt, even though it realistically wasn’t the case. As Monday evening loomed, the more paranoid I got. As silly as it sounds, in a year of knowing each other we had NEVER gone over 24 hours without contact. My son and I were due to go away the next day and although for his sake I knew I should’ve been packing and encouraging him to do the same, acting excited, talking about our plans for the next two days , I just couldn’t summon up the required attitude. In my head, my other half was done with me. I phoned my mum who in no uncertain terms told me what I already knew, don’t be ridiculous. I messaged one of my best friends, she told me to enjoy my time away with my son and do silly things. I was being told very reasonable, likely explanations, yet still I was turning it back round and using “but if that was the case why hasn’t he…..” to disregard every one of them. I’ll say it again. I was irrational. Lying on my bed staring at my phone was the only option. 

As I lay there, the early evening sun fluttered through the blinds and I realised that I’d promised myself not to waste days like this. Picking myself up, putting my face on, my son and I took the dogs for a long walk to the park. We sat on the grass with two worn out dogs and I apologised to my recently new teenager for my grumpiness. I’m lucky. My son is my best friend too. I don’t need the mini violins out here but neither of us have had the best of times over the last few years. A holiday was out of the question for various reasons, but this mini break was exactly what we both needed. For him, I needed to put my reasonable head on. (For those of you as old as me, think Wurzel Gummage).

On Tuesday morning, we packed for our couple of nights change of scenery, and I choked back my unreasonable thoughts and put on my brave, sunny face. A stress free train journey, and a short walk to a perfectly centrally located hotel the other end, made it easier to clear my mind and start to enjoy my break. Still no word from the other half, but the worry about that was brushed aside like a mildly annoying buzzing fly, always there but easy to ignore with enough distraction. Resonating in my mind were the words of the good friend of mine that I had told about my concerns. “Enjoy the time with your son and do silly things”. It’s safe to say, we did have an awesome time. Turns out Bristol is a prime Pokemon Go hunting spot, and my son was able to get a Pikachu and a Mr Mime on the same day. Tuesday evening and Wednesday flew by. Trip to the zoo, harbour side walks, searching for Banksy paintings in obscure back streets, eating at the best pizza restaurant ever. Perfection, and a much needed break from my home town, the same four walls and home life. Only at night , when I settled down to sleep, did my mind wander back to thinking ” what if?”.

Thursday morning was our last there, and we decided to go all out and have the full on all you can eat buffet breakfast offered at the hotel.As we didn’t have to check out of our room until midday, we ate early and headed back up to the town to do some more shopping without our heavy bags. By now I had resigned myself to the fact that I couldn’t do anything about my relationship situation until at least Friday when he was due back, so for the first time ever, my paranoid little brain gave up the worrying and just got on with having a great time. Now, have you ever heard the saying “the moment you stop looking for something, that’s when you’ll find it”? Or, when you’re trying to remember a name, or a song, or a film but give up and then randomly remember it long after the conversation about it took place? Well, I’ve decided that’s how my brain and fate work together. When I finally stopped consciously worrying, my phone started to glow alerting me to a text. Didn’t recognise number. What followed was a garbled text apologising for lack of signal and gratefully being able to borrow someone’s phone to text me and affirmation that he was looking forward to seeing me. If I hadn’t felt so stupid, I would’ve laughed! Reasonable explanation, like deep down I knew there would be! 

The next day, Friday, led straight into another of my paranoid situations. Quite a few months ago, I set about starting to organise a school reunion for my school year. It had been talked about a few times but not really going anywhere, and following the success of one that had been held for my sisters year, I was spurred on to do it. Creating a Facebook group was the easiest way to get hold of everyone, and after throwing a few dates around, this one had been the one the majority could make it too,especially with the advanced notice. I didn’t have the time or resources to make it as big an event as the one my sisters year did, so I found a venue with a free function room and looked into live music for the night, toyed with the idea of getting a photographer friend along to capture the evening and , although at little cost, I put a lot of time and effort into it. As we got nearer the date, it seemed we’d have around 30 people turn up. Out of a year group of over 100, this wasn’t brilliant but I was happy enough. In the week leading up to it, people started dropping out. What had I done wrong? Did people hate me? I started posting on the group page, encouraging people to come, the numbers went up and down like a yoyo. Was I more unliked at school than I thought? I was never Miss Popular, admittedly, but did people hate me now? I was neither the bully, nor bullied. I got paranoid about how these old school friends perceived me from my online presence only! Was I the kind of person people roll their eyes at when reading one of my status updates? I’m no better or worse than anyone I went to school with, and my reason behind organising this was to reconnect with people and see where life had taken them. A celebration that we’re still here. The live music act I had lined up contacted me saying she’d been offered a slot at another gig that night, and I had to let her take it. She is way better than a crowd of 22.

On the day, the numbers went down from 22 to 19. Embarrassingly, I had to email the bar owner with final numbers. I imagined him having a chuckle. I very, very nearly cancelled. I felt like I’d set myself up for the biggest fall ever. With a few encouraging messages on the group page, I went ahead with it. Including myself, 10 people came. Each of the other 9 were lovely and it was awesome to hear all their news, aside from the fleeting glances that Facebook gives us. Its fair to say that those that came had a thoroughly enjoyable time, but there’s no escaping the fact that a lot of the conversations revolved around who hadn’t come that said they would. Now, a handful of people gave us very acceptable reasons for not coming. The rest? Well, we didn’t even get a made up excuse from them.From the few people that came, I was reassured that they were grateful and they thanked me for arranging. Until now, I didn’t reveal how paranoid I felt. Queen of the brave face, me. There was talk about doing a bigger and better one for “25” years since we left school. I’ve politely pulled myself out of organising another one. I don’t think my irrational, paranoid brain could take it again. The night ended with those few of us left standing at pub kick out time dancing the night away at a local late bar with live music. 

Live music doesn’t judge. 

Live music doesn’t think I’m a failure. 

Live music doesn’t make me feel paranoid.

I don’t know what triggered this in me, I wasn’t always like this. I do know that I am now, and I probably always will be. On the outside, you wouldn’t know unless you’re one of the few people I let in. If you’re reading this, now you know. And yes, I know its irrational. But hey, at least it shows I care.

Dear Brain, please shut up.

Just because I’m paranoid, it doesn’t mean you’re not talking about me
– quote by me

Everyone has something about themselves they would like to change. For some people it’s a physical attribute, they feel their nose is too big, wish they could lose weight, long to be taller. For others it’s a health issue that’s out of their control. For me, it’s a personal, mental thing that isn’t visible to anyone else, but it is there. I am paranoid, and I do overthink things. No, correction. I overthink everything.

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Now, unlike a physical trait or a health issue, I have absolutely no way of knowing when or where this started. I’m sure it’s deep rooted back to some insignificant (at the time anyway) time, but I don’t remember what triggered it. Right now in my life, I’m in a good place and I’m happy, but the issue is still there. Close friends know that I don’t sleep well. I’m the kind of person who needs pitch black and complete silence at the best of times to even feel remotely relaxed enough to sleep. However, unlike a light switch, my over active mind can not be switched off. No off switch. Unless it broke, because I know of people who can fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow. Yep, my off switch is broken. That’s totally what’s wrong here! At night, when I’m tired and craving sleep, that’s when I go back over the days events, or future plans, and turn them into the biggest nightmare before I even close my eyes. I’ve heard a good nights sleep can help clear the mind to make you see things with a clear head the next day. I often wonder what that would feel like. Sometimes, the over thinking is subconscious. I go to bed in a good, happy mood, it’s been a good day and I’ve got something to look forward to, yet my brain is still ticking, so therefore I’m still thinking. I really don’t know what about most of the time. Random thoughts come to mind. Occasionally a song lyric comes to mind and I can’t shift it from going over and over in my head until I’ve been and found the song and listened to it. Over thinking isn’t exclusively saved for bedtime. No, no such luck. I’m always thinking. I guess that’s why I’ve started blogging. I’ve also started an online creative writing course. My blog is real life, my paranoia creates situations that will never happen. They are created fiction. I need an avenue to get them out there because they’ll make good stories!! My mind is over active. I’m the kind of person who can’t stand repetitive noises, tapping, dripping, banging and I am compelled to go and stop the noise. I truly believe that it’s because I always have something going on in my brain that needs to be worked and worked over again, and any other noise trying to take me away from my thoughts is an unwelcome visitor in my head. Of course I’ve led myself to believe that my over thinking and paranoia had somehow contributed to previous relationships not lasting. Even though I suffer from my paranoia silently, and I don’t talk about my fears to the person involved. They’d think I was crazy!?
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I’ve started to wonder whether I’m so paranoid because when good things happen and things are going well, part of me feels that I don’t deserve it. Good things don’t happen to me, so there’s got to be a catch, right? Having so many bad things happen in a short space of time, it’s easy to think that I’m just one of life’s unlucky people. Although, now I’m on a “be happy” route…… I know that’s not the case. I’m lucky. I’m very lucky.

In my mind though, it’s better to think the worst about a current situation, as its gives me chance to prepare how I deal with it if that worst case scenario is the one that presents itself.

forewarned is forearmed
phrase of forewarn
1.
proverb
prior knowledge of possible dangers or problems gives one a tactical advantage.

I genuinely do look at every single angle on things. Previous conversations are ripped apart word for word to see if I missed anything out, if there was a hidden meaning which I’d missed at the time. Future appointments that haven’t even happened yet will be played over and over in my head, wondering what will happen if this is said or if that is done. I have an inability to just “wait and see”. It is something I’m working on, in my blog about happiness I’ve acknowledged that you shouldn’t waste your time worrying about what might be as it may never happen, so, I’m getting there, I am. It’s not something that can be changed overnight (especially when that night is spent awake thinking about how to stop thinking about things!). However, the following quote is starting to make me think…. is being paranoid and over thinking things really such a bad thing.


“Your mind is working at its best when you’re being paranoid.
You explore every avenue and possibility of your situation
at high speed with total clarity.”
― Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

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Exploring every possible outcome does give me the advantage of not being taken by surprise. In my mind I have thought about everything that could possibly take place, so that I already know how each of the scenarios would make me feel. Or, that’s what I’ve convinced myself. Protecting myself. I know, I know, get the violins out!! This way of thinking only applies to situations that are yet to happen. Over thinking late at night leads to sleepless nights, not just the night before, but from the moment I know the subject of my over thinking is going to happen. I imagine the conversations, I prepare what I want to say, how I’ll react. Sometimes I even write down what I think I might need to say, crazy right, the conversation hasn’t even happened yet. I once texted myself a whole speech to say to someone if they said what I thought they were going to say to me. They did actually say it, but I was hardly in a position to get the phone out and read out what I’d typed. I was right though. So, forewarned had its benefits in that situation. I can’t do anything about situations that have already happened, but it doesn’t stop me going over and over them in my mind.

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What I can’t prepare myself for are the things that happen out of the blue, so that’s where my paranoia kicks in. For example, if I receive one of those badly worded texts where more than one thing could be meant by the words used. I will spend hours and hours thinking about it, I’ll read it over and over again as if the meaning would become clearer the more it goes into my brain. Part of being paranoid means not just considering that everyone is out to get you or that the worst is going to happen, it means thinking about this constantly, no matter how much you try and distract your mind with something else. Trust me on that one, I worry myself over the same thing over and over again. The more you think about the same negative meaning or outcome, the more you indulge in your paranoia, and the more you become convinced that they are likely to be accurate. It’s hard. I wish I didn’t feel like this, but I do. Next time you’re talking to me and despite answering you, you can tell I’m not quite there, it’s probably because I’m still worrying that the text message I sent three hours ago THREE HOURS AGO….had scared him off and it meant that my relationship was over and he never wants to see me again and as every minute passes by until I hear from him again, I go over and over what I’ll say when I finally cave and text him if I haven’t heard from him in another hour because it’s been three hours so it must mean its over right well sod him I’ll ignore him too……. (My lack of commas in that sentence is how my train of thought goes when in a paranoid state). Then I find out his phone died and had been on charge. Oh. How stupid do I feel? Very stupid. I was one hour away from making a fool of myself. Then I worry what would’ve happened had I sent the text I wanted to send if I didn’t hear from him. It’s never ending, I tell you!
I’m getting better, honestly. Being happy does help. Reading about paranoia, it seems most paranoid situations arise from being self-conscious, however with me that’s not the case. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been self-conscious. I’m sociable and have enough confidence to pull me through most situations. I do have a fear of talking on the phone, but that’s a whole other unrelated issue. Or is it? I wonder… anyway…! Many many years ago, before the crap stuff happened, I bought a book called “Women who think too much”, as even back then I was an over thinker. Recent years events have not made me this way. I’ve kinda always been like it. The book was purchased in the hope that it could give me some sound advice on how to not over think. It didn’t. All it made me realise is that there must be enough crazy ladies out there just like me, that it warrants a book being dedicated to the subject. So, I don’t have the answers on this one. I know I’m not alone. The only plus side to having this constant state of mind is that more often than not, I can get to be smug and confidently say “I told you so”, because trust me, I saw every possibly outcome!

Pronoia- I’ll come back to you on that one!
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