I’ve struggled with paranoid thoughts around others from almost as long as I can remember.
At times this was a deep anxiousness, bordering on belief that terrible things were happening to the people close to me. At other times it was a belief that they were thinking horrible things about me, plotting against me; my best friends, my Mum, Dad, brother. So from a very early age I remember lashing out at members of my family, often in response to these thoughts which swirled around in my head.
My journey to recovery began at the end of a two-year relationship, with a girl who loved me so much more than I would ever let myself believe. She made me incredibly happy, but being in an intimate relationship, being in love, magnified the difficulties I’d been having exponentially. If she looked at me funny I’d become convinced that she’d decided to leave me and was thinking about how to do it. If she went to the bathroom at night in our house, and was gone more than a minute, I’d become convinced that she had a secret lover hidden somewhere in the house. I was often convinced that she didn’t actually have a job, but a secret life with someone else during working hours. I broke up with her 7 times over the course of our relationship, each of these times over either absolutely miniscule things or non-existent things, but all things which came from nowhere but my own mind. Almost weekly I’d find myself unable to talk to her, and vicious torrents of hate would be regularly thrown at her, followed by deep remorse and ultimately, confusion over where this all came from.
I’d been drinking alone periodically from the moment it was convenient – once I moved out of home and out of boarding school. There were times when I just had to placate all those things going on in my head, and it helped enough that this was a pattern – now and then closing the door to my room so my housemates wouldn’t walk in on me getting drunk – that I kept up for a good 4 years.
When my girlfriend couldn’t take my erratic behaviour anymore and ended it, I was devastated. I think on some level I’d always known that I had mental issues, so when this happened I talked to a mate who said I should go speak to a psychologist. Two weeks later I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder.
I’m on the journey to fixing myself up now, and don’t drink when I’m alone anymore. I’ve just begun DBT treatment, and my psychologist wants to try EMDR as well. It’s comforting to know that other people have gone through the same thing as me, and probably are having the exact same fights that I did, as I’m writing this now. What is frustrating is that that these things going on in my head (manifestations of an illness just like a flu) tore my relationship apart because I never wanted to admit I had a problem. Seeking treatment and acknowledging you are having a hard time – whether for BPD or any other mental illness – is such an easy way to make things a lot better when you can’t seem to stop making mistakes.
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