I've been having one to two episodes a week.
Tonight I'm paranoid. It's been the symptom of choice for over a week but it came to a head tonight. I had been repeatedly going outside of the house because there was a loud noise in the neighborhood that my mind interpreted as someone screaming bloody murder. I don't know if that's what it was- I couldn't get outside soon enough each time to hear it clearly. My mind was going wild with what would happen if I did hear someone screaming like that. My brain started to flood with graphic images of someone getting stabbed, raped, bludgeoned, torn, crushed- you name it, my brain was making me think it. I put my shoes and jacket on and was ready to follow the noise if it was in fact someone in a life or death situation. I knew I couldn't live with myself if it was someone in any of the awful situations in my head. Standing on the porch I eventually realized this isn't how a brain is suppose to operate. This wasn't normal and it was unhealthy.
Paranoia hadn't been in the spot light in my life with bipolar until 2 years ago. It had found a perfect breeding ground when infidelity sprung up in a long term relationship of mine while I was unmedicated and undiagnosed. There were multiple incidences of unfaithfulness by my then partner and that kick started it into full gear. I had never known paranoia until then. Thankfully those days are over and the issues that started my long decent into a paranoid lifestyle have successfully been brought down through therapy and getting on the proper medication.
But the parasite evolves to keep itself alive. Now it's coming on full force in a completely different manner- eating away at the very core of my mental stability.
I don't hear noises that aren't there but my nerves seem to over react to screams or anything that could be interpreted as one. Every scream I hear I think is someone getting hurt- children playing, loud people in public, excited teenage girls, the TV, and any other form of screaming that isn't pain inflicted. Some noises produce the same reaction in me where I immediately go into a fight or flight state of mind. I heard a car tire screech yesterday and I immediately thought someone was being thrown out of a car, run over, or stabbed. When automatic doors produce a high pitch dragging sound I immediately think of people in excruciating pain and start to panic. Children screaming outside when they're playing makes me think someone is hurting them or trying to kidnap them. I spent a couple days watching over the kids in the neighborhood a little bit from my window- that was a wake up call that something in my head isn't right.
I now know that the past week has been a product of paranoia. It was insane to sit at my window and make sure every scream or loud noise wasn't something horrific happening to the kids playing in the road. Every loud noise would produce horrific images of torture and death in my mind. Paranoia manifests in my life as an irrational fear of people getting severely hurt, tortured, kidnapped, murdered, and a slew of other tragedies while my brain creates these images of worst case scenarios.
It's always the safety and well being of others. I never panic about the situations I'm in or could be facing. I'm also not bothered by death or injury to others in documentaries, the news, video games, movies, or tv.
When I take a shower and someone else is home with me I turn the water off every couple of minutes to make sure someone with murderous intent hasn't broken in. If I hear any thumping or knocking noises coming from another occupied room my mind tells me that person is trapped or has fallen and is possibly dying. It tells me that the random faint tapping I hear is them trying to cry for help and if I ignore it then I'm letting them die. Every time my mom goes out on an evening with friends my mind tells me that something bad is going to happen to her so I spend all night waiting for her text to tell me when she's going to sleep. I have a hard time sleeping at night because I dream of scenarios like these.
I'm scared to face the paranoia symptoms I'm having. Plain and simple. This is new territory- it doesn't make sense. When unmedicated I have psychosis, which is pretty scary already knowing my brain has the ability to create feelings and visual manifestations of things that aren't there. Now I'm terrified of things that aren't happening that are triggered by real noises. I'm afraid that if my psychosis and my paranoia meet up I could lose grip on reality and my entire battle for a successful life would be compromised.
I really don't know what to do at this point besides get my daily routine back on track and crack down on my skills to prevent mood swings. I'm just coming to understand that I am having severe bouts of paranoia.
I'm also paranoid about the effects I could have on people. I'm no longer scared of my disorder but I'm scared of the effects it might have on those close to me.
I need to spend this week getting my mind together.