Changing the way I think… by Ash Pryce
Posted by shatteringthestigma
I wanted to talk about my paranoia. As I mentioned previously, it was the least expected element of my illness. A post from a friend on Facebook has got me reassessing how I deal with it and how I deal with other people.
One thing I find is if someone doesn’t respond to me on say Facebook or Twitter, and it’s something I would consider requires a response, or if I announce something and certain people don’t comment I instantly slip into a mindset of “oh my god, they hate me, what have I done? Why would they ignore me? I must have done something to upset or offend them.”
Most times I actually haven’t done anything wrong. Most of the time they’ve simply not noticed the post or the comment or the message. Facebook especially is a bugger for losing messages and posts. Allowing them to disappear into the ether of the internet. Recently my hamster died. She was a lovely wee thing. Bert her name was, because when we got her we were told she was a he. During the days when my former partner/ current housemate (it’s complicated!) was out at work Bert was the only companion I had so her loss was really felt.
The night we buried her I had several people send me condolences, but there were several people that I would have expected to comment that didn’t. Instantly I thought they were ignoring me, I thought they were pissed off at me. Clearly I had done something wrong. I even posted a pretty ranty comment about how I’d lost respect for someone. I hadn’t. My own sense of paranoia and assumption they were intentionally ignoring me overwhelmed me.
One of the people I felt angry with is one of my oldest friends. They aren’t active online. Another is a woman I respect and care about deeply. Another is a friend I speak to regularly. None of these people were ignoring me, in fact I received several messages from some of them over the following days.
I hadn’t done anything to offend them and they weren’t ignoring me. They simply hadn’t seen my single post on Bert’s death which would have appeared amongst hundreds of others. Many times I will click on someone’s page and see a post that I hadn’t seen appear in the actual news feed.
But this is something about depression that scares me the most. Will my paranoia topple over, will it cause me to react in a way that will forever damage a friendship and in doing so genuinely give the person a reason to dislike me.
Some of the people I think are ignoring me also have mental health issues. They are upset at accusations of ignorance- quite rightly. It’s a vicious cycle. And it’s one that ultimately I have to break because it’s ME that is feeling this way, I can’t allow my own mental health issues to impact on others. I risk damaging important friendships and alienating friends I care about.
From now on I shall endeavour to be a little more cautious. To accept that people aren’t necessarily ignoring me. That I haven’t done something to upset them or anger them.
To those I have upset or accused of ignorance I am truly sorry. And one person in particular, if she’s reading this, H, I’m sorry if I ever threw accusations at you, genuinely and wholeheartedly. You’re someone I respect deeply (even if we disagree at times) and care about. Your posts and comments recently have spurred me on to write this and to readdress my own way of dealing with the paranoia part of my depression. And for that I am truly thankful. And to all those i may have let my health affect. I am sorry.