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Distinguishing between paranoia and anxiety?

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Google searches on the subject are not really helpful. For example, when I start getting paranoid, thinking things like people really are telepathic or I'm living in a sort of Truman show, I'm still aware that there's a chance that may not actually be the case. Google results tell me people with paranoia have no insight and can't be convinced otherwise.


So how do I tell what symptoms are anxiety and what's paranoia? I had always thought anxiety was obsessive worry about your health or the future, but I have recently been told that much of my thinking this year is stereotypically anxious thinking. Like, obsessing over the fact that I'm friends with my boss will jeopardize my job. Or thinking my dear friend of 12+ years is untrustworthy without much if any evidence. Or thinking people are gossiping about me at work.

 

Anyone who can help me distinguish between the two is much appreciated! (I was diagnosed in 2014 with schizoaffective, if that helps, being the depressive type.)

 

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For me at least I will try to distinguish what I feel is paranoia and what is anxiety. 

When i am anxious, I get restless and sometimes paralyzed by fear.  I have thoughts that if I go somewhere in public I will be laughed at or looked at or judged. When I drive I feel like other people are laughing at me in their car.  And other stuff like that. 

When I'm paranoid, I feel that I am kind of in another reality.  Everything feels turned into the opposite of what it really is.  Good is bad, bad is good, people are evil, TV is controlling my mind, movies are evil.  I become obsessed with things I should just ignore.  I don't trust anyone, I feel like everyone has an ulterior motive, contrary to what they are displaying.  It's just a dark place to be in. 

I do feel anxiety and paranoia at the same time.  I think they both contribute to each other in their own way.  Anxiety seems to come and go, but paranoia seems to persist.  At least for me, this is how I feel. 

Edited by gb84

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To me when the worry spreads to things that are beyond reality or the realm of human possibility I feel it is a trend toward paranoia. Ex- my girlfriend has been cheating on me for months so and she will break up with me vs my girlfriend is reading my mind and all my bad thoughts so she will break up with me. It's not always that simple obviously but that's the only way I can verbalize it 

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Thank you both for your responses. I guess it's a difficult one, and might me summed up in the sense that paranoia is somewhat out of reality, while anxiety is based in reality. Or something like that.

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I don't know if I off topic here.

i had a job I wasn't doing well at. I had been fired by my last 2 jobs and was naturally very anxious.

i started having symptoms of paranoia. I was being followed whenever I left my office and went somewhere else within the hospital where I worked. Normal noises kept getting louder and louder so I couldn't think. When my phone would ring nobody Else could hear it and there would be random words and numbers on my phone.

 

the pdoc added Prolixin ( popular during the Haldol days). 

It worked.

the pdoc asked me if I thought it all started from the anxiety and I did agree.

 

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For me it feels like anxiety is this driving force that stems from my body that eventually attacks my mind..

Causing worry and nervousness..

Where as paranoia lives in my mind causing thoughts that I can't shake or get rid of easily..

It feels real and nearly impossible to cope with..

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On July 11, 2018 at 11:14 AM, Savannah said:

I don't know if I off topic here.

i had a job I wasn't doing well at. I had been fired by my last 2 jobs and was naturally very anxious.

i started having symptoms of paranoia. I was being followed whenever I left my office and went somewhere else within the hospital where I worked. Normal noises kept getting louder and louder so I couldn't think. When my phone would ring nobody Else could hear it and there would be random words and numbers on my phone.

 

the pdoc added Prolixin ( popular during the Haldol days). 

It worked.

the pdoc asked me if I thought it all started from the anxiety and I did agree.

 

Yeah I've had similar experience 

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When I'm anxious I worry and ruminate and sometimes freeze up. When I'm paranoid I'm genuinely frightened (except for that one grandiose psychosis... thing.... where I thought I was all powerful). Also when I'm paranoid I often see "evidence" of it surrounding me -- things look brighter, harsher. Tilted. 

I would not wish the paranoia I've felt on my worst enemy. 

edit:// also, when I'm genuinely paranoid (not anxious) nothing anyone says will soothe me. I don't believe them. I'm trapped in my own mind. 

Edited by saoirse

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