Friday, 13 February 2015

Paranoia - such a scintillating topic! Life 16 - Poisonous Plant

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you."

I used to work many years ago for a large Police Force in one of their civilian offices. I was only about 19 so not massively experienced when dealing with people.

There were 5 other women in the office, all older, which was isolated from the rest of the very large police station, so we were largely left to do our own thing. Unfortunately this wasn't a very happy experience for me - or I imagine anyone else -because of the ill will that seemed to pervade the whole setup.  As soon as someone went out of the room, even if only to go to the toilet, everyone else downed tools to talk about that person's shortcomings.  It was if, by pulling other people to pieces, or spreading unfounded rumours, or reporting conversations slanted in their favour, they felt better about themselves. They formed a clique whose members changed daily; they made themselves part of a group and a united and comforting front, against the other person. 

Of course, although I left, I came across this behaviour in other places. You probably have too. It's  very interesting but, like at the police station, it can sometimes gets out of hand and people suffer. The fear and anxiety of being talked about is not irrational, but it sometimes causes that person to talk about others in turn, and then it can spill over into paranoia. Paranoia is almost as common as depression and is frequently an accompanying symptom.

What makes it paranoia rather than the truth (as in the opening sentence) is if these thoughts are based on no real facts or evidence. Or perhaps a wilful misinterpretation of what was said. So if you do overhear, or if you know, your co-workers or friends talking about you behind your back, you’re not paranoid, they’re just horrid.

Apparently paranoia itself isn't a mental health problem, but it frequently accompanies other things that are such as schizophrenia and bipolar. It's also quite useful to have paranoia-ic thoughts.  It protects you from harmful situations like walking through a gangland at night, and checking behind you or crossing the road to avoid others.

The thing about these quilts of mine, is that I'm learning a lot. 

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