Everybody hates me. Why are they looking at me like that? I must look really ugly. Do my thighs look fat? They're lying to me. They're going behind my back. They're hiding something from me. What is it? I bet they're all talking about me. I'm so annoying and irritating, why wouldn't they be talking about me? Nobody wants me here. I bet they all have so much more fun without me. Would they all be happier if I were dead? Is that what they want?

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to my brain. Welcome to my mean, nasty, cruel, paranoid brain.

I spend 99% of my time thinking things like this. You wouldn't be able to tell, but I do. My head is constantly filled with questions and my eyes are constantly looking for 'signs'. My face will be saying 'me? I'm fine and dandy' and my mind will be screaming some kind of paranoid slur at me.


I guess my self esteem has a lot to do with it. I've always had very low self esteem and put myself at the bottom of every thing. I have no self worth and therefore, I now believe that no one else values me either. It's a very weird thing to deal with; my friend could be calling me beautiful and I'd instantly think they were lying and trying to hide the fact that I'm actually really ugly, or I could be laughing so hard with someone that it looked like I was about to wee myself, and my brain would actually be thinking 'wait, what if they're all laughing AT me and not WITH me?'

I'm scared that everyone around me has it out for me; I worry what people are thinking when they are talking to me; I feel like everybody hates me, yet when I sit and think rationally, like I am now, I know that they don't... do they?... Urgh, you see? it's just all one big vicious circle of questions. I tell myself that I'm thinking irrationally, yet there I go, trying to find evidence that my irrational thoughts are in fact true.


Did they just give me a dirty look? They did. See, they hate you.

I worry that people don't want me around. I worry about this to a degree where I've began to wonder if people were rather I was dead. I know that this is not the case though, but I have thought it... I tend to think that people are talking behind my back or breaking my trust. I will often say 'Promise me? Seriously? Honestly? Swear on my life?' - I need to know that you're telling the truth. I guess I just need to feel safe. I need to know that I'm with people who really do care and not people who have ulterior motives.

Holly, you're irritating them, just shut up.

I often find that I get paranoid that people are irritated with me. I've always felt like an irritating presence in people's lives. For example, on nights out in the past, I used to be that girl who got very very drunk and cried... a lot. I knew it was annoying, I knew it had began to irritate my friends, but it couldn't be helped because I was drinking and I was in a dark place - it would always end up happening. Nowadays, it doesn't happen (very very rarely anyway, who doesn't sometimes cry about life or boys on a night out? lol), but I'll still get paranoid that me being 'drunk' is the thing that people hate and not the 'crying hysterically about my mental illnesses' part.

They're lying to you, don't believe them.

People's judgement - that's another thing I just can't seem to trust. I'll ask my Mum the same question over and over and over, and even after the last time I've asked her, I still won't believe her answer. It will have constantly been the same answer, but despite basically having her swear on the bible in front of a judge and jury, I'll still have this thought: 'She's lying'. Once again, this goes back to me thinking that people have ulterior motives. My brain cannot seem to fathom the fact that someone might actually be being honest with me.

Oh my god, I'm going to die. 

I worry that people want to hurt me and that they don't have good intentions. I'll be walking through the street and I'll think that people are around me are carrying guns or weapons, or I'll just be constantly anticipating some kind of traumatic event happening. Cars will pull up near me and my brain will say 'this is it, this is the end, you're about to be kidnapped' or someone will brush past me on the street and I will genuinely think that they're trying to stab me. This probably makes me sound like an absolute lunatic, but hey, I want to be honest about this kind of thing and, well... I often do have to deal with thoughts like this.

But, why does my brain have to make me think this way? Why can't I be carefree and without worry?


Paranoia tends to stem from bad experiences in the past and I guess I could say that I've had a few of them. I was bullied in school, I've tortured myself for years over my appearance and I've lost and grown distant from a lot of people in my life that I never would have thought I would. The bullying involved a lot of 'talking about me behind my back' or 'whispering about me as I walked by'. The bullying meant that I was told the worst things about myself, constantly, so why wouldn't I start to believe them? I've grown up hating the person I am and therefore have always found it difficult to believe that anyone could actually like me. When people in my life have left, or sadly passed away, it then makes those thoughts harder to ignore. 'Why did they leave? It's because of me.' There are so many other things too, but I won't turn this into more of a 'pity me' post than it needs to be.

I think a major step in dealing with it is actually recognizing that it's happening in the first place. I've come a long long way since I first started having thoughts like this. I am now in a place where I've learnt how to work against them and to live as worry-free as possible. But, like I said, you have to recognize that it's happening first.

So yes, I am paranoid (sometimes I think I'm paranoid about being paranoid), I know that I am. Now I just need to start learning to deal with it.


Paranoia often comes from some deep-routed lack of respect for ourselves. Like I said, that could've been caused by bad experiences in the past, or it could simply be that we well and truly hate who we are as a person. Now, that sounds so harsh, but I totally relate that. I have well and truly hated who I was as a person, for the majority of my life, and so, it makes total sense that I would think everyone else hated me too.

It's crazy that the paranoid thoughts are all about a lack of self worth, yet all we seem to do is fixate on ourselves. It's ironically narcissistic. I'll be thinking 'I'm worthless and ugly' or 'I bet they hate me', yet all my thoughts are consumed by 'I' and 'Me' and the idea that other people are always thinking about 'Me'. If both mine and other people's thoughts are 'presumably' preoccupied with 'Me' all of the time, then surely I'm worth something, right?

To sort of contradict that though, most of the time when we are worrying about what other people are thinking of us, we haven't even entered their minds. We'll be passing someone in the street, overthinking about the fact that they're judging your outfit or evil-eyeing your hair, and all that they'll actually be thinking about is what they fancy for their tea or the fact that they've got a wedgie. Everyone is always preoccupied with themselves.

"You'd worry less what others thought of you when you realise how seldom they do"


I talk about irrational thoughts a lot, so I won't delve too deep into this topic, but at the end of the day, yes, these thoughts are most likely false. Paranoia warps our beliefs, making us constantly think the worst. Is there evidence for what you're thinking? Do others agree with you or feel the same way? You could think of it like Paranoia is a third person who's constantly following you around and trying to spoil your fun. You've got to tell the third person to shut up. You've got the override what that person is saying and trust yourself.

Alternatively, you could step outside your mind for a moment and just try and look at the situation from somebody else's shoes. Are they going to be thinking the kind of thoughts your thinking? or are they having fun and being carefree? If so, you should be being as carefree as possible too. You deserve to be.



A muddled mind and a racing heart beat aren't going to make the thoughts any better, so do yourself a huge favor, and do something to calm yourself down. Take yourself away from the situation, pop in your earphones, call your Mum - do something to help yourself, don't suffer.

I always find that a walk in the fresh air is one of the best cures for any kind of overthinking. It's also great practice for dealing with certain situations, like if you get paranoid around strangers on the street or simply just anywhere other than the comfort of your home.

Get confident in being out and about. It took me a long time to get myself out the house and face other people. Every time someone looked at me, I thought the worst, but the thing is, the more that you get out and about, and get more comfortable walking around (especially on your own), the more you realise that there's nothing to be afraid of. People will look at you, yes... but that's it... they're just looking at you because you're a part of their scenery, not for any other reason.


Trusting people is one of the hardest things to do when you're dealing with paranoid thoughts. Yet, we need to think back to the fact that these thoughts and ideas are false. If there's evidence against the suspicious thoughts you're having, or no one else is having the same thoughts as you, then you need to be able to see that you're being irrational. Ask people, talk to people, tell people how you're feeling. Watch their responses, hear what they say to you, trust that they're being honest. We've got to learn to accept other people's behavior and see that the people around us are around because they want to be.

Also, we need to learn to trust ourselves too. Listen to those other thoughts that aren't at the forefront of our minds. Listen to those thoughts that are trying to break through and say 'Everything is fine, carry on. Everything will be okay.' Trusting yourself and others is key to making that paranoid voice quieter.


Last but not least, I simply want to say: don't give up. It can be such a terrifying thing to be dealing with. The idea that everyone is out to get you, or hurt you, or the feeling that you're worthless and don't deserve to be here, is something that I would never wish on anyone.

In the present, it might feel like everything is horrible and that the world is against you, but try and be as positive as you can be. Look for the positives in everything, laugh hard and loud, and run towards the things that make you happy and the things you want to achieve. It takes work and time, but eventually we all finally get a break from the paranoid voices.

"Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace"

Ps, I just want to give a shout out to Joe Galvin for these amazing photos. I love them and it was absoloutley fantastic to work with him! Check out his work >>> here

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