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6 Paranoid Thoughts People With Bipolar Disorder May Have


The word “paranoid” is often thrown around and used interchangeably with feeling worried — but it’s more than that. Paranoia is something many people with bipolar disorder experience. Paranoia can range from severe to mild. Some may fully believe the paranoid thoughts and delusions, while others know what they are and can manage them.

I began experiencing paranoia related to bipolar disorder in college. If I made eye contact with anyone walking around campus, I immediately thought they could see something wrong with me. I knew people couldn’t actually read my mind, but it still felt like they were.

Then there was the constant need for assurance. I would ask my friends repeatedly if they were mad at me. One time I insisted my friend text her parents we had just visited to make sure they weren’t mad at me, despite doing nothing wrong.

Having paranoid thoughts can make you feel like you’re being “dramatic,” but you’re not. It’s a symptom like any other. It isn’t easy to feel intense anxiety or worry about things you can’t necessarily explain to a loved one.

Not everyone with bipolar experiences paranoid thoughts, but paranoid thoughts can make us feel isolated or misunderstood. We were interested in the type of thoughts others with bipolar have had, so we asked our bipolar disorder community to share one of theirs.

Here’s are the paranoid thoughts people in our community shared with us: 

1. Fear of being watched.

“I am paranoid that there is someone always watching me. There are cameras hidden everywhere I go.” — Jessica B.

“That people from the insurance company are following me. I’ve even asked people who are near me too long if they are following me or from the insurance company… It’s generally that people are plotting against me, to betray me or to humiliate me publicly.” — Emily A.

“I thought for a very long time that my neighbor across the way was spying on us. In my mind, it made perfect sense.” — Cait M.

“That there are scientists watching me, studying me for experiments. We read a book in my Intro to Lit class called ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau.’ I was severely depressed at that time and I have never felt the same!” — Ashley B.

“That I am being tracked and followed. Every digital system is bad, especially my phone. Everything I type is being read as well. Sometimes it gets so bad, I get a new phone.” —M’kilia L.

2. Thinking people can read your thoughts.

“Everything I think will somehow be heard.” — Lauren B.

“That people can read my thoughts.” — Elizabeth N.

“I feel like if somebody looks into my eyes, they can read my soul and know all of my secrets.” — Maria R.

“Family can read my mind.” — Ashley W.

3. Fear that no one likes you.

“That people just ‘put up with me’ and don’t really enjoy being in my company. That everyone is talking bad about me. That they all wish I wasn’t around.” — Anne G.

“I think people are talking about me and laughing at me when I see people talking and laughing. I think that people secretly hate me. I over-analyze everything people say because sometimes it feels like they are making underhanded comments about me or trying to throw hints.” — Amanda J.

Do you live with paranoid thoughts or bipolar disorder? Download The Mighty’s app to talk to others who get it.

4. Fear of being in immediate danger.

“If I hear a strange noise in the house like the furnace, the heat, something falling in another room, I get extremely paranoid that something bad is going to happen. Things like a fire, an explosion, etc. I usually end up having to leave my house.” — Christina G.

“That the devil is coming to get me or I am really dying of some horrible disease.” — Stephanie D.

“That someone’s going to be waiting for me outside. Sometimes when I go out for a smoke, I need to bring a knife outside because I’m so convinced that there’s someone waiting to attack me.” — Sudanna S.

“I sometimes think that someone is hiding in my car, waiting to attack me while I’m driving. I almost always have my husband inspect it for me before I leave.” — Stephanie G.

“That the car that has been driving behind me is following me home.” — Victoria L.

5. Thinking you’re a bad parent.

“That CPS is going to take my children away, even though I’m a great mother, provide for them and love them. It’s especially bad if my house is messy.” — Amber Y.

“Someone is going to take my baby away because I am a bad mom. That my baby is going to die if I don’t check on her while she is sleeping.” — Jessica B.

“That my son would be better off without me, that I’m an annoying burden to my friends and that I’m useless at work! And that I’m just going to become more of a burden to people the older I get.” — Rua C.

6. Thinking you’ll be cheated on.

“My paranoia is people hate me, can’t be bothered with me. People wish me dead and anyone I get into a relationship [with] will cheat on me.” — Simone B.

“Paranoid that everyone is against me. Everyone hates me secretly. Everyone is talking about me behind my back. My husband will leave me, will cheat on me. My parents hate me. And so much more.” — Polly R.

As you can see, a lot of people experience similar paranoid thoughts. You aren’t alone. Paranoia is one of the many symptoms associated with bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions like schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, paranoid personality disorder and depression with psychotic features. There are other causes of paranoia like drug use, brain injury or tumor, etc.

Do you live with bipolar disorder and have paranoid thoughts you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Photo via Getty Images/KatarzynaBialasiewicz