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10 'Paranoid' Thoughts People With Anxiety Can Have


If you live with anxiety, “paranoid” thoughts might be something you’ve experienced before.

These thoughts may include fears about how and when you’re going to die, feelings of unworthiness or that strangers around you are watching you and judging you. The reality is, most of us have “paranoid” thoughts like these from time to time. Generally speaking, having fear or worry when it comes to how we perceive others is perfectly natural — it’s a means of survival, and a layer of protection to keep ourselves safe.

But for those of us with anxiety, these thoughts may become incessant, or affect our quality of life. To get an idea of what kinds of “paranoid thoughts” people with anxiety can have, we spoke with The Mighty’s anxiety community.

Here’s what they shared with us:

1. “There’s been an accident.”

“If someone hasn’t replied, or contacted me when I’ve expected them to, it’s instantly catastrophizing inside my head. There’s been an accident, a sudden illness, they’re incapacitated or worse. I know it’s ‘silly’, but it’s the way my head works.” — Francesca L.

“If a member of my family doesn’t answer the phone, [I assume immediately] they’re dead.” — Laura P.

2. “I’m going to die.”

“I think about death constantly. I’m not afraid to die, but I’m afraid that my boys will have to grow up without their only parent.” — Kimberly J.

“I have been dealing with the utter panic thought about dying. It literally comes out of nowhere and some days it stops me dead in whatever I’m doing and I don’t know how to talk to anyone about it.” — Juilie L.

“I legitimately think I’m going to die every time I feel something different or off with my body. It’s ridiculous, I also feel like I’m just tolerated but barely even that. Finally my least favorite thought, ‘What if I’ll be like this the rest of my life and never truly live? I’m just merely existing.’” — Lia A.

3. “Will something happen to my child?”

“Constant fear of something happening to my baby. He spent the first week of his life in the NICU. So now it’s constantly on my brain. I work in the medical field in imaging and see babies all the time that are hurt; it just makes my anxiety and stress worse to the point that I will make my depression worse.” — Madison L.

4. “Will my children be taken away from me?”

“I live daily with the anxiety of having another child die. My youngest son was 14 when he died, and I unreasonably check on my other adult children. If I don’t hear from them, they don’t answer the phone, I dread I will hear that something happened to them.” — Misty D.

“When my anxiety gets really bad, I have this overwhelming fear that my mental health issues will become known, or I’ll say/do something ‘wrong’ and someone will call CPS and take my daughter away because I’m an unfit mother due to my mental illnesses.” — Amy S.

5. “I’m not good enough.”

“When my anxiety is bad… ‘I’m not good enough.’ I go into a perfectionist mindset that sets me up to fail and adds more stress. I think I’m not good at my job and need to quit.” — Terri A.

“When my anxiety gets bad, I feel like I’m not good enough and I don’t deserve any of the good things I have in my life. It’s hard to move past it, especially when I make little mistakes throughout my day that pull me back into that feeling of being worthless.” — Michelle T.

“I’m never enough. No matter how good I always try to be… I’ll never do enough to make them happy and I’ll end up being pushed away.” — Dee S.

6. “My partner will leave me because I’m ‘too much.’”

“My anxiety making me self-centered and selfish. Worrying that when I do discuss all the things that bother me that other people [will] think I’m toxic. Always worrying and thinking the possible worse is going to happen when I deal with stressful and important things… Worrying that I am going to push my fiancé away from me because I know my anxiety can be too much sometimes.” — Chantel B.

7. “People are watching and judging me.”

“Someone is always watching/judging everything I do. Even if I’m alone, I still feel like someone is gossiping about me somewhere.” — Sarah M.

“I constantly think people in public are judging me, thinking [about] how ugly I am.” — Jeffrey L.

“My anxiety keeps me from going out as often as I like because I feel like people are staring at and judging me because I have a few visible issues with my teeth.” — Ashley A.

8. “I have to be perfect.”

“My anxiety makes me feel like everyone I care about will leave me if I’m not perfect; every time I make one wrong move, I go into internal panic. It’s exhausting and fuels perfectionism.” — Kelli-Anne H.

“Living with anxiety is one of the harshest things in the world. I’m in nursing school and I live paranoid that I will fail. Failure is one thing, but the biggest part of that is the fear that I’ll have to tell my family and that I’ll disappoint them one more time.” — McKenna S.

9. “Nobody likes me, they just tolerate me.”

“My anxiety absolutely consumes me sometimes. There are times I feel like even my boyfriend who loves me so much and would do anything for me, doesn’t like me… I feel like nobody likes me even though I have loving friends and family.” — Crystal R.

“Nobody likes me. I’m ugly, fat and worthless. My friends are friends with me [because] they feel sorry for me. My anxiety is awful! I have a mixture: social anxiety, panic disorder and GAD… My mind is constantly occupied with worry and fear. Constantly overthinking and being unable to do the things I was once able to do.” — Chloe J.

“I can’t shake the thought of everyone hating me, especially teachers. I am out of school often because my anxiety makes me sick to my stomach on a daily basis and this makes me think that teachers hate me because I am behind everyone else and barely following along in class. I have even dropped a class because I thought that teacher hated me and I couldn’t handle having more than one class with her a day (prior to I was taking two classes with the same teacher).” — Amanda T.

10. “Everyone will leave me.”

“I constantly think people are mad at me. It’s horrible because then I go over if there’s something I did wrong, will they leave me, etc. then I ask if they’re mad at me, and they always say ‘no,’ and I feel annoying for asking. It’s a never-ending cycle that causes me panic. I worry if people are mad because in my head if they get mad, they’ll leave, and that’s the end of the world for me.” — Ashley C.

“Being abandoned. No matter how many people I have on my support team, deep down, I know this is a battle I must bravely go alone, which is what I’m afraid of. It’s a vicious cycle of strength and weakness fought daily.” — Char P.

If you are experiencing “paranoid” thoughts, you aren’t alone. If you find that you are struggling on the daily with paranoid thoughts, talk to your doctor or therapist. You deserve the support and help you need. Below, check out these stories you might relate to.

Unsplash photo via Jaroslav Devia