In the everlasting words of 80’s punk band The Kinks, “paranoia, it’s the destroyer.” Paranoia is a secret and invisible poison that can affect anyone, particularly those who have been diagnosed with or exhibit other symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
Characterized as an intense and chronic feeling of mistrust and anxiety, paranoia is a debilitating symptom to deal with. In fact, it’s one of the most paralyzing symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
Stress can magnify the symptoms of paranoia, which becomes a vicious circle as paranoia is a trigger for anxiety, and vice versa. Here are a few tips for coping with paranoia, and its resulting co-occurring symptoms.
1. Recognize Your Triggers
If you have the ability to recognize your triggers and realize when you might be in a situation in which you are more prone to paranoid tendencies, maximize on that skill! Paranoia comes in different levels. If you have the ability to see it before it happens, see if you can practice nipping it in the bud. Imagine what it would be like to see the future. Imagine the discomfort you’ll put yourself through if you give in to the paranoid tendencies, then imagine how much more smoothly things can go if you can attempt to take hold of the feelings and reign them in. This is no easy feat, but awareness is the first step.
2. Benefit of the Doubt
Giving other people the benefit of the doubt isn’t giving them a gift as much as it is giving you a gift. This gives you the opportunity to step outside of yourself and try to understand the motivation of the other person and, maybe in the process, discover that it is self-motivated and not a reflection on you or any of your actions. It’s a chance to view yourself as an anthropologist. Take a moment to consider where the other person is coming from, analyze their body language and their tone of voice, in as neutral a manner as possible.
3. Choose Your Battles
Often, those who experience paranoid tendencies feel the need to respond to every insult, whether perceived or genuine. The fact of the matter is, whether or not the barbs are real, it’s beneficial to select which are worth the expended energy to retaliate. It’s an emotion-saver to conserve your energy and carefully decide which criticisms are important enough to engage.
4. Seek Treatment
If your issues with paranoia spin out of control, find a Borderline Personality Disorder treatment center to help you deal with your symptoms. This can be difficult, especially for someone dealing with paranoid tendencies, as a treatment center, its professionals, and those who come to the treatment center for help must operate on a level of trust. It goes without saying that trust is a rare commodity for someone dealing with paranoia. You can best arm yourself with facts. Do your research, ask questions, and feel out different BPD treatment centers to find where you best fit.
What things have helped you to deal with your BPD-related paranoia? Share them in the comments below.