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24 Hour Paranoia Dignity Destroyer #wmhd15

24 hour Paranoia Dignity Destroyer

2015-world-mental-health-day (1)Once again, I let paranoia get the better of me… This week someone in the neighborhood is moving out.  They have a big pile of trash in front of their house… during the day people would stop and pick through the trash pile; making it a mess.  Around 4 ish, while every one was gone, with a sense of pride and dignity, I had an idea. I believed workers finished the move and weren’t coming back.  It is trash day tomorrow and we have 3 items that won’t fit in the large, green, plastic can… “I know, I will toss them on their pile.” The Waste management truck is coming in the morning. (The 24 hours START – HOUR 1 “Did some one see me? Is it okay to toss trash in this pile? I’m sure it’s okay – but what if it’s not – na – I am good!  Beside it’s only trash” I think to myself.

No harm in that, and I am saving the garbage truck gas for making two trips for 3 small items.  Funny how I can rationalize my behavior with this logical as plausible and reasonable when the only fact I have is: that each resident is allowed two “LARGE” trash pick-ups a year.  And picking up 3 items would account for one.

So, there is no dignity lost if I mix my trash with theirs, and quite frankly, who could tell unless you were the people who put it out, right?… and they are long G…..O…N…E!

trash Dignity Destroyer


Who pulls up in a truck not an hour later that I put my trash in their pile…but the three people who helped my neighbor move.  One rather big dude with blonde long hair and an old woman and another fellow.

Here is were the Paranoia starts in… Looking out the widow I can see them standing over my trash talking about it.  Looking around as to where it came from, one of them is making a gesture of knocking on a door.  I knew they were talking about…They had to be, standing over my trash, they must be talking about coming to my door to take it back… I was getting pissed!  (The 24 hours START – HOUR 2 “What are they planning?  Are they going to come knocking on my door? Who do they think they are…It’s Trash!!!.)

Paranoia, The Dignity Destroyer

The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water – Ernest Hemingway

Am I that iceberg? Ya, nice to look at, but cold and frozen at the heart and sinking everything that I touch?  I was thinking about this while they were”standing over my trash, they must be talking about…”; I was right, I already rationalized: it was okay, but now I better check, so I called the trash pick up service. (The 24 hours START – HOUR 3 “I will get the okay from waste management, then I’ll be in the right! Wait, WM says I’m in the wrong!)  I was WRONG!  So like an iceberg, I slow- moved over to the pile of trash when they left, and took my trash back and put it on the side of my house till I could call for  my one pick up.

It should have been the “End of Story”…not when paranoia is involved!  But as an iceberg, the movement was not over… in my head what I believed: they were talking about me…dug deep into the bow of port and starboard sides. (The 24 hours START – HOURs 4-23 “Are they going to knock on my door, damn-it they better not! It’s only trash: why can’t they just leave it alone! Who are they telling?  Did they tell the guy up the street? Do they even know that I took all my trash back? God this is only trash, why are they making such a big deal about trash…who told them I put the trash in the pile? who’s the rat?! what are they planning????????????) more and more questions went in and out of my head over the next 20 hours.

Becoming laser-focused on what they were planning I had 24 hours of paranoia to come up with my own theory.  And it was not a positive one, these people are out to make me look bad; they are going to exact revenge in some way, I just know it!  They don’t like people tossing trash in their pile; let alone a neighbor.

What should I do when a conflict arises?

  • Get entrenched in their positions?
  • Raise your voice – YELL and scream – letting tempers flare?
  • Use body language to become defensive or aggressive?
  • Lead with Love – Listen with empathy – flexible and adaptable.
  • Lead with Love–then start YELLING and scream and defensive entrenched in their/your positions?!

To Be Continued 

For: World Mental Health Day Blog Party for 2015

By: Chato Stewart
I blog for World Mental Health Day

24 Hour Paranoia Dignity Destroyer #wmhd15

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels). [email protected]

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2015). 24 Hour Paranoia Dignity Destroyer #wmhd15. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2018, from


Last updated: 11 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Oct 2015
Published on All rights reserved.