The other day, while sitting and rehashing all of my thoughts over to my psychiatrist through the computer screen, I began to feel annoyed. There he was, blissfully writing away on his notepad, while I regurgitated the same, unhappy words. “What does he really think? And why does he find my pain so funny?”  I thought. But then I stopped and started to listen to my words.  And I realized something. As much as I had tried to fool myself into thinking that I was no longer a paranoid person, or unaffected by the thoughts and behaviors of others, I  was completely and utterly wrong.

So I snapped out of my tunnel, looked him square in the eyes (which can be hard for me to do with him), and said, “Stop writing on your little notepad.” He stopped. I noticed that he was maintaining that smirk on his face. I continued. “No matter how much I talk to you, my paranoia still exists, and in fact, it seems to get worse. And…all you can do is smile. I feel crazy!”

Calmly, he looked at me the way my Nana used to, which made me relax…a little. “Mrs. DuBose. Are you getting enough sleep?” No. “Taking your vitamins?” No. “There’s half the problem. Let me explain some techniques that will help you. Not everyone is bad, or out to get you. The best way to look at the situation when you feel paranoid or hear voices is to try to erase the negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts, or to remove the negative thoughts about that person and focus only on the positive thoughts.”

I knew we had been through this many times, but my brain registered it as sort of an epiphany. I slowly nodded. Why was this feeling new to me? I guess it didn’t matter, what mattered is that I took his advice and focused on the positive aspects of people, and about myself.

I am continuously amazed at how psychosis erases certain parts of my memory and my ability to function. With many things, I am highly functioning, to the point of being an overachiever, but then there are other aspects that have almost been stolen from me, ripped away from my memory banks, and it is the worst feeling in the world. Sometimes I feel like I am fighting a losing battle, but that is why therapy is so important. My doctor helps me to remember and cope when I feel afraid and angry. Sometimes, he even helps me smile at my quirky behavior.