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How To Get Comfortable With The Paranoia

societyWe all have things that eat at us. We all have the little voices in our heads that tell us we’re not good enough or that we’re ugly or that we’ll never find love. They’re there and they’ll be there for a while.

It gets better with age but those voices still eat at us about different things and if magically one day they disappear, you can almost be sure that different ones will take their place.

The thing of it though, is that we don’t have to let these voices bother us. I’ll get to that in a minute.

I’ve lived with schizophrenia for almost nine years and I’m no stranger to voices in my head. The biggest and most prominent screams at me from nearly every angle that people are out to get me, that they’re making fun of me and that I’m not accepted. This has been tough because it’s made me inherently feel as if I’m an outsider and that I’ll never have a place in this world simply because people don’t want me there.

That’s bunk though and there’s little truth to what the voices say.

Sometimes though, some jerk will actually say something that hurts my feelings and that one incident will lend credence to every tiny voice I have and it might affect me for days.

That’s where the tool I’m about to tell you about comes in though.

In the last nine years I’ve managed to accept any scenario that my voices will tell me with openness. Sure it was reluctant openness but it was openness nonetheless.

This is a trick that can settle everything down quickly and it’s extremely easy to implement. Here’s how, if a voice is telling you something nasty that bothers you just say you accept it. For example if a voice is telling you that people think you’re ugly, simply say “I accept that people think I’m ugly” If a voice is telling you that people think you’re weak, say “I accept that people think I’m weak”. If a voice is telling you that people think you’re stupid, say “I accept that people think I’m stupid”.

Repeat the phrase “I accept ________” until you’re actually comfortable with it and you actually accept it. Only then does the voice lose its power.

This means sitting with these notions and letting them speak until they’re worn out. If you continue the practice, over time you’ll find that you get more and more comfortable with any evil thing someone can say or do.

Accepting the whole and complete ugliness takes away any control these voices have over you. It’s incredibly liberating.

On top of that, once you’ve accepted yourself at your worst you become extremely resilient and can easily bounce back from any small stressor or small voice. Simply put, once you get comfortable with the evil things you say about yourself, there’s essentially nothing other people can say that will bother you either.

I don’t know if learning this trick is what makes people wise and mature or if it’s some biological thing but the act of not fearing your voices anymore opens you up to an immensity of new possibilities that you wouldn’t have even considered before simply for the fact that you’re no longer afraid of what people can say about you.

I’ll have mini crises from time to time and the things that always bring me back are writing and acceptance. They seem like some new age practice but in truth these two things are the only reason I’m writing a book, and have articles in The New York Times and Scientific American.

Once you accept any evil thing your voices can say you naturally breathe deeper and you naturally relax your shoulders. It’s like every attempt you’ve made to relax before comes naturally.

I know how it can be and I empathize, I’m just trying to help and this is the best way I know how.

Life is too short to be weighed down by the nasty things we tell ourselves and acceptance is a major tool. Use it as much or as little as you need to but keep it in your back pocket if you ever find yourself in crisis.

Good luck.

How To Get Comfortable With The Paranoia

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2015). How To Get Comfortable With The Paranoia. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 11, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 Mar 2015
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