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Finding The Evidence of Reality


There have been numerous times when I’ve been going about my day when my illness will peak its head into my routine and start whispering nasty stuff.

This happens nearly everyday and it usually has something to do with the notion that people are out to get me.

The problem is that these nasty whispers have the tendency to trip me up and make me convinced of some notion that has no basis in reality.

A good example might be that I’m sitting doing my work in a coffee shop when all of the sudden someone will look at me strangely and I’ll start a whirlwind in my mind about what this person is thinking, if it gets bad, this paranoia will escalate into delusions that this person is somehow trying to do something to me like hurt me or spy on me.

That’s just one instance, others occur which are in the same vein but varied in how they play out.

The point is, I’ll get hung up on this delusion for a while, it could be an hour or more before I’m able to shake it off.

Most of the time it requires me either leaving or taking some extended break from the situation for me to sit still and come to terms with reality.

Which is ok.

This requires several things on my part, they may help you if you find yourself in a delusional situation.

First I have to isolate the fear or anxiety and ask myself if I’m reacting incorrectly.

Most of the time I am.

I have to sit and fully question the notion that’s taking place in my mind.

Am I being unreasonable in my judgment of the situation?

I probably am.

Then once I’ve handled my reaction to the situation, I take a moment to ask myself if what I’m feeling is crazy.

If it is, I recognize it as such.

Finally, I work to find evidence of the reality of the situation.

This is a cool one because often it involves little experiments with myself as to whether the same thing happens when I put myself in a similar situation.

I take a moment, put aside my reaction and what I think is happening and then work to find the boring interaction of reality that could also cause the situation to go the way it did.

Most of the time it’s something completely innocuous that I’ve misjudged or that I’ve reacted to in a way that wasn’t required.

One example would be that I have my headphones on and I’m listening to music and then I hear a snippet of conversation in between songs, then I fall into a hole of thinking the conversation was about me.

I can’t be sure of that as I have my headphones on but I have to take a moment to judge my reaction, which is stunned, then I have to dissect the situation and find evidence of the reality that nobody goes out of their way to talk about me.

This, granted, is a skill that’s taken me a long time to employ and I realize how hard it can be for so many people with paranoia.

The point of all this is to say that most of the time what you think is going on often isn’t going on and you have to calibrate your reaction and find evidence to support that in order to feel better.

I’m in this situation nearly everyday and I’m still not functioning perfectly so just know that you’re not alone and I’ve been there.

It’s hard, normal people have no idea.

Finding The Evidence of Reality

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. (2016). Finding The Evidence of Reality. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Jul 2016
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