Wednesday 28 February 2024

Self-Help For Cynics #24: Paranoid

Finished with my woman 'cause
She couldn't help me with my mind
People think I'm insane because
I am frowning all the time

All day long I think of things
But nothing seems to satisfy
Think I'll lose my mind
If I don't find something to pacify

Can you help me
Occupy my brain?

A year or so back, I began to feel victimised by another prominent member of the blogging community. Not someone whose name you will ever see in the comments box on this site, but someone who is well-regarded by certain other bloggers, and who occasionally comments on a select number of the blogs I read. I began to notice that whenever I wrote a comment on one of those blogs, expressing approval of a certain artist or song, this particular individual would soon after leave their own comment, not so much rubbishing my opinion, but making it quite clear that they disagreed and that they saw no value at all in the music I liked. After a while, I attempted to deflect this with humour, leaving jokey follow-up comments about how much our tastes differed or faux apologies for inflicting my own noxious opinions on him, but my olive branch of banter was met with a wall of silence. 

This is when my paranoid brain kicked into over-drive. Did this blogger really have it in for me? Were my opinions so distasteful that the very sight of my name in a comment box drove him into a rage? If he felt this way, how many other blog readers might I be offending with my awful taste in music? The least I could do was comment less on the blogs he read, so as not to upset him any further. Beyond that, I seriously considered quitting blogging altogether, or at least making my blog private and just writing it for myself... though I knew I'd miss the community and the chance to chat away in other people's comment boxes. 

Mind tells us...

Paranoia is thinking and feeling like you are being threatened in some way, even if there is no evidence, or very little evidence, that you are. 

Even more tellingly, they add...

Paranoid thoughts could also be exaggerated suspicions. For example, someone made a nasty comment about you once, and you believe that they are directing a hate campaign against you.

Ouch. That's right on the money, isn't it? 

Paranoia, paranoia
Everybody's coming to get me
Just say you never met me
I'm running underground with the moles, digging holes
Hear the voices in my head
I swear to God it sounds like they're snoring
But if you're bored, then you're boring
The agony and the irony, they're killing me

Apparently up to a third of the population experience paranoid thoughts at one time or another. Paranoia isn't an actual mental health diagnosis - not unless you respond to your paranoia in an excessive way. Clearly it's linked to low self-esteem and intrusive thoughts, both of which we've looked at here before. So it should come as no surprise that "amygdala dysfunction" is one of the key suspects in causing paranoid thoughts.

(On a side note, whenever I start a sentence with "So...", I worry that I'll anger Charity Chic, since it sticks in my mind that he doesn't approve of said practice. God, writing a blog when you're a delusional fruitcake is an absolute minefield!)

Sometimes I give myself the creeps
Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
It all keeps adding up
I think I'm cracking up
Am I just paranoid
Or am I just stoned?

Mind tries to reassure me that what I have is mild or non-clinical paranoia, not one of the more serious forms: paranoid personality disorder, delusional disorder and paranoid schizophrenia. But really, what if they're wrong? Am I paranoid to think I might have a more serious version of paranoia?

I got some so-called friends
They'll smile right to my face
But, when my back is turned
They'd like to stick to me
Yes, they would

An Australian Better Health website lists the following as possible symptoms of paranoia. I'm going to try a little tick box exercise to work out just how paranoid I might be. Feel free to copy the table and play along yourself...

Generally, a person who is paranoid may:



  •           be easily offended

  •           find it difficult to trust others

  •           not cope with any type of criticism

What are you saying?

  •           assign harmful meanings to other people’s remarks

What are you saying?

  •           be always on the defensive

What are you saying?

  •           be hostile, aggressive and argumentative



  •           not be able to compromise


(Everything I do is a compromise.)

  •           assume that people are talking ill of them behind their back


  •           be overly suspicious – for example, think that other people are lying or scheming to cheat them

  •           not be able to confide in anyone

Well, there’s you guys…

  •           find relationships difficult

  •          consider the world to be a place of constant threat

Isn’t it?

  •           feel persecuted by the world at large

I’m not that important.

  •          believe in unfounded ‘conspiracy theories’

No, I only believe in the true ones.

Not looking good, is it?

Clearly I need to do some more work on this... next week.

In conclusion for today though, I haven't had any recent follow-up comments from my blogging bully, even after I started commenting again on the blogs he frequents. Maybe he's got bored with persecuting me... or he's too busy at the moment... or he's had a change of heart and suddenly realised that Barry Manilow is actually great. Who knows? 

I am also prepared to entertain the notion that he never actually had it in for me in the first place, that it was all in my imagination, and that all the negative comments he left as a follow up to my positive ones were purely coincidental. It could just be all in my mind...

On the other hand, you know what they say: Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not all out to get you.


  1. Tell us who this blogging bully is and we'll go and duff him up.

    The world does talk about you, but only in glowing terms.

    1. No names, because the more I think about it, the more I think I'm doing him a disservice and it's all in my mind.

    2. So that's what you think, is it?

  2. I have to take the dogs out for a walk, but I'll be back

  3. There's plenty of people who read these pages and comment that appreciate what you do, that's what's important.

  4. Rol, I don't think I know this person but I can think of other similar circumstances and behaviours I've come across from time to time in other real life spheres - in every instance the person concerned is the pathetic one, so unhappy with themselves that they have to pick on others to make themselves feel better (but can never take what they dish out, even complaining of being bullied should anyone dare to stand up to it) - I know I don't need to tell you but it's classic bully behaviour and profile, of course. Plus other people witnessing it can see it. So at least you can rest assured, he's most likely a very unhappy chappy beneath his facade and it won't have gone unnoticed.

    1. Thank you, C. I do think there are people out there, and I'm not saying this person is one of them, because clearly I have a persecution complex, but there are people out there who are quite happy trolls... the internet appears full of them.

  5. I enjoyed the ticklist, it suggests I'm paranoid too. No surprises there. And sod the blog bully, frankly. Write what you want, where you want, with whatever opinion you want. If he (and it will be a 'he') doesn't like it, that's his problem, right?

    1. Thanks, Martin. With your encouragement, I will start by three month track-by-track examination of the Huey Lewis back catalogue tomorrow...

  6. You are not alone with this “so” thing. I still catch myself all the time, and CC’s rant about that was many many years ago. - Brian

  7. I remember CC]s "so" thing too! Noticing it more and more in interviews these days - e.g. in answer to the question "How old are you now?" someone replies, "So, I'm 25", or "What's your favourite pastime?" - "So, I like horse-riding". I'm thinking it's become the new "Well...."

    1. I'm with you both that that particular use of So to start a sentence is egregious.

    2. I'm in trouble, as I always start my final paragraphs with "So, What's It All About?". I'll just keep on doing it however as I've gone from being easily offended to never getting offended about anything (again it must be the meds!).

    3. Don't let him intimidate you, Alyson!

  8. Bad Joke warning: when I went to the library to ask if they had any books about paranoia, the librarian said "their behind you"

    Mondegreen warning: In the final verse of Paranoid, it can't just be me that hears Ozzy sing:
    "And so as you hear these words
    Telling you now I want my steak
    I tell you to enjoy life
    I wish I could but it's too late"

    Thing is, he never says how he wants it cooked
    (one would guess Ozzy would have it raw)

    1. I imagine he'd bite the head off the cow.

  9. I don't know who the cyber-bully is/was, but he (and it will 99.999999% be a bloke) is an utter prick.


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