Over the past year I have developed some unusual ways of thinking and behavior that I have no idea how to handle. I have become more and more socially withdrawn. I never leave my house, and rarely get out of bed. My fiance has been trying to get me to be more active socially and physically, but I somehow always end up staying home. This has gone on for over a year and has become worse and worse as each day passes. It’s not that I’m scared to leave my house, I just don’t want to deal with people, and I am paranoid that everywhere I go people are watching me, talking about me, and judging me. Next, I have become very unorganized. I used to be a complete control freak and now I have piles and piles of clothes everwhere, dirty dishes, food wrappers etc, and I have no interest in cleaning because I know where everything is. Next (This scares my fiance the most) I have become very paranoid and scared about demons. I think they are out to get me. I somehow convice myself that when I open the door to my room, or the shower curtain, or when I look in the mirror a demon will appear and try to hurt me. I constantly think about this and it keeps me from getting out of bed, getting out of the shower, and looking in the mirror. When I lay in bed at night and close my eyes, I always feel like a demon is hovering over me. Or when I am home alone, I feel like they follow me around and end up running everywhere I go. The fear is paralyzing. Next, I have trouble concentrating and communicating with my fiance and family because my head is so cluttered with thoughts. There’s always a million different thoughts going on at once, some I can make out, some I can not. Some are whispered thoughts, and some are screaming thoughts that won’t go away. They all have different tones of voices, some more aggresive than others. I don’t know if I am making any sense. This is my most recent symptom, and it’s keeping me from falling asleep. Over the year I have also started to neglect my personal hygeine because of what’s going on inside of my head. If I don’t go out, I won’t shower or brush my teeth for weeks. I sometimes don’t eat for a few days, because I’m scared to leave my bed. I even onnce urinated in a trashcan because I was paranoid to leave my room, because my roommate had company and I did not want to deal with people. These symptoms are starting to ruin my life and I don’t know what to think of them. I know they are not normal. What do you think it is, and what are some steps I can take in dealing with this?
You are correct to be concerned. Your symptoms include a combination of extreme anxiety and fear, paranoia, hearing voices, and an overall decompensation of your ability to perform normal everyday activities, such as showering. This situation requires professional intervention.
You should make an appointment with a mental health professional immediately. Without treatment, the symptoms will very likely worsen and you risk the development of a full-blown psychotic episode. Seeking professional help might prevent psychosis.
If you feel that you cannot leave your home, then call emergency services or the local mental health crisis team. Many communities have crisis teams who can come to the home, assess the situation and determine the most appropriate intervention.
Many people have had exactly the same symptoms that you are now experiencing. Treating these symptoms now is likely to bring you major relief and return your life to the way it was before.
It is important that you seek professional treatment. As time progresses, your symptoms are clearly worsening and require immediate attention. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle