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Episodes of paranoia and guilt over minor things.

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The Martian

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2020
Messages
5
Location
Kentucky
Hello -

I'm hoping someone can relate and offer suggestions for coping with feelings of paranoia and guilt over seemingly minor issues/mistakes. I have generalized anxiety, which often times manifests itself with feelings of general guilt, like I'm constantly awaiting "the other shoe to drop," although I've done nothing wrong or worth worrying over. I have this fear of being "found out," like people are going to realize I'm a fraud or a fake or not what they think I am. Imposter syndrome, I guess. But this general feeling makes my reaction to actual stressors, actual scenarios where I've done something wrong or incorrect, a hundred times worse. I experience episodes of paranoia and panic. I shake and twitch, my stomach is in knots and sometimes makes me physically ill, I can think of nothing else beside my "wrong-doing" and the most extreme consequences; I am fearful, regretful, sometimes compulsive (trying to fix the issue and normally make it worse). Mind you, this internal reaction is often a response to a non-threat, or a minor wrongdoing that could result in embarrassment or a "slap-on-the-wrist" at worst.

A specific example is the fact that where I work, texts/emails are subject to records requests. I constantly fear that a joke, sarcastic remark (especially if it comes off as unsympathetic to a real issue), or any personal comment could be seen, misconstrued, and made public. I fear the shame and professional fallout that could ensue in the most extreme circumstances. As a result, I rarely text about work as a rule and paranoid precaution. But I'm not perfect - I'm human and I vent about work and customers just like anyone else. So any time there is a request, I absolutely panic before I even know what information I have to disclose, if any. The mere possibility (a small one even) sends me in a tailspin.

I apologize for the lengthy rant. I am experiencing these feelings currently and needed to express some of it. Thank you if you've read this far. If you've experienced anything similar, I'd love to know I'm not the only one who has been cursed with a guilty conscience without having done anything to deserve it.

-M
 
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Prycejosh1987

Well-known member
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Jul 7, 2020
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620
Location
UK
Guilty consciences never come to pass on no bad actions. I believe the human conscience is a gift from God. It keeps us sane, it keeps us motivated and inspires the right actions.
 
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Daringdan

Well-known member
Joined
May 8, 2020
Messages
114
Location
Louisville, Ky
Martian,
You are not alone. I have paranoia and guilt sensitivity too. I just today felt like I misspoke to a health professional and I felt bad about it. I felt wounded like some thing wrong was done when really I just didn't say quite enough or say the right thing first. It wasn't a big deal but it felt like it. There is a strategy where you translate such thoughts and feelings into a more generalized message. Even though this instance is not wrong what is my conscience trying to tell my over all. Something like that.
Wish you well and peace
 
T

The Martian

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2020
Messages
5
Location
Kentucky
Guilty consciences never come to pass on no bad actions. I believe the human conscience is a gift from God. It keeps us sane, it keeps us motivated and inspires the right actions.
I appreciate your response and I agree that a moral compass is a good thing. With anxiety though, it's not always possible to trust my conscience, intuition, or internal response (in this case, an overreaction) when I confront normal human error or mistakes I've made.
 
T

The Martian

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2020
Messages
5
Location
Kentucky
Martian,
You are not alone. I have paranoia and guilt sensitivity too. I just today felt like I misspoke to a health professional and I felt bad about it. I felt wounded like some thing wrong was done when really I just didn't say quite enough or say the right thing first. It wasn't a big deal but it felt like it. There is a strategy where you translate such thoughts and feelings into a more generalized message. Even though this instance is not wrong what is my conscience trying to tell my over all. Something like that.
Wish you well and peace
Thank you for your response! I often react similarly to interactions like you've described. Sometimes it gets to the point where I can't assert myself or stand up for myself in certain situations, knowing I'll just feel tremendously guilty about the situation later and it's not worth it. Even though I try to stay away from being so self-critical and more forgiving, your suggestion is a good one; trying to assess what my mind/body/conscience is trying to tell me in general. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me and I hope you find peace as well.
 
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