Q. To start with I haven’t left my house in 2 months. I have dealt with my paranoia and mental illness since I was a teen but I think it could be getting much worse. I have alienated all of my friends away with my paranoia as I always think they are laughing or making faces to each other about me and I call them on it. I am obsessed with the idea that everyone thinks I am a man dressed up like a woman and is laughing at me. I am positive this is happening although my husband tells me it is absurd. This drives me crazy and makes me have severe depression and the desire to kill myself. (I have tried because of it)
I have extreme physical anxiety attacks where my heart races and my whole body twitches and my hands shake. I am beginning to think I am having a schizophrenic break because of the extremeness of my paranoia. I always think my neighbors are watching me and people are trying to kill me. I have not heard any voices or had any visual hallucinations though but judging from what ex friends and family members have told me I think I may not have a good grip on reality. But I think I do. I am hoping someone could suggest an online support group for people who don’t leave there houses(agoraphobics?) and maybe an online therapist. I am also wondering if anyone has experienced anything like this. Thanks in advance.
A. I commend you on your desire and interest in getting help for your paranoia but I am not sure that getting online help would be the most effective treatment for you. Your paranoia is progressively getting worse. It is so bad now that you cannot leave your house. The online help may be beneficial to you but it may also have a negative effect. Since online help does not require you to leave your house, it’s possible that you would be reinforcing your paranoia by “accommodating” your inability to leave the house. You do not want to start building your life around the fact that you cannot leave your home. Rather you should be working on trying to leave your house and finding a way overcome your fear and deal with your paranoia. Online therapy might feed your fear and in this way, could be more harmful than helpful.
Conversely, online help may be the catalyst to help you gain the skills you need to deal with your paranoia. I do not know of any online therapists that I know or could recommend. There are also many online support groups. If you wanted to know more about these services or groups, try doing a Google search using the keywords “online therapists” and “online support groups” or “agoraphobia.”
Paranoia can also be treated with medication. Medication may decrease your paranoia symptoms enough so that you can leave your home for therapy appointments. I worked with a client in exactly your circumstance and once she started the medication, she was able to attend therapy appointments and eventually was able to go out into the world without a problem. Consider medication as it may be what helps you begin to decrease your paranoia and get back to living a normal life. Thanks for writing. Take care.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2008
Randle, K. (2008). Do You Know of Any Online Therapists?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/01/30/do-you-know-of-any-online-therapists/