As a kid I had two large episodes of anxiety, once when I was 9 and once when I was 12. Both times were due to fear of religion, afterlife, death, etc. I had been exposed to a junior camp counselor that informed me of all these things and I would go home scared, often thinking about death and how I would not have my family with me. I would break down and cry regularly. Both instances lasted around two weeks to a month.
I am now 21. The period of my life between 12 and 21 I always called myself the “overthinker”. If I have a close friend that I regularly text and he/she doesn’t respond and I know they were out late that night, I start to worry that something might have happened. I would also have thoughts like, “what if I end up gay one day?” or “what if I end up being a serial killer one day?”. These thoughts and questions would not plague me consistently as I would brush them off after a few minutes of thinking, until recently.
Two weeks ago the question came up again. “What if I end up gay?” I started to worry more and more. I started to “check” myself when I went out when I see a man walk by to see if I would be sexually attracted to them. Shortly after this begun, I read online about someone who had a similar fear, but with pedophilia. Unsurprisingly, after reading his personal story, I started getting worried, “what if one day I become a pedophile?” and started checking myself in a similar manner. As the days went on, my fears grew and now they encompass a greater variety unfortunately. I saw a man that looked familiar the other day and my mind told me “what if he’s the cause of your fears? what if somehow he’s conspiring against you?”.
At that moment, I grew very anxious. I was very scared because I don’t know why my mind jumped to that conclusion and I was also scared because a part of me asked “what if my initial thought was right?”. After a few hours of stress, the anxiety wore off and I had a moment of clarity where I started to worry..what if I’m developing schizophrenia? Today at my mother’s office, a few clients would stop by or people would be sitting on the benches outside the window and in my head I would say to myself, “could these men be out to get me?” but I would battle it and say “that’s ridiculous, stop worrying, stop stressing about it” yet the thoughts keep coming. Of course the thoughts wear out later on and I feel my head clear up again.
Either way, I’ve read that schizophrenics have very similar if not the same fears. Fear of people “out to get them” etc… do I have schizophrenia? I tell myself these thoughts are irrational and not possible, but I don’t know if I’m telling myself that to remain sane or if I’m telling myself that because I don’t want to be schizophrenic. Someone please help.