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Old 06-22-15, 02:52 AM
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Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

So, I have gotten a new job, it is more what I am used to, as an RN in the hospital, and definitely I like this a lot better than my brief stint into nursing home work. I get paid a great deal more money and have more time off and benefits. The job itself is what I am comfortable with, and so my stress level is much less.

Everyone is nice toward me, but I just seem to have developed this fear that I am stupid, everyone is laughing at me behind my back, etc etc. I have become much more timid and submissive than what would be normal. I don't know why, and I have no reason to believe any of this is valid whatsoever. No one is mean to me, but I go out of my way to avoid conversation, like if any of the other nurses or doctors come back behind the desk, I immediately am up and out of the area. I cannot make eye contact, and if someone attempts to look me in the eye or engage me in conversation, I will try to escape as quickly as possible. I don't know how to stop doing it, it is like a reflex. I am constantly apologizing for nothing, falling over myself trying to get out of anyone's way, etc.

It doesn't seem to affect my ability to function as a nurse and to provide appropriate care for my patients. Several people have commended me for things and indicated, you know, that I was intelligent or skilled in something. I immediately think they are trying to make fun of me, or trip up my words and somehow set me up to throw me under the bus for some unknown reason. I am constantly apologizing for being "slow", "stupid", "worthless", and a "failure".

I don't know what has caused this, but I've somehow become very neurotic and paranoid.

I've always had a poor self esteem, but it's beyond poor now....it's horrific. I assume everyone at all times is making fun of me behind my back, laughing at how dumb I am, or how fat I am. I realize this is not rational and is not based in reality. I'm avoidant, submissive, and ashamed, for some unknown reason. I am terrified of being singled out, screamed at, hit, or set up for a fall, although if any of those things happened, it would hardly surprise me. It would just confirm my inner self hate dialog. I just try to stay out of the way, I flinch and shy away like a dog that's been beaten.

And I don't know why, or what got it started, or how to make it stop.

I decided maybe if I got some more education, I would become "smart" and "less worthless." So I have been talking to the graduate program at the university to see about getting my master's degree. I don't know why....I don't really want to do something different. But it will keep my brain occupied with something.

Should I go to see a shrink immediately? I kind of feel like I should. I don't like this new, scared version of me.

Anyone ever get like that all of a sudden? What causes it? How is it fixed?
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Old 06-22-15, 03:16 AM
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Re: Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

Doing what you've described will quickly convince others that you are not good at what you do. For right now, you need to fake feeling good about yourself in order to not sabotage your own work.
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Old 06-22-15, 03:21 AM
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Re: Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

I've had this happen before, you were really in a bad job situation before and it just takes time (months) to build confidence again with "normal" people.
I still remember doing a task and then getting an email from the person and panicking. The email said: "thank you".

If you feel you should see someone dont wait!
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Old 06-22-15, 03:33 AM
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Re: Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

What should I do? Just try to smile and keep quiet and out of the way as much as possible?

If I just don't talk any more than absolutely necessary, then I won't screw up and say something stupid, or give anyone any information that can somehow be twisted against me.

I don't want to screw this up. I am competent and in all actuality, reasonably bright. I am slow because the computer system is quite complicated, and I'm not 100% confident in my ability to navigate it, if something complex comes up. I can handle the situation, but I fear not getting everything charted in every place I need to.

I am desperate to not ruin this. I'm subconsciously trying to, evidently, and I can't figure out why or what has caused me to be this way.

I feel like I need to do something. Calm and quiet is better than feeling like I'm stupid and apologizing.
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Old 06-22-15, 03:43 AM
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Re: Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

Just go in there and do the job. Be friendly and things will come naturally! it just takes time. I wish I had better advice but this really happened to me. then i realized my colleagues in this place were actually awesome and I was early on (like after 6 months) given a lot of responsibility because I replaced the assistant for one of the top partners in the department, when she went on early maternity leave.

(I only left this job eventually because i ended up disliking the actual work, but it was the best work enviornment I ever had!)
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Old 06-22-15, 04:28 AM
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Re: Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

How long did you work at your previous job prior to this?
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Old 06-22-15, 09:16 AM
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Re: Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

Quote:
I realize this is not rational and is not based in reality.
This is awareness.... in psychology terms it's "ego-dystonic", which means the individual knows it is "not themselves".

As you describe, it is distressing for this "not self" behaviour to occur. The good news is that the fact you are aware of its "not-selfness" means you are on the road to sorting out the problem.... it's far more difficult to treat when the individual thinks/feels that the thoughts are justified and a true reflection of the self.

You ask what to do about it..... this is the realm of the psychotherapist..... drugs do not work in the long term..... what the therapist/counsellor does is to seek clues about when and why these thoughts/behaviours began. Often they are the child's "logical" response to their environment way back in time.

What the therapist does is help your conditioned mind "integrate" that these behaviours were valid responses back then but are not valid now.... how this is done depends on the therapist and their training.....

which is why it's a good idea to shop around to find someone you feel comfortable with and who uses an approach you feel connects with how you view the world.

Many people would find CBT useful in situations like this, personally most humanistic approaches would work with the possible exception of pure Person Centred.
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Old 06-22-15, 12:08 PM
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Re: Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

Just to add, this particular belief is so common among certain groups of people it has its own name: Imposter Syndrome.

I often find I fake confidence until suddenly, after a while of getting into a routine and figuring out the new stuff, I actually gain a modicum of real confidence. Damn does it take a while though.
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Old 06-22-15, 05:49 PM
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Re: Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

Thanks.
I looked up this imposter syndrome. It is eerily like me. The best part is the little part of me that nags and says, "You don't have anything wrong with you other than being a stupid loser."
This is the part that demands absolute perfection in everything, and even if I did absolutely everything right would still find fault or say, well THIS time you were good enough, but usually you are not worth a crap.
I have been there almost 2 months.
I was at my previous job, at the nursing home, for 1 year.
My job before that, where we used to live, was similar to this one. I was there 15 years.
Prior to that, I was at another job similar to this for 3 years.
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Old 06-22-15, 08:18 PM
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Re: Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

The most important feature of impostor syndrome is that it's a lie. You indeed ARE good at what you do, and it's time to face the fact that you are good!
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Old 06-23-15, 03:33 AM
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Re: Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

I've experienced this and it's a killer. My doctor told me it's "toxic shame." He said 80% of what gets people to see him, whether they know it or not, and most don't, is "toxic shame." I recommend you speak with your doctor/therapist immediately about this.



Here's an article to get you started...



What is Toxic Shame?

When shame becomes toxic, it can ruin our lives. Everyone experiences shame at one time another. It’s an emotion with physical symptoms like any other that come and go, but when it’s severe, it can be extremely painful.

Strong feelings of shame stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, causing a fight/flight/freeze reaction. We feel exposed and want to hide or react with rage, while feeling profoundly alienated from others and good parts of ourselves. We may not be able to think or talk clearly and be consumed with self-loathing, which is made worse because we’re unable to be rid of ourselves.

We all have our own specific triggers or tender points that produce feelings of shame. The intensity of our experience varies, too, depending upon our prior life experiences, cultural beliefs, personality, and the activating event.

Unlike ordinary shame, “internalized shame” hangs around and alters our self-image. It’s shame that has become “toxic,” a term first coined by Sylvan Tomkins in the early 1960s in his scholarly examination of human affect. For some people, toxic shame can monopolize their personality, while for others, it lies beneath their conscious awareness, but can easily be triggered.


Characteristics of Toxic Shame

Toxic shame differs from ordinary shame, which passes in a day or a few hours, in the following respects:

It can hide in our unconscious, so that we’re unaware that we have shame.
When we experience shame, it lasts much longer.
The feelings and pain associated with shame are of greater intensity.
An external event isn’t required to trigger it. Our own thoughts can bring on feelings of shame.
It leads to shame spirals that cause depression and feelings of hopelessness and despair.
It causes chronic “shame anxiety” — the fear of experiencing shame.
It’s accompanied by voices, images, or beliefs originating in childhood and is associated with a negative “shame story” about ourselves.
We needn’t recall the original source of the immediate shame, which usually originated in childhood or a prior trauma.
It creates deep feelings of inadequacy.


Shame-Based Beliefs


The fundamental belief underlying shame is that “I’m unlovable — not worthy of connection.” Usually, internalized shame manifests as one of the following beliefs or a variation thereof:

I’m stupid.
I’m unattractive (especially to a romantic partner).
I’m a failure.
I’m a bad person.
I’m a fraud or a phony.
I’m selfish.
I’m not enough (this belief can be applied to numerous areas).
I hate myself.
I don’t matter.
I’m defective or inadequate.
I shouldn’t have been born.
I’m unlovable.


The Cause of Toxic Shame

In most cases, shame becomes internalized or toxic from chronic or intense experiences of shame in childhood. Parents can unintentionally transfer their shame to their children through verbal messages or nonverbal behavior. For an example, a child might feel unloved in reaction to a parent’s depression, indifference, absence, or irritability or feel inadequate due to a parent’s competitiveness or over-correcting behavior. Children need to feel uniquely loved by both parents. When that connection is breached, such as when a child is scolded harshly, children feel alone and ashamed, unless the parent-child bond of love is soon repaired. However, even if shame has been internalized, it can be surmounted by later positive experiences.

If not healed, toxic shame can lead to aggression, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and addiction. It generates low self-esteem, anxiety, irrational guilt, perfectionism, and codependency, and it limits our ability to enjoy satisfying relationships and professional success.

We can heal from toxic shame and build our self-esteem.
©Darlene Lancer 2015
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Old 06-29-15, 06:34 PM
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Re: Being Stupid and Paranoid idk Why

I am doing somewhat better. I am trying to just smile and grit my teeth.

I am trying to remember I am not actually stupid, that just because I feel like I am, doesn't make it true, and there is evidence that I am not. No one thinks I am stupid besides me.

It is hard because I am always determined if I can't figure out something on my own, can't find something (even if I have never been shown yet where it is), or especially this thought that if I have been shown something once, I should be able to execute whatever it is quickly and flawlessly. So if I do not do everything perfect all of the time, it is an all or nothing thing, and immediately I go to this place in my mind that I am like, "Oh my God, you are so stupid and worthless. Everyone is going to talk about you. Worse, maybe they will scream at you, throw things at you, or hit you. (This would be absolutely unheard of...if such a thing happened, whoever did it would immediately be in huge trouble, and would probably lose their job and license within days....and not only that....why would anyone do that?) And you DESERVE it, what are you even trying to DO...it HAS to be a mistake, that they are having YOU do these things....oh, you are going to be in SO much trouble...."

I am trying hard to just act like everything is okay, and I am normal, and they seem to be buying it. Everyone continues to be friendly, even joking and teasing with me at times.

I still have HUGE social anxiety about everything, and will try to go and do things to be by myself when possible. I can talk and socialize for a bit (and have actually befriended a couple of people on Facebook, the ones I am most trusting of). But then, I have to get away for a while. This is nothing new because this is how I always am. I have to remember to take my pill because otherwise I get jabbering and then I feel dumb for talking too much or saying weird, stuff. Like the other night there was a conversation about people coming to the ER for something weird or crazy. (It is a little rural hospital and has a little ER just like we did down home, like if someone got sick or needed stitches). So everyone is like, "one time, this guy came in and blah blah blah, it was pretty crazy!" And weird me, is like, "Did anybody ever come in because they stuck something up their butt?" I was mortified, but everyone thought it was funny.

So I don't know, it is okay I guess, I still feel dumb a lot, but people are kind of starting to get used to my weirdness and sense of humor.

I am trying to not apologize and flinch like I'm getting ready to get beaten. I make sure I take my antidepressant, too, so I don't randomly start crying and singing Evanescence songs or something.
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