Hi everyone,

I’ve come to seek experiences or advice, basically my nurse is helping me challenge, in two weeks time I will be challenging one of my biggest and most long standing fears, Spies. I don’t know why we’re doing this now and not telepathy, but maybe because that’s still so raw he’s decided against it. It’s a cbt experiment, exposure therapy and thought challenging, i’ve got to look around (in town, something i’m terrible at), search for men in black (I have bigger explanations than men in black but basically 20/30 year old men in suits from a cafe window. There’s many things that can go wrong and I don’t know how i’m going to react, I’m terrified, I have to make eye contact (and sustain it for a few minutes), look around, and listen to what he’s saying, I’m worried telepathy will take over, but i’m equally worried i’ll be proven wrong and will have a crisis of identity like other times.

What I would like to know is if anyone has done such experiments and challenges, whether with someone or on your own/ self driven as part of treatment?

I’d really appreciate any experiences people have, i’m beginning to worry, and I don’t want to worry too much or i’ll be overthinking and ruin the whole process…

Anyway I hope you’re all coping as best as you can,
take care,

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Can’t say I have. Hope it works though, you don’t deserve to be hung up on this stuff.

If they are haunting you in your neighborhood, it’s likely a diversion toward something else.

They are probably so worked up about something else that when you hear their conversation,
it will set your mind at ease.

I think you should try it.

The only men you’re going to find coincidentally wearing suits are going to be lawyers or some type of businessmen

Yeah I had a fright the other day when 2 really official looking women were coming out of the shop I use. I was certain they were spying on me. Turns out they were lawyers there on completely unrelated business.

Scared the crap out of me for three days though.


Jeeze. Occasionally something trips me up like that.

The other day I was in the grocery. Some dude, I don’t know if it was intentional, was following me way to closely for too long. I finally just stepped out of his way and he apologized. It was a WTF moment in my mind. I kept forgetting he was back there because no one has ever followed me like that before and I’d assume he’d be gone.

I kinda sometimes think this increased vigilance and constant assessment of all strangers has become as much as a habit than as a symptom. I mean it is a constant part of my routine whenever I am out.

I also have obsessionality problems so I would say these thoughts and behaviours have a bit of a mixed aetiology. All I can say is whatever the cause these actions are a pain in the ass.

I agree man. I’m constant just trying to shut my mind down and have it do nothing. I’ve got thought broadcasting going on and some OCD which seems to be on its way out.

It’s still a mess but its not as bad as it was. My biggest trick is not thinking about it. Doesn’t work as well as I’d like it to.

I also try to not think about it too much.

One thought that has helped is the notion that if spies really were watching me, on all the occasions I have suspected they have, there would have to be a ■■■■■■■ army of secret agents out there. I am gradually, over the coarse of months/years, coming to the conclusion that I am simply not interesting enough to warrant such attention.

(It has taken me ages to rationalise these thoughts, and like I say certain things can set the whole thing off again)

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It’s weird how you know there is a way you should think but it’s still tough for it to sink in and actually become what your mind wants to think.

Like these people clearly aren’t telepathic, but my mind is so convinced that they are. I don’t even know why anymore. I try to just look at it like its not there only for it to start up and convince me that it is.

It’s funny isn’t it. My CPN keeps saying that I have insight (on the occasions where I can just about make out what a normal person would think). He says having insight is the most important thing.

Insight doesn’t help when the lawyers are coming out the shop and I am back to square one again.

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Yeah situational stuff like that is hard to predict and impossible to control.

That’s another element. I try to let go of focuses as quickly as possible and not dwell on the psychotic experience.

My problem is that when these little psychotic episodes occur I obsess about them. It’s as if my brain says, “right - if you don’t worry yourself sick for 72 hours straight - all those bad things you think are going to happen- will happen!”

It’s as if I need to punish myself to the point of madness by worrying to the n’th degree or all those bad things will come true.

This is horrible. Neither meds nor 5 runs of CBT have touched this side of my illness.

Hmmm. That’s rough man. For a long time though my down moments, when the voices weren’t present, was just me reviewing the psychotic experience and confusing myself.

I don’t know man this illness takes so much from a person. I haven’t watched a movie in at least half a year. Haven’t played games. I just can’t focus on those things yet.

I’ve always got music playing and I’m always looking for people to talk too, but even doing those things my mind is still preoccupied with the illness.

I complicated ■■■■ again by stopping tobacco use. Really kind of threw me off but within a week I should have that focus back.

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Hi Meg, it’s nice to hear from you again.

The looking for spies… sort of sounds like what I had to do with vans… and kidnappers… and I also had to do exposure to crowds. It was rough at first… I did get a bit flipped out… but I remembered to breathe… keep calm and keep logical.

Are you allowed to bring someone with you on your assignment or do you have to do this alone? I do remember… one of the times I had to walk around and challenge my beliefs… I brought my Dad… He’s a very patient and calm guy.

I do hope this goes Ok… it’s not easy… but getting over this hurdle might be easier then trying to tackle telepathy for now.

Good luck and I hope things get better for you. :v:

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Thanks James,

First time I’ll be doing it with my nurse, I think after that I’ll do it with my mum, I’m doing it with him first as he’s better at challenging, he words things right with me. I’m just scared I’ll freak a bit… It’s going to be tough but I will do it, too long have I not looked around in town, or anywhere remotely public. How was your first time? What happened? And did it get slightly easier over time? Sorry if I’m poking too much, you don’t have to answer!

I hope you’re coping as best as you can, thanks for your reply, I appreciate it!

Take care,

Thanks @SoitGoes, I appreciate that! I hope you’re coping as best as you can?

Take care,

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What? That doesn’t sound helpful. Basically telling you to stare at someone for a few minutes.

Edit: people don’t like being stared at

I had to stand my ground with certain vans… I didn’t stare them down… but I had to not take off. I also had to walk around a slightly crowded place… That was very hard. I’m glad my Dad was with me… I was ready to jump out of my skin. But my Dad is a very calm guy and just kept pointing out that we were safe.

A few other things I had to do were very hard at first. But again… had help getting through it. It was a bit triggering at first… but little by little I was getting used to it.

I was also on Xanax at the time… so meds were involved.

I hope things go well and you feel better soon.