Helping with paranoia

My son insisted on sitting in the car with me while I waited outside a store for his brother.I was thrilled because he rarely leaves the house these days.We started talking and he told me that he is “creeped out” everywhere but his bedroom.He feels there are constant eyes watching him.The remote needed new batteries in our rec room.My son is convinced the tv is acting funny due to paranormal activity.I scrambled for something supportive to say!I just told my son that no one is watching him and even though it seems very real to him-the paranoia is part of what is going on in his brain right now.Are meds going to help more with this?Any tools I can show him to help him deal with this?He did say that it’s really freaky sometimes,but he will know he’s having paranoid thoughts and not be able to control them.

When I last got my episode of paranoia I was talking to my therapist about how unsafe I felt in the world. I felt like people were out to murder or attack me. She told me to write down little mantras on index cards to carry around with me to remind me that my thoughts weren’t real, and to take them out when I start to feel unsafe to try to trigger my brain straight again. I was hospitalized the following day so I don’t know how well that works, but it’s a suggestion.

Let him do what he has to do to feel safe, if that means checking the locks 10 times, or spending extra time around people that make him feel safe. Keep talking to him, don’t let him slip away from you. It’s important you know what level his paranoia is at so that if it gets to an unmanageable point you can take action. If it gets to the point where he isn’t leaving the house or he is accusing people of being out to watch or hurt him, I’d start to get concerned.

Do you stay in contact with his psychiatrist? My mom and my psychiatrist are in touch so that if something goes wrong they can work together on my plan to bring me to a safe point.

Thanks @ elizabeth!I’ve just noticed these past few weeks that he won’t watch tv downstairs much by himself.He doesn’t like to leave the house.He used to always want his bedroom door shut and now needs it open.I will call pdoc after the holiday.We keep increasing his meds,but it seems like somethings get better and new problems arise.He is 12 and the pdoc said he will keep evolving for awhile until he gets older(we all think sz).Communication hasn’t been easy.I’m not even sure how much he realizes what’s going on.Just curious-what kind of mantras did you use?

Just little things like: “You’re in a safe environment” or “There are people nearby who can help you”, “So and so is on your side” then little things I added like “You aren’t important enough for people to want to watch you”. I never really used them because I was hospitalized like, the following day, and my med adjustments there helped the paranoia go away. But it’s a technique from a therapist so there must…might… be some credibility to it.

@elizabeth-I will see if he thinks that may help him.We have an appt at an early-psychosis clinic in 3 weeks.I really think his meds will need to be changed.Therapists do have good ideas.I like to get advice from folks on here because it takes someone with experience to really give the best suggestions.

When I’m out in public I feel EVERYONE is a threat to me physically. It’s only when I get home that I can realize, “Hey, nothing was going on and that person was being friendly”. I’m also very self-conscious and think the world revolves around me. It would be very relaxing if I could get out of myself more.

I keep forgetting that your son is only 12. Puberty and hormones can’t be helping. It doesn’t sound like increasing his meds is the answer. Maybe an add on med will be looked at. Good luck talking to his pdoc.

For a long time it was hard for me to get out in public. I was sure I was embarrassing everyone, or that I was in danger, or that I was being followed.

But for a while… (and it still happens) When my sis and I go out, she reassures me a lot that it’s ok, and that she’s got her eye out for dangers so I can relax and all is well.

then when we’re back in the car, she would take a moment to really point out that nothing had gone wrong, and we we’re safe.

Little by little… after 20 + trips to the market where nothing had gone wrong and 40+ trips to the coffee shop where we would stay a little longer each time… and nothing had gone wrong and 100 walks around the area where nothing had gone wrong and I was safe all those times… it became easier.

I still get amped up when I have to face somewhere new. But my family always points out when things go right.

My family would also ask me what I think could go wrong and they would tell me how they could prevent that outcome from happening. They could cut down the catastrophic thinking… that and anti-anxiety meds… helped me get out in public more.

Elizabeth and Surprised - thanks for your insight!

Paranoia is not good. When our son first came to live with us he wouldn’t sleep in his room. He slept on the floor on a mattress in our bedroom and if he had to smoke at night one of us stayed by the door. If my husband worked in his office on an evening shift and I wasn’t home he slept on the sofa until his Dad finished the shift. Over time his paranoia was not that bad, No medications were increased. He moved back to his bedroom and was able to manage . But since your son is only 12 I am not sure what would help him ? Increase medication OR a therapist ? I think you should consult his Psychiatrist so this can be worked out. Good luck!

It must be so hard with a 12 year old! I agree with all suggestions here. As he gets older, his insight will increase, but since he is so young, you will be able to get a handle on things more quickly for him. I would be honest with him about what`s happening, be reassuring…I think you are doing a great job!

A huge thanks to everyone that replied-@elizabeth,@77nick77,@Surprised J,@lenora11,@BarbieBF,@valleypenne,@bridgecomet!You have given me some good suggestions to work with.I’m getting ready to have surgery(broken ankle)in the morning so it has been crazy at my house.Of course,I worry how my son will handle the stress of mom being gone.Hopefully,all goes well and I will be back home by the afternoon.Thanks again!

Good luck on the surgery!

Personally I avoid eye contact because it spikes my paranoia. Try not to always look him right in the eye if it looks like he’s trying to avoid gaze.

btrfly36, All the best on ankle surgery. I hope you have someone to help you while you recover for surgery. Take care.

I have learned that when my son is struggling with mood, which is often due to paranoia, that avoiding eye contact is good.

Try not to make it obvious either, it only makes it worse. When I’m not in my right mind the slightest thing can make me overly paranoid to the point I’ll begin calling people out.