paranoia trauma

therapist: so, how do u feel today about the thing we talked about last week?
my dissociative psychotic ass: what thing

What I’ve learned from being abused was mostly about how the human body reacts when faced with constant terror. I know how it tries to distract, tries to minimize it and calm, tries to stuff it down where it turns to anxiety. And then how it goes cold, shaking, self conscious, craving for any sort of relief. And then, hyperventilation, paralyzing, panic attacks, trembling, begging. Chronic pain, all organs aching, inability to digest. Dry mouth, nightmares and flashbacks, inability to relax for even a second, paranoia and constant alertness. Sometimes anger comes out in desperate attempt to protect from fear. Exhaustion. Fainting. Losing control of limbs. Desire for pain. And then, there’s numbness. When body goes past the point of fear it’s able to experience and survive, it detaches, dissociates from reality, and you’re not yourself anymore.

anonymous asked:

Hi, so i hve a character who sees a murder from his balcony. Narratively, i need him to become paranoid that the murderers are going to follow him and try to hurt him. Would seeing the murder from a distance and the safety of his balcony cause something like ptsd, or would it just be like paranoia? Sorry if this isnt clear

Seeing a murder qualifies as a trauma, and could cause PTSD to develop (see my description of PTSD here). However, not everyone who goes through a traumatic event develops PTSD. So it’s up to you how to portray your character. If you want them to have PTSD, go for it! If you only want them to be paranoid, that’s a reasonable reaction too. You could even have him have both.


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The ABC Skill: Accumulate Positive Experiences/Emotions

In DBT, the content of the Emotion Regulation unit can be broken down into three main categories: 

  1. How to identify and understand your emotions–there are no specific DBT Skills that fall into this category, but the content is still an important foundation that the other two categories build on. 
  2. How to change or regulate your emotional responses–this includes Skills like Check the Facts, Opposite Action (link coming soon), and Problem Solving. 
  3. How to reduce your emotional vulnerability–these two Skill sets are known as ABC PLEASE.

This post is going to start covering content from the third category.  This category is incredibly important because not only will they aid you in becoming less vulnerable to crisis, but it will actually give you direction for how to build a life that you want to live–a life you have choice and control in, that is founded on positives rather than simply surviving day-to-day, crisis-to-crisis.  You want to have as much content from this third category in your life as possible in order to counter, to balance, and ultimately to supersede your Bad Days with Good Days.  This doesn’t mean the Bad Days will go away entirely, but it does mean you will have more emotional reserves (or spoons) to minimize the scale and effect of each crisis you encounter.

1. What is the ABC Skill?

The ABC Skill is really three separate Skills all rolled into one acronym because they work towards the same general goal.  Each letter represents one whole Skill that can exist independently of the other letters, which is why I’ve decided to break up the post on the ABC Skill into three posts that address one component each. 

The three components of ABC are:

  • A: Accumulate Positive Experiences/Emotions
  • B: Build Mastery
  • C: Cope Ahead

The ABC Skill set focuses on how to help you take action in a positive, effective manner that will have both short-term and long-term benefits to your mental health and general well-being.  Basically, these Skills exist to make your life better by reducing your vulnerability to Emotion Mind and to stress-triggered or stress-aggravated symptoms of BPD.

2. What is meant by Accumulating Positive Experiences and what is the point?

The A component of the ABC Skill is Accumulate Positive Experiences/EmotionsThis means doing things that you can genuinely enjoy, participate mindfully in, experience happiness or joy as a result, all without judging yourself or feeling guilty.  It’s important that when Accumulating Positive Experiences, you do so Mindfully because it can actually be fairly difficult to do things you enjoy when your life is dominated by distressing symptoms, bad experiences, and negative emotions. 

You might find that your depression has significantly impaired your ability to find enjoyment in the things that you used to really enjoy.  You might find that your anxiety discourages you from trying new things that might be enjoyable because you’re too afraid that you won’t actually enjoy them, or that you’ll fail, or that others will judge you.  You might find that your paranoia or hypervigilance from trauma makes it almost impossible to fully Participate in an activity that you would otherwise enjoy because you’re always on edge and don’t know how to relax anymore.

You might find that your mental illness has skewed your thinking to be so negative that you no longer see any point of seeking out positive experiences because the positive feelings that come from those experiences won’t last.  You might worry that the negative thoughts and feelings will quickly return and it’ll be all the more disappointing and distressing when you fall back down again.  It’s hard to keep getting back up and trying again when your mental illness keeps knocking you down–it might even seem safer or less harmful to not even try to get back up again because you want to protect yourself from as much hurt as possible. 

When it comes to disorders like BPD, this is a constant battle we wage between ourselves and our illness.  It’s a battle that we will likely be fighting for a long, long time.  We have ups and downs but the ups never last long enough and it can be incredibly discouraging and disheartening, which makes it harder to endure the downs.  DBT aims to provide you the tools you need to fight and win these battles by teaching you Skills that you otherwise would not have at your disposal. 

By Accumulating Positive Experiences/Emotions you effectively replenish your emotional reserves, reduce your vulnerabilities, and give yourself a reason to pick yourself back up after getting knocked down again.  The goal of Accumulating Positive Experiences/Emotions is to increase your “ups” by making those ups more frequent, longer in duration, and more stable. 

Accumulating Positive Experiences/Emotions is one component of reclaiming your life from your mental illness, to re-learn how to live a life that isn’t entirely dominated by the day-to-day struggle to survive and endure. It shifts the focus from enduring or fending off negative experiences/emotions to actually seeking out positive experiences/emotions and enjoyingThe goal is to slowly fill your life up with these positive experiences so you’re fighting those battles less often.  Accumulating Positive Experiences/Emotions serves both short-term and long-term purposes: reducing your emotional vulnerability, while also helping you build a life that is fulfilling and meaningful to you.

3. How to Accumulate Positive Experiences/Emotions in the Short-Term

The point of Accumulating Positive Experiences/Emotions in the short-term is to do pleasant things that are possible now.  Your BPD symptoms (or symptoms of other comorbid disorders as previously mentioned) might make it very difficult for you to enjoy much of what you used to be able to enjoy, so it’s important to take baby-steps and have hopeful but realistic expectations. 

Do small and simple things that you can enjoy as you are in this moment, and slowly build yourself up to being able to attempt bigger experiences that may be more meaningful or fulfilling.  Sometimes small, simple, and silly things can be meaningful too, because every positive feeling you make for yourself should be considered a victory when you generally feel miserable.

You Accumulate Positive Experiences/Emotions in the short term by:

  1. Start building positive experiences now.  Don’t delay or avoid, don’t tell yourself you haven’t done anything today to “deserve” to have a positive experience today.  You may not feel entirely comfortable spending your time on something positive for yourself, at least not right away, but this is one of those times where it’s okay to give yourself a little push.  Remember, positive experiences are good! They’re positive experiences because they don’t have negative components or consequences.  They aren’t supposed to result in feeling bad or feeling worse–they’re solely meant to benefit you in a positive and enjoyable way.  Start small and work your way up.

    Increase pleasant events that lead to positive emotions.  Try to work up to doing one pleasant thing each day–it doesn’t have to be different each day but you should try a variety of things to broaden your experiences eventually.  The List of Pleasant Events is a good place to start for ideas.  You can also make your own List of Pleasant Events/Activities and print it out, highlight it, stick it to your wall or your fridge–somewhere you’ll see it regularly–and work through it at your own pace. 

    If you find yourself avoiding doing your Pleasant Events, practice Opposite Action (link coming soon).

  2. Be mindful of positive experiences.  Focus your attention on positive moments when they are happening.  Use your Mindfulness What Skills and How Skills to do this.  Don’t multitask!  Dedicate this time to your Pleasant Event and to your experience of the Pleasant Event only.  You want to Participate and engage fully in each experience, soak up the positive feelings or thoughts or sensations. 

    Being mindful of your enjoyment will help you recall the experience at a later date, such as when you’re in crisis and are having a hard time remembering or believing that you have had or could ever have positive experiences and emotions.  If you find your mind wandering to negative territory during your Pleasant Event, refocus your attention or Turn Your Mind towards the positive.

  3. Be unmindful of worries.  It’s rare to ever be told to be unmindful of something in DBT, but this is one of those times when you don’t want to give any mental attention to thoughts or feelings you may have if they are negative and detracting from the positive experience.  You might have worries such as thinking about when the positive experience will end or what will happen after it ends; you might worry about whether you deserve this positive experience; you also might worry that others might expect much more from you now that you were able to expend the effort required to do this one Pleasant Event for yourself; etc. 

    Gently push away these thoughts if you cannot avoid acknowledging them.  Rehearse some affirmations or “challenges” to counter these kinds of thoughts.  These thoughts might be rooted in deeply-held personal beliefs about emotions and about yourself (a list of such myths and possible challenges to them will be written at a later date), so counter-arguments (“challenges”) may not come easily to you in the beginning, or you may not truly believe those affirmations or counter-arguments yet.  It takes time.

    Keep trying!  Remember, if we don’t challenge our negative thoughts/feelings or allow ourselves to have positive thoughts/feelings, then we won’t be able to accumulate positive experiences because we will always stay in one place, restricted by our negative experiences.  It may take you several tries, dozens and dozens of tries before you can effectively challenge, push away, or be unmindful of these types of negative thoughts, but it is possible.

4. How to Accumulate Positive Experiences/Emotions in the Long-Term

The point of Accumulating Positive Experiences/Emotions in the long-term is to make changes in your life so that positive events will happen more often in the future.  This is commonly referred to as “building a life worth living” but honestly I believe that all lives are already worth living, they just may not be lives that we want to live.  So I prefer to say that the long-term goal of Accumulating Positive Experiences is to build a life that is fulfilling and meaningful to you–a life that you want to have.  The way you make these changes is to live according to your values.

These are the steps that you would take in order to Accumulate Positive Experiences/Emotions in the Long-Term

  1. Avoid avoiding: Start now to do what is needed to build the life you want.  You need to make the active choice to pursue Accumulating Positive Experiences and be an active part of that accumulation, rather than hoping that these experiences will just happen by chance.  If you’re not sure about what to do or how to do it, follow the steps as a guide.

  2. Identify values that are important to you: Ask yourself, what values are really important to me in my life? What things to I want to be the foundation of my life? It’s okay if these things change as your identity shifts, and it’s also okay if these values are not 100% firm.  It’s also okay if the values you identify conflict somewhat.  What matters is that you have an idea of what is meaningful to you and the general direction you want to take your life in.  See the List of Values and Priorities for guidance.

  3. Identify one value to work on now.  Ask yourself, what is really important to me, right now, to work on in my life?  That thing may not end up being something you would value under other circumstances, but this is the step where you take your present situation into account.  From where you are at this point in time, what would benefit you the most to work on? What do you deeply want more of in your life that you currently lack, that is within your power to obtain for yourself? Your criteria for determining which value you work on first could be all sorts of things, as long as–at the core–it is about bringing something positive into your life that will make you enjoy or value your life more.

  4. Identify a few goals related to this value.  Ask yourself what specific goals you can work on that will make this value a part of my life?  This value becomes the guiding force behind your goals.  These goals can be small or more ambitious, but make sure these are things that you can work towards right away.  You don’t want to choose goals here that you wouldn’t be able to start working on until a number of future conditions have been met, though it is important to be aware of these sorts of long-term, complex goals.  The idea here is to make things as easy as possible for yourself to take definitive steps towards a more enjoyable and fulfilling life.

  5. Choose one goal to work on now.  Do a Pros and Cons, if necessary, to select a goal to work on now.  You might want to start with something small and easily achievable so that you don’t get discouraged.  You also might want to pick a goal that has a strong degree of immediacy to it, meaning that achieving this goal means instant or near instant improvement to your life in a significant way. 

  6. Identify small action steps toward your goal.  What small steps can you take to get to your goal?  This step really helps if executive dysfunction regularly interferes with your ability to set and achieve goals.  Break steps into smaller components, so that each step becomes a series of smaller steps.  It becomes easier to make progress because small tasks don’t seem nearly as daunting as tackling the whole goal at once.

  7. Take one action step now. This is pretty self-explanatory, but you have to make sure you’re actually taking action rather than just making plans and not following through on those plans.  You don’t have to tackle the whole goal in one day–you can just do one or a few of those smaller actions steps if that’s all you can handle today.  

Remember that Accumulating Positive Experiences/Emotions is supposed to make you feel better and make your life more enjoyable–it shouldn’t stress you out, constantly frustrate you, or inconvenience you.   Pursuing goals can sometimes be stressful or frustrating or even inconvenient at times, but the benefits should outweigh the disadvantages.

You can work on Accumulating Positive Experiences/Emotions in the short-term by yourself rather easily, as this Skill lends itself well to working at your own pace and listening to your own desired.  When attempting to Accumulate Positive Experiences/Emotions in the long-term, though, you may want to work with a therapist or close friend in order to help determine what options are feasible to work on now and what values and goals should be set aside for later, when you are further along in your recovery journey.

Further Reading: List of Values and Priorities, List of Pleasant Events, Intro to Emotion Regulation, How can I build positive experiences?   

TL;DR: Accumulate Positive Experiences/Emotions is a component of the Emotion Regulation ABC Skill, which is a Skill used to reduce your emotional vulnerabilities.  Accumulate Positive Experiences/Emotions means slowly filling your life up with positive experiences and feelings in order to make your life less vulnerable to negative feelings and experiences. 

In the short-term, this means doing some sort of pleasant thing that is possible right now, no matter how small and trivial, and doing such a thing every day.  In the long-term, this means living according to your values and allowing your values to guide your goals so that you can restructure your life around enjoying positive experiences instead of enduring negative ones.  Accumulating Positive Experiences means giving your life direction so that you can ultimately build a life that you find personally meaningful and fulfilling.

-Pandora

Reaction to You Having a Night Terror. . .

!! WARNING !! This is about paranoia, trauma and themes of being mentally ill, so please DO NOT READ FURTHER is you are UNCOMFORTABLE with topics such as these. Sending love, protection and happiness. <3

Anonymous said: Hey! I would like to have a reaction for BTS where their girlfriend is mentally ill and has paranoia and at nights she often thinks that spiders are walking on her skin. Im sorry that this is so weird but I personally struggle with mental illnesses in everyday life like paranoia and I havent seen a reaction for anything like this yet so I decided to give it a go! Also If this accidentally came public ask i would like to stay anon! Thank u! ♡

Reaction to You Having a Night Terror…

A/N honestly this was hard for me because i’ve never been in a situation like this before. i don’t have paranoia or know anyone who does, so i don’t know what it feels like or how one should respond to this. so i hope i’ve written this how you would want Anonie, but please tell me if it isn’t and i can try to fix it in the way you would want, or if i get something wrong. thank you for opening up and asking something so personal. that really means a lot, and i feel so honored to reply to something like this for the first time for you. i’ll put a lot of love and effort in it for you! <3 and yes you were in Anonymous, so no worries. :)

Kai Eonni ~ <3 <3


Namjoon…

He would sleeping next to you when suddenly he hears you whimpering beside him. He would know what was happening because you two had talked about it earlier on in the relationship. Him wanting to know everything about you and wanting to have an honest and open relationship. He would gently rub your head, trying to give you a comforting touch without startling you. Once you were awake, he would hold you firmly in his arms, talking gently into your ear, ushering you into a sweet and safe sleep.

(Rap Mon talking to you about his day, his likes and dislikes, anything, until you fall asleep)

Originally posted by bangtannoonas


Jin…

He would turn to see you crying softly and immediately know you were having something like a nightmare. So he would ask what you were dreaming about. Once you told him he would hug you gently, turn on a low light, barely illuminating the room. After he was sure you were okay, he would get up and go the kitchen to make you some sweet herbal tea and a snack. When he got back with the tray holding your tea and snacks he would cuddle up next to you again saying, “Food always helps. Enjoy Jagi.” While kissing your forehead.

Originally posted by myloveseokjin


Yoongi…

He would know about sleepless nights or nights filled with nightmares. He’s been through his own, and would know how frightening they can be. It would make him sad to know that you’re going through that as well. He would do anything in his power to prevent them, even if that meant giving up his own sleep. He would have you talk to him about them, knowing that talking can help let out stress. He would hold you close in bed and gently whisper your favorite song to you until you both fall asleep. If you were to wake up in the middle of the night, he claiming you felt something on you, he would (non sexually) rub his hands along your arms and legs, repeating, “You’re okay babe, there’s nothing. It’s just in your head. Come back to me, listen to my voice okay?” Once you calmed down, he would remind you how much he loves you.

Originally posted by nnochu


J-Hope…

He wouldn’t really know what to do for you. He would want to do anything in his power to help you on your sleepless nights, but he wouldn’t really know what to do, and would be too scared to make them worse. However, he would talk to either Namjoon or Yoongi about them, wanting to get advice from them. He would then follow their advice and try to hold you gently, speaking softly into your ear, reminding you he loves you to the moon and back. Putting Yoongi’s and Namjoon’s advice to work. He would probably ask why this started happening. Just genuinely wondering what could have happened to someone as beautiful and sweet as you to make you have such horrible nights, wondering if there’s anything he could do to protect you from them.

Originally posted by hoseokxx


Jimin…

Jimin would get really sad each time it happened. He would feel useless whenever they happened just because he didn’t know how to prevent them from happening, and when they did happen, he would feel like he’s not doing enough for you. He would look up ways to handle when you got night terrors, and find foods, teas, or activities that could limit how often they occurred and would dedicate himself to getting you those teas, foods or doing those activities with you. He would definitely ask why they happen, and when he heard the reason, he would try to make more positive things happen for you and would try to help you keep your attention on the present, rather than the past, wanting you to have the best life possible with him.

Originally posted by bangtanboysloves


Taehyung…

He wouldn’t know what to do, or really how to react. He would be so concerned, but wouldn’t know the first thing about how to handle these situations, and therefore, he would panic whenever this happened. He would do the right things though, just out of instinct of wanting to protect you. He wouldn’t like to leave you alone though, and would constantly be fretting over you, wanting to know how you’re doing, if you’re okay. On the nights that he can’t be there for you, he would write you a letter the morning before and leave it somewhere for you to find, like in the bathroom by the tooth brush so you find it before going to bed. He would also buy a lot of comforting snacks and drinks for in case you wake up in the middle of the night, he would tell you where to find them in the letter. Making it a fun game for you to distract you from your worries, and instead replacing them with thoughts of him. The next morning he would visit with a cute/weird looking animal pillow for you with his wide grin spread across his face as he greets you, “Hi Jagi~ You sleep well? Did you like the snacks?”

Originally posted by chimchams


Jungkook…

Kookie would be another that doesn’t really know how to help. Mainly because he’s so young. He would probably be a little scared too and without really realizing it, would distance himself from you. Not because he now dislikes you or is judging you, but just because he doesn’t know how to approach the situation. He would speak to his Hyungs about it and ask them what he should do. After getting their input, he would approach you again and try to speak calmly to you about what you’re going through and would promise you that he’ll stay by your side and help you as much as he can in anyway that he can. Though still, he would be very cautious and nervous about the whole thing, and honestly it would take him a while to open up about it. But he would still put 110% effort into being there for you as much as you need.

Originally posted by jengkook