Goodbye Paranoia – Hello Sanity
Have you thought everyone was out to get you? People were always talking behind your back? Someone was conspiring against you? Everyone was lying? A shadow was constantly following you around? Well, maybe to a certain extent some of that was true, but you never knew for sure. On the contrary, none of it existed. Living my life in this state was upsetting, dangerous, and I didn’t trust anyone. Most importantly, I didn’t even realize I was thinking, believing, and behaving in such a manner. My paranoia and my illnesses were getting the best of me. Family and peer relationships were ruined because I was always wrongfully suspicious, angry, and mistrusting of everyone. Honestly, I just realized how bad it was when my son looked at me and said, “Mom, what are you talking about? There’s no reason I wouldn’t tell you the truth. Go look online.” We were discussing some coursework he needed to finish in one of his classes and it was the way he looked at me that really startled me. It was the first time he truly looked concerned.
Had I gone overboard? Was I on the edge again? No, I wasn’t on the edge. I just needed a reminder and I’m not afraid anymore to admit when I need to perform self-evaluations in order to see what else I need to work on. The point is we all have something we can work on. That’s the point of life, to improve our body, mind, and spirit. To help others, contribute to society, love, and be kind to one another. So, I embarked on a new journey. My new journey consists of saying goodbye to my ex-best friend, “Paranoia” and saying hello to my new best friend “Sanity”. I love myself, my family, and my life purpose too much to squander an opportunity for growth. I decided to embark on this journey in baby steps:
1) Write a goodbye letter to “Paranoia”;
2) Forgive myself for the moments I unjustly reacted to others;
3) Try not to make emotionally driven assumptions;
4) Ask others to clarify their intentions in a kind manner;
5) Write down notes from a conversation; if I need to so I can go back and review the truth of the conversation; it’s easier to stop, review, and assess without judging or making assumptions, and
6) Most importantly, tell my support network about this journey so they understand my intentions and new way of thinking and behaving
My letter to “Paranoia” is short and to the point. I don’t think most things need to be drawn out:
You are no longer serving any purpose in my life. I am choosing to remove any toxic relationships from my life in order to resume my recovery. My recovery is more important than the emotional, mental, and physical imbalances you are causing. I wish you well. “
So far, this journey has allowed me to meet a new friend, “Sanity”. A friend I have been introduced too, but now realized I haven’t been spending enough time with. My new relationship has created an even better one with my family and most importantly, my treasure, my son. Learning to trust again is difficult, but the ability to do so feels amazing. People will let you down in life and that’s okay. However, it’s the lessons I learn from those people that help me the most. I am a firm believer that we are all here for a reason and one of them is to teach and learn from one another. May you find your reason for living, learn from life’s lessons, and say goodbye to “Paranoia”, and welcome “Sanity” into your life.
Each of us learns from another
The lessons never seem crystal clear
Some of us stay and some of us stray
But if you pay attention time plays no role in this journey
It’s the purpose, experience, what is learned, and how we’ve grown
Marking the importance of our lessons learned
They can sting like a bee, cut like a knife, or
Even turn out exactly how you chose to believe it to be
But once the smoke and mirrors disappear
The truth before me suddenly appears
The glass shatters right before me
Then the pain slowly dissolves and now I can move
Each of us continuously learning from one another
A blessing in disguise lessons turn out to be
A Poem by Heidi Sullivan-Inyama
Heidi Sullivan-Inyama is a mental health advocate, wife, mother, and sister who has found peace of mind and the strength to heal from within.
As African American woman challenged with PTSD, anxiety, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder, it is her hope that sharing her story will inspire others to continue believing in themselves and have hope. Having dealt with issues surrounding stigmatization and discrimination, she realized the healing process must begin within. In order to educate and improve mental health awareness, making peace within is a necessity. Heidi is also a suicide survivor and is dedicated to suicide prevention programs. She continues to work through anxiety, bipolar disorder, and traumatic life events. Heidi has embraced her fears, weaknesses, strengths, and everything in between in order obtain self-acceptance. Self-acceptance has lead Heidi to achieve goals she never thought imaginable.
Heidi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and is pursuing her Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology. She continues mental health advocacy through her book, Staying Balanced in an Unbalanced World, Quotes and Affirmations, her blog and community activities. Heidi is looking forward to future youth outreach and suicide prevention programs.
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