I may seem like this tough person on the outside. I’m outgoing, independent, and I don’t normally ask for help. I often say “IDGAF.” I laugh off my problems, but deep down I’m an emotional mess, and like everyone else, I need constant reassurance that I’m enough for the world.

Living with paranoia is not fun. Most of the time I’m thinking about what I did wrong and how I should act. While speaking to others, I always imagine myself walking on eggshells when there aren’t any. I’ve trained myself to suppress my feelings and emotions which is ridiculously unhealthy. I am scared of being alone, I’m scared to let others down and I’m scared of never being enough.

I play off my emotions as a normality. I would become overwhelmed with paranoia and I wouldn’t know how to handle it so I isolated myself from others. I didn’t know I was scared of abandonment until I sat down and talked to my first therapist. Long story short, there were MANY events that led me to understand who I am today. To be honest I never even believed I had a problem.

The problem isn’t the fear itself but how it has shaped me as an individual. I have high expectations towards my partner, I change myself to be more appealing to them. That action is deceiving, it’s both unfair to my partner and myself, and the list goes on and on.

It ruined my relationship because it ruined me. I lost myself by trying to fit into a mold someone else had made. I lost who I was, my identity and authenticity. You can’t make others happy if you aren’t happy yourself. The relationship turned into a game of emotional push and pull. I hoped they would rely on me emotionally as much and I did on them. That, my friends, is called manipulation and I was doing it subconsciously. In my twisted mind, I thought emotional dependency was love.

I couldn’t do it anymore. Not to them, but most importantly not to myself. I did the unthinkable and chose to be alone. I manage to deviate from emotional dependency, and I was ( and still am) on a journey of self-improvement. Obviously, I’m not 100% mentally stable (but then again who is?), I don’t think I ever will be but I found various ways to cope with it. I learned that feeling scared is okay and I’m not ‘weak’ for admitting it. I want to be comfortable with who I am and never again try to fit a mold for the sake of having the security of someone being there. I want to feel confident in my actions, my decisions and I want to be able to rely on myself.

This is how I'm trying to do that.

1. Take a step back and breath

You didn’t choose to be paranoid, it chose you. I cope with this by exercising or meditating to calm myself down.

2. Self-care comes first

Do things that make you happy. Find activities that help boost your mood and energy. Try something new!

3. Take a leap of faith, trust that person

I know it’s hard but whether it’s your friend or significant other give them the trust they deserve. They weren’t the cause of your paranoia and don’t make them into one.

4. This is YOUR paranoia, not theirs

Don’t blame anyone for triggering the feeling. Be honest and communicate. If you’re struggling let your friends and family know. Yes, it’s your illness, but no, you’re not truly alone in this battle.

I may be coping with more than just the fear of abandonment and it’s a never-ending fight within myself. It completely shattered my self-confidence and I’m picking up the pieces one step at a time. My mom always said I have to learn to love myself before knowing how to love others.