Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Paranoia

I've always been a paranoid individual. When I studied psychology and neuroscience in school (because despite what my resume says, my major was neuroscience psychology and my minors were biology and Spanish)—I was not coincidentally fascinated by drugs' effects on the brain, especially cocaine causing paranoia and other schizophrenic-like symptoms. I used to come up with little theories about cocaine—a drug I’ve never touched in my life—and talk to professors about them whilst telling them that their experiments were in fact incorrect (“your study isn’t measuring alertness, it’s actually measuring anxiety”). Anyway, where I’m going with this…

When I first went to my psychiatrist to get Adderal, I prepared my little speech, came up with a back story about how I’d been on Ritalin all my life until college and then got off—now, I want to get on something again, etc. I added that I knew all about this stuff because I studied it in school and yes, I know it’s nothing more than legal speed and I'm okay with that, and bla. He told me that the side effects were weight loss and insomnia. I asked him if that was supposed to be a warning or a sales pitch, because I’ll take it! But, about my paranoia.

He prescribed me 10 mg extended release to start (this is nothing, by the way) and after taking it for two days, I was convinced that he'd actually given me a placebo. I called him back pretty immediately and made another appointment. At this second appointment I accused him of the placebo thing:

“You prescribed me a placebo, didn’t you? You wanted to see if I really needed it? You thought that if I called back and complained, then that meant I really needed it and it wasn’t all in my head?"

“Maybe you should be here discussing your paranoia instead of your ADHD."

“Oh. Yeah. Maybe. You should hear the stories I come up with when someone doesn’t respond to my emails."

“Yes, maybe you should make another appointment and tell me about those.”

"Ha. Ha.”


Another recent bout of paranoia involved my gym. I work out at a hotel gym where a friend of mine works. When you consider the price of joining a gym in Manhattan and divide it by the amount of times I actually work out in a month, I end up paying about $30 each time I want to run on the treadmill for 20 minutes. At the hotel gym, I look out the window over the city, use their towels, watch their tvs, steal their fruit and don’t pay a thing for it. Just my style. The hotel is so large that my friend says they’ll just assume I work there, if they question it at all, which is unlikely. Still, I’m always a bit paranoid about the situation when I go in. Last week I went in, scribbled my name and went to grab some water. I saw the girl look at the notepad, look at me and pick up the phone. I told the Skeeze that I had to get out of there. She's onto me. She's calling security. He told me I was a nut and that he was staying. “Okay, but I’m out of here.”

If the Gestapo came after me, after all, I didn’t want to throw my friend under the bus. I told the girl at the front that I wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t be working out. She looked at me weird but didn’t seem to care. I texted the Skeeze, “Let me know what happened.” For a couple hours after that I called him incessantly, wanting to know if security came up. He didn’t answer. I was convinced he was in some little cell in the hotel under a bright light getting interrogated. What would he say? How would he say I got the gym card? Would he out my friend? Would they hold him overnight?

Finally, a few hours later (because the Skeeze didn’t realize how urgent my calls were), he called me back and said, “Oh yeah, security came up and made me pay for the day. No big deal.”

“Really? I knew it!”

“No, psycho. Not really. Nothing happened.”

I found this pretty unbelievable considering everything that happened in my mind.

I’ve decided to face my fears and return to the gym today. I spent the whole morning coming up with excuses to give the security guards when they come to escort me out. I think they’ll believe me.

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