I am proud to announce that Schizophrenic.NYC’s newest staff blogger is Taylor Jones.
What the Tagline “Don’t Be Paranoid, You Look Great” did for me. – by Taylor Jones
My mental illness has made me feel a lot of things; anger, mania, sadness, even suicidal. But one of the main things I feel with mental illness paranoia. I used to be a really confident person. I could get up on a stage and perform for a massive crowd without even a drop of fear. I could wear whatever I wanted, no matter my weight, and be fine. I was known as the girl who tried weird fashion statements. I was bold, and brave.
But over my adult years my confidence has been replaced with anxiety, and extreme paranoia. My outfits became more conservative to the point that I would be wearing leggings and sweaters in the dog days of summer. I would try makeup tips that I found on YouTube that would make me look prettier, I would dye my hair to look better, until the day came I gave up. I stopped trying to look better and started to try to look less noticeable. Walking down the street became a constant fear; who’s looking at me? What are they saying? I’m a joke, I’m a joke, I’m a joke. Grocery stores became a constant anxiety attack. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me. I could feel the glares. I could hear the thoughts, the judgements, screaming at me. Some days I’d abandon what I was doing, and race to my house, my safe haven, where nobody could judge m; except for myself. I started talking myself out of going outside.
I stopped returning texts and invites to go out with friends. I didn’t enjoy the sun, or the foliage. I didn’t go to the beach, or explore the cities. I didn’t play in the snow, or enjoy a rainstorm. I stayed inside, blinds shut, keeping out everyone’s thoughts of me. I didn’t post selfies online, because I could already see the comments, and I could already read the messages of negativity that would flood my feed.
I was letting myself wither away and torturing myself to avoid my paranoid thoughts; when the reality was I was letting my paranoia consume me.
Until one day, I stumbled across the Instagram feed of Schizophrenic.NYC. I followed the page for some time, going back and forth on likes. I had posting about my mental health more, following the launch of my own blog site; from the safety of home, and through the anonymity of the internet of course. And then, a message hit me. Schizophrenic.NYC posted the logo; Don’t be paranoid, you look great. It hit me like a Mac truck.
I started going out more. I stayed longer in stores, and I took the long way home. I didn’t avoid being in public. I asked people to go out with me. I started seeing confidence again, and ever so slowly, I started fighting my paranoia.
Of course, my paranoia isn’t gone. I have mental health issues. I can’t wish away any part of it; I can’t say don’t be sad, and watch my depression vanish either. But I can laugh in the face of paranoia. I can try to wish it away, and tell myself I look fantastic. I can talk to my paranoia, and tell it to shove itself where the sun don’t shine. I can fight my mental illness, and all the shitty symptoms that come along with it. And I can do with a smile on my face, and my sense of humor as my weapon.
Every time I feel paranoid I go forth with “don’t be paranoid, you look great,” and although it doesn’t end the anxiety, and the paranoid thoughts, it gives me myself back, even for a few minutes. We can’t dismiss mental health; it’s a serious medical issue and needs to be addressed and taken seriously. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t talk down to and jokingly insult our own mental health, and win our minds back, and gain some beautiful moments of clarity.