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Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1073
Experience:  20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
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Since my late teens and increasingly in my twenties, Ive had

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Since my late teens and increasingly in my twenties, I've had fairly vague paranoias such as feeling like someone was hiding in my closet (to the stage where I have to check) even though it was impossible, or hiding in the bathroom. I know these thoughts are irrational, but I can't stop myself checking.

I find that I am scared of and avoid many people outside of the house, especially if they are young men (I am a young man) or look poor. These people often make me feel paranoid, like I will be robbed or beaten. This has increased greatly since I was the victim of a violent crime.

I also experience hallucinations, particularly in the dark/when alone, where I see/feel spiders/get paranoid they are in my bed, get paranoid a snake is crawling into my bed to the stage where I feel things touching my feet, get paranoid about mosquitoes biting me. I sometimes see scorpions/spiders and other impossible bugs crawling on the roof.
Again, I am aware they are hallucinations once I get beyond the initial fear and I often find they disappear if I turn on the light. I also see things in patterns (such as tiles and the texture of paint) and these patterns move. I also get a strange tactile hallucination occasionally where I feel as if my penis is being dragged along the carpet and I feel this feeling in my mouth. I get random visions of myself having sex with people I know but am attracted to in no way, including family members of the same sex (and I feel no attraction to the same sex).

I am aware of these distortions in my thinking and try hard to use logic to combat them and despite all of this I have a healthy social life and an active career. I've worked doing cutting edge research and still have success in my job, although in the last few years my memory has gotten worse (I have always had a very good memory) and it can be a lot harder to get steady cognition (it takes a lot of effort to produce the results in my work that used to be effortless).

Is any of this normal? Is there an obvious candidate for a diagnosis? Should I be seeking medication and treatment even though I have high function?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Tamara replied 6 years ago.
Hi. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm pleased to try to help you today.

I'm sorry to hear that you are having these problems with your senses. I'm sure this has been difficult for you. Although it sounds like you are functioning well, for the most part, in your life, I think it might be worthwhile for you to see a therapist in order to explore these issues further. Some of what you are describing sounds like OCD, accompanied by a lot of anxiety. You stated that you were the victim of a violent crime, so there may be some issues resulting from that that are causing you to be hyper vigilant and to feel (and see) danger when there is none present.

You have related a lot of symptoms, and it is hard to say in this format exactly what might be going on. More questions would need to be asked and answered regarding your hallucinations, your visions, and your feelings. This is why I would suggest you see a therapist. It is possible to be high functioning and still have issues that should be addressed. I suspect if some of these were resolved, you would feel much better.

My overall impression is that a lot of this is due to anxiety/OCD and possibly some depression. A therapist can help you pinpoint things more exactly, and then you can get on appropriate medication if necessary, as well as learn more skills for dealing with your anxiety.

best wishes, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions. Tamara
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