What’s going on here in the office? People are being unfriendly; they have no
patience and are looking at me crossly. I can’t think because I know everyone is
watching me. I hide in the toilet, to avoid their looks. I gather my things, mutter to
a colleague that I don’t feel well and slip outside.
At home I watch the news.The newsreader gives me a penetrating look and says:
‘Tomorrow it’s curtains for you!’ I am seized with fear, I start to sweat. I zap to
another channel.There I see fully laden soldiers running through the Afghan des-
ert in stroboscopic light, running this way and that, all going in different directions!
See, bad things are coming.
My heart is in my mouth; all kinds of ideas come into my mind.The whole coun-
try knows that I will be fired tomorrow! Dishonourably, because everyone there
hates me, I know it.They will hold me responsible for the failure of the project I
was working on; I’ll be called up before the judge onTV! Because I can’t pay the
damages, I’ll go to prison for years! Hours go by. Drenched in sweat, I am obsessed
by thoughts that make me more and more afraid.
A period of (too much) stress can cause you to experience the notion that everything refers
to you; neutral events take on a very personal character. For example you think people have it
in for you. If you are not able to perceive what is really happening, delusions and/or hallucina-
tions can occur.When you hallucinate you experience things that others don’t experience, as
in the case of watching and listening to the TV as described above. In a delusion, a whole set
of ideas is formed that you find totally convincing but that people around you don’t consider
‘true’,‘normal’ or ‘right’. Misunderstandings easily occur through lack of understanding and
trust. It can be a relief to share your experience with someone you trust and who takes you
seriously.That person can also help you in your search for a solution if the situation lasts too
long or gets out of hand.