Paranoia: My neighbour knows my secrets

A really shitty thing happened. One of my neighbours (I will probably never know who) opened and read my extremely personal notes from my psychiatrist.

I meet with my doctor every couple of months and talk to him for around an hour about the most intimate details of my life. I speak about my work, marriage, childhood abuse, therapy, addictions, self harm, suicidal thoughts and whether I’m planning specific methods.

He jots down everything we discuss and sends me a copy when the notes have been written up. That’s what arrived through my letterbox hours after the postman had done his rounds. It had clearly been torn open, read and re-folded.

I was horrified. I am horrified. It is completely humiliating that some unknown neighbour knows these things about me. I feel exposed. I want to close down and not confide in my doctor ever again. I feel stupid for never being concerned this might happen.

I know I am being irrational. The person who read this may be someone I have never spoken to. They might have their own mental health issues and have empathised as they read that stuff.

But through my massively self critical, negative lens I only see judgement. I feel like this person sees me, watches, judges, and I can’t defend myself. I feel nervous going out of the house and coming home. I’m looking at everyone in my street and imagining what they think of me. None of it is good.

It’s making me paranoid.

 

Photo: Casey Marshall, Creative Commons.

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20 Comments Add yours

  1. That really is shitty. It sounds like someone is peeking through your windows. Then again Laura I sometimes get mail that’s been opened. Often by Royal Mail because it got destroyed in the sorting office. Maybe it wasn’t a neighbour?
    Having said that it’s irrelevant because we’ll never know. The importance of all of this is that you find something to soothe yourself with.
    Can you do that dissociation thing whereby you can acknowledge in your head that, whoever will have / may have read your notes will have undoubtedly read them through the lens of compassion for you. Compassion that you may not feeling worth of xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thanks Serena. Yes it’s a strange feeling that someone unknown to me has observed me in this way. Even if they were kind about it. I’m talking to myself, challenging my assumption that I’m being laughed at or judged. But you’re right; I guess I don’t feel enough compassion for myself to really believe that a stranger would. x

      Like

  2. That is a really horrible thing for someone do to you and it’s understandable that you’d feel exposed and paranoid as a result.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thanks. I know I’m being somewhat irrational but it’s good to know you can see it too.

      Like

  3. Alexis Rose says:

    That would feel so vulnerable! Im hoping that this person realized what it was, didn’t read through it and put it back in the envelope and back to you. Be good to yourself. You work hard on your health and that takes incredible courage. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thanks. I hope that too. It’s just unsettling knowing it might not be the case.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alexis Rose says:

        Totally get that!!! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Is it possible the doctor had to re-open the envelope? I have re-opened a letter then taped it shut because I forgot something. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      I’d like to think so. But they’d have taped it up at least. It was open and didn’t come via our postman, so I’m pretty sure it got delivered to someone in my street.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Then a serious crime may have been committed and you have every right to report it. It would shake up the neighbor who might have done it…to have cops at their door.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In the future require the doctor to send it so that it is only left when you sign for it (signature confirmation) or hold it till the next time you meet with him.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Laura Black says:

        Yes I’m definitely going to collect the letter in person from now on!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. mandy says:

    Oh dear, I’d be mortified, too. You can’t undo what’s been done, or really know for sure what happened (unless you ask that neighbor if they accidently opened your mail.) So, moving forward: can you ask your doctor to email you the notes. Snail mail is very dangerous these days. Try to relax. Everyone has things they don’t want their neighbors to know-your neighbor might too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, the NHS doesn’t like email very much. For some reason they seem to think posting things is more secure. I can prove that one wrong now!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. irtiyab says:

    May I ask you a question ?
    How you achieved the speak to psychiatrist without feeling paranoid ??!
    I can’t go to psychiatrist because I can trust anyone. So, please tell my how do you’re doing that ?!

    Like

    1. Laura Black says:

      I suppose I am just able to trust in the confidentiality of what I say to my consultant. It’s not easy to do, but I know he’s legally bound to keeping what I say private so that helps.

      Like

  7. irtiyab says:

    You’re not stupid and what happened to you is a crime exactly when someone break out your house suddenly even after taking of all security procedures.

    And don’t worry, that person who have been read your papers, believe me, if was adult not a teenager he/she will be impatient to let you know that.

    In my opinion, if that person was adult he/she will be careful in opening the envelope and make so sure that you can’t notice the refold, he/she will never leave a mess behind him/her.

    My advice is let what happened go and don’t feel guilty or ashamed, go to talk to your psychiatrist about that and about the safe way to mailing you, such as by email or only after confirmation.

    Please, keep seeing him/her because stop going to session or change doctor will not make you less fear, it may let over thinking to control you.

    Beside that, After this accident, psychiatrist will understanding more what exactly you’re talking about.

    Please let me know your update and you have my all support ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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