I've suffered anxiety and depression for much of my life but in recent years I have lost weight, got married and found my feet in a great job. Things are genuinely on the up and I don't feel that my emotions are as big a problem as they used to be although I'm in the middle of something I don't think I can deal with.
About 5 years ago a new member of staff joined the team who seemed a good laugh. We got on well and soon considered each other good friends. It wasn't long before true colours were revealed. She started planting nasty ideas in my head about other people, talking hatefully about everyone, pointing out flaws and faults, telling me stories about how people in the office were colluding against her, and was in a permanent heightened state of anger and aggression amongst other things.
To other people though she still appeared a happy, smiling good-natured person. Her twisted interpretations of things weren't for public consumption, just mine. Soon I got sucked in and was behaving and thinking in exactly the same way.
I spent a year behaving like that until I reached a point where, I was so angry at everything, I had to take action because my mental state was not a healthy one. I did some serious soul searching. It took me a while but I identified the problem. It was her. Not so much her, but they way she was. I made a conscious decision to put space between us and, although it was very difficult and I tried not to make her feel entirely ignored, it was clear to her that something was up.
She was angry, very angry; but I knew she would be and I just had to stand my ground. I naturally lean toward the negative and depressive way of thinking. I do not have the emotional strength to deal with an outside negative influence. She wanted an explanation but her character was so explosive and she is in a permanent state of anger that I didn't think she would understand. To this day I have not been able to explain why I put distance between us but, up to recently, we had learnt to be civil to each other in the office.
A week ago she was flagged as over-using a website during working hours and her access has been blocked. She thinks that because I work in IT, I followed her internet activity and specifically targeted her to make trouble. She is always snarling and scowling about something or other and has now started (not directly to me but to others) accusing me of targeting her and tormenting her. She thinks I go out of my way to try and do her harm or make her life difficult. She has one eye on every thing I do, every move I make and word I say is analysed. I can see her doing it and, because for a while I thought like that too, I can almost imagine what she is thinking. It makes for very uncomfortable environment.
She has reported me to management, who thankfully know that her story isn't likely but it doesn't really solve the issue of dealing with this person on a daily basis. I am not targeting her or going out of my way to make her life harder, or colluding or turning people against her. The accusations are personal to me. I was a very over weight child and was sometimes bullied because of it. The idea of a bullying situation is actually one that makes me shudder. I have made the office manager aware of the situation and she tells me not to worry, but I am worrying; A LOT. I feel like I have to defend my actions, even if I am doing nothing that involves her at all. It is keeping me awake at night. I am having to take over-the-counter medication to sleep (sometimes double doses) and I do not want this continue affecting my mental health and then my marriage and my job.
She is clearly in need of help herself and I don't know how to approach the issue. Obviously ignoring it does not work as she boils over with rage regularly and one day the whole thing is going to come to a head. Is it OK to tell someone that you think they have delusions of persecution? If she already thinks I'm out to get her, imagine how she will react to being told that. I dread to think.
I am becoming fixated on finding a solution. I go over and over in my head what I might say to her and how I might say it and, even on weekends, I can't switch off. I think about it every waking hour.
My own anxieties will hopefully abate once I find a way to cope with this person and her horrible misinterpretations. Advice on how to deal with a person with persecution complex would be great.