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Schizophrenia and the Intensity of Passion


Over the last month I’ve been involved in a sort of fling with a girl I met on the internet.

I won’t get into specifics but it got very heavy very fast.

It would’ve been ok but for the simple reason that I live with a mental illness where stress is literally a light switch between stability and breakdown.

To put it simply, I was losing my mind over being with this girl.

Normally I wouldn’t write about something so personal but it made me realize the extent to which I’m able to handle passion and relationships.

It scared me and made me so nervous I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, and symptoms I haven’t had in years came roaring back into the picture.

Suffice it to say I had to put an end to it for the sake of saving my mental stability.

I haven’t been in many relationships so I’m unsure if that’s how it feels every time but if it does, I know that’s something I don’t want to jump into and just take lightly. It was so intense I was very scared I was going to have to go back to the hospital.

The funny thing about it was that I didn’t even know what I was getting into, I couldn’t have known and it was frightening how the intensity of it, even when we weren’t together was so powerful.

Living with schizophrenia is a tenuous balance between stability and losing control and if you start to lose control you know it, you have to regain your balance if you want to have any hope of living a normal life.

I don’t normally express matters of the heart and things like relationships to people because they seem inconsequential and they’ve never really gone beyond the limits of casual dates or flirting but when you get deep into something and it grasps you in a tight fist and you literally can’t breathe because of the anticipation, you know it’s time to break it off.

You have to be well and things that cause you an inordinate amount of stress are not going to be good for you.

For now I know what I need, and this experience has taught me a great deal about what I can and can’t handle in a relationship and if I have to give myself space that’s perfectly ok.

The point of this all is to say that you have to be aware of what you can and you can’t deal with when it comes to managing your illness. Some things, although seemingly exciting and good and enthralling may end up causing you to lose control, and anything that takes the power out of your hands when it comes to maintaining your illness is something you should be careful with.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared and excited at the same time before, my heart was beating a mile a minute and I could barely think and though that may seem exciting, when you have a mental illness to deal with, it’s something you should be wary of.

I don’t know if that’s how all relationships are and I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity soon to figure it out but I think for now I want to put the brakes on and if that means being alone then so be it.

I just know I can’t take the alternative.

Schizophrenia and the Intensity of Passion

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2015). Schizophrenia and the Intensity of Passion. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 Sep 2015
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