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I Still Lose My Grip on Reality Sometimes

lots-of-lights-crazy-photo-1179882-1280x960Last night I had a moment of panic, I couldn’t focus and the paranoia was coming on strong.

I was so lost in the fog of confusion that I could hardly speak.

My cruise control came on and I went through the motions that I had learned but I was so distracted, so overwhelmed that I couldn’t focus.

It shouldn’t have been bad, it was a calm afternoon barbecue with my parents but something in me was just so off I was scared.

The conversation over dinner felt stilted, awkward as if something wasn’t being said and in the midst of the mundane conversation I started forming connections in my head.

It’s hard to describe the connections you make in the midst of panic when you have schizophrenia but it’s like everything that’s said somehow corresponds to circumstances in your life which you keep to yourself. It’s as if there was an underlying meaning, a knowing nod to the things you don’t tell anybody, but somehow these people you’re with know and are talking about it. It’s as if their words imply some universal understanding that you’ve just barely begin to pick up on. It’s as if they know the things you don’t share with anyone and they’re making fun of you for it. It’s extremely weird.

The fact remains though that my heart was pounding and my mind was reeling and I could barely choke down my food.

I’ve always been honest with my parents about how I feel though so when they asked if I wanted to stay and play a game I told them no, that I had to get home and take my meds because I was freaking out too much. Thankfully they understood.

Being honest about how you’re feeling is extremely important and having people you can be honest with is key to being able to survive your most intense moments of panic.

Suffice it to say I rushed home, took my meds and conked out on my couch just to give myself a moment of respite.

I’ve been talking to a new girl too and thinking about her all day gives me a rush, but when you have a mental illness that rush can get to be a little too much. I thought about asking her if I could take a break last night, but I’ve found that talking to her calms me down, so last night she was my saving grace. I think the rush of my girl, the pressure from starting this new blog, my paid work and my book project that’s in the works and other little minor inconveniences just compounded into an overarching panic situation last night that got the best of me.

The point of all this is to say that I know what it’s like to get set off in such a panic that you can barely breathe and it doesn’t happen often for me anymore but I’ve been there.

I think the best thing you can do for yourself is take it easy and I’m going to have to heed my own advice here for a little while.

Sometimes you just need a moment to take it all in and I think I’ve been neglecting my much needed moments for the last few weeks.

Usually it gets better in the morning and this morning I feel ok which is good but it’s occurred to me quite apparently that I need to cool it on putting so much pressure on myself.

Tonight, I’m going to take a hot shower lay down on my couch, talk to my girl and try to relax.

Hopefully, I’ll get a grip on all of this.

I Still Lose My Grip on Reality Sometimes

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). I Still Lose My Grip on Reality Sometimes. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Nov 2015
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