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Crushes Can Be Dangerous for People With Mental Illness


You know how it goes, one day you’re hanging out at your favorite spot and you see a new person.

This wouldn’t normally be an issue but this new person is particularly attractive and is someone you’d like to get to know.

Maybe you don’t say anything because you’ve been burned too many times or you have a bit of anxiety or you just think this new attractive person wouldn’t be interested in you.

However it goes, at some point, one of you talks to other about something completely innocuous.

That was fun, you think, and then leave it at that.

Then the next day, and the next few days this attractive stranger keeps showing up at your spot and before you know it you’re deep into an hours long conversation about life, love, philosophy and everything under the sun.

At this point, it’s hard not to feel something for this attractive stranger even though you only know their first name.

You try looking them up online but there are so many people with this first name that you give up.

The next day and the next few days you go back to your spot and the attractive stranger is nowhere to be seen.

This wouldn’t normally be a problem except for the fact that this attractive stranger has stirred up a cocktail of hormones and chemicals in your brain that make it hard to think about much else.

Now, here’s where things get hard. If you’re a person with mental illness, sometimes these hormones and chemicals can stir up something that’s altogether too close to psychosis.

You can easily start thinking about the reasons and the motivations behind people and you can find connections that just don’t exist in reality.

You can come to very strange conclusions about why this person hasn’t shown up again or tried to contact you.

They could’ve lost interest, or they could be vetting you for a position as an international spy.

You can start to lose your sh*t analyzing and re-analyzing every tiny facet of your interaction with this attractive stranger and in bad cases it can get to the point where you’re convinced something is happening or has happened that has no basis whatsoever in reality.

This can also be made worse by casual perusal of anonymous missed connections personals online, and in indications from sources that have no connection to you or the attractive stranger.

Simply put, with enough of these hormones/chemicals, the frustration of not seeing the attractive stranger and not being able to contact them, and the further stirring up of emotions in innocuous things that seem to have a connection to the circumstance, you can easily find yourself in a hole of paranoia, psychosis and delusions.

This is a fact I’m sure anyone with a mental illness has experienced and it’s one of the major reasons we try to be so very careful with love.

It messes us right the hell up.

In my experience dealing with this stuff, the best and most therapeutic thing you can do for yourself is give it plenty of time.

You may feel like you want to jump out of your skin in anticipation of seeing this attractive stranger again, but we need to be careful with ourselves and give ourselves the time to form a healthy mindspace about this person.

You may build cities and live a full rich beautiful life with this person in your head but in reality they are still just a stranger.

We need to come to terms with the fact that the feelings we experience, although normal for love can be intensified and taken to some dark places if we’ve already got a tendency to be paranoid and delusional.

Time, above all else is your best friend.

Separate yourself if you have to, but having a healthy outlook about this person is the best way to both respect them and any possible relationship you may have with them.

Overall, the delusional, can’t eat, can’t sleep, crazy love you feel will only last about a week or two weeks at most and after that you’ll be ok.

Give yourself that time to be healthy with what you’re feeling and you should be good.

As always, just know you’re not alone in feeling this way, I’ve been there and millions of other people have been too.

Crushes Can Be Dangerous for People With Mental Illness

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. (2016). Crushes Can Be Dangerous for People With Mental Illness. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 May 2016
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