Do I tell her that I was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago after I took a trip to the U. where I thought I was a prophet and I was trying to save the world?Do I tell her an outright lie, something along the lines of “My brother has schizophrenia” or that I majored in psychology when in fact I only ever took intro to psych but my illness has made me an expert, or do I simply say “I just have a history with the subject” and leave it at that?
In situations where the ice has broken and they know, though, it quickly devolves from a date to a several-hour-long explanation of all of their anxieties and drug problems and psychological history simply because they trust me with the information.Once that happens, it’s hard to find someone attractive, and whether I like it or not a friendship, perhaps dysfunctional at that, has been formed.I don’t consider this a bad thing and I’m always up for listening, but I just kind of wish it had gone another way. I will listen to you for hours and give you my perspective if you ask for it, but at this point I’d rather cuddle with someone than listen to their history of drug abuse and emotional anxiety. I’ve been on dates, sure, but none of the potential relationships lasted past the second date.I’ve heard that I’m picky, that I’m not vulnerable enough or that I’m just plain afraid of being in a relationship. Either because of a poor fit or because I’ve been too nervous, pushy or paranoid, it’s never clicked.
I don’t think others’ thoughts hold any real bearing on my thoughts and emotions when the prospect of a relationship presents itself. For the last eight years, I’ve had a major red flag hanging over my head: the diagnosis of a major mental illness.
When exactly do you tell someone that you have schizophrenia?
That alone is almost assuredly a relationship killer. Although there have been periods of uncertainty and minor episodes, there has never been the stereotypical hundreds of phone calls in a single night threatening to kill myself that most people would associate with a crazy lover.
I’ll be the first to admit that at times my impulse control has been a little out of whack, but never to that degree.
There also have been times when I completely misread a situation as flirting when it was simply friendly joking or being nice. Their concessions, however, mean little in the heat of the moment when a girl asks “So what do you do,” and I respond “I’m a writer for Salon.” She’ll then inevitably ask what I write about and I’ll inevitably tell her that I write about issues facing mental illness and schizophrenia.
That’s cost me a couple of friendships that afterward I regretted screwing up. Of course, she will then ask if I have a background in psychology and that’s when I have to make a decision.