I always wanted to have a great career in the medical science field. I loved hearing stories about scientists like Einstein, Curie, Pasteur, Edison, etc. even as a small child. One of the earliest books I remember reading was about Louis Pasteur and his ideas about germs. I wanted to make good discoveries that would benefit people. I wasn’t so concerned about becoming rich as long as I was making a positive difference.
As much thought as I put into my future career as a child I didn’t put much thought into marriage and family. I figured I’d probably follow the same path my parents and grandparents did, meet someone a couple years after finishing high school and get married a few years later. But I ran into problems with the beginnings of my mental illness while still in high school. It was my best friend who suggested that I may have a serious mental illness rather than traditional teenage moodiness. Turns out she was right even back then.
Since I was struggling to figure out the nuances of my mental illness and trying to keep my grades up in college, I swore off dating entirely the last three years I was in college. I probably could have dated some but I thought I needed to devout all my time and energy to getting through college and my outside reading. I also didn’t feel right about burdening a woman with my mental health problems while I was trying to figure them out for myself.
I have had flare ups on family members and close friends. They were painful for me and no doubt painful to those who were catching the force of my breakdowns. I would much prefer to have a mental illness that would allow me to break down and uncontrollably sob and weep. But my illness, being what it is, doesn’t allow that. I haven’t cried in over ten years about anything, not even at my grandparents’ funerals. Unfortunately the way my mind is wired I have breakdowns where I’ll yell at and curse even those I care about the most. And I refuse to put a girlfriend or wife through that. I especially refuse to have a psychotic breakdown around children. My brother has four kids, aged twelve, nine, seven, and five. I haven’t had a breakdown around them and I avoid them when I am feeling shaky. I have had to not attend Thanksgiving and Easter in years past because I was fearful of having a breakdown around my brother’s or cousins’ kids. As it is I am the uncle who treats the kids essentially the same way I do adults and joke around with them. I don’t want to ruin that.
I don’t have a wife or girlfriend or kids because of my mental illness. It’s bad enough dealing with it on my own. I refuse to take my problems out on anyone else if it can be avoided. I know myself well enough that I know I would be a bad and unstable husband and father because of my schizophrenia. That’s why I won’t marry or even date.