Presenting a real-deal look into schizophrenia and my first-hand ongoing challenges face to face with interpersonal relationships. The main thing my therapist and I got to while in session was that there were inevitable effects on me when there is conflict with those close to me. This is inevitable because I can feel empathy. Of course, this is a good thing overall, but comes with a price. I actually feel the consequences of how others feel which is much better than not having empathy. But this is why I think my doctor keeps stressing the importance of interpersonal relationships; when we feel empathy, interpersonal relationships matter whether we like it or not. Thus, we benefit from figuring out where people fit into our lives and what we can expect of them. This is complicated, but essentially we can look at it as a spectrum. There will be a few people who we will always want to keep around as much as possible, and a few we will never want to have around. Then there's everyone else. This is where most people will fit. My friend who came over to visit may be a good example of someone I may want to keep around very casually. I may not want to expect much from him, but I may not want to completely banish him. My caregiver is someone I would expect more from but I may need to accept that I cannot expect as much from her as I did from certain other people and so on. One problem I will have is when a situation creates cognitive dissonance. This is where we cognitively want one thing, but behaviorally do the opposite. For example, when I feel conflicted about my caregiver, I am thinking "I want to fire her." However, given that she may be better than most home health care people and isn't so bad, etc. I find myself knowing it's probably best to keep her. So the solution is to find a way to accept her in general. This doesn't mean accepting everything she does or doesn't do, but accepting she is probably going to be around for awhile and I may need to assert myself or utilize my therapist to do so when I am frustrated. It seems like a lot of work and it is. But ultimately this work will help me navigate the crazy world of interpersonal relationships in a manner that doesn't come back at me and make me distressed. For those closest to me, it's a marathon, not a sprint. The more careful I can be in assessing what's going on and how I want to react the more efficient I will be in navigating the relationships and the less distress I will feel from any blowback. Onward bound!