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Everything posted by MisterDavid

  1. As someone who's indulged in self-harm, I know how hard it can be to resist - but resisting is very brave in its own way. It really gets my blood boiling when people suggest you're just 'acting' mentally ill for attention. Shows nothing but ignorance... I hope your trip to the doc goes well tomorrow. Be well! -Dave
  2. I'm like a broken record on this forum with my endorsement of therapy, but I think it's a great idea - and yes, finding one that you click with can be a challenge. When you do find 'the right one', though, it can be so helpful. Remember this was a traumatic event that occurred when you were very young, and it doesn't sound like any of it was your fault. There's no need to rush into sex with anyone if you're still uncomfortable with it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, and frankly, any guy worth knowing would understand your point of view if you explained it to him - there's no need for you to get into particulars, just express that you're not ready for sex because of some things that happened in your past. It'd be another good topic - your current feelings about sex - to discuss with your therapist (when you find one you can trust). Best of luck to you, I hope you can put the negatives behind! Cheers, Dave
  3. Still on the JES kick; I've moved on to "High Glow". Something about the lyrics really grabs me. (Currently listening to the "vocal redux edit") I love this woman!
  4. Motorcycle/Jes Brieden "As the Rush Comes" Almost makes me want to take up a particular illegal drug....
  5. I know what you mean, but there's no denying my lack of empathy or need for approval. I don't think I have all the symptoms of NPD, but I do have many of them, and the NPD diagnosis does seem to be the closest fit - although I may be engaging in one of the all-time favorite games of the mentally ill: Self-Diagnosis! Seriously, though, I do have great faith in my therapist. At this point, she knows me better than anyone else in my life. My psychiatrist seems to be more interested in refilling my prescriptions than in really diagnosing me, and not to belittle him, but his diagnosis of "Major Depression and Anxiety" was pretty simple one to make. Believe me, I would love to have a different opinion as to my disorder, but I need to start somewhere. This is the first time a therapist has ever made a difference in my life.
  6. Hi again - Apologies that it's been so long since I wrote, I've been busy lazy... I'd like to say thanks for the non-judgmental remarks, usually the response to NPD is for people to put up their defenses - which is not unreasonable considering how destructive we can be. You know, I was initially completely thrown by my therapist's diagnosis (I think I mentioned earlier I was shaken very badly), as I couldn't see it myself, but really the one hallmark we think I'm missing is the feelings of grandiosity. When I think of narcissism, I used to think of vanity, too, which is something I don't think I have an unusual amount of...but I can see how I can be manipulative, even if it's not to the level of empowering or enriching myself at the expense of others. Other than the grandiosity, the major components like the lack of empathy and need for admiration are certainly present. In my case, I think "approval" is a better word than "admiration", I can see many instances where I catch myself hoping for a compliment on my work, or someone telling me my salsa dancing is showing great improvement, or even my therapist telling me recently that "this was a good session" was hugely gratifying for me. I find myself almost needing her acknowledgement that I'm doing well and am starting to accomplish what I need to do, because right now she is the person I am closest to (I have very few friends and tend to keep people at an arm's length, emotionally). For me, it's the lack of empathy that is so damaging, and I think that's the root of what makes so many NPDs destructive to those around them; we just can't understand how other people feel about things. It's that simple. It's not cruelty (at least in my case), or lack of a conscience, for example I don't want to hurt people but am very troubled when I do. Recently I was delaying breaking up with someone I'd been seeing for a few years, and dragging out a relationship that was going nowhere, because knowing that I would be hurting her made me feel bad, and so months went by until I finally left her, and it was probably even more painful for her, having drawn our relationship out for that much longer. I told myself at the time that I was doing something right by not telling her the truth (that I just wasn't in love with her), but I ended up making things worse by acting as if nothing was wrong instead of having the courage to end it immediately. I have an ongoing project where I try to put myself in social settings and imagine how others are feeling, but it's surprisingly hard...but then, I've had thirty years or more of habit that I'm trying to break. As far as the denial goes, I got to a point where things were so obviously wrong that I had to force myself to go to further lengths than I had ever tried in order to try to make things better - this led to me seeing a psychiatrist for the first time in my life, and finally finding a therapist I can trust. I committed myself to making a positive change in my life, which is incredibly hard to do, and like many things the first step is acknowledging you have a problem. I really do want to make changes, and believe me, it's hard as hell - I've spent two-thirds of my life developing my self, and now I see the need to tear down what I've built and start over. Really, the acceptance has been the easy thing, what's hard is actually doing the things I need to do in order to change. And not to be grim or dramatic, but if I don't face this head on, I'm very likely to end up having a very short life. The "incurable" part is where it gets discouraging. There's certainly not a high success rate. It's so easy to just give up, and there's no guarantees that I can succeed in making changes, but at some point you need to look at yourself and realize change will never happen if you don't try. I may not be able to cure my NPD, but that doesn't mean I have to go down without a fight. I do think there are degrees of narcissism, there are a lot of traits that might coincide with those of a borderline personality for example, but it seems like narcissistic seems to be the best fit. And I can at least put a label on what's wrong with me, which I find very calming somehow... Thank you for your comments, and good wishes. -Dave
  7. Hi, I just wanted to chip in with a warning about mixing the benzos and alcohol - they complement each others' effects, and mixing a significant amount of klonopin or similar with that much booze can combine to fatally suppress your respiratory system. You're almost playing Russian roulette at that point, and I don't think it is mitigated by the tolerance you've built up to either the clonazepam or alcohol, it's the synergistic effect of the two together. I've combined the two similarly, say 6-8 mg clonazepam plus quite a bit of alcohol, and while I didn't need to be hospitalized (or at least, didn't go to a hospital), I was probably lucky I woke up. Like I said, it's almost Russian roulette. You don't sound like you're in as bad a shape emotionally as I was when I did this, but you are indulging in self harm. Please be careful. -Dave
  8. I read the news today, oh boy... About a lucky man, who made the grade And though the news was rather sad Well I just had to laugh I saw the photograph... He blew his mind, out in a car He didn't notice that the lights had changed A crowd of people stood and stared They'd seen his face before Nobody was really sure If he was from the House of Lords "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles of course...
  9. Managed to get through the whole day at work.
  10. "Heal it Up" by Concrete Blonde. A sentiment I need very badly right now.
  11. Hi Anjal - As someone with similar symptoms to your friend (sans spouse), I can relate to both of you. Depression takes as much of a toll on one's loved ones as it does on oneself, and I'm truly sorry to hear of your experience. When we get that depressed, we aren't trying to hurt people, we are so lost in our own wilderness of hurt and confusion we can't see the effect it has on others. I don't think it's usually intentional, or selfish, although I know it may appear that way. As far as helping you cope, you might try looking for a support group near you - I have been going to one that's connected to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, which is a national organization. The support group I'm familiar with has a subgroup specifically for families and friends of people with depression or bipolar disorder, which could be very beneficial to you. As far as your relationship together is concerned (and I am not an expert on these matters by any means, this is just my opinion), I think he needs to resolve his divorce before he can get on with his life...right now you're both in a kind of limbo...I think he needs to get out of his marriage before he can really start dealing with the depression, although if you can, maybe try urging him to see a doctor or psychiatrist. Antidepressant medication isn't a magical cure-all, but it can calm things down enough for him to start addressing the real causes of his illness. Best wishes to both of you. Be well. Dave
  12. I have a pretty intrusive social phobia, but I'm more afraid of heights. If I'm up in a tall building, I catch myself looking out the window and wondering what it might be like to jump out and fall...sometimes get the same feeling going over bridges, or on cliffs near where I Iive - like there's a part of me that really wants to just jump off. It's disturbing, to say the least...
  13. Hi learning - I'm currently on a combination of Prozac, Wellbutrin, and Klonopin, but Effexor worked very well for me on both the antidepressant front and the anti-anxiety. I went to Prozac a few years ago because I was having trouble coping with some of the side effects - primarily the anorgasmia.
  14. Trigger warning - I've described some events that happened in my past that some might find upsetting, so I'm putting up the trigger warning out of an abundance of caution. * * * * * * * * * * I originally posted this to a different forum, but really wanted to share it with the folks here. I don't see much about people who suffer from NPD and wanted to offer a brief synopsis of what it's like for me. ***Before you read this: I am NOT looking for sympathy and/or pity; I'm trying to explain a little what living with this disorder is like. Please don't feed the narcissist's supply! Being diagnosed with NPD was one of the most dramatic things that has ever happened to me. When I think of narcissism, I think of vanity, boastfulness, of delusions of grandeur. What I didn't associate with narcissism is what I experience, which is shame, feelings of self worthlessness, and energy sapping waves of depression and hopelessness. The day my therapist gave me this diagnosis, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck...How could this be me? I don't show off, I don't make an effort to constantly be the center of attention or to claim I'm better than everyone else...I hold doors open for people, I give compliments to people, I love animals, I always use my turn signal...how could I be so self-centered? I started reading about it. My therapist thinks that my biggest challenge is getting out of my own head, and I have to agree, because this is typical of my behavior - run to a book for rational, logical answers. It's more of a challenge with NPD, though, because so much literature is devoted to helping people escape the harm that we cause. It's very discouraging to be reviled as a monster by people you've never met because of their perception of what NPD is. When you begin to examine yourself, as I've doing, you see the deep seated shame and hurt from childhood experiences, you see that you've spent your adult life thinking you're not good enough, not strong enough, not smart enough, and so on. I can see where my emotions have been dulled more and more over the years, and my self imposed isolation (I've lived alone for almost 15 years now) has further reduced my ability to connect with other people. This, maybe more than anything else, is what I think the real hallmark of NPD is: the lack of empathy towards others. I've spent my life building a wall to defend myself against hurt and criticism from others, and I've been so successful I've walled myself off from some of the most important things that we seek in life, friendship and love. I've driven away many good friends because of my disorder, and had a string of relationships that never last. I know I've hurt people, but I can never seem to put myself in their shoes to understand what they are going through when I'm emotionally distant, or selfish. How did I become this way? I don't know for sure, but there are common threads among NPDs that I share from childhood: (again, I am NOT looking for sympathy or pity, this is merely stating some of my experiences) I was always small for my age, and was picked on and bullied from the time I was about ten years old. I never had the courage to stand up to a crowd of bullies (there's always a sidekick or three, it seems, and I never had many friends). I got beat up and then laughed at when I went home crying, I was constantly taunted by others for being such a baby...so, I started shutting down my emotions so people wouldn't see how I was hurting. I still hurt, of course, but I learned not to show it, and eventually that led to shutting down emotional reactions altogether. I'm almost 44 years old, but I haven't actually cried since I was a young teen. I believe one of the other major factors in the development of my NPD was parental neglect. I wasn't beaten, or starved, or had a truly horrible childhood existence that many do, I was simply unloved. The only thing I ever remember my parents caring about were my grades in school, and when they started to slip, it was almost like they gave up on me altogether. So, I started skipping school, in part to avoid the mockery of others, but I think mostly to try to get attention from my parents. To this day I don't know how I managed to graduate high school. I tried going to community college, but by this time I had developed social anxiety and periods of depression that would practically incapacitate me. College was far from a success. I wandered from job to job for many years, doing manual labor, warehouse work, lots of things that didn't involve much interaction with other people. Eventually I made use of an opportunity to learn some practical computer skills, which I still make my living from today. The loneliness and emptiness of growing up without real friends, and having family that seemed completely oblivious to my pain, is a hardship I would not wish on anyone. Perhaps I'm just overly sensitive, people would say to me; I didn't think I was sensitive, just an empty shell of a person - who had nothing of value to offer the world, who wouldn't be missed if I was gone...Things I still think of from time to time now. When I look at my NPD now, I see a very low, almost nonexistent self esteem. I see myself overreacting to criticism if I make a mistake at work. I see very few people I'm close to. I do not see myself as a conniving manipulator, or as the gods' gift to humanity, I don't have grandiose thoughts (other than the possible delusion that I may someday become a halfway decent guitar player)...It's hard to see the narcissist, but maybe that's because people with NPD, like myself, are afraid to face those things that are at the roots of the disorder. I've been in therapy for a year now, following a few halfhearted suicide attempts. I may very well be coping with NPD for years to come, it's not just going to magically disappear with the right combination of medications, I have to change a lifetime's worth of thinking patterns. Yet, I find myself willing to try - willing to give myself another chance at life, to start from a new perspective. It certainly will not be an easy path, but I am determined to change, and for people with NPD that's often the highest hurdle to overcome. Thank you for reading. I'll try to add more later. Dave
  15. "Wounded (A New History of the Western Front in World War I)" by Emily Mayhew. About the care of the war wounded, from the perspective of stretcher bearers, nurses, chaplains at forward hospitals, etc. I find the First World War to be a tremendously sad, unbelievably horrifying, and yet human conflict - stories like the ones in this book emphasize the side of humanity.
  16. Hi Lucerne - I'd like to second what both Shadow and Lauryn said. You'd be surprised how many people have "unusual" tastes or fetishes, so please don't beat yourself up. As long as it's between consenting adults, there's no need for you to be ashamed of your tastes. If you really have trouble accepting your needs, find a new therapist/counselor (or sex therapist) who is willing to talk about your needs instead of just dismissing them. As an aside, I've often wondered if people who are inclined to alternative lifestyles just know they need something different, like many people who happen to be gay just seem to know that's what they are, even at a young age - which is why I think your counselor who dismissed you with "You'll grow out of it" is so wrong. I'm sure there are probably BDSM sites that you could find that have forums like this one where you wouldn't have to worry about content. As far as like minded people, around me we have "munches", where people who are involved in the BDSM lifestyle get together every couple of weeks to socialise over lunch. It's not a hookup or swinger-type club at all, it's just people who share a common interest, getting together to talk about whatever happens to be on their minds. Being around people who understand your needs better than vanilla types would make it much easier for you to talk about them, and be more accepting of yourself. Hope this helps a little bit - be well! David
  17. There are many of us here who have, or even do, feel just like you. That's why we (or at least, I) keep coming back. We know the emptiness, but we've also learned that it is possible to change. It may not happen overnight, but you can make your life better - learn a new skill, get a new job, volunteer at an animal shelter if it'll help! But you can get through it, and I say that sincerely as someone who has had the exact same thoughts you're expressing. Hang in there - please keep us posted on how you're doing. Dave
  18. Hi Theresa, I'm on both as well. I was on Prozac only for years, but after a while it didn't seem to work as well for me... The wellbutrin was added at the recommendation of my pdoc, about a year ago. Currently I'm on 40mg Prozac and we've bumped the Wellbutrin up to 450 mg over that time. I felt like I had a little more energy with the Wellbutrin added, but it wasn't a spectacular difference - I should add though, that I also take Klonopin for anxiety, so there may be some offsetting effects there? Not sure. From what my pdoc said, I think 150 is the starting point for Wellbutrin, and it needs a month or so until you can really evaluate its effects. I think it's worth a try though, I definitely have more energy now than with just the Prozac alone. Hope that helps a little. Cheers, Dave
  19. Hate to be a downer, but currently: "Suicide Note", by Johnette Napolitano.
  20. Woke up to 7" of snow here in downstate NY; the high today was about 13F. Currently it's 3, possibly down to -3F tonight...that's COLD for us! So, the snow isn't melting at all, it's that very fine powdery snow that's great for skiing. Very quiet and peaceful out. Makes me feel a little meditative.
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