On having seasonal affective disorder (SAD), dishonesty, and a few other things.

This is going to be a long post, because I have so much to say.
I haven’t been completely honest about why I haven’t been posting as much (being overworked and tired is only part of it) but I was very confused about all these emotions I’m having and wasn’t sure where to begin, even though I wanted to talk about it. I just felt so overwhelmed and confused I was sure anything I wrote would overwhelm and confuse the hell out of anyone reading it and make no sense. Even now, I’m having trouble knowing where to start and am not sure this is going to make any sense, but I’m going to try, since I have the time.

1. Seasonal Affective Disorder.

tigger_SAD

Let me start with the most obvious and simplest to explain. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Last fall, I was so new to blogging and so excited by the novelty of it that my excitement over my new “toy” overrode my usual feelings of depression I get when the days become shorter, colder, and gloomier. I even thought I’d been spontaneously “cured” but it’s back this year. It always starts around late August, when the days are becoming noticeably shorter (and this year, the trees begin to change early too). The fact that it’s still as hot as a pizza oven makes no difference. SAD is triggered by lack of daylight. It really starts to kick in after the autumnal equinox (September 23 this year) when the days begin to become gloomier and grayer and the nights are longer than the days. In this part of the country, there’s always a lot of rain in the fall and overcast days. I know we need the rain, but my brain doesn’t care and the darkness always triggers depression, which causes me to feel sad (SAD is a good acronym for this disorder!) and as gloomy as the gray days, and any motivation I have or energy goes out the window.

The string of upcoming holidays, which seem to mitigate the gloom for normal people (and even make them feel happy), don’t help me one bit. In fact, they make things worse. Halloween isn’t too bad (it doesn’t cost much and isn’t a “family” holiday), but Thanksgiving and Christmas are a different story. As a person with no money and who is not in contact or close to most of my family, the holidays, especially Christmas, are very difficult for me. Besides my children, I have no one to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with. Christmas is so overcommercialized and you are made to feel somehow defective or different (in a bad way) if you can’t afford to buy a ton of gifts (and don’t get many either), don’t love Christmas music, or can’t get into the “holiday spirit.” I know Christmas is really about the birth of Jesus, not crass commercialism, but unfortunately our society has made it that way, and if you’re a poor person with hardly any family and few close friends, it’s really hard to not get depressed.

I always begin to feel better sometime after Christmas, and usually by early February my mood is improving, despite the cold weather. Again, this has to do with the lengthening days. In fact, every year I look forward to the winter solstice, because it’s then that the days begin to grow longer again. It doesn’t take too long for my body to notice it. And once Christmas is over and done with, I feel relief. Then it’s just a matter with putting up with 2 more months of cold and gloomy, overcast days. And because I live in the South, the winters here are not long. It’s usually warming up by early March or even the end of February, and the first signs of spring can be seen then too. I always notice my energy level and motivation increasing, and my mood becomes more upbeat and positive.

So the lack of motivation caused by my SAD (and blogging no longer being the novelty it was last year at this time) is partly responsible for my not writing every day the way I used to. But that’s only part of it.

2. Coming to terms with being a covert narcissist.

covert_narcissism2

The other part is a lot harder for me to talk about, even though I’ve talked about it before, and nothing bad happened when I did and people didn’t unfollow this blog in droves, the way I had feared. About two months ago, I began to self identify as a covert narcissist (in addition to my having BPD and Avoidant PD). It explained the “Aspergers” I was sure I had up to that point. I don’t want to belabor again how I made this discovery or why (if you’re interested in reading more about that, I wrote several articles about it in early-mid August and started another blog, intended to help people with self-aware covert narcissism and BPD who do not want their disorders), but for some reason, I began to feel a lot of shame associated with the “NPD” label, based on the general attitude toward narcissists, especially those who have been abused by them (and the attitude is understandable).

Although I didn’t want to be dishonest because this blog has always been a place where I can be completely honest and would not have discovered this truth about myself had it not been for writing honestly about my feelings every day, I clammed up just the same. I began to fear people’s judgment of me for being “one of them” (even though I’m mindful and think I do pretty well not acting in narcissistic ways) and feeling like maybe I should downplay the “narc” label. After all, it’s just a label, right? And not even a label given to me by a therapist or mental health professional, but a self-diagnosis which might be wrong anyway. I can’t even bring myself to add “covert narcissism” to my list of disorders. BPD’s bad enough.

But in spite of all that, in my gut I know my self assessment is correct. I’ve become very hesitant to call too much attention to it however, because of my fear of negative judgment (which in itself is a part of both BPD and covert NPD). I know it’s silly, because it was abuse itself that made me this way. In the past few months I’ve hesitated to write articles about abuse, because knowing I have covert narcissism made me feel like a fraud. But I’m not a fraud because I am myself an abuse victim–one so badly damaged I was infected with narcissism myself. That’s why once I got over my rage and hatred toward narcissists (which I worked out through my earlier blog posts) brought on by their abuse, I found myself attempting to understand why they did the things they do. It took several more months of completely honest writing (running naked in public) that pulled the scales from my eyes and made me realize that I myself had the disorder and was trying to understand myself!

It took an email I got this morning from an ACON (who I had confessed about my narcissism to) that said she could understand how I could have been infected and that as long as I was aware and trying to change (which I am doing) that there was nothing wrong with my writing for ACONs and in fact, she had been helped by my articles and would continue to read them. Most people, in fact, have been very supportive and understanding. I was actually shocked by this, given how demonized NPD is.

I know as a blogger who writes primarily as a form of self therapy, that I cannot get any better if I stop being honest. I worry far too much about what others are going to think, or that I will be disliked, or people will judge me harshly. I suppose this is natural, having been judged harshly by my narcissists all my life, so I always assume the worst will happen. It rarely does, but just the same, it makes me clam up and leave things out.

These labels can be so damaging, and make those of us who want to change ourselves afraid to admit the truth. It was bad enough admitting I was BPD, because of the negative stigma associated with that. But admitting you’re “N” is even more scary. Some people think you’re the devil himself. But why should it be that way? It’s just a label. If I’m not acting out or hurting anyone, then it makes no difference to anyone but myself. It’s something I need to deal with. I can’t get any better if I don’t come to terms with that reality and on some level, accept it.
I could be wrong anyway (but I don’t think I am).

I felt so much better when I left nothing out, when I was so candid and brutally honest about the most personal and embarrassing and shameful things imaginable. It was scary but I never once regretted it, and found myself growing and changing, becoming happier and more confident (in a real, not a narcissistic way). I was feeling more empathy for others and becoming less shy. I was finding myself connecting with people in a way I was never able to, and was beginning to feel like I mattered. So why would I stop?

I judge myself and don’t want to “own” this label, but realistically, how could someone have been raised the way I was and NOT develop a Cluster B disorder like BPD or NPD? I was both scapegoat AND golden child, and constantly receiving contradictory, mixed messages (I was perceived as either “better” than others, superior, and expected to live up to some ideal image of a child my parents had for me, or I was told I was worthless and bad because I was unable to live up to that unrealistic ideal). This isn’t something I chose; it was something done to me. Narcissism is contagious.

And that brings me to the third issue behind my depression and lack of motivation…

3. Fear of parental disapproval.

angry-parents

There’s another reason why I’ve been less motivated to write. The way I was raised has everything to do with all my emotional problems and my mood swings, inability to connect with anyone emotionally, or feel like I’m leading a fulfilling, successful life. It even explains why I married a malignant narcissist and spent 27 years with him as a codependent, abused wife (covert narcissists–and BPDs–often pair up with higher spectrum or overt, grandiose narcissists and are almost always codependent).

But lately I’ve been afraid to write about my parents and their emotional abuse of me, even though they were my first (and because my personality was still forming, my most toxic), abusers). I can’t blog honestly if I leave my experiences with them out. But I’ve been afraid to write about them just the same, and that’s because about 6 months ago, I found out my parents had found my blog and were reading it. That might make anyone clam up, but no real names were being used, so I wasn’t guilty of slander or libel. It might even do them good to read about the way they made me feel, even if they didn’t care or tried to project everything back onto me (because I wasn’t lovable enough as a child, or am a “loser” who makes “bad choices” today or whatever it is they’re saying about me). It would certainly do ME good to be honest about what happened. After all, this blog is my self-therapy and with any therapist, you would talk about your childhood and the bad parenting you got, so why wouldn’t I write about it? It’s not as if I’m losing anything by doing so, since (as far as I know) I’ve been disowned anyway. I’ve been the black sheep for years and am NC with my mother anyway.

But I still fear their judgment, for God knows what reason. Why do I write openly about my ex’s abuse and not fear his negative judgement? What makes it so different? What makes that “okay” and writing about my parents “not okay”?

I worry way too much about the negative opinions of others, and that in itself is part of my narcissism. I was bullied as a child and that didn’t help either. I put far too much importance on what other people think. I don’t think I lie excessively, but leaving things out is a kind of lie too. I lie by glossing over things, not talking about important things that affected me and caused my problems, not admitting the way I really feel about something, downplaying both my abuse (due to fear of my parents judging me even though they already do) and my own disorders. When I lie by omission, it’s still a lie, and I’m not doing myself any favors either. In fact, the fear of negative judgment feeds on itself, and I imagine the worst outcomes and that tends to feed my fears even more, making me even less motivated to write.

So what I need to do is not worry about what everyone will think, and go ahead and write what I feel and let the chips falls where they may. If I’m harshly judged by some, so be it. Those are probably not people I would want to have anything to do with anyway.

A small part of my depression is because my car needs major repairs and my job only pays enough to pay the bills so I’m living pretty much from one paycheck to the next (and working a lot more). I’m going to go ahead and ask for donations via Paypal but I’ll do a separate post for that and I hope it doesn’t offend anyone.

So that’s where I’m at. I need to start writing about everything I’m feeling again, starting from today and stop worrying about what a few people think and censoring myself because of them. They don’t matter, but my growth as a person does, as well as those who get something from reading this blog. Censoring myself for fear of negative judgment is one of the things I need to work on getting over. It helps no one, least of all me. Haters are always going to exist, no matter what you blog about. I can’t lose my original focus and why I started blogging in the first place, and lately I’ve been slipping. That needs to stop now.

You may find this article inspiring too, if you blog and are afraid to be completely honest.

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27 thoughts on “On having seasonal affective disorder (SAD), dishonesty, and a few other things.

    • I don’t really have any close friends though (who aren’t online). I’m sure I’ll get to see my daughter and her fiance though. I’m not really worried, I just hate the whole holiday season and the forced cheer and all that goes with it.

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  1. “I always begin to feel better sometime after Christmas, and usually by early February my mood is improving, despite the cold weather. ” That’s the time of year I like the least. Dreary and boring.

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  2. Well, now I’ve read the whole thing. There are people who have a talent for making you feel badly about yourself. It gives them power. It’s like hypnosis. Your parents have been able to bore holes into your psyche before you even had the chance to develop defenses. It’s natural to react the way you’re doing. It’s brave of you to write about them anyway. That’s the best was to deal with those special people who have power over your self-esteem Stare them down.

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    • I had the similar issue that she had. Always subjecting yourself to the approval of people who will never give you approval. They always knew that and they gaslight us into believing whatever it takes to get a situation of crazy making.

      My friend Lydia just taught me how to use Pepper spray. It’s really cool. You can Velcro it onto your wrist… And if you just spray a tad you have to evacuate the room. I read about the Columbian drug that keeps you cognitive and semi unconcious. Depending on the dose you are given… You can remember. Or you can also not remember. Its a very deadly drug.

      Under this drug you will follow the orders of your predator.

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      • That is so true, Mary. Nothing you or don’t do will ever get their approval if you’ve been targeted. The gaslighting is icnredibly crazymaking. I’ve been told I’m stupid, crazy, mentally ill, a “loser” (by my own mother!) just because I’m poor, have no common sense, and god knows what else. I don’t even want to know the things she tells the rest of the family about me but I know they aren’t good. I’ve been triangulated against to the point no one in the family wants anything to do with me. You’d think I was the devil.

        I have pepper spray but never had to use it. Hopefully I won’t ever have to.
        Yeah, I have heard of the drug you are talking about that predators use on their victims when they are trying to turn someone into a sex slave or kidnap them.

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    • I have to do what one person suggested to me and look them in the eye (like you said) figuratively anyway (since I do not see them) and say, “why SHOULDN’T I say those things? What’s in it for me to stop saying those things? Are you going to put me back in the will? Will your attitudes ever change? Will your opinion of me change? If not, then I don’t think so! Give them a little of their own narcissism right back at them. USE the “gift” they gave me to make them squirm. It’s got to be good for something, right?
      But I probablywill never do that and they will probably never confront me about it either. Since they found my blog I think they are afraid to say anything at all. They know I’m onto them.

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  3. I read this post on your other blog first and commented there, so I won’t repeat myself here. But I will comment on something I didn’t address on your other blog, and that’s regarding your third point, the fear of parental approval.

    Oh my gosh, me too! I feel that way, even though my father has been dead since 1988 and my 80-year-old mother is computer illiterate, or she was the last time I was in contact with her. I am a great-grandmother now, I am far from being my parents’ “child.” My mother is no longer in my life because I went no contact with her, after first telling her exactly why I was cutting her out of my life. Like you, I write under an assumed name and I don’t use any real names. I am only writing the truth as I remember and understand it, I am not slandering anyone.

    And yet there are times when I feel like I am committing a mortal sin in writing the about my parents’ abuses. When I feel that way, I stop writing! Even though I know it is ridiculous!

    The fact that you can keep writing, knowing that your parents are reading your blog, makes you a superwoman, Lauren!

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    • I don;t know about that, because lately I’ve been not writing as honestly or anything much about them at all. They do make us feel like defective little children even into middle age and even after they are gone! My parents are both still alive, and my father has been ill but his wife keeps him informed of everything I am doing and writing. My mother also reads my stuff. It’s creepy as hell. I try not to think about it, but I know they’re doing it and it’s so intimidating. I guess a lot of courage is being asked of me by Someone.

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    • PS, I got a phone call from my younger son today, telling me that his girlfriend is pregnant. Funny thing, about two days ago I felt a strong premonition that I had a new grandchild on the way. I have three middle-aged children, three young adult grandchildren, a toddler great-grandson, and now a new infant grandchild on the way That lifted my “SAD” spirits a bit. Maybe Christmas won’t feel so yucky this year. πŸ™‚

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  4. I know you didn’t ask for advice, so please forgive me… but are you getting enough vitamin D? The reason I ask is that my husband used to have really severe SAD every fall. I suspected that he was vitamin D deficient due to the lack of sunshine, and a vitamin D deficiency can really wreak havoc with your emotional state. I got him to start taking 2000 units of vitamin D-3 every day, and it made a huge difference in his mood. It might be worth a try, if you aren’t already using it.

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  5. I get especially depressed from September through February as well. Hang in there and keeping posting!

    As far as the narc stuff – I personally don’t care about the diagnosis as long as you are not being cruel or manipulative. As far as I have seen you have been very kind and seem forthright.

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