Guest Post: How Addiction Leads to Personality Disorders

How Addiction Leads to Personality Disorders
By Sharon Torres

Personality disorders such as narcissism and sociopathy are often blamed upon the nature vs. nurture model. When people’s brains are wired to have these kinds of problems and it is coupled with childhood trauma, these are possible causes of having a psychological disorder.

However, there is another side of the story where personality disorders don’t just come from childhood trauma nor a natural brain wiring–it comes with the development of an addiction. I hope that my experience with being in a relationship with someone who is suffering from both addiction and a personality disorder will provide you with insight into how one caused the other and vice versa.

My story of narcissistic abuse

I was a naive girl in college back in my home country. I always dreamed of having a perfect relationship so I kept myself free from exclusively dating unless I was certain. My cousin then invited me to a social ball at this college, and this is where I met my dashing, charming, ex-boyfriend.

My ex was a senior of my cousin, so he was required to introduce me as his partner in the social ball. This young and handsome bachelor was known among his batch mates and he was known as the heartthrob of his class. This is where it began–after the party, he added me on Facebook which was to my surprise! I wasn’t even able to take a hint that he noticed me.

After hours and days of talking, the friendship quickly grew to something romantic. Looking back, I believe it was the love bombing phase in our relationship. Since he knew that I took the bait, he was eager to win me.

This romantic phase turned sour when we eventually became a couple after 3 months. I started to feel neglected, and I discovered something he had hidden from me throughout that getting-to-know-you phase–he had a drinking problem! Still, my rose-colored glasses stayed on. I was determined to “change” him and make our relationship better.

Little did I know that those hopes were just that–mere hopes. He was deep in denial of his drinking problem, and when he had fits of rage he would say things that he didn’t mean. He would threaten to break up with me, curse me, suddenly stop responding to my calls, blaming me as being too “controlling.” He would even talk to other girls just to show that I was easily dispensable. Being naive as I was, I thought that these were normal relationship conflicts. I took the verbal and emotional abuse as though it was something that I should work on. When he was sober, he would lure me in again through his sweet words and coaxing. The pattern repeated itself again and again, which ultimately tore my self-esteem.

My relationship with my ex was full of heartache and pain, until one day, I chose to free myself from this vicious cycle. It took me one whole year to finally get away from this narcissistic abuse after months of hoovering and questioning my decision. Needless to say, I do not regret my decision. I am happily married now to another man, and the difference was clear as day. Looking back, I realized how one’s personality can change due to having an addiction problem.

Why is addiction linked to personality disorders?

Addiction of any kind, whether it is drugs, alcohol, or other substances, can affect a person’s physical, mental, and emotional state. The addictive component found in these substances changes the brain’s wiring through continued use. In the case of alcoholism, the brain is led to the release of endorphins, which are the natural feel-good hormones of the brain.

The problem with continued, increasing use of these substances is that it quickly escalates from tolerance into dependence. When the brain and body are dependent on drugs and alcohol, functioning without it becomes a disaster–this causes the multitudes of withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, distress, and the dreaded changes in personality.

According to several Colorado addiction resources, a person who is addicted to substances may show one or more of the following traits:

Impatience. When a person suffers from substance use, it is their source of comfort and gratification. Without it, they may often find themselves having an attitude of impatience. They are impatient towards their partners, become unreasonably demanding towards others, or may show fits of rage because of their inability to wait.

Easily aggravated. Anger is another issue that may often appear due to substance use. When the body is largely dependent on drugs or alcohol, it may easily suffer from physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, cramping, or fevers. Additionally, it can also affect the person’s mood because of the many discomforts without the substance.

Impulsive. When combined with being easily aggravated, people who suffer from substance abuse and personality disorders tend to say or do things that they may regret later. They are prone to getting in physical fights, reckless driving, having multiple partners, or doing other dangerous acts that could affect them or their loved ones.

Manipulative
Manipulation is one of the hallmarks of personality disorders such as sociopathy and psychopathy. People who are highly manipulative will do anything to get what they want–without a sense of morality of their means to get there. In the same way, people with addictions can use other people and situations to their advantage, and this is because they need the immediate pleasure of consuming the substances they need.

Abusive. Abuse is not just through physical means. They can also involve verbal and emotional abuse, which are hard to determine especially if you are blindsided in your relationships. Most people who suffer from personality disorders along with substance abuse will use rudeness, cursing, and other forms of hurtful words at their peak of anger. A steady, loving relationship ensues respect from one another–and although conflicts are bound to happen, it does not involve hurting each other physically or through words. If you are a victim of abuse, seek help right away.

It is important to understand that people suffer from personality disorders due to their genetic or familial predisposition to them, from an abusive or neglectful early childhood, or from other early trauma. They learn that using substances make them feel “in control” of their disorder. In the same way, people also develop personality disorders due to continued substance use. It is a two-way cycle that exacerbates and increases the risk for both.

If you feel like a loved one is suffering from a personality disorder coupled with substance abuse, there are addiction resources to help them out. They offer medical treatment, counseling, and lifestyle rehabilitation to help them take a shot at recovery and to manage their personality disorders.

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Sharon Torres is a freelance writer who is chronicling her experiences through this thing called life. She believes that if you always move forward in life then there is no need to look back. Her favorite writer is Phillip K. Dick.

Visit Sharon’s blog at: http://sharontorreswriter.blogspot.com/

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Guest Post #8 : Abusers break you–and then HATE you for being broken.

Linda Lee’s wonderful guest post about Complex PTSD is definitely worth another day in the sun.

Lucky Otters Haven

My dear friend and active participant on this site, Linda Lee, has written a wonderful and OMG SO TRUE post, which describes a lifetime of abuse, including incarceration in a state mental hospital, and being faced with unethical doctors and caregivers, including one who raped her. She was sent back home to a rejecting family–who had put her there in the first place! Linda Lee has Complex PTSD, a form of PTSD that’s often the result of chronic abuse during childhood, rather than an isolated traumatic incident later on in life. After describing the insane house of mirrors she had been thrusted into that seemed to have no way out, Linda lifts the reader out of the darkness with an uplifting message about Easter and the resurrection.

Linda Lee also has a blog about her Complex PTSD caused by prolonged, severe trauma called Surviving Trauma (formerly Heal My Complex PTSD)

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Guest Post: Recovering from NPD: My Journey to Self-Awareness

A very insightful and courageous post written by a woman who once identified only as a narcissistic abuse survivor with a case of “fleas” who later discovered she had NPD herself.  She started a blog and is working hard to change and find real happiness.

So here is my big announcement.

Richard Grannon, aka SpartanLifeCoach, is writing a guest post for this blog. I didn’t ask him to; he asked me! I have to say I was in shock. I’ve been watching his videos about C-PTSD and narcissistic abuse for a long time now and love his style. He likes this blog. 🙂 He is emailing his post to me and should be up later today! I can’t wait to read what he has to say!   It’s a huge honor to feature him on my little blog.

Long-lost friend.

I’m honored to be a guest blogger on HarsH ReaLiTy! This is my first guest post. Thanks to Opinionated Man for this honor. Be sure to follow his blog too!

Leave comments on the original post. (Comments here are disabled).

Guest Post #12: The Journey Inspired (Coping with Depression with Severe Fatigue)

Amanda, from the blog Mandibelle16, is a frequent commenter on this blog. Her own blog features her poetry and creative writings as well as articles about mental illness and her walk with depression. Amanda has suffered from Depression with severe fatigue since 2009. The following describes her first episode of severe Depression (which also featured auditory hallucinations) and its aftermath, and her long journey to wellness. But I’ll let her About page speak for itself. She is a talented writer and poet.

Mandibelle16 – About the Author
https://mandibelle16.wordpress.com/about-the-author/

mandibelle16

Amanda is a writer, blogger, and student from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She began blogging four-years ago to improve her writing skills and share her thoughts on several topics including, her experiences with mental illness.

Over time, Amanda’s blog has developed into much more than it’s original use. She has taken Editing and Creative Writing courses from Simon Fraser University and the University of Alberta to improve her writing and editing skills, in addition to her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature received in May 2007. Her next step educationally, is developing a portfolio for the University of British Columbia for a Master’s in Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Only twenty-five percent of students make it in this online program and Amanda is hoping to be one of these students in May 2017.

Amanda also has taken blogging, poetry, writing, commenting, and photography courses through WordPress. She looks to improve her writing anywhere she is able. Amanda enjoys poetry and has been learning various forms of poetry from the website Shadow Poetry. Each new type of poetry is fun and challenging. She writes poetry from WordPress The Daily Post, word prompts and her own experiences, as well as participating in National Poetry Writing Month each year in April.

Amanda has been expanding and fine tuning her writing skills in fiction. She has recently been writing short stories and submitting them to literary magazines (etc.) as well as writing Flash Fiction for four different photo and/or word prompts each week. Amanda also participates in other writing prompts or challenges called 3 Line Tales; she also writes a different themed list each week; and participates in a photography prompt called Echoes of My Neighbourhood.

Moreover, Amanda is writing up her first draft of her first novel called How Was Last Night For You. The novel has been in process for a few years but is close to completion of the first draft. After the first draft, she will be working on corrections offered by another already published writer (with great thanks!) to complete a second draft, before hiring an established editor. Whether the book will be self-published or not is yet to be determined.

In addition, Amanda enjoys the Edmonton sports scene. She is a huge Oiler’s fan (NHL) even though the team seems to only be picking-up great draft picks and not making it to the playoffs since 2006. She is also a huge CFL fan of the Edmonton Eskimos who won the Grey Cup this past November 2015. Amanda also enjoys walking and doing yoga. She loves dogs, reading, shopping, and spending time with her wonderful friends and family.

Amanda also has suffered from a Mood Disorder (Depression) since 2009. She has tried countless medications and few have worked for her due to sensitivities and allergies to many medications. Amanda was in hospital when the she initially fell ill in 2009 for three-weeks and this last Summer for three-weeks to do a major medication change. The latest medication change was successful and Amanda is feeling more energy then she has in years.

Amanda suffers from severe fatigue due to her depression as well as insomnia. Her new medication has helped her in both areas. If you would like to talk to her about her mental issues or your own, please feel free; she is always willing to provide what help she can in that area with her experience over the past eight-years.

THE JOURNEY INSPIRED: COPING WITH DEPRESSION WITH SEVERE FATIGUE
By Amanda, Mandibelle16

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My story begins when I was twenty-three-years old. I had my first ‘real’ job after university and I had recently advanced from the role of receptionist to construction administrative assistant at the commercial development company where I worked. I had been in the administrative role in construction three-months before I became ill. It was Christmas time and I felt worn out. I thought I simply needed to take a few days off work to rest. Although I had no idea what was happening to me, I began to experience the onset of a psychotic episode in December 2008.

My episode began with a person from work (for instance) talking to me as they usually would and then afterwards I would hear an echo after they finished speaking. This echo consisted of this person’s voice altering and them saying something to me that was extremely mean. I knew something was not right with what I was hearing, but I had no idea what was happening to me. My current psychiatrist and I still don’t know the reason I had a psychotic episode. I wasn’t unusually stressed, using drugs, and I wasn’t grieving or experiencing emotional loss.

Work became extremely difficult for me to attend. Often, I would end the day crying. I also had difficulties concentrating on my work because my thoughts were going around in my head at such a rate that I couldn’t organize my thoughts properly.

At home I was having difficulty sleeping and I had begun to lose weight because I refused to eat much. I told my parents what was happening to me. My Mom kept track of my symptoms as they occurred. She had some experience with mental illness from an extended family member.

My second last day of work, we had a fun office party at a delicious restaurant. Later, we went to a different restaurant at night for drinks. The day had been a better one for me but it ended in tears. I thought I overheard a guy in my work saying something mean about me and I left the second restaurant crying.

I came back to work one last day but I couldn’t control my emotions which were all over the place. A lady at work drove me home and since that time I have not been able to return to work. I’m still embarrassed how I broke down that day. I had no control over myself and despite the fact my episode was eight-years-ago now, I still feel ashamed for how I acted that last day.

scream

On December 24, 2008 my Dad and I sat waiting to get into a Doctor at a clinic. The Doctor prescribed me Ativan to aid me with sleep and for anxiety. My parents also took me to the University of Alberta free psychiatric clinic. I went there a few times and they diagnosed me with having a psychotic episode with auditory hallucinations.

Eventually, I ended up with help from my Dad and the U of A clinic, admitting myself to the hospital because I was hearing suicidal voices. I didn’t want to kill myself but I was hearing voices whom were telling me to end my life.

Before I went into hospital, I spent three-weeks at home hallucinating and the thoughts in my head kept going round. I would sit down on the couch and for hours become immersed in my thoughts. Then suddenly, it would be lunch time and my Mom would be home from work to check on me and ensure I would eat some lunch and take my medication.

I was under several delusions and one delusion was that food didn’t belong to me so I wouldn’t eat because I thought that was stealing. During my episode I lost about twenty pounds in a month. I also began to feel physical sensations at times moving up my arms.

Additionally, I stopped taking care of myself. It was difficult to force myself to take a bath or shower and often the moment I thought about it, I would forget I needed to accomplish that small task. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t taking care of my appearance and hygiene because I’ve always been finicky about taking care of myself.

I was in hospital three-weeks and when you are hearing voices from people, the hospital is a terrifying place to be. Hearing voices occurs in a person experiencing a psychotic episode because the synapsis in their brain misfires.

If you can recall any thought or idea in your head that you’ve ever learned, seen on TV, or read about, these ideas or thoughts become misdirected in your brain. A person’s worst thoughts come through as voices they hear coming from other people, the TV, Radio, or out of nowhere. For instance, when I was ill I would hear the announcers on a Basketball game on TV and it would sound like they were only talking about me and not the game.

The Doctor I had in hospital took me off the antipsychotic I had been on from the University of Alberta clinic, and slowly put me on a newer antipsychotic drug called Invega. Suddenly, my thoughts were clear and I wasn’t hearing any voices echoing a person talking to me. The thoughts in my brain stopped circling. I have never had a psychotic episode since, and I pray I never do.

When I returned home, I experienced a depressive episode. I lost my energy and began to have severe fatigue. Although, my fatigue levels have changed from awful to manageable, they are something I still deal with today. Fatigue is different than being sleepy. It has a physical and mental aspect and once you run out of energy a person can do nothing but lie down until they have more energy from resting. In this time, I developed a mood disorder that is likely depression.

fatigue
Severe fatigue is a common problem with severe depression.

I also lost some cognitive function which I would later regain. My handwriting for example, was childlike. It took me three-days to fill out my application to my insurance company for disability which was thankfully approved. Reading a simple young adult chapter book such as Twilight or Harry Potter, was extremely challenging at first. It was a couple of years before I could read more than simple adult books and longer still to work back up to being able to read for long periods and read difficult material such as textbooks and literary novels.

I met my present psychiatrist in April 2009 and she took me off of the Invega once we knew I was safely out of the psychotic episode. My psychiatrist switched me to a new antipsychotic because my old one left me with intense muscle pain in my shoulders and neck. For eight-years my Psychiatrist and a Psychiatric Nurse, helped me try tons of medications such as anti-psychotics, antidepressants, stimulants, and sleep medications. I participated in psychiatric testing so we could measure my improvement up to three-years after the episode occurred. We tried an array of medications but the majority had little effect.

Moreover, I had a consultation with a sleep psychiatrist whom I saw every six months. The sleep medications he gave me were a short-term solution to a sleep-disorder that had developed. I had insomnia and had both trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

The results of trying all this medication was excess weight gain. At first, because I had lost weight in my psychotic episode, I needed to gain a few pounds but now I’m thirty-five pounds over a healthy body weight.

My severe fatigue doesn’t allow me to do cardiovascular activity intense enough to burn fat. I was extremely fit before my episode so being overweight is something that has always upset me because I don’t have much control over it. I eat healthy and in small portions but it doesn’t make much difference. Not to mention, when my mood disorder became worse, it was even harder to exercise.

I believe my health improving this last year, is due to letting myself be admitted into hospital for a medication overhaul. Sleeping at night had become nearly impossible. My Doctor had me go off my sleeping medications and on a new antipsychotic called Clozapine which makes a person extremely sleepy when they take it. Clozapine has to be monitored closely in patients because it can cause increased heart rate and increase white blood cell count.

I worked my way up slowly to the right dose of Clozapine for my body and it wasn’t easy. The second and third day after going on a new dose of Clozapine, I would feel awful. Then my Doctor would increase the dose and the cycle would repeat until we reached the correct dose for my body.

I spent a miserable weekend at home in a hot house in July on too large a dose of Clozapine. Surprisingly, that’s how we found my perfect dose. Now I only have to go for blood work to check my white blood cell count every so often. But Clozapine allowed me go off of a larger dose of antidepressants and sleeping pills. I can sleep amazingly well at night, even though I sleep to 11:00 am because of the medication.

By November 2015, my energy had increased and I was reading plenty again, writing more, and able to take my last Residential Design class. I could last at night for four or five hours meeting with friends. By January I noticed my concentration had substantially improved. Even though my physical stamina is low, I’m able to do yoga and go for a short walk at times which is a huge step up for my physical health from the last two or three years.

A wonderful aspect of Clozapine is that it is the only antipsychotic that actually heals your brain. I don’t know if I’ll ever be as carefree and able as I was at twenty-three-years-old, but each month I experience improvements to my health. Combined with a supplement program that is helping me to lose weight, I’m doing fantastic for a woman who suffered such a terrible psychotic episode and has lived with mental illness for eight-years.

My goals of late have been entering my writing into writing contests for different magazines to have my writing published. I write fiction, poetry, nonfiction and a bit of everything. I have been blogging for four-years as well. In the beginning, it was to improve my writing skills back to what they were when I finished my English BA.

Now I focus on improving my writing creatively. I’m writing a fictional novel on a curse, a sea witch, and two main characters who fall in love. I’m also participating in National Poetry Writing Month in April. You can check out my blog at: http://www.mandibelle16.wordpress.com.

I have gone back to my roots, to my love of literature and the written word. I adore writing and it makes me whole. It’s what I’m meant to do. I’m looking at applying for an online MFA at UBC in creative writing. I believe my family and friends, creativity, positivity, and faith in God, have lead me through difficult times in my life. They have allowed me to find light when everything seems dark.

Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.

Guest Post #11: Life with Complex PTSD

Alexis Rose has a blog about Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) called A Tribe Untangled.  Her C-PTSD was brought about by a family tragedy (a terrible accident that befell her young daughter, something every loving parent fears with every fiber of their being) and it opened up a Pandora’s box of long repressed years of abuse and torture. Alexis Rose also has written a book, Untangled: A Story of Resilience, Courage and Triumph.

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From her Book information page:

Recalling her life, the author takes us on a journey of unimaginable abuse with continued explicit threats that eventually led to her being sent overseas on an impossible mission.  She repressed the memories of her past until a family tragedy forced her to face what her life had been. A history of abuse, torture, and threats to maintain her silence or be killed could no longer be denied.

This is the story of facing the truth and risking the consequences of breaking the silence. The author learns to accept the effects of the trauma that echo through her daily life as PTSD.

Through years of self-exploration, she learns to live her life fearlessly, with eyes wide open. Ultimately this book is about resilience; hope for victims who have suffered trauma and for the people who support them.

Alexis is an experienced speaker on the topics of living with courage and resilience in the face of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. She has also presented multiple interactive workshops titled, Using One’s Innate Creativity (writing and drawing) as a Tool for Healing and Personal Growth.

For more information about Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph, to request a book signing, or to ask Alexis to speak to your group or lead a workshop, email alexis@atribeuntangled.com.

Alexis has been kind enough to write a guest post for this blog, which when I read it brought me to tears because I could relate so much to so much of what she wrote.   She is one strong woman.  Here is her wonderful post.  Please follow her blog: https://atribeuntangled.com/

Life with Complex PTSD

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I was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder about eight years ago, after a family tragedy. My daughter was hit by a van at 30 miles an hour as she was crossing the street on her way to school.

The year following Aria’s accident I was busy with tending to her health, taking her to appointments, trying to work full time, and keep our house hold running as normal as possible. And at the same time, I kept having these experiences that were making me feel crazy. I had worked so hard to keep my life, my family and their world so protected that the instant Aria got hit, my controlled snow globe world came crashing down. In fact when my son and I were talking the day of the accident, he looked at me and innocently said, “things will never be the same again.”  Extremely prophetic words, that at the time myself nor my family had any idea what they would come to mean.

I was becoming anxious. I started losing time, I was called into meetings at work because my performance was terribly erratic. I was physically sick all the time, and kept having these bizarre memories leaving me feeling crazy.  I knew something was seriously wrong with me so I made a call to a psychologist who agreed to see me the next day.

When I started working with my first therapist, I was so anxious to tell her everything all at once so I could just feel better and get back to work. I didn’t understand that I was having flashbacks, or that I was living in a constant state of crisis. I was writing her letters from a dissociated state which made no sense to me when she would read them aloud. I would lock myself in my room for hours for fear that I was going to hurt myself and I didn’t want to be around my family.

My first therapist diagnosed me correctly but neglected to start my therapeutic process by teaching me any kind of safety or distress tolerance tools.  I was out of control, thinking I was losing my mind, feeling like I had failed my family, and spiraling down a very slippery slope. She did the best she could but was way over her head and within nine months of seeing her, I knew intuitively that I had to find another therapist. I have been working with my current therapist for seven years.

When I first started seeing my therapist I was dissociated most of the time. I was in crisis, I was anxious, confused, and convinced I was going crazy. After a couple of sessions, it became apparent to him that we had to get some safety plans in place. Once that was in place we could begin the process of working on and processing my trauma.

I (sort-of) started to come to terms with the idea that my erupting memories were in fact true. I was so overwhelmed by my memories and what we would process during session that I would remember, forget, remember, forget; until I started to turn a corner and forget how to forget. That’s when I found I could really start taking the baby-steps towards health.

Not only was my therapy about processing the memories, I also had to start accepting that there were some pretty intense effects of the trauma and that influenced how I saw and reacted to the world.  I knew I had some pretty deep-rooted trust issues. I also had large, thick, almost impenetrable walls holding back any feeling or emotions that I was willing to let the world see. I also began to understand that because of my trauma I had a pretty significant attachment issues, which for me, has been one of the hardest things to learn and accept. For some reason the attachment issue fed into my very low self-esteem and it’s something I still work on.

I also had to face down how my trauma effected my relationships with my family, friends, parenting style and career. In the midst of dealing and coping with the trauma, there were a lot of AHA moments, when I saw how my behavior and ways of coping with life, had been a direct result of my trauma and not because I was a bad person.

Eight years later and one of the biggest reasons I write is because my PTSD symptoms still have a pretty good choke-hold on me. As with many mental illnesses PTSD can be invisible on the outside. I had always been the master of wearing many masks, and deflecting any conversation away from me, all with a supportive smile for everyone else. But when I couldn’t hide my illness any longer my friends began to ask me, what does it feel like inside. I couldn’t really explain it, so I wrote a poem and shared it with my friends and family. I found that by writing I found a way to share with others and begin to understand what PTSD means for me, and find a way to cope with my fear that I would be plagued by the symptoms forever.

My symptoms include (not limited too) flashbacks, concentration issues, becoming overwhelmed and my brain shutting down, not being able to make choices, anxiety/depression, and sensitive to the triggers that start the whole shebang of symptoms. We use the term, triggers, triggers everywhere. The wind can blow a certain way, or fireworks, or a car back-firing, even the moon can bring on flashbacks.

Unfortunately, my symptoms have left me with the inability to work. I went from having a wonderful career with the fringe benefits that provided me with some comfort for the future and the ability to provide for my family. I’m only able to work about 2 hours a day…on a good day.

It seems as if my symptoms (depending on the time of year) can start a chain reaction, so I needed to learn to work within my deficits. This isn’t easy or comfortable for me and because I’m still pretty new at learning how to work within my symptoms, I can find myself becoming frustrated and angry at my PTSD! Actually most days, if I’m going to be honest I am VERY angry at my PTSD. But then I settle down and think about what I want for my life and try to rest and reset.

The inability to concentrate can be over-whelming for me. I know what I want to do, what I want my brain to do but I simply am unable to do it. Making choice at the grocery store, or a restaurant can be so uncomfortable that I will just simply lose my interest in eating and shut down. Sometimes as night approaches it feels overwhelming because I know that its highly likely that sometime during the night I will have nightmares. Even practicing good sleep hygiene listening to podcasts, all the tricks can’t stop the nightmares sometimes and it gets overwhelming. And sometimes I’m overwhelmed because I’m a survivor of trauma and have PTSD and that’s just the way it is, even though I wish it was different.

Writing gave me the courage I needed to address the pain I was feeling. I would write even when I thought I had nothing to write about. At first, I strictly used it for bilateral stimulation. I would write and send what I wrote off to my therapist. I started to find that I was able to write down what I couldn’t say aloud.  It provided distance from having to use my voice at first, but then I found it actually gave me a voice.

What I hope to convey as I move forward: Try to remember to notice those perfect moments. Celebrate each step on the path towards health, know that it is a long and never linear process, and that it really is just one foot in front of the other, you need to do a lot of resting, a lot of just sitting and metabolizing.  And even though healing can feel like be a lonely process, through a blogging community and other support systems, we realize that we are not alone.

I’ve been hurt, I’ve been threatened, I’ve been abandoned, but I wasn’t going to let the effects of what happened to me keep me from trying to have the life I wanted. I never lose sight of my goals. They are to live with my past, live in the truth, and recognize and relish in the feelings of internal contentment. Some days those goals seem as far away as the furthest star, and other days I can see them just through the clutter, almost there. I still need a lot of therapy to manage my symptoms, and I may need a lot of assistance for the day-to day grind, but I’m motivated to keep moving forward, spurred on by the hope for a better life. A life where I am living, not just surviving.

http://atribeuntangled.com

Guest post #9: You are beautiful and loveable no matter what the narc says.

Mel (Hippo 256) writes a blog called The Enability Blog about living with a number of disabilities, including PTSD. I’ll just let Mel’s About Page speak for itself:

Hi there, thank you for reading my blog. I really appreciate you’re taking the time. I’m a female and 21 years old. I love languages and study (amongst other things) English, Dutch, German and French (want to do Spanish someday too). I’ve got a couple of chronic diseases and disabilities, but you’ll find out more about that when you’re reading my blog. It’s too many to just sum up, but I can give away that I have chronic pain, chronic fatigue, rheumatism (fibromyalgia) and some other physical diseases and disabilities. I also have been diagnosed with PTSD.

I live together with my boyfriend/partner (my fellow Hippo), who’s also physically disabled, including a couple chronic diseases and a recurring depression. He supports me a lot, because he can really understand what I’m feeling. Together we tackle life’s challenges and hopefully enjoy life too (I can tell you, I often do enjoy life). We are both studying, but do this in a slightly different way. We can’t follow the regular pace, but that doesn’t matter. I also enjoy sports, photography (sadly, I can’t place my own photos here because of my anonymity), doing nice things with friends, travelling, animals etc.

Please visit Mel’s blog when you get the chance.
https://enabilityblog.wordpress.com

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND LOVEABLE NO MATTER WHAT THE NARC AND HIS ‘PEOPLE’ SAY!

center-of-attention

I’ve been doubting if I should write a post about narcissistic abuse. Not because I don’t want to help other people and I’m also very grateful for this opportunity. I was hesitant because of two reasons:

(1) You ‘just’ don’t talk about a subject like this. There’s a huge stigma on it. A lot of people seem unwilling to think about it and therefore put it away as ‘nonsense’. And people can be misunderstanding or harsh about a topic so sensitive. I learned my lessons and usually evade it. (2). I don’t think I’m good enough. I’m not a writer or a blogger, I just type whatever comes into my head, without really thinking about it.

But here I am, happy that I took this wonderful opportunity. Because:

(1) I find the people in this blogging community to be so understanding and willing to listen. I want to battle the stigma and help others. I wish I had read all these posts about narcissistic abuse and PTSD so much earlier, it would have saved me a lot of self-doubt.
(2) That idea, that feeling of mine that I’m not good enough (I never am) is one of those thoughts ‘implanted’ in me because of narcissistic abuse. I couldn’t think of a better way to ‘challenge’ one of the thoughts the narcissists had about me.

Both my partner and I have been abused by narcissists. But I feel the urge to talk about a very specific one, one I can’t talk about with anyone except with my partner. I’ve been mentally, physically and sexually abused by one “man” for about 6 months. I’ve never written about this before, so this post will be like an “introduction” to my story.

Love Bombing.
At first glance I knew: ‘I have to stay away from him’. We went to the same school together, I was 18 and he was 21. At first he didn’t seem interested in me, to the contrary. I was clearly not good enough to be allowed to communicate with him (he would happily let everyone know). Luckily, I didn’t want to have anything to do with him either. I really don’t like ‘those kind’ of people. At the time, I was still in a very difficult situation. I was already abused many times before and didn’t have anyone at the time. I was looking for support. And narcissists know that. One day, he started preying on me. Immediately I knew, I felt it. But I am strong and had nothing to fear, so I thought. This wasn’t about me, it was about him. He always got what he wanted and he wanted me, I was suddenly ‘pretty’ or ‘sexy’ or ‘interesting’. He would follow me after school, get my contact information through his many channels and he kept cornering me. I told him many times that I wasn’t interested in a relationship, which was not what he wanted to hear. But then one time his reaction and whole attitude changed. He seemed concerned, caring. He would tell me that I deserved to be in a relationship with someone who wanted to help me. I felt anxious and somehow said I was sexual abused before and therefore didn’t want a relationship or intimacy. That made him go all loose on the ‘caring act’. He wasn’t like that, he wanted to help me, truly. I could trust him. Why wouldn’t we just try it out? I could always say no to things and he would listen to that. I was so anxious and confused that eventually I said yes. Now I know that these are all common tricks for narcissists.

wolf_in_sheeps_clothing (1)

The Narc’s True Colors Come Out.
What followed was 2.5 months of ‘relationship’. He played so many (mind) games with me. And I actually knew. So soon I knew that this wasn’t right at all. It felt so wrong and I was so confused. Even though he would keep saying things like ‘it’s to help you’. Or he would be angry because I clearly didn’t love him enough (otherwise I would do that for him, even though that would cross my border). He would threaten me, or hurt me. I couldn’t escape. He had people everywhere (seriously, he did). Eventually I found the strength to break up and thought I was over his horrible abuse. But I wasn’t. He told me that I was nothing and that I should have been happy that he made me something: I was his slave (yes he would call me this, amongst other things). Which made me worth more than I was before. Those kind of sick things he would say. He abused me about 4 months straight after we ‘broke up’. “Friends with benefits” he would call it. I wasn’t a prostitute he said, you know why? I didn’t get paid, so that shows how bad I was. He wouldn’t pay for me, he never paid for anyone. I wasn’t the first “girlfriend” he had. All girls without (good) sexual experiences, so he could mold them, ‘train’ them. But he never kept anyone for long.
Eventually, I met my partner at (the same) school. I had a panic attack and he reached out to me. Because of his support and protection, I could eventually stop my abuser. The abuser has visited my school and the place where I lived a few times. To threaten me. But now, it’s all so much better.

Aftermath.
Going no contact with the abuser was very difficult for me. I found it very surprising, but now I know it is a common reaction amongst survivors. Once in a while I would get ‘urges’ to send him a message again. I kept hoping he would understand that he did awful, horrible, unspeakable and bad things to me. I hoped he would stop telling everyone what a liar I was and that we just loved doing S&M together (massive lie). He never acknowledged it. Now I know he never will. Narcissists don’t feel for others or think about others.

You Are Not Alone!
I want you all to know that you’re not alone. You’re not ‘stupid’ if these kind of things happened to you or ‘easy to get’. And there still is love, even for you. I often call my partner my saviour. He has helped me tremendously in my healing progress. Explained all these thoughts the abuser planted in my head, all the false things I believed. I wish everyone can find this kind of support. We all deserve that. Blogs can help us with that too.

After the abuse ended, this one thought kept appearing: How could I have let this happen? Now I know that’s not fair, I fought incredibly hard. I should never blame myself for this. Maybe I fought too hard, since it only caused me so much more pain and trouble (because of punishments and angering the abuser). This whole situation is incredibly complicated, so a lot of people misunderstand. Especially because I kept a mask on to the outside world (as I was forced to). But it is so important to know that a narcissistic relationship isn’t your fault. It can happen to anyone, really. And not going to the police, doesn’t make your story not true, or if you went to the police but the abuser was never officially found guilty. The justice system isn’t made to catch rapists and abusers. Believe in yourself. Somewhere, deep inside, you know when something doesn’t quite feel right. I know I always did, but would often ignore my core feelings. After doing research on the internet (mainly reading blogs) and talking with my partner, I also understand the things I did a lot more. There were signs everywhere.

I would like to end this blogpost with something important to me. Another thought I refuse to believe any longer. I am NOT a whore. And you aren’t either. We deserve to be loved, including by ourselves. Be kind for yourself please, your body and mind need you.”

– Mel (Hippo256)
Enability Blog, 2016

Guest Post #8 : Abusers break you–and then HATE you for being broken.

My dear friend and active participant on this site, Linda Lee, has written a wonderful and OMG SO TRUE post, which describes a lifetime of abuse, including incarceration in a state mental hospital, and being faced with unethical doctors and caregivers, including one who raped her. She was sent back home to a rejecting family–who had put her there in the first place! Linda Lee has Complex PTSD, a form of PTSD that’s often the result of chronic abuse during childhood, rather than an isolated traumatic incident later on in life. After describing the insane house of mirrors she had been thrusted into that seemed to have no way out, Linda lifts the reader out of the darkness with an uplifting message about Easter and the resurrection.

Linda Lee also has a blog about her Complex PTSD caused by prolonged, severe trauma called Surviving Trauma (formerly Heal My Complex PTSD).   (I got a little confused here because Linda recently changed her blog but the old one is still there too.  Her new blog is called A Blog About Healing From PTSD. )

I know the following story sounds so crazy, it’s hard to believe. But it is all true, so help me God… unless I really AM nuts, and the mental health professionals who have told me otherwise over the years were all wrong!

ABUSERS BREAK YOU — AND THEN HATE YOU FOR BEING BROKEN
By Linda Lee, Surviving Trauma and A Blog about Healing From PTSD

going_crazy_bookcover
The cover for Linda Lee’s future book, which she designed herself!

If you take a young puppy away from his canine family before he is weaned, yell at him, kick him, shake him, beat him, half-starve him, and leave him on a chain outdoors, exposed to every kind of weather without shelter, that poor little puppy is going to grow up to be a deeply disturbed dog – if he lives to grow up.

If you treat human children like that pitiful dog, they are going to have behavioral and emotional problems, too.

I grew up with parents who were normal and nice some of the time, and behaved like insane, demonically possessed monsters part of the time. I never knew from one day to the next whether my mother was going to be like June Cleaver in the TV show “Leave it to Beaver,” or Joan Crawford in the movie “Mommy Dearest.”

As for my dad, a fundamentalist minister whose episodes of violence led to his diagnosis of multiple personality disorder (now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder), some people believed that he actually was possessed by demons.

When I was fourteen years old, I began to have some emotional problems. Big surprise, right? I told my mother about the difficulty I was having, hoping she could help me. But, although my problems were mild compared to both of my parents’ history of extreme mental problems, my mother said “You are crazy just like your father!” Then she contacted my dad (my parents were divorced by then), and he agreed with her that I needed to be put in a state mental institution – against the advice of my doctor!

Of course, my dad said that I was “crazy like your mother.” He also told me he was GLAD I had psychiatric problems, because now I would understand what he had gone through.

But I did not understand. Almost fifty years later, I still don’t. Unlike both of my parents, my behavior was not out of control. On the contrary, although I wasn’t perfect, I was obedient, subservient, and eager to please. I had never been the least bit violent. I had never threatened or tried to harm anyone.

My dad, on the other hand, came so close to murdering my mom when I was twelve years old that for several terrifying moments I had thought she was dead. That’s when my father was arrested, then put in the psychiatric ward of a general hospital after the police took him to the emergency room because his insulin-dependent diabetes was out of control.

As for my mother, a few weeks after my dad tried to kill her, she did something even worse – she tried to gas us all to death while my four younger brothers and sisters and I were sleeping in our beds. Yet she never put herself under any kind of psychiatric care. With no other responsible adult living in the house at the time, there was no one to force her to get help. So now, because she has never been to a mental health professional and labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis, my mother thinks she is “just fine.”

When my dad’s medical insurance ran out and he was discharged from the psych ward, my mother dropped her charge of attempted murder so he could go back to work and provide financial support. Then my dad married the head nurse of the psychiatric ward whom he had met while he was a patient there (how unethical is that?), and my mother started dating a newly divorced man who had previously worked with my dad. She soon became pregnant (accidentally on purpose?), and quickly married the unborn baby’s father.

So now my parents were living happily ever after with their brand new loves while I, their eldest daughter, became the family scapegoat and “the crazy one.” And together my parents decided that I needed to be locked up in a state insane asylum, because: “she might become violent some day.”

Projection much?

About a year after my parents put me in the institution a new psychiatrist, Dr. Fenster, was hired to replace the rapist shrink who had been caught and fired the third time he drugged me unconscious and raped me. Lucky Otter posted this story for me almost a year ago. Here is the link: https://luckyottershaven.com/2015/04/12/have-you-ever-been-hurt-by-a-psychiatrist-guest-post-by-alaina-holt-adams/. (I wrote that post under the pen name Alaina Adams. I have since changed my pen name to Linda Lee, because it’s more like the real me.)

I had originally met the newly hired doctor when I was first put in the asylum and he was there, finishing his psychiatric residency. He had told me then that there was nothing mentally wrong with me, in his opinion, and he was confident that the psychiatrist in charge of my ward would soon have me released.

When Dr. Fenster took over my case more than a year later, he was shocked and dismayed to see that I was still there. Within the first five minutes of his first day on the job, the good doctor made me a promise: “I am going to get you out of here as soon as possible. You never should have been put here in the first place!”

But his promise turned out to be much easier said than done. Eight months later, Dr. Fenster called me into his office one last time before sending me out into the world. “I am very sorry that it has taken me so long to get you out of here,” he said. “The amount of legal red tape involved to release a patient from a state hospital is unbelievable, especially when it comes to a minor child. Because you are only sixteen, you are legally a ward of the state and you cannot be released on your own recognizance until you are twenty-one, five years from now! Until then, you can only be released into the care of a responsible adult. I have spoken with every adult in your family several times, at length – with your grandparents on both sides, and your mother and father. I hate to tell you this, but every last one of them is far sicker than you ever were! Frankly, it’s no surprise to me that you had emotional problems. Coming from a hateful, self-centered crew like that, I don’t understand how you can be as sane as you are! Even your maternal grandparents are unbelievably hard-hearted and selfish! At first, I thought they would be the best hope for you to have a decent chance at life. With your grandfather’s current position as the associate warden of Leavenworth Federal Prison, they could so easily provide you with a stable home and every advantage.”

He shook his head sadly. “I hate to tell you this, Linda, but no one in your family wants you. Every single one of them came right out and told me they don’t want a ‘mental patient’ living in their home. It didn’t make any difference when I told them that you are not mentally ill and you never should have been put here in the first place. In fact, when I mentioned that, your mother said that just by virtue of the fact that you have been kept here in this place for so long, you have probably been changed by the experience and now you may be dangerous! So… when I kept hitting a brick wall with everyone in your family, I gave up and tried to find a foster home willing to take you in. But they have to be informed about your time in this institution, and I could not find any foster parents willing to take the chance. I even tried to talk my wife into the two of us fostering you, but… it was a no-go.”

Dr. Fenster stared down at his hands, which were lying palms-up on his desk in an attitude of defeat. “Your mother is coming to take you out of here today,” he said. “although she is the last person I want to send you home with. Why she chose to have so many kids when she doesn’t have a maternal bone in her body is beyond my understanding. But she is coming to get you because – frankly – I found out something about her and I have used it to blackmail her. But even then, she would not agree to take you unless I wrote your discharge paper in such a way that it says you are being sent home on an ‘indefinite leave.’ I’m sorry this isn’t a full discharge. What it means is that your mother can bring you back here at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. So my advice to you is to get as far away from everyone in your family as soon as you can – and don’t ever go back!”

A nurse handed me a paper bag full of my threadbare clothes, then escorted me from the doctor’s office down to the lobby. My mother and her mother were waiting there, both with very grim faces. After a tense, silent two-hour car ride to my mother’s house, I discovered that I no longer had a bedroom or a bed – I was told to sleep on the living room sofa. In fact, everything that I had ever owned, my beloved books, the papers I had written, my clothes, my costume jewelry, and the childhood toys I had cherished and saved, were all gone. Taken to the dump, I was told, right after I was put in the mental institution.

My “WELCOME HOME” was nonexistent. Not one person said “I’m glad you’re back, I’ve missed you.” My much younger sisters and brothers had always looked up to me, loved me, and depended on me, especially during our mother’s deep depression after the violent end of our parents’ marriage. Along with my new stepfather, my four little siblings had begged our mother not to send me to the institution two years earlier. Even my grandparents may have questioned why she would send her adolescent daughter to the most notorious insane asylum in the region, when my behavior, to all outward appearances, was completely normal. So then my mother had told horrible projecting lies about me, to justify what she had done. Lies which the majority of my family apparently believe to this day.

Three days after my return “home,” while I was being ultra careful not to be a bother to anyone in any way, my mother waited until my stepfather was at work and my school age siblings were all in school, and then she told me that I needed to leave – to run away – because she could not afford to feed a big grown girl like me.

“I can barely afford to feed the five little ones,” she said. “Your father doesn’t pay nearly enough child support, and it wouldn’t be fair to expect your stepfather to feed you. And after where you have been, I am afraid you might be a bad influence on the younger children. I had you when I was only eighteen, too young to know what I was doing. So I made all my mistakes on you. Unfortunately, it’s too late for you. But I think that throwing one child away, in order to save the other five, is the right thing to do, don’t you? And don’t worry, I promise I won’t call the police and report you as a runaway!” She said this, about not calling the police, with a big smile on her face, as though she had just handed me the keys to a brand new car.

“You know, I married your father when I was sixteen. Sixteen is old enough to be on your own. And, like I’ve been telling you ever since you reached puberty – no house is big enough for two women!”

This happened in the middle of a cold December and there were several inches of snow on the ground. The tiny town where my mother and stepfather had moved to while I was in the institution was miles away from a city, where there might be some kind of shelter or help. Without a penny to my name, with my few clothes bunched up in a pillowcase, because the paper bag I had brought my clothes home from the hospital in, had torn – and I remember feeling guilty for taking one of my mother’s pillow cases, that’s what a “terrible” daughter I was! – I walked out the door into the frozen December morning. I had not eaten any breakfast that day, because no one had offered me anything and I was trying so hard not to be a bother….

Whew. Right now, as I am writing about that terrible time in my life, I feel so ANGRY!

My husband today, a combat veteran from the war in Vietnam, has talked about the pain of coming back from the hell of war and getting rejection, instead of a Welcome Home. I’ve told him I understand how that feels. A few years ago, there was a big push to finally welcome our Vietnam War Veterans home. I’m so glad they got that. They deserve it. But… deep down inside, I feel like I am still waiting for my Welcome Home.

I did not follow Dr. Fenster’s advice to have nothing to do with anyone in my family of origin, until I was in my fifties. Why? Because I loved my family. I wanted to have a family! Although I stopped living in the same state forty years ago, I kept reaching out to them, time and time again, over the years – by driving very long distances to visit them, by phone calls, by letters, and finally, when social media became available, I reached out to them through Facebook.

With the exception of my aunt (my mother’s younger sister) and my oldest niece, every time that I have ever reached out in any way to anyone in my family of origin, I have been hurt and abused all over again. The bullying I took on Facebook was so bad, I ended my account. Even today, every time I see that ubiquitous blue logo, I shudder inside.

WHY does my family of origin despise me so much? Because they apparently believe my mother’s lies about why she “had no choice” but to commit me to an insane asylum almost half a century ago. And anything that I have to say on the subject is suspect because, you know, I must have been really crazy in order to be locked up.

They BREAK you, and then they HATE you for being broken.

Every trauma story is unique. Some people have told me that my trauma story is so extreme, it makes them feel ashamed of having any kind of emotional problems when their trauma is “less” by comparison. But I absolutely do not want anyone who reads this to feel that way! Please!! Pain is pain, trauma is trauma, and – in my experience – THE WORST PAIN OF ALL IS THE PAIN OF BEING REJECTED BY THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO LOVE YOU. Not the terrifying episodes of violence, not the rapes, not even being labeled “crazy” and locked up for almost two years in a lunatic asylum, hurts as bad as this!!

If you, like me, have ever been scapegoated, lied about, shunned, and rejected for being so “bad” as to have any kind of emotional or mental problems, then I believe your wounds go just as deep as mine.

Thank you for reading this. Please feel free to share your own story in the comments. And thank you, Lucky Otter, for giving people like me the opportunity to share our mental health struggles with your readers. God bless.

In truth and love, Linda Lee

PS: Today is Easter, the day we Christians celebrate our risen Lord. I believe HE is the reason why I finally got free of the insane asylum, during an era when 97% of the people committed there were never released. (This is what one of the psychiatrists told me right after I got there, when I asked him how soon I could go home.) I was one of the lucky few who got a second chance at life. I think the reason may be because I had given my heart to Christ when I was a little girl. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Amen!

Guest Post #7: How hypersexuality plays a role in Bipolar disorder

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I’m honored to introduce my 7th guest blogger, Jess Melancholia from The Bipolar Compass, a blog about her experiences living with the manic-depressive form of Bipolar Disorder. In her post, she will be discussing how hypersexuality can be a symptom of the manic (or in Jess’s case, hypomanic) phase of this disorder. I applaud Jess for her courage in openly sharing this delicate but surprisingly common symptom of the manic phase of Bipolar disorder.

From her About Page:

Jess Melancholia is a bpHope Magazine blogger who resides in San Diego, California with her husband and cat. She was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 2 in May 2014 after suffering a 6 month bipolar depression triggered by extreme family medical stresses. Through medication and a strong support system, she works tirelessly to live a “normal” life and keep her hypomanic and depressive episodes under control. Her hobbies include playing horror video games and wine tasting. Her daytime profession is a molecular biologist at a biotechnology company.

HOW HYPERSEXUALITY PLAYS A ROLE IN BIPOLAR DISORDER
By Jess Melancholia, The Bipolar Compass

I know what you’re thinking; if I’m writing about bipolar 2 disorder, then why am I talking specifically about sex? No one in their right mind would talk about sex to promote their mental illness blog. Why risk chasing away followers? Why not make it easy on myself and just talk about the other bipolar symptoms of mania such as anxiety, overspending, and feelings of grandiosity? Because that’s what everyone else talks about. And while those are important to me, the one that impacts my life the most is what I want to focus on. And if that makes you uncomfortable then stop reading. But I think that we are all adults here and that things like this need to be addressed. There are countless people out there that want me to talk about this. That need me to be their voice. And I want to be there for them, because they deserve to have their story told.

What in the world is hypersexuality?
That would definitely be my first question if I was reading this post. Well I’m glad you asked. I’m actually very excited to talk about such a delicate subject with you. Please be aware that this is not a joke and that I’m being completely serious about this. If you need more information, please refer to the links in the article and my personal blog for more details. If you are experiencing bipolar hypersexuality, then please contact your doctor immediately to get some help. I’ll start off by giving a little bit of background on this topic.

Hypersexuality is essentially, from my personal experience, an overwhelming desire and obsessive preoccupation with sex and sexual content caused by the presence of a manic episode. In the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition), it’s listed as a primary symptom of bipolar under the category of “sexual indiscretions.” bpHope.com is a fantastic resource when it comes to articles and expert advice on what the symptoms look like as well as professional opinions from leading experts in bipolar disorder. The technical content I relate to in this post is accredited to them.

According to some studies, hypersexuality can occur between the range of 25 to 80 percent of all patients with mania! Recent studies suggest around 57 percent! For something that prevalent, it’s amazing that such a subject is rarely if ever talked about.

There are varying opinions as to the cause of the symptom. One such opinion pioneered by Louis J. Cozolino, PhD, a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University in southern California, and leading bipolar disorder guru, says that it’s akin to sexual addiction. He goes on to say that people who are manic with this symptom display “vulnerability to a ‘disinhibition’ of social restraints during manic periods.” In fact, there are studies to suggest that there is more blood flow to the left part of the amygdala (almond-shaped part of the brain that deals with fear and panic) in bipolar patients than in other people. Furthermore, feelings of pleasure and arousal are related to a sort of calming effect. Sort of like taking painkillers.

For me, it IS essentially a painkiller. Whenever I’m hypersexual, I stress the need for sexual satisfaction as a top priority. With being happily married to a wonderful husband, this kind of symptom tends to get me in serious trouble. Last year, I had a terribly bad manic episode that lasted several months. During that time period, I lost complete control of myself and acted out sexually towards some stupid college kid I met chatting online. He seduced me into cybersex and phone sex with him along with eventually meeting up a few times. As many times as I told myself and him no, that I can’t and won’t do this, he always managed to get inside my head and change my mind. Under normal circumstance, none of his tricks would’ve worked on me. However, when I was manic, all I did was focus nonstop on sexual satisfaction. The worst part was nothing was ever enough. I needed more and more. Nothing would satiate me. It took over my entire brain and wouldn’t let go until the mania finally died. Despite the fact that I fought fervently against my overwhelming urges, I still was constantly unable to stop myself from falling into temptation.

Now that the clouds have parted and the dust has settled, I can think clearly and work around the triggers that caused me to lose control. My husband and I educated ourselves thoroughly on hypersexuality and he has now forgiven me for my actions. Whereas I was and am still responsible for all actions I take, I understand now that my behavior was a symptom of an illness. A common symptom of bipolar mania. Armed with this information, him, my best friends, and my healthcare professionals have all agreed on a strategic prevention plan to help minimize my triggers and prevent any future mistakes.

Although I do feel guilty everyday for what I did, I no longer feel ashamed of myself. What happened was a terrible mistake but I’ve learned considerable information from it. With knowledge comes power and I’m trying every single day to bring that power back into my own hands. Hopefully I’ll regain it fully one day.

Don’t be ashamed of your actions. Learn from them and grow.

Please visit The Bipolar Compass:
http://bipolarcompass.com/