How to Heal from a Toxic Relationship

How to Heal from a Toxic Relationship

“Like arsenic, toxic people will slowly kill you. They kill your positive spirit and play with your mind and emotions. The only cure is to let them go.” ~Dennisse Lisseth
Healing from a toxic relationship seems like an impossible goal for many survivors of narcissistic abuse, and this is true for a number of reasons. This healing guide offers not only solutions but also resources to help you learn not only how to heal from a toxic relationship, but why you were there in the first place. Plus, you’ll learn how you can level up your life after a toxic relationship and begin to evolve into the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Before we begin to cover how to heal from a toxic relationship, please let me remind you that you are not alone. As a survivor of narcissistic abuse and a certified life coach myself, I have helped literally thousands of survivors of toxic relationships to discover, understand and overcome them. You can do this too.

Do I need to leave a toxic relationship in order to heal?

This won’t be a popular answer, but it’s the truth. Ideally, to heal, you need to separate yourself from the toxic person. I know it’s scary and emotionally draining to even think about it, so start with practical planning – especially if going no contact with this person means you are changing your living situation (as in, if it’s your partner or spouse or someone else you live with). Think about how you’ll manage financially, where you’ll go and who might help to support you in some way. Keep your emotions at bay during planning, and don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you. Getting out of the relationship is one of the most important things you can do to begin to heal. You can download my free PLAN (Preparing to Leave a Narcissist) resources right here. If you haven’t left yet, please read this article to get some encouragement and to get your head in the right place. 

Why is it so hard to leave a toxic relationship?

I know it’s not easy, trust me. There are a number of reasons you’re struggling, the most obvious of which is trauma bonding with your abuser. Plus, after the months or years of abuse you’ve suffered, your self-esteem has really taken a beating. Read this to find out how to deal when a toxic relationship has ruined your self-esteem.  And this article will help you understand in more depth why it’s so hard to leave and how you can get past that feeling of helplessness.

Will the narcissist come back to me after the toxic relationship?

You might also wonder if the narcissist misses you. Sadly, in most cases, the narcissist does attempt to reconcile at least once. We call this “hoovering” because it’s what they do when they want to suck you back into the toxic relationship. It can be hard to resist, but you have to do it if you’re going to get and stay happy and safe. In a few cases, the narcissist won’t come back, but it’s rare. They may come back anywhere from a few hours to decades later.

What are the first steps to healing from the toxic relationship once it has ended?

Start with a little self-care. You need time to just breathe at first – you don’t need to rush it. Then, figure out what stage of recovery you’re currently in – start with the DUO Stages of Recovery Test. Don’t forget to work on beefing up your inner strength once the relationship ends. Don’t forget to take care of your inner child, too. That’s going to be really important if you’re going to resist the hoovering that will inevitably follow the end of a toxic relationship.

How do I deal with the narcissist spreading rumors and lies about me?

We call that a smear campaign, and you might be surprised when I tell you how to deal. Read this to learn all about the psychology of a smear campaign – why the narcissist does this and how you can deal with it from your end. 

Why me? I am smart and capable but for some reason, I still fell for the narcissist. What did I do to deserve a toxic relationship?

You didn’t deserve it. Know that. And you’re not alone – some of the most intelligent, successful and attractive people I’ve met have fallen victim to narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships. It happens to the best of us. However, there are certain things a toxic person looks for in a partner – check out this page. And there are things you can do to change your future and keep it free of toxic people. It all starts within yourself – you’ve got to accept, love and respect yourself enough to set boundaries and to stop tolerating toxic behavior.

Now that I’ve left the toxic relationship, I cannot seem to function like a normal person. How do I get through this?

One breath at a time. This is one of the hardest parts of this process. Healing seems so far away right now that you can barely even imagine what that might look like. This is a really tender and emotional time, so the first thing a lot of survivors do is to self-isolate. Take some time to mourn the relationship, if you need it. Remember that this is a process and that healing won’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself and if you need to take a little time for yourself, go ahead and do it. If you need time with friends, arrange that too. You might be dealing with depression – visit this page to get help with depression. Get free support from one of our online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups. 

I feel like I want to die. How do I deal with feeling suicidal after a toxic relationship?

Self-isolation and mourning the relationship can be okay for a short time unless you’re in such a state that you might be a danger to yourself. Please note: I am not a doctor and I do not personally know your story. I cannot offer any medical or health advice, so if you have any doubt at all that you will be safe, you MUST contact your doctor or go immediately to the nearest emergency room. Even if you aren’t sure, please go see your doctor or other medical professional and get checked out, just to be safe. Be honest with your healthcare provider and let them know that you’re worried you might be a danger to yourself. See this page for suicide prevention resources and ways you can get help right now.

How do I stop hurting and start healing after a toxic relationship?

I know your heart hurts. And you feel lost, confused, angry and even rejected (and this is true even when YOU are the one to end the relationship). First, you need to put things in perspective. Start by reading this article that offers 10 ways to start healing faster. If you were the one who was discarded, read this.

My ex has already moved on to a new relationship. It’s killing me! How do I deal with this?

First, remember that narcissistic abuse is cyclical. That means that your ex is likely just starting the cycle again with a new person – so if the relationship is new, they are still in the idealization or love bombing phase. The new source of narcissistic supply won’t get a better deal than you – not for long anyway. Try to keep this in mind. And despite the urge to do it, avoid reaching out to the new supply to explain what they’re getting themselves into. You aren’t ethically obligated, and they won’t be able to hear you anyway, most likely. Because they’re in the love-bombing phase, they won’t believe you and will likely believe that you’re just as crazy as the narcissist probably already told them. Learn the truth about the narcissist’s new relationship. 

How do I deal with feeling so much anger after the toxic relationship ends?

Anger in some cases can be helpful in propelling you forward – especially when you still haven’t left the relationship yet. But at some point, it can begin to become toxic for you – and that’s when you need to let it go. Read this article to determine whether your anger is helpful or harmful and learn how to let go of it when it’s time. 

Being single feels weird to me, but I am not ready for a new relationship yet. What should I do?

I say you start here by learning to embrace the single life. There are SO many good reasons to love being single. Whatever you do, avoid jumping into a new relationship too quickly. That will set you up for a painful failure and increases the risk of getting into another toxic relationship. Take your time and heal first – there is no reason to get yourself stuck with another narcissist. And honestly, you are less likely to be an ideal partner if you get into a new relationship too soon – you may end up sabotaging it without even realizing it.

I feel like I’m walking around in some kind of fog. What is this and how can I deal with it?

This is common for people who have dealt with codependency in toxic relationships. You might be dealing with brain fog or dissociation, a common side-effect of C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder). Use mindfulness exercises and practices such as the ones shared in this article to find your way out of the fog.

Why do I feel so confused all the time?

Like brain fog, feeling confused or unable to think straight can be a normal thing for survivors of toxic relationships. Here are some reasons you might feel so confused all the time as you’re trying to heal from a toxic relationship. 

I can’t leave the house anymore. I don’t want to get out of bed. How do I stop being lazy and start wanting to live again?

You’re not alone. Many survivors of narcissistic abuse find themselves feeling just like this when they leave a toxic relationship (and often, while they’re still in it!). Social anxiety disorder (SAD) can be a side effect of C-PTSD. These issues along with a number of other factors will cause you to not want to leave the house – and there are lots of things you can do to get unstuck. In the short term, try things like pattern interrupts and baby steps to get you moving in the right direction.

My whole life seems to be a cluttered mess! Is this related to my toxic relationship?

Actually, yes, it’s possible that a cluttered home (and mind) could be a direct result of your mental state during and after a toxic relationship. Even Oprah Winfrey has talked about this before, as have many therapists and researchers. We know that a cluttered environment can increase anxiety and stress as well. Start changing that by decluttering your physical space and this can often sort of lead you to a more organized, less scattered mind in the process.

I feel like I’ve lost myself. How do I figure out who I am after a toxic relationship?

You might be surprised to know that nearly every survivor has some sort of existential crisis during recovery from a toxic relationship. Start by doing some soul-searching. Think about who you were before and who you’d like to be. Read this to start finding yourself again and figure out who you want to be after the toxic relationship. Reexamine your personal beliefs and redefine them based on who you are today and who you wnat to be. While you’re at it, learn some new ways to level up your life. And start thinking about how you want your life to look – what you want to change, and what you don’t. Think about what makes you passionate and consider starting a project to keep your head in the game (and your mind off the narcissist). And let go of limiting beliefs that are holding you back.

How do I let go of the shame I feel after this toxic relationship?

Feeling shame is perfectly normal for survivors of toxic relationships, but it shouldn’t be acceptable. YOU aren’t the one who should feel shameful here. The narcissist may have berated, belittled and humiliated you on a regular basis, and you can bet that they feel NO remorse for it. Even though you’re not perfect and even though you likely recognize and take credit for your part in the relationship, you were not the abuser and you don’t need to feel any shame for what you’ve experienced. Take the time you need to recognize this completely so that you can release the shame and be proud of yourself for doing the hard work of healing. This resource will help you start to let go of the shame, fear and misery so you can reclaim your power and start living again.

How do I start living again, once I get past the initial shock after the relationship ends?

First, you’ve got to understand that big secret of narcissistic abuse recovery. Realize that you might begin to feel lonely around now, and this can be a dangerous time for you if the narcissist is trying to get you back. It’s especially important that you get involved with healthy people – at least on some level – and that you also understand that it’s okay to want to be alone sometimes. Try using my life reset button to start feeling alive again. Sometimes, if you sort of “un**** yourself, you can just start living again!

How will I know when I’ve started to heal after a toxic relationship?

I understand that it can be confusing, and you should probably know that it won’t be an overnight shift. Healing after a toxic relationship involves a slow evolution from victim to survivor to thriver. Check out this page to find out if you’re showing signs of healing.

How can I get help with how to heal after a toxic relationship?

We always suggest that you begin with a visit to your doctor or another medical professional that you trust. Assuming you’re otherwise healthy, QueenBeeing.com offers everything you need for self-help on how to heal from toxic relationships and narcissistic abuse on your own. You can also read a number of books that will help you to recover – here’s a list of our favorites. Remember too that it will take time to heal from a toxic relationship. We also offer other resources such as coaching, small group coaching and support, free online support groups, courses and more. Check out our services page right here, visit our freebies center or take the quiz below.

 

Update: Your Love is My Drug (2nd Edition)

Update: Your Love is My Drug (2nd Edition)

**Second Edition, Updated 2019**Includes new chapters and information as well as an updated, more robust section on overcoming trauma bonding featuring Lise Colucci
Are you tired of feeling like you’re not good enough? Do you wish that someone in your life would just put your feelings first, for once? Or maybe just to consider you at all? Tired of being told you’re the crazy one as you deal with mind games at home or work? You might just be involved with a narcissist.

Narcissists are abusers – but they don’t usually beat their victims physically. No, narcissists are sneaky – they’re much more insidious in their form of abuse. When you think of someone in an abusive relationship, you think of someone who is getting beaten and battered on a regular basis, right? But while domestic violence is heartbreaking and unacceptable, there’s another form of abuse that might be even more dangerous. But even though you can’t always see physical evidence of abuse, the kind of overwhelming, all-consuming emotional abuse inflicted on the victims of narcissists is a form of aggression that should also be recognized.

The soul-crushing kind of abuse that is inflicted on the people who love a narcissist might not be visible to the naked eye, but it can leave devastating emotional scars that never go away. Most people have no idea how much the “sources” of narcissistic supply suffer in their relationships – and yet when these victims speak up, people often mistake them for whiners and dismiss their pain. This, of course, leaves them confused and blaming themselves for everything that is wrong in their lives.

This book offers an in-depth guide to surviving and thriving during and after life with a narcissist, in whatever degree necessary for your life. You’ll learn to recognize narcissism in those around you, plus how to identify and stop typical manipulation techniques, such as gaslighting, in their tracks. (Read More)

Get your copy free when you have Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime – or pay $2.99 and keep it forever. 

7 Ways Your Smartphone Can Help You Get Rid of Brain Fog

7 Ways Your Smartphone Can Help You Get Rid of Brain Fog

Have you ever felt kind of cloudy and sort of like your brain just wasn’t functioning as well as usual? Or like you’re not really “here,” maybe like you’re sort of in a bubble or watching your life happen, like a movie? Like you’re a spectator rather than a participant?

If so, you might be dealing with brain fog. And, if you’ve survived toxic relationships, the chances that you’ve dealt with it are pretty high. In fact, one complaint I hear from many of my clients is that they struggle with “brain fog.” Many people develop C-PTSD as a result of toxic relationships with narcissists – and brain fog is one of several common symptoms.

Today, we’re talking about why you have brain fog and some surprising tools and techniques you can use to clear it up quickly and painlessly – all with the use of your smartphone.

This video will fill you in on brain fog and offer several helpful smartphone apps that’ll clear the fog!* Or, just scroll down to see the full transcript.

Items Mentioned in the Video

What is brain fog?

Brain fog or mental fog is a common issue for people who have survived toxic relationships with narcissists. Brain fog is officially defined as a clouding of your consciousness – or in layman’s terms, we could define it as not being able to think clearly or not being able to do simple tasks. It can also affect memory or the ability to work. The term is even used among physicians and psychiatrists to indicate that there’s an abnormality in the regulation of someone’s overall level of consciousness that is mild and less severe than a delirium.

Many survivors describe a subjective sensation of mental clouding described as feeling sort of foggy, or like they’re watching their lives happen from a distance.

What are the effects of brain fog on the average person?

  • Trouble thinking during highly stressful situations.
  • Struggling to remember things.
  • Finding it nearly impossible to concentrate on anything.
  • Even the idea of being able to focus may seem like an abstract concept at this point.
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Finding it difficult to get things done, even basic things like paying your bills, showering or cleaning your house.
  • Not thinking clearly
  • Sleep problems and a lack of energy – you feel exhausted all the time.

What causes brain fog?

We know that researchers say that prolonged trauma and chronic stress, like the trauma and stress experienced in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, can cause brain fog, but it might also be a sign of another kind of health issue, so it’s important to see your doctor and determine if medical issues are causing your brain fog.

Some of the conditions your doctor might check for include nutritional deficiency, bacterial overgrowth from eating too much sugar, thyroid conditions, sleep disorders, and even depression. Doctors say other causes may include overeating, not getting enough exercise or sleep or a poor diet in general.

How do you get rid of brain fog?

How do you sort of “clear up the fog” so you can function normally again? Start here. I’m going to share seven powerful tips with you today -things that have actually worked for me as well as for my clients.

1. Sharpen your memory by doing some fun brain training – Research suggests that certain kinds of video games and apps can actually help to clear up brain fog – to sharpen your memory and reduce certain risks. According to one 2017 research paper, brain training games can boost your memory and could reduce the risk of dementia in your future. And a Cambridge University study found that video games helped to improve the brain function of people with early memory problems.

You know how much I love research, right? This information led me to want to test out this theory. So when the good people at CodyCross reached out to me and asked me to check out their game, I did – and boy, am I glad I tried it!

So, I have to be honest. At first, I wasn’t really too convinced this would work for me. After all, I am most definitely NOT a gamer. Still, I wanted to test out the theory, so I downloaded CodyCross and gave it a shot. And I have to tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did I kind of dig the music and sound effects as they were strangely satisfying, but I loved playing the game. It is simple and fun and gives you an interesting sense of accomplishment.

A Quick Review of CodyCross

I found CodyCross both exciting and mentally stimulating – and somehow, still very relaxing. And y’all know the “free” price tag didn’t hurt my feelings one bit. Even better, if English isn’t your first language, you’ll be happy to know that the game is available in 9 different languages. It really is a way to get your brain exercise and it’ll work for any age.

It seems to be keeping my own memory sharper, and I’ve only been playing for a few weeks. The first time I played, I think I played for about 45 minutes straight. I got halfway through the second level and only stopped playing at that moment because I had an appointment!

You should totally try it! Click this link to DOWNLOAD #CODYCROSS AND TELL ME IF YOU FINISHED THE FIRST CHALLENGE FASTER THAN ME!

One quick note: like I told you, this video is sponsored by the company that made the game. But my opinion is my own and in fact, part of what I promise the company is that I would only share my honest opinions with you, so that is exactly what I’m doing here. Anyhoo, that game is super fun (and I can’t lie, maybe a tiny bit addictive). All I’m saying is, if you haven’t tried it yet, you gotta try it now.

As I said, be sure to click my link to get your app. When you do that, you will be clicking an affiliate app so that I get credit for the installation.

  • Mindfulness – Simply going outside and breathing fresh air can help, but mindfulness is all about bringing yourself into your body and into the moment. Coping mechanisms such as meditation, deep breathing can help you not only reduce stress but also clear brain fog. Find ways to practice mindfulness at home and at work.
  • Get help, reach out to friends, and practice self-care. Check out this video for additional information about mindfulness techniques you can try. Thanks to more awareness of the benefits of mindfulness in recent years, you won’t be lacking in smartphone apps here. For example, there is an app actually called Mindfulness on both the Google Play Store and iTunes, among probably thousands of others.
  • Pattern interrupts – Next time you notice yourself spacing out and going into brain fog, make a point to notice it. Then realize that you are in a sort of pattern, which leads to your brain creating and reinforcing certain connections that lead to this feeling. But good news: you can sort of reroute those neural connections. Just use simple pattern interrupts when you feel like you’re stuck in a negative “loop.” For example, brush your teeth, wash your face, stand up, move into a different part of the house. Here’s a video that offers some easy pattern interrupts you can try at home. 
  • Do something to change your environment and/or to sort of bring yourself into the moment and into your body. It helps. A lot more than you think. You could use a mindfulness app for this one too, but for me, I keep a playlist of happy music on my Google music app that helps me sort of shake up my head a little and get back into a healthy groove.
  • Getting more/better sleep – Get enough sleep. Sleep is also important to alleviate brain fog. When you don’t get enough sleep, you may feel like you’re walking through a fog during the day. You’ll have trouble concentrating and thinking. You’ll miss things and doze off. Experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep each night for adults. However, you may need more or slightly less depending on your body and history. Personally, I recently upgraded my pillow and bought a weighted blanket. Not only does the blanket feel amazing and reduce anxiety, but it keeps you from feeling overheated in the night. And I’ve been using an alarm clock app that “listens” to me sleep and wakes me up at the best time in my sleep cycle. This reduces drowsiness and helps me wake up feeling more clear-headed. I’ve also been listening to meditations while I sleep. Very helpful.
  • Exercise – You don’t have to go crazy, but any sort of exercise that gets your heart pumping can help. Get a Fitbit like mine or any exercise tracker if you want to make sure you’re getting enough movement in – even one of the free apps offered on your smartphone that counts steps will work if you keep your phone with you all the time. Even just walking around the block or dancing with your kids while you tidy up the house can help. And hey, if you’ve got a treadmill, you can get in a couple rounds of CodyCross while getting in your steps!
  • Meditation app – Meditation has proven mental and physical health benefits. It lowers your heart rate and stress levels – but most importantly for today, it can help get rid of brain fog. There are tons of free meditation apps out there. One that I’ve tried and find simple and enjoyable is called Headspace.
  • Eating better – Focus on nutrition. A poor diet can adversely affect the way your brain functions. Eating a high-fat diet or a lot of refined sugars and carbohydrates can make brain fog worse. Take a close look at your diet. Try to eliminate sugar, unhealthy fats, alcohol, and caffeine. Focus on eating more produce and a variety of healthy foods. Eliminate artificial sweeteners because they can cause headaches and other issues. Eat healthier and more natural foods in general. There are tons of apps out there that can help with eating better. I like one called LifeSum, and you can also look at Weight Watchers, SparkPeople and a number of others.

Speaking of eating healthier, that means something different for a lot of people – those who struggle with various food allergies. So, to be safe, you might also look into the possibilities of food allergies and sensitivities. Some food allergies and sensitivities can also cause brain fog. For example, celiac disease is often associated with brain fog. If you have celiac disease, your body can’t digest gluten found in wheat, barley, or rye. You can also have brain fog with lactose intolerances. Talk to your doctor about any possible food intolerances and sensitivities. They may be affecting you in multiple ways.

Bottom line: while it feels overwhelming and almost paralyzing, brain fog can be resolved, and it doesn’t have to control your life. 

Share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences in the comments section below, and let’s talk about it! Now don’t forget, click here to get your free copy of CODYCROSS – and tell me how you like it!!

*Editor’s Note: The Brain Fog video in this post has been sponsored by CodyCross.

Depression in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

Depression in Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

As you go through the winding road of narcissistic abuse recovery, you may find yourself dealing with a number of complications, including debilitating depression. In fact, anytime you’re dealing with a narcissistic abuser in a toxic relationship, you’ll experience all kinds of PTSD-related symptoms, including dissociationanxiety, various physical symptoms, among other issues.

Sadly, while it’s one of the most life-stopping, one of the easiest symptoms to miss is depression – and while everybody gets depressed from time to time, there are certain warning signs you should watch for when it comes to healing after your toxic relationship or even trying to find the strength to leave one.

Depression is tough because it can debilitate you, and because it’s easy for people to miss – you might just be a little quieter than usual or a bit withdrawn, and after having survived the abuse you have, a lot of people might assume it’s normal. That can absolutely be the case – but sometimes, you’ve got a case of clinical depression, and that can be devastating to your life and to your narcissistic abuse recovery.

Narcissists and How They Affect Your Depression

Most of the time, a narcissist will do everything in his or her power to maintain some level of control over you, so your depression gives them a chance to twist in the screws a little tighter. Rather than helping you through it, they’ll put their proverbial foot on top of your proverbial head and spit on you as you try to climb out of the depths of hell. That’s why, if you’re still currently dealing with the narc in your life, you might want to consider working toward going no contact (or low contact). Your life may depend on it.

How Is Clinical Depression Different from Sadness?

It’s normal to feel sad when faced with stressful or emotional situations, but how can you distinguish feelings of sadness from clinical depression symptoms? The answer is complex.

  • Sadness or “the blues” might disappear soon after the onset, perhaps a few days later. Clinical depression will usually last for two weeks or longer and cause noticeable changes in your lifestyle.
  • During periods of sadness or stressful situations, you might be able to pull yourself out of the mood by talking to a trusted friend, getting away for awhile or simply taking better care of yourself. Clinical depression is signified by feeling like you’re in an unfathomable abyss that you can’t climb out of no matter what you do.
  • You may become upset when friends or family attempt to cheer you up or reach out to you in some other way and have feelings of irritability, stomach problems, changes in sleep patterns or an inability to cope with even the most menial tasks or dilemmas. Clinical depression might mean that you have thoughts of death or suicide, that life just isn’t worth living anymore or that you’re worthless and don’t deserve anything good.
  • Women experiencing these symptoms usually don’t have as difficult of a time reaching out for help, but men might consider it a sign of weakness to admit that they’re depressed. They may lose perspective and attempt to live with the debilitating symptoms rather than asking for assistance. Clinical depression isn’t something that can be worked through without help.
  • The most solid clarification of the differences in sadness and clinical depression is that sadness is fleeting and the feelings usually disappear after you cope with whatever problems are causing the distress. You go on living with sadness, working every day and dealing with the lingering thoughts that are causing the “blues.”
  • Clinical depression simply persists until your life becomes a living hell. Well-meaning friends and family might tell you to “snap out of it,” or “get over it,” but you just can’t make that transition. Turning to drugs and alcohol or other medications to feel better, even for a limited amount of time, is a choice that could harm you or affect the rest of your life in a negative way.
  • Prescription drugs for a medical condition might also be causing clinical depression as it chemically changes your body’s makeup. If you suspect that prescription medications might be the cause of your depression, speak to your physician about changing the dosage or the type of prescription you’re taking.

If you’ve tried everything to make your depression go away, but feel locked into the emotional roller coaster of sadness and despair, you may have clinical depression. Clinical depression can be treated with a number of options that you can discuss with your doctor.

Recognizing the Signs of Depression

If you find yourself experiencing one or more of the following depression signs, consider reaching out to your doctor to get a medical and mental evaluation. This will help determine the type of depression you’re dealing with and the best way to treat it. Some depression signs are:

  • Sadness or anger that just won’t go away. If you, a friend or family member seems to carry a cloud of sadness wherever they go or no matter what they’re doing, consider it a sign of depression. Expressing anger for no reason over a prolonged period of time is also a sign that the person may be experiencing some form of depression.
  • Missing work or classes on a regular basis. A person who just can’t seem to pull themselves out of bed or get it together enough to show up at a job or attend classes at school may be depressed. Everyone feels lethargic sometimes, especially during stressful situations or burning the candle at both ends, but if it becomes a problem in how the person functions, there could be a problem.
  • Dropping out of life. If you or someone you care about doesn’t want to do the things you once loved to do, it could be a depression sign. A teenager or child might be going through depression if he or she shows a lack of friends or disinterest in doing things she once enjoyed.
  • Alcohol or drug use. Some prescription drugs can cause depression, especially in older adults. Excessive use of alcohol or illicit drugs can also be considered a symptom and cause of depression and should be taken seriously if you notice this type of behavior in yourself or a loved one.
  • Mentioning death or suicide. Suddenly getting rid of belongings and constantly bringing up cryptic conversations that deal with death and/or suicide should be a red alert as a serious depression sign. The person expressing these thoughts or deeds should seek help immediately.

When you begin to suspect that you or someone you love is troubled with depression, take some time to evaluate the depression signs and seek help from a family member or friend close to the situation. It may just be a passing phase, but each sign should be taken seriously. Doctors are usually able to quickly diagnose depression and help is readily available either in the form of medications or mental help.

Complications of Chronic Depression

Chronic depression, medically referred to as Dysthymia, is a mild form of depression, but it can affect your quality of life for a long period of time and cause physical and mental complications, such as the following.

  • Chronic depression may cause you to lose interest in almost everything, develop low self-esteem and basically, become incapable of living your life to the fullest. Old friends and even family members may begin to avoid you, or you them.
  • Fatigue, hopelessness, anger, self-criticizing, trouble concentrating and making decisions are present in both types of depression and may or may not keep you from functioning and completing tasks in daily life. You may not always feel the full effect of these symptoms all the time or even most of the time, but chronic depression can take its toll in a number of ways. It can overwhelm you at times in your life when you’re supposed to be happy, such as during pregnancy or marrying your soul mate.
  • Normal stresses that people face periodically or every day may affect you differently if you suffer from chronic depression. For example, most people might be able to shrug off a bad day at work, but you might view it as life-changing and it might cause you to withdraw into a dark hole for a number of days or even weeks.

Complications of chronic depression symptoms can virtually ruin your life. The complications may include family or work-related conflicts, substance or alcohol abuse, withdrawal from social activities, suicidal thoughts and relationship problems. All these side effects of chronic depression can greatly reduce your quality of life and could turn into major depression.

Seeking help from your primary care doctor is the first step toward beating chronic depression and when you combine that with help from a counselor or mental health care provider, you can help yourself to resume a normal lifestyle. Antidepressants, prescribed by your doctor, have few side effects and may help to greatly relieve the symptoms that keep you from functioning. Counseling can help you understand why you have a propensity for chronic depression.

Normal feelings of sadness, anger or mild depression are a part of our reactions to stressful situations, but if it lasts for a longer period of time than usual or begins to interfere with work, attending class, relationships or keeps you from performing daily tasks, you could be suffering from chronic depression.

Could You Be Living With Severe Depression?

If you’re feeling emotions that seem to be beyond sadness or that you’re stuck in a world that seems like a dark hole of despair, you could be dealing with symptoms of severe depression. Severe depression can permeate your entire life and those around you. You may become unable to function in normal activities and severe depression could eventually affect your health.

Many people who are suffering from severe depression find themselves unwilling victims of today’s tumultuous events such as the downturned economy, job loss, house foreclosures and health care issues. It’s a domino effect that could also threaten relationships, work, school, diet and sleeping habits.

Symptoms of severe depression can worsen if not properly addressed. Some may experience signs of a condition called psychosis and suffer hallucinations or delusions. Thoughts of worthlessness, self-hatred, guilt and feelings that life isn’t worth living become a 24/7 occurrence, and the hole becomes deeper and more difficult to wrench yourself from.

Side effects of severe depression include inability to concentrate, sleeping too much (or too little), reduced libido and withdrawal from normal activities such as socializing with friends and family. Extreme fatigue is a debilitating effect of severe depression and this can sometimes be accompanied by headaches and stomach problems like indigestion.

Many people suffering from severe depression find they have no appetite for the foods they once really enjoyed and end up losing an alarming amount of weight that could affect their health and well-being. Others eat too much, often bingeing and suffer from rapid weight gain.

Severe depression can affect people of all age groups, including children and the elderly. Children suffering from severe depression often exhibit lethargy and a decline in the quality of schoolwork. They may also become insecure, cling to parents or develop whiney and moody habits. Most children display these symptoms at times, but if they begin to indicate a real decline in quality of life, a health care provider should be consulted.

Older people may experience signs of severe depression that include cognitive problems and memory loss. Health problems may exacerbate severe depression, especially if the problems affect a person’s lifestyle. Changes are especially difficult for the elderly. Losing a spouse, moving from loved ones and friends and other transformations of lifestyle may bring on severe depression in the elderly.

Psychologically, severe depression can be persistent and negative thoughts may be difficult to banish from your mind. Coping skills might become non-existent, plunging a person with severe depression even deeper into despair. If you think you or a loved one may be living with severe depression, seek help before the symptoms begin to devastate your health and your life.

Can you self-treat depression? (Self-Help Tips for Depression)

There are some things you can do as a survivor of narcissistic abuse to get through depression on your own. Here are a few basic self-help tips you can try for depression after narcissistic abuse.

  • Lifestyle Changes – Simple changes to your lifestyle such as adopting a better and healthier diet, exercising (especially aerobic), not giving in to urges such as staying in bed rather than going to work or making negative food choices such as eating a hamburger and fries rather than a healthy meal will help build your willpower quotient so that it becomes easier next time.
  • Self- Care – You know that you should be taking care of yourself, but sometimes life gets in the way and you may be putting yourself last on your own priority list. If you don’t start taking care of yourself, you’ll eventually be unable to take care of others who need you. Not putting yourself first in line for rest, relaxation or anything else that can boost your mood is inviting depression into your body and mind.
  • Talk to Trusted Friends & Family Members – When you participate in healthy friendships and family relationships, you’re developing a self-help technique that can help you cope with feelings of depression on a regular basis. Depression self-help includes talking to friends and/or family members who support you, but you have to work on these relationships, and when you’re depressed it might be difficult just thinking about whom you should call or visit.
  • Manage Overwhelm – When you feel overwhelmed by “things” you have to do, separate them out into two categories – difficult and unattainable. It may be difficult to get out of bed, shower and get yourself to work, but it’s not impossible. Tasks put into the unattainable category might be saying “yes” to one more volunteer job this week. Picking and choosing what you’ll do will give you a sense of empowerment.
  • Take It Slow – The proverbial, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” is especially true when it comes to dealing with depression. Take baby steps on the road to recovery. If you don’t have a lot of energy on one day, don’t try and accomplish a lot. Choose one thing that you know you can do and do that. Forget about the rest of the stuff on your list.
  • Reward Yourself – Don’t forget to reward yourself for what you’ve accomplished. Write down those accomplishments and then look back periodically. You’ll find that you’ve accomplished much more than you thought you had.

Depression self-help can be a wonderful way for you to feel good about yourself and help overcome depression symptoms, but if you feel yourself descending deeper into the throes of depression and you just can’t seem to pull out of it, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

More Self-Help Hacks for Depression

When you’re feeling distraught enough that you can recognize you need help for depression, there are many options for you to choose from. This can be a blessing for those who like choice, or it can be overwhelming at a time when you have no energy or motivation.

Sometimes it can be embarrassing to admit that you’ve fallen into a funk, so thankfully, there are some discreet products and services that can help you cut through the fog of depression and see the light again.

Depression doesn’t discriminate. You can be a child or a senior citizen, man or woman and suffer from depression. Because of the wide range of people who suffer from this, there have emerged many forms of treatment.

It’s up to you to decide which ones you want to try based on your personal medical history, beliefs, and preferences. Some are rooted in the medical field while others come from a certain ideology.

If you need help for depression that’s so severe you’re having suicidal thoughts, go to the emergency room if you’re in immediate danger, or contact your trusted physician immediately to seek treatment. He or she can provide a prescription solution or other form of help quickly.

If it’s not to that point yet, then you may want to consider some of the other forms of treatment for depression, which include:

  • Natural Remedies – These are generally herbal, over the counter solutions that help alleviate stress factors that lead to depression. They may include St. John’s Wort, Gingko Biloba, or Ginseng to name a few.
  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming – This is a cognitive therapy that helps change the way you look at life, and at stressful situations that result in a depressive state.
  • Hypnosis – This can be done by another person, such as a therapist, or you can learn self-hypnosis to discover a new way of handling your sadness and anxiety.
  • Stress Relief – Basics stress relief techniques that alleviate depression can range from something as simple as stress balls that you squeeze in your hand to acupuncture treatments.
  • Endorphin Boosters – There are many ways to release endorphins and it can be something as easy as working exercise into your daily routine.

You may have to try more than one form of treatment to find one that works for you, or perhaps do several things together such as exercise, take an herbal supplement, and do self-hypnosis, but the end result will be a happier you.

Whenever you need help for depression, it’s important that you not let it get out of control. Not only is depression emotionally draining, but it can do damage to your body over time.

Other Ways to Treat Depression: Depression Treatment Options*

Treatments for depression are many and as varied as the types of depression that affect people during their lifetimes. Depression will likely affect everyone either personally or through a family member with depression at some time during their lives. Now, depression diagnoses are more prevalent than ever because of complicated lifestyles and feeling like we’ve lost control. Depression treatment options depend upon the type of depression that’s diagnosed.

Anti-depressants and psychological counseling are among the methods of depression treatment most used by health care providers. Medications can alleviate symptoms, but do not cure them, so seeing a specialist that diagnoses and treats mental health conditions can be helpful when used with the medication.

Effective antidepressants most prescribed by doctors today for depression treatment include SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Prozac, Paxil and Celexa, SNRIs (Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) such as Effexor, Cymbalta and Pristiq, NDRIs (Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors, Atypical antidepressants such as Desyrel and Remeron, tricyclic antidepressants and MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors) such as Parnate and Nardil.

The strategy your health care provider takes to treat your depression symptoms depend on whether you need mood-stabilizers, stimulants or help with anxiety. You may end up taking a combination of antidepressants, a strategy known as augmentation. Medication treatment may begin on a hit and miss basis. Everyone is different, and you may have to wait for the exact one or combination to work for you.

Besides medications and counseling, there are other methods of depression treatment that may work if all else has failed. Treatments such as vagus nerve stimulation use electrical impulses that are targeted to a surgically implanted generator. Powerful magnetic fields alter brain activity in a depression treatment called Transcranial magnetic stimulation.

If you have a problem taking certain medications or you simply prefer not to, there are various lifestyle changes and home remedies that are also considered effective depression treatments. Even if you’re taking antidepressants, you may want to follow a program of self-help. Self-help remedies can include abstaining from alcohol and illicit drugs, aerobic exercise and getting enough rest.

Don’t feel hopeless about depression symptoms. There are many treatments available that can make a significant improvement in your moods and how you’re living your life. Depression treatment has improved over the past years and the side effects of medications have decreased, so if you suffer from depression, seek some form of treatment.

Are you depressed? Click here to take our online depression test.

*I am not a doctor and I do not claim to offer medical advice. Always speak to your medical professional before taking my advice or that of anyone who isn’t your own doctor. See full disclaimer. 

How to Talk to a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coach FREE

How to Talk to a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coach FREE

Get Free Video Coaching for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse

Speak to one of our narcissistic abuse recovery coaches during a live-streaming video coaching session on YouTube.

Angie Atkinson and Lise Colucci each offer free online video coaching sessions through the QueenBeeing YouTube Channels. Subscribe here for Angie’s sessions and subscribe here for Lise’s sessions.

When are the free video coaching sessions?

Angie’s live sessions are on Tuesdays around 12:30 P.M. CST. Lise’s sessions are on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays later mornings or early afternoons.

How can I get a reminder for each session?

In addition to subscribing to each channel and hitting the “bell” notification, you can text us your number. This will allow us to text you a few minutes before each live session. To be notified 5 minutes before each coach goes live each time, you can text ANGIELIVE for Angie or LISELIVE for Lise to 33222. Want to sign up for both? No problem. Just send two texts as follows.

  1. Text to the number 33222. In the body of the text, write the following word, no spaces: ANGIELIVE
  2. Text to the number 33222. In the body of the text, write the following word, no spaces: LISELIVE

This will only take a few seconds and it will allow us to let you know each time we go live. We charge nothing for this service and you may unsubscribe at any time.

Need more? If you’re looking for support in your narcissistic abuse recovery, QueenBeeing.com has you covered. Be sure to check out our services page for a full overview of our offerings. In addition to our one-on-one coaching options, we have both free and inexpensive options. These currently include the following.

Want more personal support? Check out our one-on-one coaching options, right here. 

Pin It on Pinterest