Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Are you clinically depressed?

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Are you clinically depressed?

When you are dealing with a narcissistic abuser in a toxic relationship, you’ll experience all kinds of PTSD-related symptoms, including dissociation, anxiety, various physical symptoms and much more.

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can debilitate you, and because it’s easy for people to miss – you might just be a little quieter than usual or a bit withdrawn, and after having survived the abuse you have, a lot of people might assume it’s normal.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.

This can manifest in a number of ways, of course. A lot of my coaching clients tell me that they just go numb after awhile, but that they find themselves with a bit of social anxiety – and find that they prefer to be alone a lot. They can’t deal with social situations because they feel overwhelmed by both their own emotions and the idea of having to handle ONE MORE PROBLEM feels like it might just be the straw to break the camel’s back.

So, if you’re in that boat, you may find yourself becoming upset when friends or family attempt to cheer you up or reach out to you in some other way.

You might find that you have feelings of irritability, stomach problems, changes in sleep patterns or an inability to cope with even the most menial tasks or dilemmas – and you can’t always pinpoint any good reason for this stuff.

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.

Men Vs. Women – Clinical Depression Related to Narcissistic Abuse

Women experiencing these symptoms usually don’t have as difficult 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 Easiest Way to Detect Depression in Yourself

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 just going to stick around 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.

Another Possible Cause of Clinical Depression: Your Rx

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.

Understanding the Symptoms of Depression

Are the hopeless, exhausted and sad feelings you’re experiencing signs of depression or just “the blues,” and it’s lasting longer than usual? Understanding the symptoms of depression can clue you in to whether you’re having a typical down time or if you need to go and see a doctor for treatment of depression.

By taking the time to understand the symptoms of depression and know how it’s affecting you, you can get out of the dumps faster and get back to the life you need to be living. Understanding the symptoms of depression is the first step you need to take to overcome this debilitating problem that usually affects everyone sooner or later.

First, you need to know that life’s challenges are enough to sometimes make you sad and disappointed. Those feelings alone aren’t considered depression. Full blown depression is much more than that. When symptoms of depression overwhelm your life so that you can’t work, eat, sleep and barely function through each day, depression may be the reason for this relentless onslaught.

Some symptoms that may be a red flag for clinical depression include:

  • Thoughts that life is just not worth living that turn in to thoughts of ending your life.
  • Feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness that bring on guilt and sadness.
  • Lack of concentration for even the most menial tasks.
  • Insomnia that brings on fatigue or sleeping too much.
  • Constant fatigue.
  • Irritability with others or extreme anger.
  • Loss of appetite or binge eating that leads to weight gain or loss.
  • Physical problems such as headaches, stomach aches or other chronic pain problems.

Depression can affect young and old, men and women, successful people and those who have lost almost everything. Symptoms sometimes appear different in men than in women and also different in teenagers and even children. Seniors often have a problem with depression after they’ve lost a spouse or had a major life change, such as moving into a nursing home.

Various types of depression can cause varied symptoms. For example, a mild depression could come in the form of feeling slightly depressed and it may go away quickly and your normal mood may return, but mild depression can return again and sometimes last for years. Often, mild depression can go undetected and cause problems in your lifestyle.

Major depression is usually accompanied by a complete inability to find any pleasure in life. If a bout with major symptoms of depression is left untreated, it may last for months, so if you think you’re having symptoms that surpass the normal “blues,” seek treatment immediately.

Your turn. Are you depressed? Have you been clinically depressed before? How’d you deal? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below, and let’s talk about it. 

Next week, I’ll do a series on how to overcome depression during your narcissistic abuse recovery – stay tuned!


Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: What Oprah Winfrey Can Teach You About Taking Better Care of You

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: What Oprah Winfrey Can Teach You About Taking Better Care of You

If you are or have been in a mentally and emotionally abusive relationship with a toxic narcissist, you can probably identify with the idea of forgetting to take care of yourself. I mean, if we’re being real here, we note that probably everyone has had this experience at one time or another – especially those with children.

But this is a different kind of “forgetting to take care of yourself,” one that becomes chronic and causes you to almost literally cross yourself off your own priority list. And when that happens? No good can come of it.

I have coaching clients, SPAN members, readers and YouTube viewers tell me every day that they find that they’ve forgotten how to take care of themselves. Some have even said they have to remind themselves to stop and eat, to shower and even to sleep.

I’ve been there – and I thought maybe if I shared a bit of my own experience, it could help you to get back on track. So let me tell you a story.

After you watch the video, let me know: what do you do to remember to take care of yourself? Do you need to take better care of YOU? What can you do today to take care of yourself better? Share your thoughts and experiences below.


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Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Should you warn the new ‘supply’ about the narcissist?

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Should you warn the new ‘supply’ about the narcissist?

They say that the best way to predict a person’s future behavior is to take a look at his or her past behavior – and when it comes to a toxic narcissist, this is almost unconditionally true. Should you warn new narcissistic supply

If you think about how you and your narcissist got together, do you remember how he treated you at the time? Do you remember the things he told you about past relationships?

And, if you’re in the process of leaving or you’ve already left, you may be dealing with watching him romance a new love – and it’s probably killing you inside. But maybe not for the same reason as everyone thinks.

Standard Breakups: Behavior and Relatable Anger

In most cases, when a couple breaks up or divorces and one of the two moves on with a new love, it can cause a lot of stress and trouble for the one left behind.

You wonder: is she better than me? Prettier? Smarter? Thinner? Better in bed?

And part of you kinda hates her guts; maybe even wishes horrible things would happen to her.

That’s pretty common – but obviously, most healthy people wouldn’t act on those feelings, outside of maybe a snide remark here and there.

In some cases, you might even see ex-couples trying to “get revenge” on one another by contacting new partners and trying to sabotage the relationship.

Why It’s Different for a Narcissist’s Ex

When it comes to a former narcissistic supply, there’s a whole new element involved when it comes to her feelings toward the narc’s new victim…er…”love.”

And yes, this ex might also feel the need to get in touch with the narc’s new potential supply – but for a very different reason than a pissed off “normal” person would.

See, what most people don’t know is that when you’ve experienced toxic mental and emotional abuse from a narcissist, you have a different agenda when it comes to getting in touch with his new girl – and, unless they’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, most people wouldn’t even believe you if you told them your reason.

If you’re currently or formerly involved with a narcissist, you already know what I’m going to say.

Narcissists tend to be attracted to empaths because we are hard-wired to directly respond to the emotions of others, especially when we love them (and/or live with them).

And in addition to falling among the HSP (highly sensitive people) type, we also FEEL for other people – and mostly, we’ve struggled so hard to get out from under what the narcissist did to us that we really don’t want to see another person go through the same kind of suffering and upset we did.

So, our reason for wanting to reach out to the narcissist’s new supply is different because it’s GENUINELY an attempt to help another person.

But, when it comes down to it, should you really try to warn the new supply about what she’s REALLY getting herself into? Does she deserve a warning?

Yeah, maybe she does. But should you say anything to her about it, or not?

Well, here’s the deal.

The Narcissist Has Been Hoovering and Love Bombing

You can already guess why his new relationship looks so pretty from the outside. He’s still in the courtship phase and she’s getting the standard love-bombing and hoovering package.

And, if you’ll remember correctly, you can likely think of at least one time where the narcissist said all kinds of horrible things about an ex or two and how awful she was to him, right?

When that happened, part of you probably resolved to never let that happen to him again, or to be the one who is “different” and makes him believe in love again (or whatever it was that you had to “save” him from).

You may have felt the need to protect him, even, and to build up his confidence – and to be his EVERYTHING.

So, let me ask you something – and I want you to be really, really honest with yourself here.

If one of those “crazy exes” had come to you back then and explained what she’d been through, how do you think you might have reacted?

Do you think you’d have hugged her and thanked her? Would you just ignore her, or would you have even told the narc all about it and sought some kind of validation that she was full of it?

I think we could probably agree that none of us (with the exception of someone who’d been previously involved in a romantic entanglement with a narc) would have hugged her and said thanks.

How to Deal with the Narcissist’s New Supply (and Why)

Obviously, you CANNOT tell the new love what to expect with the narcissist – because she won’t believe you, and because he will simply use it to further attach himself to her (and to make you look like a nut job – confirming all the crap he’s probably already said about you anyway).

So what do you do if you really like the new supply and you truly just don’t want to see her get hurt?

You suck it up, and you deal with it. You focus on yourself, your life, making it better.

Of course, if you’re REALLY worried, you can try to just be her friend and allow her to reach out if she’s got questions or concerns. (But remember – she’s YOU from the beginning of your relationship with this person. So what would you have done if the ex tried to be your friend?)

The only thing you can do is to let it go and move forward. That’s it.

So how do you deal? You focus as always on what you CAN control, and not what you want. And, if you ask me, you focus on creating the life you truly want and deserve – on TAKING BACK YOUR LIFE.  And please, do not become a member of his newly expanded narcissistic harem.

Are you ready to do this? Breathe, and let’s move forward with writing your new future story. I promise you won’t regret it.

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