“The inability to get something out of your head is a signal that shouts, “Don’t forget to deal with this!” As long as you experience fear or pain with a memory or flashback, there is a lie attached that needs to be confronted. In each healing step, there is a truth to be gathered and a lie to discard.” —Christina Enevoldsen
One day, in a text message, my narcissist told me not to come back home, so I didn’t. This was his biggest mistake and my salvation.
I scheduled marriage counseling sessions almost immediately. Instead of picking a therapist who specializes in marriage counseling, I selected a therapist with a doctorate who’s speciality was diagnosis. I had no idea what was wrong with my then husband. I just knew ADHD wasn’t the only problem.
Even more important than that, I scheduled my annual women’s heath exam. I hadn’t scheduled one of those in three years. The Nurse Practioner I see has a second speciality: mental health. After quickly breaking into tears, I shared my recent relocation and marital woes. She prescribed the generic version of Prozac.
The moldy curtains of my creaking, dust coated mind were thrown open. Suddenly I was blinking in a light that revealed neglect and decay. It revealed how wrong and skued my life had become. There were days and then weeks where I didn’t break down in tears.
Meanwhile, marriage counseling was going no where. My narcissist was treating the therapist to the same crazy making conversational tactics he used on me. I’d always assumed I was the problem during these crazy making conversations. It was enlightening to see the same things happen when my narcissist was talking to someone else. I realized that I wasn’t the problem.
Then came the week he decided not to attend. I went alone. This was the session that the therapist revealed a possible diagnosis; My then husband very likely had Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I quietly absorbed the news and commented that I had occasionally wondered if he was a sociopath.
The Prozac was helping my focus. I could think things through logically for the first time in too too long. I applied this newly returned brain power to the problem of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Slowly and after a great deal of reading (the most helpful of which was this book), this knowledge became the watershed moment it should have been in the therapist office. I filed for divorce.
In addition to marriage counseling, I was attending individual counseling with another therapist. While reading The Feeling Good Handbook, by David Burns, I realized that I also had pretty severe anxiety. I’d mistaken it for depression and had become frustrated that Prozac hadn’t taken care of all of my symptoms. With the help of my General Practitioner, I added buspiron to manage my anxiety.
I was able to begin working on the sabotage stress had visited upon my body. I was having terrible digestive issues. A gastroenterologist diagnosed me with Celiac Disease and an autoimmune condition of the colitis that is typically only found in people twenty years older than me.
With almost a years time and distance, the depression and anxiety leveled off. Sometimes they were completely absent. Then, something would happen and there would be days I were I wanted to lie down and never get up again. It was like I’d gone back to the days before Prozac.
One of these days happened to coincide with a court ordered parenting class. I asked one of the facilitators, an LMHC, for recommendations for a new therapist. I felt I needed someone more versed in high conflict divorce to help me figure out what was wrong with me. I was starting to suspect that I was dealing with PTSD.
It turns out I was right. Just being able to label my dysfunction with something that fit was a huge relief. I’m no longer taking my antidepressant and only take my buspirone when the crazy making is especially bad. Now I’m treating my PTSD with EMDR.
Life is better. My mental and physical health are on a path back to health. I feel more like myself than I have in over a decade.
Maybe this too shall pass.