Friday, May 6, 2011

Open questions...

Since starting this blog, I've gotten my fair share of emails from people who wanted to ask me things. Sometimes the questions are more personal, other times they are about NPD. This kind of got me thinking that it might be sort of fun to open myself publicly on this blog to questions from you, my wonderful readers! Is there something you've wanted to ask? Anything you'd like to know? Well here's your chance to ask away! It can be anything from "What's your favorite color?" to "When did you first realize your NM was an N?" and everything in between!

Let the fun begin! :o)



  1. 1) How are you coping with going outside? I understand you do not like to go out in public and since I sometimes feel the same way I'd like to know how you are combating it.

    2) Why do you think this is?

    3) Can you write a bit more about this - when did it start, do you attribute it to the Ns being in your life at all, or is this a separate issue unrelated to the Ns?

    I understand if you don't want to share any of that, I haven't talked about it at my blog.

  2. wow that's exactly what i wanted to ask! though i have to admit, i always feel hesitant and unsure about discussing anxiety. but i do feel curious.
    i have had anxiety issues myself.
    and i DEFINITELY think it has pretty much EVERYTHING to do with the way my mom destroyed my boundaries and used unpredictable crippling shame.

  3. @ PWC - 1) It's a work in progress really. I've just re-entered into therapy to help me work on my anxiety and panic issues and this new T says that she thinks I suffer from PTSD and that the anxiety and panic are more a symptom of that than due to a chemical imbalance or any of the other reasons believed to cause anxiety/panic. Basically, as I understand it, I will work with my T on addressing my repressed trauma/pain and as I heal from that, the anxiety should lessen substantially. But it's going to take time.

    2) I remember reading once years ago that living in a chaotic/abusive environment causes the brain to stay in a heightened state of arousal more than it normally would. Eventually, instead of coming back to a one, say, the brain actually RESETS itself so that it only comes back down to, say, a four or five which results in constant feelings of anxiety/tension,etc. Because of this, I definitely think it has a LOT to do with my N FOO but I also think it's just the way I'm wired. Perhaps had my environment growing up been more stable and healthy, I wouldn't have any anxiety but, then again, maybe I would have had it anyway but it just wouldn't have been as severe. There really isn't any way to know for sure I guess but, yes, I do believe that N FOO had/has a lot to do with the whole thing.

    3) I've always been what I'd call "anxious", even way back when I was just a young child. I remember having near constant stomach issues, being painfully shy and reserved/withdrawn and it seemed I was almost always sick with something or another. My first panic attack however occurred when I was about 15 or 16.

    I remember I was driving in the car with NM and NHS - I had my learner's permit at the time - and all of a sudden I just had this overwhelming sense of impending doom. My vision seemed hard to focus, my heart was racing, I felt dizzy, I couldn't breathe (or at least it felt that way) and I pulled over quickly and began to cry as it was very scary. NM asked what was wrong and all I could say (through sobs) was, "I don't know!". She told me to get in the passenger seat and she drove the rest of the way home.

    I don't remember when the next panic attack was but I don't recall it being soon after that one. Things continued to get worse at home, the abuse escalated as I got older and my anxiety seemed to reach it's height (at that point, it's since increased some more) when I was about 17-19 years of age.

    Dh - then, my fiance - had left to go to New Jersey to attend a college up there which was, like, a 14 hour drive from where I lived then. All of our so-called "friends" dropped me like a hot potato the second he left town so it was just me at home most of the time which meant I was frequently exposed to NSJ, NHS and NM and their abuse.

    (...continued in another post...)

  4. Part 2 -

    The worst it's ever gotten was shortly after ds was born. For the better part of a couple years, I VERY rarely went outside at all save for ds' doctor appointments and mine and maybe a couple trips to visit my IL's here and there. I saw where I was headed - becoming totally agoraphobic - and it scared me into pushing myself to get out a little bit more.

    At present time, my life is certainly affected by my anxiety/agoraphobia. While it's worsened in some ways - such as my "safe" distance slowly but surely getting smaller and smaller - it has also gotten better in many ways too, like the fact that my anxiety doesn't seem to get as high as it used to. I'm better able to cope and there are places I can now go that I couldn't before.

    CBT therapy with someone who specialized in treating anxiety/panic/agoraphobia helped A LOT. I wish I could have continued the therapy with Dr. S and seen it through to the end. If I had, I have little doubt that I'd now be almost entirely "cured". (I say "cured" because, as I understand it, the anxiety will always be present, it will just get to a point where it doesn't affect me negatively and trigger worse anxiety/panic anymore.)

    The relaxation exercise of diaphragmatic breathing helped the most. It took a while to get the hang of it (and it felt really WEIRD at first when I'd practice) but it really does help to quickly de-escalate the panic. I'm also learning to question my perceptions re: the anxiety. For example, when I first begin to feel an attack coming on and those thoughts of, "I'm having a stroke!" or whatever start, I stop myself and say, "Wait a minute. Are you REALLY having a stroke or is it more likely you're having another anxiety attack?" I tell myself that it's just an anxiety attack, do my breathing and 99% of the time, within several minutes I feel myself come down a bit.

    I hope I've answered all your questions! If you have any more or would like me to elaborate or be more specific about anything, don't hesitate to ask! ;o)


  5. Oh yes that's wonderful - thank you for writing such detailed and helpful answers!

  6. way I'd like to know how you are combating it.


  7. Your courage is amazing. It took me until I was 45 until I sought the counseling I needed. I knew at age 15 something was very wrong but I was more than happy to let others explain it away. I have PTSD. I accept that it is like diabetes. I live with it and learn to manage my behavior but it never actually gets 'cured.' I hope the therapy helps the way your are hoping. Thanks PWC for asking and thank you DA for being willing to share your story.

  8. what about driving? are you able to drive?
    there's something about driving that brings out the worst of my dread. gosh it's so hard. i remember when i used to be able to drive into downtown LA everyday! i can barely drive 5 min without freaking out now. i hate driving, but i sure do miss when it was something i could do...

    i've been trying that diaphragm breathing. what did you find tricky about it? my diaphragm must be out of shape cause i find normally i breathe ENTIRELY with my chest. it puffs out like a robin's! i notice i can only do it while lying down. and i noticed my breath gets kind of a wheezy quality, like my diaphragm is straining. it does feel rather strange. did you notice that too?

  9. oh and i forgot. have you tried any natural remedies? i really dont want to go on anti anxiety meds. so i was thinking of trying something like st john's wort..

  10. @ lisa park - Yes, I can drive, though I DO often get anxiety attacks while driving but that's more from having to sit at red lights or something like that than the driving itself. I also can't do long drives or go beyond certain distances but, again, that's more about going outside my "safe zone" than the driving itself.

    I tried some St. John's wort several years ago. Didn't really notice much difference personally but I have heard from some others that it worked for them. Exercise is also supposed to be good for anxiety but, for me, the act of exercising naturally causes my heart rate to accelerate which my body and mind interprets as the beginning of an anxiety/panic attack so it usually winds up triggering the anxiety for me.

    I've found, by far, the CBT therapy and relaxation exercises to be the most effective hands down. The hardest (most tricky) thing about the diaphragmatic breathing was getting to where it felt normal to do. For the first several times I did it, I felt like I wasn't getting enough air. My doctor said that was normal.

    The way Dr. S explained to do it is to sit in a chair and put one hand on my chest and the other on my stomach. As I breathed in, he said to push my stomach out as far as I could while inhaling and try to do it for a count of 8. Other than a small hitch at the very end, he said my top hand (the one on my chest) shouldn't move at all.

    Another thing that helped me re: the breathing was to imagine that if I was looking at myself from the side (on my right), that as I inhaled, my stomach was traveling in the shape of a backwards "J". So it would move down, then scoop outward and then travel the same track back as I exhaled. It helped me get my diaphragm/stomach moving correctly and do the breaths right.

    Hope this helps you out and answers your questions!

  11. @ syeds - Sorry, I must have missed your question! I think I've already answered what you asked in a response to an earlier question but if there's something you wanted me to elaborate on or explain further, I'd be happy to try and answer you.