Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

The Narcissism Game

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Right now I am in a narcissistic game of tug of war. I’ve been working with my best friend for months on building up his self esteem so that he can see he has value and build trust with people. That was taken away from him over 30 years ago. You see, I am his wife’s ONLY “friend” although lately, I have been mainly viewed by her as the enemy.

Once my best friend discovered his wife has no doubtedly, narcissistic personality disorder, I began doing a lot of research. Since I am pursing a nursing degree and was in Abnormal Psychology, I was able to ask a lot of questions from my professor. At first she blew the situation off as if it could be something else. That was, until I started thoroughly describing behaviors and then her jaw dropped.

I have been learned to play this narcissism game and let me tell you, her true self has reared its head. Just last week my best friend seen a side of his wife he didn’t expect to see although he was somewhat aware of the possibility it would happen. One of the things I have been working on in myself, since I too became a “victim” of this narcissistic vampire has been to stand up for myself.

You see, for years I allowed things to be in her court. I had tried in the past to reason with her, argue my point, defend others (especially her husband) and even help her when she asked for it. All of that was in vain and usually she was the “winner.” I always felt like an object to her anyways. I mean one day I was her best friend in the world, the next day it was if I didn’t exist, mean a thing to her at all whatsoever.

Even before the discovery of NPD I had pretty much started to detach myself from her. She would ask her husband why I would only come out to the house when he was there or why I wouldn’t text or call her like I used to. Well, it’s because I got sick and tired of being treated like a doormat for her to clean her boots off with.

It’s taken a lot longer for my best friend to realize how deeply serious this situation is. After all, he has been sucked into this vampirish nightmare for over 30 years. I am proud of him though for realizing that he has to be the one to take control of his life again. For years he left the ball in her court, for her to make the decision to leave or stay. There were times she would threaten to leave but never would. It was just a few years ago he finally let her know he no longer wanted to be married to her. And of course she felt like she was nothing anymore since he no longer “wanted” her.  As typical as it is with her, in a day or two it was if nothing had ever happened.

Stuff like that has driven my best friend and I nuts. Her being aware of something one day and the next day it was as if a reset button had been pushed. Lately though things have been taken up a notch with her saying off the wall things. It was almost two weeks ago when I had gone to Wal-Mart to have my prescription medications filled and had seen her driving into the parking lot. I had text her but heard nothing back for about an hour. Then she calls me and asks me which vehicle did I see her in?

Okay, here is the deal: she only drives ONE vehicle and that is her Jeep. Everyone who knows her knows her Jeep and how she is about it.

Apparently that same day my best friend said that she asked him if he had driven his car…ummm the car is parked next to her Jeep in the garage, so if she made a trip to Wal-Mart she would have noticed the car was still in the garage.

Another bizarre incident happened around that time when she and I had gone to get lunch one day. She made this odd ball comment about me being just a few months older than her niece. The thing is, that is not true. It is true that her oldest son is just a few months older than his cousin, but I am Nine years older than the two of them!

I still find myself being underminded by her as I am gritting my teeth ready to put my hands around her neck. Every time I am around her of course she starts her bragging about this or that. Usually I am rolling my eyes and trying to tune her out. My teenage daughter has even become aware of the situation, often asking me questions about things. Of course, she knows why I continue to stick around.

Why am I still around her? There are a lot of reasons why. Some are deeply personal. Two main reasons: I am pretty much the ONLY person who is completely aware of the situation and the person who is the support of my best friend.

I saved him in the nick of time, from committing suicide years ago. He was ready to end it all because he felt useless, as if no one cared or even appreciated him and his worth. My best friend is an amazing person who is adored by many around us. He is incredibly talented, smart, savvy, and also extremely caring. The latter one is his biggest weakness. I have watched him become the doormat to several people which has at times caused strain between the two of us.

In the case of his wife though, he is fully aware that I am at the point I will not back down, I will be aggressive and I will be doing a lot of speaking out. I have already been doing these things with some interesting results.

That of course has begun to irk his wife. And her true self is being revealed.

Importance of Maintaining Control of Asthma and Allergies

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

For the last 34 years of the 35 years of my existence, I have lived with asthma and allergies. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s though that I finally got them both under control. Before that time, I suffered a lot from lack of treatment for various reasons. I believe a lot of it affected my self esteem.

For most of my childhood I rarely visited a doctor because of my asthma and allergies. One main reason, neither one of my parents, who divorced when I was four, had medical insurance. My dad though, attempted to “treat” my asthma flare ups with bee pollen pills he purchased from a local health food store. Of course, they did not work. I resented when I had to stay inside and rest while everyone else was enjoying playing around.

I recall so many times crying because I was frustrated and angry I couldn’t be “normal” like everyone else. When I lived with my grandparents, my nana whom I believe was a little of a hypochondriac, would not allow me to go outside when the pollen was high or it was freezing cold. If it was snowing I wasn’t allowed outside to play with my friends. I do remember often being in a daze from medications she gave me before I would go to school. I was often taunted by my teachers and peers because I would be off in lala land.

In the sixth grade I became seriously ill with a severe case of bronchitis. That resulted in me staying in the hospital for eight days. That was the first time I remember receiving breathing treatments, although I am sure I was given them when I was a baby (first diagnosed with asthma).

I remember so many times my asthma flaring up and me laying on the couch or propped up in my bed fighting to breathe while siblings and friends could freely run around, or even sleep. As I got older I remember many times waking up grabbing my chest during a nightmare because I could not breathe, which really was the case.

The scariest event that happened to me was when I was 18 and had no insurance. My asthma flared up to the point I had an attack, could not breathe and started hyperventilating. A friend took me to the ER where they immediately took me in. When my blood pressure was checked, it was sky high to where it concerned the nurses. After things settled down I learned from one of the nurses that  a young girl close to my age had an Asthma attack that resulted in her going into a coma and passing away.

While I have not had another episode like that, I have come close over the years. Of course, I have learned too, what can trigger my flare ups. I also have allergies which can aggravate my asthma at times. About two years ago I made the decision to go a local allergy clinic to set up a treatment plan for my asthma. It wasn’t my first time to make this goal either.

Right after my first child was born, I had an allergic reaction to some foods I typically ate. It scared me so bad that I went to the dr then, who tested me and let me know what I was allergic to. The treatment plan didn’t last long because I got so depressed when I got home with a bag full of pills, inhalers and a spirometer along with a list of things to do and not do. I didn’t want to live my life that way.

I’ve always been that with my asthma. I felt in childhood it held me back from so many things. I hated spending the night at certain family and friend’s houses because I knew it would trigger an asthma attack. My family couldn’t afford for me to go to the doctor so I suffered miserably.

The biggest slap in the face had to come when my ex husbands grandmother who was in her 80’s had asthma, could out do me by a long shot with the spirometer. I was definitely discouraged and frustrated. In fact, I thought the rest of my life asthma would consume me along with my allergies.

In 2006 I had another scary moment with my asthma. What I thought was a bad case of the flu turned out to be a bad case of pneumonia. That put me in the hospital for four days. I was a single mom of three kids at the time. The doctors and nurses begged me to stay in the hospital to get rest and let my body heal. One lung was completely covered with pneumonia and the other was just starting to show signs of it.

Going back to the allergy clinic was the best decision I ever made. It took me close to a year to finally get my asthma under control and pass the spirometer tests with flying colors. It was the greatest feeling to hear my doctor say how pleased he was with my progress! At the same time I made the decision to start Immunotherapy Treatment (IT), allergy shots. I did kind of backslide with it for a while, but I made the decision to start back and keep persisting.

I’ve been told that in about two more years I will be tested to see how much progress the IT has done for me. I could be doing the IT for a maximum of five years, though I hope it is less than that. Even after just a year I can tell that I am doing better with my allergies.

I am able to sleep so much better since I have gotten my asthma under control. I can enjoy the outdoors, especially the long hikes I do with my friends and family. I am also doing better at keeping up with people in my life, like my kids. I look forward to the time I no longer have to do the IT shots and can avoid taking allergy medications and hopefully rarely use my inhalers.

I feel for my friends, family and even other people who do not have insurance or even a clinic they can go to for medications for their asthma and/or allergies. For years I had family and friends who gave me their used inhalers or even new ones. I even had some of them let me use their nebulizers. Had it not been for them I am not sure where I would be today.

And if I have any friends or family in need who are uninsured, you can bet I will be helping them the way they helped me. Asthma can affect a persons ability to sleep, eat, even do daily routines. Eventually it can destroy their self esteem.

For now, I just have to maintain consistency with my asthma and allergy treatment plan.

Angioedema

Friday, December 21st, 2012

I can recall in childhood my hands mysteriously swelling and remembering how painful they would get. I just assumed it was related to my Asthma getting ready to flare up. I remember having some difficulty swallowing and sometimes getting painful indigestion assuming it was related to food allergies.

It wasn’t until I was a grown adult, mother of three kids that things started to fall into place. I still had my hand swelling issues sporadically, but then it started in my face and feet. Another scary issue emerged about a decade ago with  me having difficulties swallowing. Back then it was as if I had not chewed up my food enough. Now, it sometimes gets to the point the food gets stuck where I cannot swallow, cough it up or breathe.

My last incident with the swallowing was about three weeks ago when I went out to eat with my family. I had one of those moments of shear panic as well as embarrassment when I went to swallow and the food got stuck. I tried drinking and it came back up because there was no where for it to go. It even came out of my nose and I was scared because I couldn’t do anything productive for a short time, which felt like an eternity.

I have had worse moments in the past though. I remember going to a WIC party for my youngest son at the local health department about six years ago and eating, then my food getting lodged in my throat. I was in horrible pain, could not swallow and I couldn’t drink anything. One of the nurses took my son so I could go to the bathroom. I couldn’t cough it up and I was trying to force myself to throw it up and I couldn’t. After about 30 minutes of going back and forth to the bathroom, I finally was able to swallow.

Why I have waited so long to do something about things is for several reasons.  There were times I did not have insurance, I don’t like doctor’s offices and I honestly thought no one would believe me.

Then recently, things had started to get more mysterious. Every so often when I would get in the shower, my face, lips, hands and/or feet would just swell. I first assumed it may have been from shampoo or soap or even what the towel had been washed in. However, all the soaps used had been soaps I have used for a very long time. Still though, I thought no one would believe me.

A few days ago during a shower, the right side of my face really started swelling and then my lips. It was scary to look at my face in the mirror. That same day I went out shopping with a friend and noticed my hands were mysteriously swelling. I tried pushing the shopping cart, which was a big mistake. My hands started really swelling to the point it hurt.

I waited about three days and then went to go get my allergy shots. It was then I shared with the nurse about the swelling issues. She immediately insisted I go make an appointment to get in to see one of the drs or FNP’s. Luckily for me there was an opening the next day. I still thought though that it would be chalked up to minor things.

Not so much.

I did my routine questionnaire thing, then the spirometer for my Asthma, which was great. Then the FNP came in and started asking me questions. See, I have been having constant (almost daily) indigestion. My throat is still swollen even after the incident weeks ago. I have also started having severe bouts of nausea almost to the point of vomiting. There are times I have had attacks of diarrhea for unknown reasons although I assumed it was either something bad I had eaten or something I had eaten that I could be allergic to.

After going over everything I have been experiencing, the FNP strongly suspects I have Angioedema. She immediately ordered blood work (like 6 vials). There is suspicion I have the hereditary form of AE, or HAE. My maternal grandmother had Lupus and I believe she also had angioedema as I remember her often being in pain from swelling.

For once I was relieved that someone believed me about the strange things going on with my body. It was scary though to read about what angioedema is besides what my FNP shared with me about it. My epi pen won’t work with attacks, if my throat starts swelling I have to immediately go to the ER and typical antihistamines will not work, which makes sense since I have remembered in the past taking antihistamines and still being miserable as all get out hours later.

In early 2013 I will be doing a more thorough food allergy test and also see a gastroenterologist.

For now, it is a wait and see game to see which form of AE I have and then go from there.

The Scars of Emotional Abuse

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Someone suffering from emotional abuse will not always been seen on the surface. If you have ever been there and done that you know that it can take time before one realizes what damage has been done. Many experts have said that emotional abuse is just as bad, if not worse than physical abuse.

As my aunt recently said, I would rather be beaten than to be beaten down with hurtful words that can destroy me.  Physical abuse may leave lasting physical scars, but scars from emotional abuse can last a lifetime while destroying a persons self-esteem, friendships, relationships, cause depression as well as suicide.

My closest friend I adore, has been emotionally abused for the last 31 years. His wife and children have treated him like a doormat and a punching bag on a daily basis. It has taken place for so long that he either cannot see that it is abuse or that he has been in it for so long it scares him to know that things can be better for him if he left.

His wife is an excessive spender. His severance package/retirement fund from his job that ended in 2003 was gone by the beginning of this year. He does not and never has had a mortgage because he built his own house on the 26 acres he has. He has never had a car payment, always paid cash for his vehicles. In 2009 his wife had possession of two credit cards, both were maxed out in two years to the tune of about $32K. She had to file bankruptcy.

Yet he continued to stand by her while she has continuously abused him and their marriage. He has asked her numerous times to stop spending. He has sat down with her to work on a budget countless times only for her to forget about it and do her own thing.

Six months ago their youngest son who is 21 graduated from college with honors. He has never had a job in his life. He had to move back in with them. His mom had mentioned there would be guidelines, which were never implemented. Typically he is sleeping while mom or dad is mowing the yard, taking the garbage out, washing clothes, grocery shopping, Paying the Bills.

My friend continues to be a doormat, believing he is the one expected to be responsible for everyone else, even though they are grown, able bodied adults. In the meantime, his health is declining. Two months ago he broke out in shingles, an obvious sign he is severely stressed. His wife laughs about it.

Eight months ago he found out his wife has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Basically, his marriage has been a lie. She has never and will never have the true capacity to love anyone else but herself. Yet he continues to be at the hands of her control.

Thanksgiving Day this year, he was in excruciating pain from his back. He had worked on her vehicle under the dash, had to take out the seat to work on things. He had been cramped in there for so long that he strained his back. He could barely walk and it was nearly impossible for him to feel comfortable whether sitting, walking or laying down even with strong pain medicine. He did not want to go. She insisted he go with her even though he was not feeling very well and was in pain. He did stand up to her and tell her he was not spending the night at her mother’s house three hours away. The whole entire time he slept. She made him drive home. The next day she had the nerve to tell me he was falling asleep at the wheel on the way home, was weaving.

One Christmas she threatened to shoot both him and her son if they did not go with her at the same time to her parents house.

His wife does not see anything wrong with her behavior. What happens to her is everyone else’s fault. Of course her husband is the main target. He gets blamed for everything, including her massive heart attack in 2010. He has told her he does not want to be married to her anymore. For a few days she will be depressed and claiming her life is useless. A few days later it is if a switch has been flipped and nothing ever happened.

My friend goes through constant periods of depression. I saved him from suicide.

It has been a challenge to pull him away from this dangerous, toxic, negative relationship. He says he feels so responsible. He is afraid of what others will say or think about him if he made her and their son move out. He would be the villain.

He is choosing to kill himself  slowly for the sake of two people who do not care, appreciate or truly love him. Everyday that he goes home he is a doormat. It is dangerous in that his narcissistic wife is like a vampire, sucking the life out of him and he cannot free himself from her clutches.

As a friend, it is like tug of war. I get him away long enough for him to recuperate and then he goes back to emotionally beaten up more.

Emotional abuse can and will kill those that cannot cut themselves out of the ropes of entanglement. They cannot do it alone. Support from family and friends are vital to one recovering from the scars of emotional abuse.

Handling Stress

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Apparently my family and friends view me as a strong willed, determined, able-bodied person even when things are at the lowest point. Or so they assume.

Stress is nothing new to me although the last few years I have been able to work on handling stress better, most of the time. Some stress I can deal with, but there are times when things get  me so stressed out I get extremely anxious (which I cannot stand) to the point my whole body feels jittery. Those are the times I am tempted to break out my Cotton Candy Vodka and mix it with some Big Red I “smuggled” from Texas.

Drinking is not the answer though because it always results in some depression. It’s not worth it to cover up things that I have been strong enough to get through in the past to only temporarily bury them until they eat at me again. Instead I will force myself to start thinking happy thoughts even if it means turning on music that is uplifting, like my 80’s music.

Another thing I do is break out my spiral notebook and start writing away about the things I would like to happen in my life. That tends to put a nice spin on things that get me going in detail about the dreams and goals I have that keep me floating in the right direction. Every so often I’ll even create a vision board- pictures/collage of things I would like in my life.

My favorite thing to do that helps me relieve stress is off-roading. Unfortunately for me this year the timing has been way off for me to do any off-roading which I am usually doing about every four months or so. Perhaps this is why I have been feeling more anxious this year.

What got me back on track about ensuring I learn to be aware of my stressors as well as learning to deal with them in a positive manner is taking Abnormal Psychology. Stress can and will damage your body. As it lingers in your body when you refuse to release the stressful things in life it can make you sick. It can even kill you.

Holding on to stress is not worth sacrificing my sanity, my health, or my life.

There are so many more adventures I still would like to enjoy.