Daily Archives: February 27, 2015

Close Encounter With The Mind Of A Narcissist

Dearest Readers, those of you who have been with me for some time are aware that I am an ACoN, which stands for Adult Child of a Narcissist.  The Narcissist in my life is my mother.

I have never understood her way of thinking, and she has never understood mine.  Therefore, our relationship has always been superficial and unsatisfactory on both sides.

Narcissists, by definition, are unable to think outside their own box.  They are the center of their own universe-no, the Universe. Anything negative that happens is someone else’s fault. Positive things, on the other hand, are clearly their own handiwork.

They thrive on praise and flattery.  The latter is as good as the former.  Sincerity is not an issue, as long as the adulation is centered on themselves.  They will work hard to achieve success and status, for the purpose of feeling important, and hopefully getting publicly honored.

Narcissists see their children as reflections of themselves.  The children are expected to bring praise and adulation to their narcissistic parent.  They must succeed and excel in academics, accomplishments, and anything that reflects well on their Narcissist.

A Narcissist expects, no–demands, respect and admiration from her children.  If she does not get it, she will retaliate with all kinds of abuse, be it physical, emotional, psychological, and sometimes even sexual, if she needs reassurance that she is still beautiful and sexy.

Somehow or other, I ended up with not one (which would have been enough, dayenu*) but two narcissists in my life–my mother, of course, and her sister.  As often happens, I was much closer to the sister when I was growing up, and her two children were my mother’s darlings.

Time has passed and the sisters have suddenly found themselves in the category of the very elderly.  My mother is 88 and her sister is, I believe, 91, although that side of the family has no compunctions about shaving a few years off their true age.  They tend to live to over 100, God help us, so what does it matter, really?

It doesn’t matter in itself, but they also don’t mind stuffing their purses with the packets of sweetener, soy sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, that populate the tables in various types of restaurants.  One time I was sent to retrieve something out of a purse, and had to paw through enough condiments to run a fast food joint.

My mother has no problem using my father’s handicapped placard to get a space closer to the supermarket doors, even if the weather is fine.  No matter that he’s been dead for six months.  I try to explain to her that this is lying–she is in no way handicapped (she said her knee hurt, and feigned a limp for a few steps, then forgot about it and switched into her locally famous confident stride)–and it is also stealing, because she is taking a parking space that a really handicapped person might need.  I had that happen once, when I was on crutches for something, and all the handicapped spots were taken.  While waiting for one to open up, I watched several totally able-bodied people come along to their vehicles parked in spots that I could have used, had they not been stolen by the Temporarily Able Bodied.  So in Jewish Law, at least, using your late husband’s handicap tag simply because you can, is both lying and stealing.  Bad things.  But she doesn’t think it’s bad.  She thinks it’s “getting away with something,” sort of like shoplifting, which she doesn’t really see as a crime.

To get to the meat of this story, now that I have given a dissertation on Narcissistic Personality Disorder: the sister’s life has taken a devastating turn for the worse.  First off, her husband, who has been her landmark in her stormy emotional sea, and whose constant praise has sustained her, got MRSA (Multiply Resistant Staph Aureus, AKA Flesh Eating Disease) in a sore on his leg, and being 97 (although an extraordinarily active, and healthy up till now, 97), his immune system couldn’t fight it, and he seemed imminently moribund.  All the family gathered at his hospital bed, gowned and masked against the horrid disease, to await his demise.

Imagine their surprise when they showed up one day to find him sitting up eating a hearty breakfast!  Miracle.

But it didn’t last too long.  The profound dips in his blood pressure during the critical days of his illness had done their work on his brain, and now he is being cared for by his daughter, who says that he is “in and out of it.”  No telling how long he’ll last.

In the meantime my mother flew to be with her sister, which was a good thing because her sister has florid dementia and can’t be left on her own.  I think she might have had it for quite some time, but her husband kept things together and served as her stabilizer.  But now he was not at home, and to her that means he is gone, no matter how many times they brought her to see him.

But that’s not all, folks, that’s not all.  The sister had a sore place on her leg.  It was red and puffy.  My mother took her to her doctor’s office, but the doctor had no openings, so she saw a PA, who diagnosed her with MRSA empirically, (which was probably correct), did not take a culture (bad), and sent her home on the wrong medicine.  Bad, bad.  Possibly fatal.

In the meantime, my 88 year old mother is reveling in the adulation she’s getting from the rest of the family for caring for her sister.  It was the right thing to do.  But she was wallowing in an environment crawling with MRSA, since it is passed by fomites.  That’s one of my favorite words, fomites.  A fomite is any article that can pass germs from one person to another, like a hand towel.  Let’s say somebody’s sick with oh, let’s say, MRSA, and they touched an infected part of their body.  They went to wash their hands, and they opened the bathroom door with the now-contaminated hand.  The MRSA germs are now on the door handle.  Different germs live for different amounts of time on different surfaces (did you know that the HIV virus can only live less than 5 seconds on a fomite?).  MRSA can live quite a while, especially on damp surfaces like the hand towel they just dried their poorly washed contaminated hand on.

Now we have an infected bathroom.  Door handle, sink handles, hand towel.

But someone else has been impatiently waiting because they have to go to the bathroom.  The infected person comes out and closes the door.  The Someone Else opens the door, getting MRSA on their hands.  They use the toilet and flush–now it’s on the toilet handle.  Wash hands, dry on the infected hand towel…

Now you might be wondering, in that case, why doesn’t everyone come down with it?  The answer is: it’s because of the wonders of the immune system.  If you are a healthy human being with a normal immune system, you’re going to be fine, most likely.  But if you are 90 and have a weakened immune system, you might be in trouble.

How does MRSA get into our bodies in the first place?  Usually it needs a break in the skin, no matter how small, to take hold, and a weakened immune system that can’t fight it off.  So let’s say the person comes out of the bathroom, having been bathing in MRSA bacteria, and scratches an itch.  This causes a tiny break in the skin; and the MRSA germs that have been patiently hanging out under their nails just bail right into the tiny cut.

Under the right conditions, these germs can now have a holiday infecting skin, fat, muscle…whatever they can manage to spread.  Since they are Multiply Resistant Staph Aureus, that means that most of the usual antibiotics used for soft tissue infections will not work.  And the library of resistant Staph Aureus germs is growing at a frightening pace.

MRSA is not something that can or should be treated on an outpatient basis.  Anyone with a confirmed MRSA infection needs to be hospitalized and treated with the few remaining IV antibiotics left in the arsenal.  And, oh yes, they must be isolated, quarantined so that they can’t spread the disease to others.

Back to the present.  My dear aunt is now surrounded by her two terribly dysfunctional children (in their 60’s), who are almost as clueless as she is.  They are ostensibly taking her–today–to live with, or near (in a nursing home), one of them, which involves an airplane ride.  That should be interesting.

So the female cousin mentions, this morning before the flight, that both of my aunt’s legs are swollen up to the knees today.  She’s not eating. Not good.  I get this information by way of my mother, who I’m pretty sure is losing what marbles she had left.  She should have put a halt to the travel plans and had her sister hospitalized right away.  Instead, they took her on the plane (which is now a contaminated plane), with the plan of taking her to the ER when they landed.  Sigh.

As my mother was telling me this sad story, she digresses to mention the ice in her driveway and how she needs something outside (nothing critically important), and she is going to put her ice grippers on and go and get it.

Please, Mom, don’t do that.  I don’t want you to fall and get hurt.

“What, you mean you don’t want me to mess up your trip?” she says sarcastically.

It took me a minute to figure out what she was talking about.  Then I got it!  She was talking about my plans to go RVing, sometime in the near future, when the weather finally breaks.

She was projecting her thought process onto me!  That is what she would have assumed, were she in my position.  For a fleeting moment I understood how her mind works.


*Dayenu=Hebrew for “Enough for us!”

Till Bipolar Do Us Part

In reply to the WordPress Daily Prompt Feb.27, 2015 Last Words You have the chance to write one last post on your blog before you stop blogging forever. Write it. _____________________________________   Due to my progressing mental decline, I have decided that I will no longer be exploiting my unstable brain by throwing my ever-changing thoughts into cyberspace purgatory. I… Read more →

Mental Omelet

I was absolutely useless today. I couldn’t remember something ten seconds after it was told to me. (This seems exclusive to numbers and series of alpha/numeric) and at one point R asked, “I just told you four times, are you fucking with me?” He thinks I am exasperating, try being me. I get the feeling the next time he wants someone to eat lunch with him, he will call a trained monkey. My intelligence is definitely on the decline.
Of course, it could be exacerbated anxiety with the review and winter power bills and all. But even when the anxiety was background noise for the most part, I was still useless with short term memories of numbers and specifics. Believe it or not, getting numbers backwards on electronics parts can be fatal. To the item and the person fixing it. Which was why even that For Dummies book for computer repair certification was lost on me.
Truth be told, I couldn’t even help my kid put together a 24 piece Dora jigsaw. How am I supposed to remember where 300 screws go? Or base emitter collector, volts, amps…God, I wanted that to work out. Work for myself, fit it around my mental issues, take on what I could handle…So I NEVER have to justify my mental illness just to survive ever again. I’m two steps from doing disgusting foot fetish porn, except I’m not sure they have a fetish for those into big ugly feet. This stress is demolishing what little sanity I have left and it’s even crossed over into things I enjoy. I haven’t written in months, started reading three books and finished none. I used to do crafts. Now I just ponder doing them before I lose train of thought.
I am so disgusted. With life, with myself.
And rather than the intelligent being I once was, I now have a Denver omelet for a brain.
I’ve never felt more useless and frustrated with myself.
To add insult to injury, R’s eldest sent out a mass message about how she’s taking her kid to Frozen on Ice. I can’t buy my kid a Happy Meal. I did let her watch Frozen last night, if that counts.
I know the professionals will dismiss it all as personality and anxiety, those are their lifelong go tos rather than admitting they simply don’t know why some people function highly in spite of mental illness and others struggle endlessly. No problem shoveling pills “we’re not quite sure” how they work, but if you have problems they can’t put a handy label on…obviously it’s exclusive to you as a person.

Yes, I am ranting.
Yes, I am stressed.
I think the longest stretch of uninterrupted sleep I’ve gotten this week is 3 and a half hours. Last night was awful. Between snoring company making me feel my bubble was violated (and it’s totally me, not them) and the fact my kid woke up FOUR times in a nine hour span…I am exhausted. I don’t think I’m ever reaching that deep sleep the brain needs to sort of reboot and regain its energy.
I could take a Trazadone.
And need a sitter the next day because even low doses render me a shambling drooling zombie.
If these are my choices, well, it’s gun/knife/noose territory. You’re dead no matter what choice you make.
I am frustrated.
I am scattered.
And my heart died a little today when I said something to the extent of, “I miss who I used to be before Dr. (S) scrambled my brains.”
And R said, “You are definitely not quite what you once were thanks to that man.”
Doctors are supposed to help.
They’ve done fuck all for me sans Dr. M.

Do I sound ranty and angry? I am.
And I think I have the right to be. The entire Nardil thing where my brains got scrambled was never truly addressed, it was pretty much brushed under the rug. And were it not for the fact that I don’t remember that seven day span, I’d probably have sued several people. Namely, the local hospital my stepmonster took me to, incoherent and stumbling, and they said I was exhausted and sent me home with her. It took three days for them to call the shrink and the shrink to say, “GET HER TO MY HOSPITAL NOW.”
Three days my brain scrambled further.
And no one gave it a second thought once I snapped out of the catatonia. They noticed I was flaky and forgetful and pointed it out frequently…But the connection was never made.
For me, if something isn’t happening, then an event like this occurs, and it starts happening…DUH.

I’ve spent too much time trying to be coherent and topic specific and using logic and meeting expectations in this journal.
So I’m letting the lid off the crazy and running with the rant.

Except I think…The rant has helped, but also I am getting a headache and need to not be looking at this blinding white page.

On an end note, I found a comment earlier that said, “Too bad you don’t have a donate button, or I would contribute.”
And of course the sarcastic snort because likely it was a net troll.
Then the…Whoa, if I did take donations I might actually be able to save up enough to pay for a real doctor who didn’t graduate from the university of chalupa or chihuahua, whatevs.
And finally, “Oh, hell no, this is your therapy, you will not even think of compensation of any kind for your incoherent ramblings.”

I want to think it’s integrity.
Part of me thinks that’s just how far down the rabbit hole I am, finding myself unworthy of even accepting things given freely.
But paranoid scumbag brain reminds me little is given freely, everything has a price. If I were to ever take a cent for my writing, how long before it’d cease to be my voice and I’d be forced into using douche advertising or some shit.
Integrity. Insanity.

What the hell do you want from a walking omelet?
(I wouldn’t mind a side of bacon.)



This is a poem I wrote on November 21, 2008.

Originally posted on Bipolar1Blog:



Last night in my dream, I saw you

You were there, in my sanctuary, my idyll, where the sun shone bright and there was the sound of sweet birdsong.

You were there in my shelter, where the storm clouds had passed, and the day, bright and sweet, newly dawned.

Flowers with adorable faces of children here grow, throwing playful glances your way, you are free to rest and play, to let you know.

Here my father sun’s golden rays warm me, they caress my face as a mother’s hand caresses her child newly born.

Here Mother Earth supports me with her gentle, quiet, sustaining strength, so I can rest my bones so careworn.

Here, in this place, where a peaceful, gurgling river flows, I came last night to see if I could find you full of hope.

I had been looking for you for so long, yet till last…

View original 250 more words

Spiraling into Mania  – Read This Cool Thing Someone Else Wrote!


I think this post is an incredibly honest and eloquent look at what some of us go through when we feel mania coming on and some of the behaviors we exhibit that can be confusing to other people. Thanks for sharing this, Zoe! Sending my support your way! -LB

Originally posted on VOLATILE STABILITY:

According to my notes, my last little manic episode began on Feb. 16th and crashed on Feb. 23rd — which means the depression phase has lasted 5 days. I already feel the inklings of mania tickling the fringes of my mind. My ideas are once again vividly colorful, boldly saturated and I am starting to sink into that “I can do anything feeling” that in my particular case is highly destructive. I think something in the current medicine cocktail isn’t working out. Maybe it’s the Zoloft. Latuda had been doing wonderfully with the Xanax for my panics. But you — Zoloft — you’re the third wheel in this equation.

Things I want to do:

  • Get a tattoo.
  • Buy game time.
  • Dye my hair red.
  • Wear thick strokes of eyeliner.
  • Start 3 new story ideas.
  • Wear a skirt (I never do.)
  • Go to karaoke.
  • Drink some martinis.
  • Buy more red lipsticks…

View original 59 more words

Tagged: bipolar disorder, depression, hypomania, mania, meds

2020 Mom’s 6th Forum Recap

Today I quote an email from Joy Burkhard and the 2020 Mom Team following up on the 6th Annual Emerging Considerations in Maternal Mental Health Forum held February 12th. February 27, 2015 Check out this synopsis of the Forum, just published…

If Our Paths Never Cross Again, I Hope You’re The Last Thing I Think Of Before I Die

I have that exact relationship with someone. It’s kind of torturous, but also, I’ve become sort of complacent about the parts of it that hurt really bad, so I’m like…experiencing very high functioning torture that I mostly ignore. I think it’s working out.

I had a dream like 2 or 3 months ago wherein I was watching an hourglass filled with dark brown sand run out, and I guess I understood I had like maybe 2 minutes left to live. So, really, the only thing I could do was decide what my last thoughts were gonna be. Dream Laura decided on the lyrics to this song:

I can’t speak for Dream Laura, really, because she does a lot of things I probably wouldn’t do and neglects to do a whole shit ton of things I would definitely do, BUT, “Going To Georgia” is plausibly the most human art thing I’ve ever gotten to experience, and I guess Dream Laura reasoned that she should indulge in one last sublimely human thing before she stopped being a human and would thereby be a total poser by trying to participate. And also dead.

I used to think about this more frequently, but sometimes I wonder what my dad’s last thoughts were when he was dying. He died like really fast, so he might not have known he was dying and his last thought could’ve been “I should retie my right shoelace, it’s kinda tight” by default, which would be unfortunate, but, in the years I’ve been dealing with various incarnations of grief, I’ve been trying to remember that the sum of my dad’s life was a lot greater than the last things he did. It helps me not be so bummed that I didn’t get to say goodbye. My last conversation with my dad was about voiding a check. It lasted roughly 5 minutes and then I went to my second job interview ever and then 2 days later he was dead. But, maybe he did know he was dying. I wonder what he thought about. I guess I sorta hope he thought of me and my sister, but I don’t think I’d be offended if he thought about something or someone else.

This is kind of a one-who-got-away situation for me which, inherently, has some elements of grief ’cause your options are either to a) pine and hope wistfully like a big, dumb idiot or b) do something realistic that brings you tangible joy. I guess that’s a false dilemma. You can do both. The one who got away (who I’m gonna call Gilgamesh because I looked around just now and it was the first name I saw when I glanced at a pile of books – and is also an appropriate nickname for other reasons, so that’s cool) shows up in my life in small measures maybe 4 or 5 times a year. That’s sorta weird, maybe, because we used to see each other every day and he spent most of his time at my apartment. I guess it’s not really that weird because that was a long time ago and the separation was fairly gradual and partially spurred on by location changes. It takes like actual effort to maintain friendships with people who live hundreds of miles away and I’m super not good at holding up my end sometimes.

So, um…Gil…the idea of that ever actually working out in any scenario strikes me as complete lunacy and I don’t know how much of that is manufactured by years of far-flung honesty dumps (go ahead, picture it, I know you want to, I can see inside your brain right now) and how much of it is my realistic understanding that Gil is a terrible partner and it requires so much energy just to keep up with him that I’d probably run myself into the ground trying. I probably already did at least once. Gil feeds my mania. Gil, himself, has bipolar (or at least mentioned in passing that he was diagnosed once but he refuses to treat it). I would believe Gil has bipolar. He’s incredibly impulsive and he never sleeps. One time we fucked on my birthday and it was terrible. We were both terrible. I’m trying really had not to analyze myself over this, but this dude is kind of emblematic of all things kinetic in my life, so when shit slows down, I’m inclined to feel Gil’s absence more acutely, and it’s probably not super healthy, but I indulge in this neat little mixture of craving, restlessness and nostalgia like just for the fuck of it. Why not? If I’m gonna have a feeling and I can’t do anything about it, then I should probably just have the damned feeling.

I’m gonna be in San Francisco in June which actually means nothing because Gil doesn’t live there anymore and hasn’t for at least a few years, but I’m still gonna be on the lookout for a preposterously tall, skinny dude destroying old guys at chess or getting hammered and writing letters on the beach at 1 in the afternoon. I don’t even know if he does either of those things anymore, but if he does, he’ll be doing them on the other side of the country because, Laura, he doesn’t live in San Francisco anymore, dummy. That doesn’t mean I’m likely to rid myself of the assumption that he’s gonna be around. When we do connect, it’s pretty arbitrarily, so there’s no reason why we both wouldn’t be in a city neither of us lives in at the exact same time and then run into each other just ’cause.I did really well in the Logic course I took in college and this paragraph is making me feel entirely undeserving of that high mark (conceding that Formal Logic and common sense are not the exact same thing). I’m being kinda ex-Catholic at myself right now, which is to say I’m denigrating myself when it’s not really called for, but seriously, Gil and I will not be running into each other casually in San Francisco in June.

So, Ok, death, right? I feel like I already popped my cherry re: me facing death ’cause of that time I was gonna kill myself, so I’ve given more thought than I assume most people give to the very last seconds of my life. I really don’t wanna fuck it up ’cause I only get to do it once. I won’t be able to regret it, but that’s cold comfort (which I won’t be able to feel, but still). Mountain Goats lyrics are a perfectly fine choice. John Darnielle has, arguably, made my life a little better, so maybe he can go ahead and make my death a little better too. Sure. Fine. I probably won’t screw that one up. But, hey, the needlessly poetic and exquisite anguish that comes with missing the ever-loving fuck out of Gil is among the most genuine emotions I ever get to feel, so maybe that’s the better choice. I don’t actually need anything from him ever again. I’m pretty satisfied that we met and I’m pretty satisfied with the time we spent together (except that sex time), even if that time feels unhappily truncated when I think about it too hard, which isn’t terribly often. He’s more of a totem at this point. I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s weird. I feel weird.

Anyway, the album Alopecia by WHY? is coming to the desert island with me because it’s pretty magnificent. My reason for mentioning it is the presence of the lyric:

“Even though I haven’t seen you in years, yours is a funeral I’d fly to from anywhere”

And it’s a little bizarre to have that feeling and then to have someone articulate it for you and you sorta wanna punch something, but like out of relief or maybe even euphoria or maybe I need to have a conversation with myself about when and why it’s appropriate to punch things. I’ll do it later. Here. Dig this super dark song in the meantime, and maybe think about your own mortality and then try to accept my sincerest contrition for ruining your day:


Tagged: bipolar disorder, dad, death, dreams, friendship, grief, love, music, other places, relationships, suicide

Medical Bill Crapshoot

I just got off the phone with our medical center billing office for the second time today. It seems that the payment we sent three weeks ago never showed up (they think), last month's payment got applied to an old balance on a different account, and the insurance randomly denied coverage for my husband's last visit. ...Until the check shows up and insurance gets straight, we won't even know if we owe them, or they owe us. ...There is zero transparency, maximum crapshoot.

Support Group Nerves & How-To’s – Part One

  As thunderstorms roll in tomorrow afternoon, I’m meeting with a bunch of women I’ve never met before. Each of them has a mood disorder including bipolar disorder, anxiety and/or depression. This is not my the first time meeting strangers … Continue reading


My mood has suddenly changed. Just yesterday I had a lot of energy and worked a lot on the website....

The post Moodswings appeared first on Pretending to be What We Are.