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  1. I actually have that book on my Amazon 'saved for later' list. Jack Kornfield is great. I've mostly been listening to Adyashanti's non-dual inquiry talks this past year, and doing gently inquiry into the nature of 'who' is thinking, observing etc. It helped a lot. I don't know if I could go back to certain practices after some of the experiences, it's like Pandora's Box - once you see that most of us live in complete illusion every single day, you can never fully 'unsee' it. Learning how to live in the world after that is the hard part. You're right in that our culture is spiritually cut off, it's why there's so much suffering. We're just so far from out true selves we've forgotten who we are. The 'other' personality attacks this and says it's not true, that I have always been a selfish, dramatic person and have created this whole illusion to deal with that. It's not even a matter of fearing that at some points, when I fall into that reality it is the truth. It's only when I come out of it, like a bad drug trip, that I start obsessing of 'what's true'. Sometimes I don't know where the line is between psychosis and obsessive thinking, I've definitely slipped over at times. Today I'm pretty numb to it all, everything looks different again, but not bad. It's insane how quickly it switches. There's nothing I can really do with it except hang on as best I can, and go with it.
  2. Yeah definitely, I used to use alcohol and drugs a lot, although not anymore. Socialising is pretty exhausting, but this has got a lot worse over the last year or so. I need to be alone most of the time now. I also used to go on highs working in sales, then crashed. They'd up my dose of Prozac and I would be high as a kite for a few months, then level out, crash, up it again, crash, add new meds, crash and ended up hospitalised a few times. It was a really messed up cycle really. Luckily I no longer have those extreme highs since I got down to 5mg, and my 'normal' periods of mood are not high, but quieter and more even. But they sure did leave their mark. Although now I'm stuck with a 'bipolar' diagnosis from that time, which is ****. I was in hospital with people who had real bipolar and I certainly don't have it. I'm really loathed to trust professionals with diagnosing stuff after all the things they've thrown at me in the past. It seems to be mostly a careless guessing game. Anyway, went off on a tangent there. I very much am confused by the mask and where it ends and I begin, I think this could quite possibly be a big part of the identity confusion. At some point during the withdrawal stuff this just exploded, as if I broke up into pieces and have been frantically trying to keep afloat since. At the same time I've been letting go as much as possible, because during many deeper meditations I sensed that this sense of self is really just an illusion anyway. As mentioned above, without proper guidance and continued practice, this probably complicated things. There have been many experiences meditation wise where all these 'issues' become literally non-existent. Things like ocd etc just aren't a thing, because I'm not 'me' anymore, but in a good way. There's nothing but peace and the movement of thoughts etc happening. I'm sure this is a common meditative experience, but the cognitive dissonance between that and experiencing its polar opposite as described above, is extremely distressing mentally. Good to consider this, I'm sure I will more when my head is a bit clearer.
  3. Just wanted to say I feel your hopelessness in the original post, I've been there a lot. It's an illusion that there is no hope, as long as we're alive there is hope. And a lot more than we realise. Our medical model is generally focused on pathologizing everything, telling us we're ill, need to be medicated etc etc. In my experience, I've never felt less empowered than when dealing with most (not all) professionals in the area of mental health. It's no wonder you've felt like there's not much hope for significant improvement, we have an entire system that diagnoses, labels, makes everything an illness rather than an opportunity for change or growth, and medicates to numb symptoms. I've seen personally as well as read many stories on other support sites of people who have recovered completely from very serious disorders, including bipolar and schizophrenia, without drugs and more fully than any doctor or psychiatrist ever predicted. I was in hospital a few years ago with a woman who was considered one of the most clinically depressed people in there. I think it was almost psychotic depression, she attempted suicide while I was in there and was sectioned several times. She was told she would be heavily medicated and ill for life. She weaned herself off meds, was told she'd be back in there or dead within a year. Abandoned the doctors and went through hell for 18 months of severe withdrawal, found a unique therapist who got to the root of her issues, and has been meds and depression free for several years now. I spoke to her a while ago and it was heartwarming, she is happier than ever, is working, in a relationship and caring for her daughter. Never believe you are beyond help. There's no doubt you're suffering, and this guilt comes from a sense of feeling you should be somewhere other than where you are. You deserve support and kindness. Don't give up, but also go easy on yourself. Wishing you all the best
  4. I will, and thanks for the link. Many of the things described sound like it could be a possibility, although I questioned it a lot initially because socially I can actually be very good with people. I was really good at sales over the phone for instance in a previous job, and when I had a social life was often very lively and talkative. But then again, this fluctuated, and maybe I'm jst extrememly good at adapting to situations. The chameleon thing resonates a lot. You're not being repetitive. I agree it can be a minefield and many people just don't have the support to deal with what comes up, in the old days we had communities for things like spiritual awakening. But being more isolated as a culture has made this a lot harder. I became obsessed at one point that I needed to 'pick' a tradition of Buddhism because it became all important to commit fully, right now, or I'd lose the 'chance'. At the same time I also knew it's not something you can force or practice effectively with a sense of urgency. So I entered a big spiritual crisis. It sounds like we've experience a lot of the same things. Thank you for sharing this. It's reassuring to know I'm not the only one. That automatically springs to mind at times, but another side of me is in deep conflict with it and feels I just am terrified of being this weak person. There are so many nuances and complexities in the human psyche, I know to analyse it is completely pointless. Yet this morning it was more real than anything I've experienced in a long time, except once or twice during 'episodes' like this this past year. It's like a terrible black hole of another reality I fall into, I don't understand it at all. Thanks for you kind words. That imposter feeling of hiding awful things has never been so strong, except maybe when I had my first sudden episode as a teen. Although I think that was triggered by going on the contraceptive pill, as I went from functioning fine to a complete wreck shortly after going on it. That first time of whatever that was has haunted me ever since. And over time you form new knock on issues as you describe to cope with the fear. I appreciate you reaching out.
  5. I was actually discussing this with my Mum recently and looked it up. My little brother was also just diagnosed with aspergers. Some of it does certainly resonate, although my mind is so screwed up I can't discern too well at the moment. I don't want to convince myself of something else, as I'm good at that. But maybe it's something I should bring up with my therapist? Thank you
  6. I appreciate you sharing this. It resonates a lot. My ocd is definitely a coping mechanism for feelings of extreme abandonment in all senses. I remember the first time it happened when I was 16, just sitting there at the computer one day, something I read triggered it and that was it...the whole world collapsed. It certainly is worse than death. When I let go I find a similar thing, that things go sort of numb for a bit and just kind of carry on, but nothing so bad happens. What I find makes this go in intense cycles is that I don't feel I can let go of who I feel I am at my core, that it's not possible to feel real love so whatever I do feel after that is just delusion. As you say, life without love is unliveable. And some people are so damaged, such as narcissists, that they aren't capable of love. This is what it boils down to at the moment, that all the periods where I'm feeling 'normal' are just an elaborate illusion I've created to cope, they aren't real. And that I'll always come back to this because it's the truth. I don't know what to do with that. It very much feels like it would take a complete identity breakdown to move past this, and possible psychosis. Like you say, therapists aren't usually familiar with the spiritual aspect of this which is why spiritual emergency is often treated in our culture as mental illness. I've no idea if that's part of what's happening, or if the medication has just screwed me up. Either way, there's practically no help even if I was able to reach out for it. Thank you for your kind replies, just getting through one minute at a time right now.
  7. Yes, that's exactly what it's like. A complete absence of love or the potential for love. Just darkness, like I'm dying and there's no way out. But worse than dying because there's no relief. It feels like this is the thing that has been waiting for me my entire life. The thing I denied and couldn't face. I agree that being human is inherently hard. If there is hope of forgiveness, change, love etc I can carry on, get through it. But without that there's nothing at all.
  8. Can't respond properly because I'm going through a really rough time but just wanted to say you aren't alone. No reassurance, it won't help. But try and accept this for the unimportant thing it was x
  9. Yes, this dark night experience started around a year and a half ago. I thought it was ending, but it's only getting worse. I was doing cbt with someone, although we only have four more sessions funded. Also seeing a somatic experiencing therapist. I'll read up on compassion based therapy, it would just be financially difficult to start something else as I don't work anymore. And psychiatry won't refer me for anything because they don't deal with protracted withdrawal cases generally. Compassion seems so painful, the problem is that I can't ever allow myself to experience it from myself or anyone, because it feels hollow. I don't know who I am, so connecting with anyone in that way just doesn't feel possible. It's complete agony, I can't even describe it.
  10. Not preachy at all, thanks. I don't meditate with a teacher anymore as things got so bad I took a step back from it. Since the medication issues it's very hard for me to meditate and I don't force it, just some simple inquiry stuff or breathing meditation sometimes. I also moved to the country so am not near the classes anymore. Revealing this to myself has skewed my sense of everything. I trust myself even less than ever, my whole life feels like a lie, all the ways I distracted myself for years were just making it worse. I've no idea how to live with this.
  11. Thanks BigDave. I thought the same myself, but in reality narcissism is rooted in self hatred. Non existent self esteem to this degree is dangerous, to both self and others. Aside from all my external erratic behaviour is simply absolute terror, which is classic narcissistic fear or not being worthy. I can sometimes feel how toxicI am to be around, which is probably why I have hardly any friends left. I've isolated myself so much but it's really been from fear because I can't honestly connect with others. I'm just terrified this will lead to suicide.
  12. Thanks for your reply Orwell. It's the intense shame that makes me feel this is the case, it's always been there but surfaces so violently I can't bare it. Without the numbing of so much medication it's as if I'm finally seeing things more clearly for the first time, and I can't handle it. I've been monstrous to people. And all the while they feel sorry for me because I'm 'sensitive' and 'unwell'. I'm literally vibrating with shame, like I can't bare to be awake or around others because I'm so mortified. I remember feeling this many times before, but finding ways to block it out or rationalise it. How do you accept you're someone who can't accept themselves due to a deep, lifelong sense of shame? It doesn't seem possible. I've no idea how things could've turned out like this.
  13. Hi, This past year I developed an ocd type fear of being a narcissist. This came about after a period of starting to face my issues more and looking at all the false beliefs I had. I know things have intensified for a number of reasons, but I've been having a pretty terrifying identity crisis on and off. I know rationally I'm not psychopathic, what concerns me is that ultimately I know I'm not the person I often present myself as. My sense of self is completely skewed, and pretty much non existent. On the one hand, I know I am very sensitive and intuitive in some ways. I always thought of myself as a good, compassionate person with high empathy and intelligence. However, since doing lots of meditation, I've started to see that this is not entirely true. I'm not the person I thought I was, although I don't know how far that goes and what part ocd has to pay in this. It's very hard for me to admit this, but I've realised that I have always had many of the following traits (anyone who knows me would clarify this too): a quiet sense of superiority (particularly with those closest to me), covert manipulation by being 'ill' a lot or being emotionally distressed, an inability to be vulnerable in front of people, episodes of nasty rage, jekhyl and hyde type behaviour, being a total know-it-all, never being able to be wrong, belittling my mother and younger siblings, being emotionally melodramatic and swinging from narcissism to self-loathing, telling little lies a lot, justifying my behaviour and therefore having everyone think I am just a 'complex, tormented' soul, being passive aggressive, covert attention seeking, a terrible martyr complex, and probably more. The worst thing is, I don't think I've ever been able to be completely open, honest and vulnerable to anyone in person my whole life. The terror comes from knowing I can't properly connect with anyone, ultimately without that you'll just go crazy, become nastier, or die by suicide. This has disturbed me so much and has been going in cycles of fear, shame and ocd obsessing as to how bad it is, to denial and blocking it out, to just trying to get on with things and sometimes forgetting about it completely. Even so, as soon as I'm around others again I notice how these horrible, vicious traits seem to surface. My empathy in general is low because I've been in so much pain, I don't know how to deal with other people's emotional stuff. I also have periods since reducing the medication of severe apathy, not feeling or caring about anything. Sometimes I can visibly see how uncomfortable people get around me, I know it must be pretty toxic. I tend to isolate a lot, which both helps and hinders. I did also read that it is not uncommon for people who believe they are empaths to actually be on the narcissistic spectrum. Being highly sensitive doesn't automatically equate to empathy. It feels like all my obsessive self analysis and absorption has made me just someone who can't be honest, and a covert narcissist. All of the ways I behave are of this nature, in fact I don't see how I could NOT be one. It also seems to run in my family (my brother is a borderline psychopath, and my sister is pretty narcissistic). The worst thing is I did always on some level believe I was a better person than them, but with honest reflection I'm not. The only difference is I'm not obvious about it in the way they are. It feels like I'm getting towards the truth, but at the same time I feel on the verge of complete mental collapse or psychosis. I have episodes of just having to hide away and cry, feeling dissociated, disgusted with myself. I simply can't face people because the act just starts all over again, to varying degrees. I can only tell people on the internet, I couldn't say this face to face. Not even to my therapist. Yet a part of me craves authenticity. I just don't know how I could have deceived myself this much. But at the same time I think I've known this on some level all along, I just became fixated on reassuring myself I was 'good'. Does anyone have any insight on this? I feel like there's no hope really. This level of low self-esteem and the created persona to go with it is, from what I know, pretty much not treatable and only gets worse. Any therapist will tell you narcissists rarely change, because it's just too painful. How do I live with myself? Thank you for reading if you got this far
  14. Anxiety and doubt always make it feel like something terrible is going to happen or has happened. That's why it sucks. Your brain is a huge number of criss crossing firings and thoughts and neurons. You trying to figure out exactly what your intentions or thought processes were is quite frankly impossible. There's no way of figuring out... Try and see this before you send yourself further and further into doubt. This is all typical ocd analysis, and the only way out is not to engage in the questioning and observe the anxiety come and go.
  15. What were you on and how long for? It's not recommended to stop cold turkey, that can cause protracted withdrawal effects down the line. Doctors don't have a clue about withdrawing safely so I wouldn't count on that. If you do start to feel withdrawal effects, please see survivingantidepressants.org for tapering guidance. You cannot go back to the starting dose as your nervous system will have been sensitized from the drop. You might get away with it if your CNS is fairly robust and you weren't on them too long, but if not please seek advice before starting again.
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