Doodling & planning

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September is around the corner and there are so many exciting things happening, that I really wanted to share them with you.

The first and most exciting thing, will obviously be the arrival of our new wirehaired dachshund girl. I have been cleaning & re-organising the house all morning and been looking online for puppy beds, puppy bowls & dog leads. I am having to pinch myself whilst doing all these things, as I still can’t quite believe that from the crazy cat lady I once was, I will now be a doggy mama.

The second thing that is coming up is a mini weekend getaway to Amsterdam, which both hubby and I are looking forward to. It’s been 10 years since I last visited Amsterdam, so it will be nice to see what has changed and go exploring with my love.

Lastly, I have been notified by my boss that from next week there will be a new colleague working alongside me. As much as this is actually for the best, I am not looking forward to having to work alongside another person. Being the introvert that I am, I have enjoyed working on my own. Unfortunately though there will be a huge increase in seminar room set-ups from September (up to 12 rooms per day), so I will need all the help I can get. I really really hope that the new colleague at least speaks a little English or is at least easy to get along with.

The reality is that if I spoke fluent German, I probably wouldn’t mind having another colleague around but since my capacity to communicate is limited, this makes me even more self-conscious. Then there is the judgement which always follows (that I should be able to speak) and in all honesty I have really just had enough of it..People don’t know my personal background, so I wish they would just keep their thoughts to themselves. To make matters worse, my boss has arranged a leisure day for all the employees and this is something that I am absolutely dreading…Being in a room full of German speaking ladies with their judgemental looks, is something I am pretty sure I will be having nightmares about until October (the day of the leisure day). A little dramatic, I know 😉

With 2 positives to look forward to & 1 negative, I will obviously manage just fine 😉

Thanks for reading!

Love Athina ♥

The greatest day ever!

Yesterday, hubby and I drove to a beautiful part of the Rheinland countryside to visit the dachshund breeders we had made contact with. After many discussions about the positives and negatives of getting our first dog, the moral issues and the fact that we will be returning to the UK next year, we decided to go there with an open mind.

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Once we arrived, we were greeted by 3 super friendly dogs, who immediately warmed to us and wanted to play. They weren’t dachshunds but they were part of the breeders big dog family. Within minutes, there was a bombardment of loud barking and these 2 gorgeous little dachshunds ran towards us, with these big personalities and tiny little bodies. Needless to say they were absolutely adorable! Our hearts literally melted with love for these little creatures.

Hubby started chatting to the breeder who was a lovely, warm & cuddly retired gentleman, with a kind face, white hair and rosy red cheeks..His wife was the one I did most of the communication with previously but she had completely forgotten about our appointment. It seemed like she had been completely overwhelmed by all the emails she had received from various potential buyers.

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We reminded them which puppies we were interested in and they eventually brought out 3 girls from the latest litter. They were in a little washing basket, cuddling on a piece of fabric. They were just over 2 weeks old, so too tiny to really connect with. One of the girls was much bigger than the other two, although all 3 puppies were miniature wire-haired dachshunds. One of the wee girls, who was wiggling around and looking for her mum, was making skin contact with my hubby’s hand..

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Although I was very reserved, as I knew hubby had to talk to the breeder and ask as many questions as possible before making any decisions, it was obvious to see that he had instantly fallen in love with the pups and was certain he wanted to put a deposit down to reserve one of them. We have to wait until it is at least 9 weeks old to take it home, so it is fully vaccinated and has it’s pet passport. This works out to around the 20th of September.

Hubby had already arranged to drive back the next day to pay the deposit but with my crap German, I hadn’t even realised that it was a done deal. All that is needed is a confirmation that our flat owners are ok with it but we already know they are very lenient, as there are plenty of animals in the flats surrounding us.

Before we left the breeders, they placed a temporary collar round the puppy girl we had chosen and we discussed whether it was ok to come back and visit her when she is a little older.

We headed home with a feeling of excitement & anticipation.

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We continued discussing things further and concluded that now is definetely the best time to have a puppy. I only work part time, which means I have plenty of time to train the puppy through that crucial first year, and although it will be very tough finding a place to rent when we return to the UK next year, we agreed it is a risk we are willing to take. We agreed that I would be the primary carer of the puppy, (doing the sometimes unpleasant early morning walks) and that hubby would help out the rest of the time. We will share the costs as much as possible and most importantly, we will enjoy every minute of our new family member! ❤

Funnily enough, when I lay in bed last night, I actually had a very restless night’s sleep. It was like a delayed realisation that we are REALLY getting our puppy. Worries started swirling around in my head of not being a good doggy mum, having difficulties in training or feeling overwhelmed when the puppy is frightened or crying etc..What if I can’t do it?!

This morning, I went to my therapist to discuss my recent constant nightmares about my mother and for a general catch up, and I told her that I am nervous but very happy about getting our dog. She was extremely excited for me and told me to bring the puppy for a visit when we finally have her.

My therapist has been with me through my journey of recovery for the last 3 years and knows how much I love these little dogs.  We even used the visual image of a wire-haired dachshund in our EMDR therapy many times, which helped combat my fear of flying & eased other ptsd triggers. As I had already anticipated, she said it is completely normal to feel nervous about getting our puppy.

Any big commitment and big life change, brings with it a little anxiety & anticipation.

Thanks for reading!

Love (a very happy & excited) Athina ❤

Doodling after ages..Nightmares are making me feel exhausted

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I have been feeling a little unsettled recently..

PTSD Nightmares have creeped in again and have been rather frequent over the last couple of weeks..

Ever since the confrontation with my mother about my brother knowing she is a narcissist (through a little help from me), my subconscious has been trying to process the hypervigilance and tension I felt the day of that call…Although I don’t take my mother that seriously anymore and I am very good at distancing myself from her stern manner & ridiculous threats, my mind is nevertheless brainwashed into being affected…

As much as I am wanting to sustain a reasonable relationship with her, so I can still be part of my extended family on her side, I still have many things that I choose to keep hidden from her as a protective measure.

Dealing with her narcissistic disapproval or anger, is something best avoided as I don’t want to partake in the narcissistic dance of drama that she so desperately craves.

One of the things I was keeping hidden, was of course the fact that I told my brother about her narcissism. That is now out in the open and I managed to settle things right down with her. The second part of my life that is hidden from her is the fact that I have a Coaching certificate, 2 blogs and a youtube channel, which all focus on healing from narcissistic abuse.

These things have been part of my healing journey and are a big part of wanting to give back to others on a similar journey. Spreading awareness of narcissistic parental abuse is something I am obviously deeply passionate about.

I have many parts of my life that I choose to keep hidden from my abusers. This is the sensible thing to do. Now that I am no longer on speaking terms with my father, the only confrontation that may come up in the future, is if my mother finds out about my youtube channel..

Although it isn’t listed under my full name, I do use my husband’s surname instead of my own. This is something she could easily search online and would lead her to my youtube channel. This obviously makes me a little uneasy but when the time comes, I know I will able to deal with it constructively.

I started doodling again recently.When nightmares of punishing looks, abandonment, fear & anxiety start dominating most of my nights, I end up feeling a little disheartened. This is when art becomes my therapy once again…

I feel that my doodle seems a little chaotic, which I guess is a good indication of how I am feeling inside at the moment.

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥

 

 

Results of mole biopsy

As you might have read in my previous post, which you can find here , I had to get 3 moles removed by excision, as my dermatologist suspected that they were abnormal.

Just before I returned home after the operation, she said I could come in to remove the stitches after 2 weeks and we could then discuss the results of the biopsy about whether I had melanoma or not.

The results are back and I can happily say that there were no signs of melanoma, however there were signs of abnormalities in one of my moles and it’s good that it was removed, as in future it could have developed into melanoma. The biggest excision I had which was on my breast, was where there were 2 moles. One of them I had had since birth and it had just changed over the years as I got older and the 2nd one was a new smaller mole, that had appeared in the last year and had a very fuzzy edge. This smaller mole was the abnormal one.

The 3rd mole I had removed under my left armpit had 3 different colours in it and was also a newer mole.Although it looked suspicious on inspection, apparently it was just a harmless type of mole that resembles a suspicious mole.

I am extremely relieved and now that my stitches are removed I can finally go back to normal. I need to give the big excision another couple of weeks to heal before I can go swimming again but all in all this nerve-racking experience is finally over!

I have arranged to have a full body mole scan in October. I am in the high risk category due to the many moles I have, especially the high number of dysplastic nevi, which basically means moles that are atypical and look like they might be melanoma.

I am very grateful that I am melanoma free and will continue to keep a close eye on my health.

Love Athina ♥

25 Obvious & Non Obvious Self Care Issues – Complex Trauma Survivors Struggle With ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

Self care is so important! Had to reblog this amazing post!

Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

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Self care is something spoken about a lot, and seems so very easy. Well, not to complex trauma survivors and in particular childhood complex trauma survivors.

I asked my Facebook community, what were their biggest self care issues, the were some of their responses, which express the obvious self care needs and the not so obvious self care needs, complex trauma survivors struggle with..

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Waiting for results..

This isn’t the usual post I write about..

It isn’t about the narcissists in my life or the stress associated with them..

It isn’t about my work or my plans to move back to the UK..

It is a raw & honest post about my fear for my health..

Health is always the most important thing in our life and when we are faced with the possibility of ill health or we actually are ill, everything else goes out the window..

On Monday I woke up with a slight lump in my throat. I was walking around the flat trying to keep busy, to distract myself from the anxiety I was feeling about the dermatologist appointment I had been anticipating for 3 months..

The reason I had this appointment was to get 2 suspicious moles removed from the delicate area right next to my nipple and 1 mole under my left arm. Due to my background having grown up in Greece and knowing that as a teenager I had got burnt many times, I had been keeping a very close eye on all my moles over the last few years.

Around 1 year ago, I went to a dermatologist to get my whole body checked for abnormal moles. I got the feeling that she was in a bit of a rush when she was checking me. I pointed out the moles I was concerned about but in the end she told me that I had nothing to worry about and that all my moles were normal.

My gut was continuing to tell me otherwise. I was still noticing changes in my moles in the months after that appointment and decided to ask around for another recommendation. I finally booked myself in for an appointment with a new dermatologist and after several months of waiting, I finally got a proper check up. She said my instincts were spot on and that my moles were definetely showing signs of possible melanoma. That was 3 months ago and the earliest appointment I could book with her for removal of these moles, was 4 days ago.

So on Monday this week, I had the 2 excisions. The dermatologist was very kind during the OP and told me what she was going to do step by step. She was overly concerned that I would complain about the colour of the stitches, the size of the wound and the subsequent scarring afterwards. She had had many clients in the past who complained about everything and anything.

I was very trusting of her ability and told her that I am happy for her to do what she knows best and that as long as I don’t have melanoma, I don’t care about anything else.

The most painful part of the procedure were the 4 anesthetic injections I had before she did the elliptical excisions. Once I became numb, the biggest excision felt like someone was running a pointy pencil along my skin. The biggest excision was 4 cm long, as there were 2 moles she had to take out which very close to one another. These were the ones next to my left nipple. The uneasiest part, was seeing the deep chunk of flesh she removed from my breast. I was lying on my right side throughout the operation and the container for the biopsy was right in front of me, so it was hard to ignore. When I saw how big the chunk of skin was that she removed, I was stunned.  I originally thought I wouldn’t be able to keep my eyes open at all through the procedure but her voice was soothing and I focused on her face most of the time.

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As someone who has naturally low blood pressure, I was very dizzy after the procedure. I had already warned my hubby that bringing the car would be the better option for me but unfortunately there wasn’t anywhere to park near the doctors. We ended up getting a taxi home after the operation, as everytime I tried standing up, I would start feeling very faint. I lay down in the back of the taxi which helped immensely and luckily I made it to bed 5 min later.

Hubby sorted everything out once we got home. I had a nap in bed while he went out and got pizza for dinner. He also bought the bandages and the antiseptic spray the doctor had prescribed and sent off the doctor’s note to my employer.

On that first night, I slept in a separate bed so hubby wouldn’t accidentally bump my wounds. I only managed 4 hours sleep, as I couldn’t find a comfortable position to lie in. I spent half the night reading about melanoma, the different stages and what I can expect with each one. It is horribly uncomfortable but I am doing my best not to drive myself crazy.

At the moment, I have been signed off work for a whole week rather than the 2 days I had originally planned to be off. When I changed the dressings 24 hours and 48 hours after the operation, I had to lie down..

I seem to be one of those people who get dizzy whenever they look at a wound with stitches on their body. I guess the idea of being cut open on my breast, was just too much to get my head around.

Today, I was luckily able to change my dressing without feeling faint. I guess I know the wound is improving so I am better able to cope with looking at it.

The hardest thing I am finding at the moment is trying to be positive about my biopsy results. The possibility of melanoma is high, otherwise I wouldn’t have had these moles removed with excision. I don’t get my stitches out until the 26th of this month and that will most likely also be the time that I get my biopsy results too. It is quite a long time to wait and the worrying is just going to be there until I know.

Feeling vulnerable is where I am at. My thoughts are going in all sorts of directions and when imagining the worse case scenario, I feel sad for my hubby who might have to deal with me being sick..

Health is to be valued and our bodies are to be respected.

I just wish I had been a little more careful as a teenager when spending hours on the beach with not enough sun tan lotion on my pale skin..

More drama from the queen I am so used to

 

Today started off well, after a wonderful meeting with the Operations Manager at my little job. She said that they are extremely happy with me at the Chambers of Commerce and that I seem to be doing my job as a facilities assistant for them very well.  There are no complaints whatsoever for everything that I have done so far and it seems that most of the complaints that were popping up before, were actually mostly directed at my friend who introduced me to the job.

Hubby said that they would appreciate my integrity and willingness to do well and it seems he was right! When I started the job alongside my friend, I felt that I would just be helping her out occassionally. Now that she quit, I am working more hours and have a part-time contract. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. I very much enjoy working alone and just getting on with it, whilst also exchanging a few brief conversations with the staff that are there daily.

After my shift this morning, I came home and slept for over 3 hours. Instead of waking up and feeling refreshed and happy, I received a call from my mother who wanted to have a serious conversation about my brother.

She started off by saying ‘I wanted to ask you some questions and I ask that you answer as honestly as possible”.

After this introduction, I knew the drama was going to start..I also knew that she must have found out certain things and wasn’t happy with me at all!

She asked me whether I knew that my brother was researching narcissism? I said yes…

She also asked me whether I was the one that dared to plant the seed of telling him (a vulnerable adult with special needs & limited emotional & mental capabilities) about narcissism? I said yes..

She asked me whether I knew that he was calling her a narcissist? I said yes..

She asked me ‘whether I agreed’ and I said yes.

I also told her though that despite my brother’s special needs and limited mental & emotional capacity, he is still very much able to distinguish between what feels right and what hurts him…That she just needs to accept that he doesn’t feel comfortable talking to her…

She is pissed off I messed with their relationship and helped him see the reality…

She also insinuated in a childish way that she spoke to his carer and that they are discussing ways of protecting him from me, because he is getting so much worse by isolating himself away from his family..(meaning her) and listening to the unnecessary things I am sharing with him..

He hasn’t isolated himself from his family…Only from her…He talks to me all the time about his finds in narcissism, the art classes he does and how I recommended art as a form of therapy and how they have helped him feel better..(of course I didn’t share this with her..) She is so envious of our closeness and relationship..

She said that it is ridiculous that we think she is a narcissist…that her psychologist who she has known for awhile, only told her that she has mild depression…That if she were a narcissist, she wouldn’t be capable of caring so much for her children and hurting so much..that she wouldn’t have friends…etc etc…Any sane psychologist, knows not to confront a narcissist, by telling them they are a narcissist..

3 of my therapists have confirmed to me that my parents are narcissists through psychological testing..

My mother is always either the victim or a mother just like any other, who has sacrificed everything for her children.

Covert Narcissists wearing the Martyr’s mask

There is a special kind of covert narcissist who plays the martyr role so convincingly that most people believe he is an individual of extraordinary integrity, even holy. There is always the implication that this person is special because of their extreme self-sacrifice for others. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is part of the covert narcissist’s well rehearsed performance and an excellent way of being seen as a very fine human being.

Dr Linda Martinez-Lewi – The Narcissist in your life

 

She is pissed off that I wasn’t strong enough to keep my own thoughts to myself and that I had to tell my brother. It’s funny how she still sees me as weak, when in actuality she is the weak one..

I have helped my brother see the light and he has finally made sense of everything that he always sensed all along..My mother has probably harmed him more than she has harmed me, as she has attached herself to him too much because of his special needs. He has been on a pedestal in her eyes due to his disabilities and my mother feels like she sacrificed everything to support him..In part, this is true…Having a special needs child changes everything. It causes a huge imbalance in any family, it causes stress in the marriage and any siblings in the family can feel neglected, unimportant or parentified. She is still a covert narcissist however and nothing will change that unfortunately.

My brother is finally on a healing journey and even if his special needs don’t allow him to completely understand every single detail about narcissism, he at least feels validated, understood, feels that he can protect himself and can make his own decisions..He may be a vulnerable adult with limited intellectual capacities and obsessive tendencies but his heart knows what feels safe and what doesnt! No one can take that away from him…

 

 

 

I enjoyed my Birthday this year!What a nice change :-)

Last year, my birthday was full of sadness, longing and disappointment. I was overwhelmed with the loss of the father I thought I’d had.

This year, although we didn’t fly to Greece as we had originally planned and although I am no longer in contact with my father, my birthday actually felt good! My closest friends from London arrived yesterday on my actual birthday and the timing of their arrival was just perfect. I had no time to feel sad and think too much about my Dad. We woke up, got ready and went straight to the airport to pick them up. After that we went straight for brunch and picked up my delicious birthday cake that hubby had ordered a few weeks before.

When we got home, we had cake and tea 🙂 It was absolutely delicious!

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It was so lovely to catch up after 1 year of not seeing them and we thoroughly enjoyed showing them a good time. Later in the afternoon/evening we headed into town, so they could get some gifts for their work colleagues from the Haribo shop and we finished off the evening with a delicious dinner and some cocktails at Hans im Gluck Burger bar.

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Although my anxiety creeped up on me as it’s been ages since I have actually socialised properly with friends, I still managed to keep it under control so it wouldn’t ruin my day.

Unfortunately, anything that requires leaving my comfort zone or routine nowadays, seems to aggravate my anxiety more than it used to. I have become so accustomed to just spending all my time with hubby, that I seem to get anxious if I feel that I have to socialise for 3 days non stop. Luckily though, we have breaks in between and even though my friends are here for 3 days, we still take some time out throughout each day to just chill and have some alone time.

Today we have a chilled out day doing a nature walk in our local area and although it is 30 degrees, which always increases my anxiety due to the heat, I will be organised with refreshments packed in my little rucksack to ease my symptoms when they get bad.

Love Athina ♥

 

 

The fear of messing up..CPTSD

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Those of us who experienced abuse as children are absolutely terrified of messing up. Although making mistakes is a huge part of learning and of life, in an abusive home we got punished for things we didn’t deserve to be punished for and the punishment was directed at our core as a person. It wasn’t the usual discipline that healthy families use.

We were called names such as stupid, slow, dumb, sensitive, bad, unworthy etc. We were emotionally abused over and over again which led us to develop CPTSD. Now as adults we suffer with emotional flashbacks. Every time someone is disappointed in us, we are flashed back into the emotional state of our childhood. We feel small, defenseless, vulnerable, helpless and devastated.

The reason I am writing about this, is because I had a bad day at my morning job on Tuesday. My friend hadn’t told me she wasn’t working with me (usually she always lets me know), so this distracted me a little from my usual routine. I went into hypervigilance mode, checking the charts & dates of rooms I had to set up for the workshops. When we work together, I always start from the ground floor and work my way up through the kitchens and check the rooms on all 4 floors. We usually share the rooms that need setting up when we work together but on that day I had to prioritise and do things slightly differently.

After checking the chart over and over again, I got on with setting up 4 different rooms on various floors and when I was eventually finished, I was very pleased with how I had completed everything.

5 mins before the end of my shift, one of the ladies that was doing one of the workshops, turned up and said that the rooms weren’t set up. I was puzzled and told her that I had just set up 4 rooms. Luckily this lady, was genuinely lovely and had made me feel very comfortable since starting work there. She pointed at the chart and said it’s the 23rd today not the 22nd. What happened unfortunately, was that I had set up Monday’s rooms instead of Tuesday’s. I didn’t need to go in on Monday morning, so I completely misread the chart, thinking that it was Monday.

I was absolutely horrified and apologised immediately. Luckily she was very understanding and had a giggle saying ‘you are getting old’. Her room was only for 4 people, so it wasn’t really a big deal. Unfortunately on the ground floor however, there was a room that needed a 12 person set up and the workshop had already started!

I ran downstairs, dreading the confrontation with the German speaking lady and when I got there she obviously wasn’t pleased at all. She had already set up a trolley with drinks, cups, coffees and biscuits. I once again genuinely apologised and asked her what I could do to make up for my mistake. She just said help me put everything on the table, which meant I had to walk into a room full of people and the workshop presenter and start placing all the cups and drinks on the tables. One of the gentlemen started mumbling to me in German and I was completely lost in my frazzled state. I didn’t undertstand a word he said. Eventually the lady told me, to not worry about finishing it and I left to make a few more fresh coffees.

It took me another 30minutes to undo all the rooms I had set up in vain and return the drinks, freshly made coffees and cups to the kitchen.

Needles to say, I felt absolutely awful and I could hear that voice in my head saying you messed up, you are a failure, you are hopeless, you are slow..I was in a deep emotional flashback, even though nobody was actually that angry. All it took was the disappointed look on the lady’s face, to send me into a devastating flashback.

When I got home, I had a good cry and comforted myself saying ‘you had a flashback, you are not a failure, you just made a mistake’.

My past unfortunately will keep following me around, no matter how simple a mistake I make or how unimportant the actual situation is to an outsider.

As long as I continue to remind myself that I am only human and it is ok to make mistakes, then my flashbacks should hopefully lessen in intensity. They will always remain a challenge but it is one that I have to keep working at overcoming.

Thank for reading

Love Athina ♥