When self-doubt creeps in..

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The above reality, written by the amazing Tina Fuller, is something I feel often when things are stable and my life is drama free. Being the child of two narcissists, it is almost impossible to have long lasting peace when they are still alive. And even when they pass away, you still have to be prepared for even more stress in regards to property, money and their remaining family.

After already feeling miserable the last couple of days after waking up with an incredibly painful and stiff lower back, I got a text yesterday from my father which was extremely difficult to understand..

It was written in Greek with capital letters however more than half the letters were missing from each word. I ended up playing a guessing game trying to construct sentences..

Generally, since I asked him not to contact me again back, I should have completely ignored the message. However, because I could make out from the first sentence, something about tax and money, I knew he had done what I was afraid of.

Before I get to that, I have to explain a little about how certain things work in Greece in regards to putting property in a family member’s name.

In Greece, when a parent wants to put property in their child’s name, they usually follow a very odd but very commiting process. Both the adult child and parent sign a document which states that the adult child becomes the owner of the property, however the child isn’t able to make use of the property (live in it, rent it out etc) until the parent dies. Whilst the parent is still living, he/she is the one that can rent out the property and benefit from it. This can be felt as a little unfair for the adult child, as they aren’t able to do anything at all until the parent dies. Then again, they will still own a home in the end, so overall it is worth it.

In the last couple of years, Greece has introduced a new law which says that all property owners have to pay tax on the home that they own. This tax is based on the size of the property in square meters, the year it was built and the type of property. This tax has to be paid once a year and in the case of my property, which has been used and rented out by my father, he has been the one that has been responsible for paying this tax every year. This was only fair, as he has been earning 600euro every month from it and I haven’t benefited at all.

From my father’s text, it was clear that he no longer wants to pay my share of the tax and that I now have to be responsible for it. The only thing I could make out clearly from his text was that I have to pay 500 euro for the property. He then proceeded to guilt-trip me about how much I hurt him, even though he has never turned against me. Luckily, I was able to block this part out emotionally. I currently feel numb to it and I hope it stays this way.

At the moment, I am left wondering whether this will be the only contact I have from him. I am really hoping that it is and that despite delivering this not so nice message to me about the property tax, that he will continue to respect my wishes of ‘no contact’.

With both my parents as narcissists, I guess I will never fully be at peace until they are gone. As long as they are alive, I have to expect some drama.

If the worst thing that ever happens again with my father, is this tax I have to pay once a year, then it is only a small price to pay for owning a house he designed and built. Although my feelings about this home are very mixed at present, a small part of me will most likely cherish this home one day, when my father is no longer alive. Despite the fact that he turned out to be a very sick person, he was still a very giving & present father until I was 13-14 years old. Those memories will always be mine and I hope that one day, I will be able to look back on my relationship with my father and feel less hurt & less sorrow.

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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 ♥

 

 

Dachshund or returning to UK

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Hubby and I have been talking more and more over the last few days about how our life will continue when his work contract comes to an end next year..Do we leave our comfortable home and life for a life back in the uncertain post brexit future of the UK or do we stay for the long haul and I just have to continue learning the language?!

My number one choice has always been the UK, mainly because I never wanted to leave in the first place. We only left because hubby wasn’t happy in his job in Bournemouth and he only had a short window to find work elsewhere until our money ran out. Germany was the quickest offer he got, so although I had many reservations, we did it anyway..

After the first few months passed of us settling into our new life in Germany, we decided to get married. Things were going downhill in Greece with my father’s depression and I just had this bad feeling. I knew that if I ever wanted to get married with both my parents there, it would have to be that year. We went through with it in October 2014, 7 months into living in Germany. Although it wasn’t the easiest or smoothest wedding day due to stress and family drama, we at least committed to each other and created a new family unit. Both hubby and I always needed to feel a sense of belogning in our life and we finally managed to find it in each other.

Unfortunately, 2 months after we got married I confronted my mother about her dismissal of my feelings most of my life and 7 months later my father attempted suicide. My first year of marriage was utter shite and I had to go back on anti-depressants just to get through that year!Looking back on it now, I am happy it is over! The only thing that made that year a little better was celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary in New York! I had always wanted to go to America and I finally made it there for our special day!

All in all, Germany ended up being a safe haven for me, so I could work through my feelings of grief and disappointment. Although I was out of my comfort zone, Germany became my best friend. The fact that I wasn’t working for the first 2 years of my life here was a blessing in disguise. I was able to develop myself personally, set boundaries, progress heaps and bounds in therapy and even qualify as a life coach.

I finally said goodbye to my father after all the abuse & trauma and managed to slowly  re-create a civil relationship with my mother again, although only through acceptance of her limitations. Although I know life isn’t ever going to be the same again, since acquiring all this new wisdom & knowledge about my abusive parents, I am finally closer to making peace with the family I am left with.

The cutest thing about life here in Germany has been the constant appearance of the ‘Rauhaardackel’! :-)I completely fell in love with these beautiful little wirehaired dachshunds (sausage dogs) and we have been wanting to get one for the last couple of years. In this last month, hubby sent out emails to separate breeders and we came so very close to getting one this summer. We have so much love to give a dog and are also looking forward to the unconditional love that a dog gives back. Germany has at times been lonely, due to lack of friends or family and we know that this little dog would give us so much joy and friendship.

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Over the last weekend, we had numerous chats about moving back to England. On Friday, hubby just announced that we have to move back no matter what! He admitted that he is fed up travelling to work & back 2 hours each day, being the only one who earns enough to support our family and that he would much prefer it if we both worked average jobs full time rather than him doing a stressful job on his own. This is also something I have been wanting for the last 3 years, as I have missed earning a full time wage but have also been wanting to further develop myself in the area of mental health, through work and studies. I have felt like my desire to work in areas that interest me in the UK, has been on hold the last couple of years.

The hardest thing about living abroad is that you discover that there are so many things that are better than in your country. Renting in Germany is like owning a home. You have more freedom to do whatever you want and the rent is only increased once every 10 years. The health-care system is also very good. I have had great support here for both my mental and physical health. We were also able to buy a brand new car with hubby’s savings and we now only purchase food and cosmetics from Organic sources. There are a lot of things that we have grown accustomed to, so another big move again means that we will have to give up a lot of what we currently have.

It also means that we have to give up on our dream of getting our little sausage dog 😦 Moving back to the UK and finding a property to rent that will also accept a small dog, would be a huge challenge. Landlords don’t usually accept pets, so if we were to actually get a dog, it would limit our choice by 80%. This breaks my heart as I desperately want a dog, especially because we have decided we are not having kids.

This is the way it will have to be however. If we want to move back to the UK for my own emotional wellbeing, then having a puppy will just have to wait..

I admitted to hubby that I am so very tired of being around German speaking people..I am genuinely fed up of feeling uncomfortable and like a fish out of water..I usually enjoy getting to know people but my ability to do this here has obviously been hard. Especially now that I have started this new part time job, I always feel on edge when people talk to me and I know I have to reply in German. I never realised how much I would miss speaking English until I moved here!

Having emotional difficulties is already challenging enough to live with..Battling ill mental health is tough enough with all the limitations that come with it. When you already suffer with CPTSD, pushing yourself even further out of your comfort zone is a struggle..I really feel like I have done the best I could do under the circumstances..

To end this long, babbling blog post, I wanted to say that hubby is much closer to accepting that we will be moving back to the UK next year. We have made plans to save as much money as we can so we are comfortable when we move back and we have decided that we will really try to downsize from a 2 bedroom flat to a 1 bedroom in the UK, so we can save even more money for a future deposit on a forever home. I will have to give away or sell most of my unneccesary possessions (dvd collections/art/home decor etc), to make room for a sensible future life in the UK again.

In all honesty, I cannot wait! 🙂

Thanks for reading! ❤

The time of year when everyone is tired..

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It feels like ages since I have posted a proper blog post..I am feeling so so tired and there are 6 days left of my German course before Christmas and I really can’t wait..

It is not Christmas in itself I am looking forward to. It is the week off I can’t wait for.I want to sleep in, be lazy, relax, watch films and enjoy home with my hubby.

For someone who hasn’t worked a full time job in ages, I shouldn’t really complain..

Most of you have to get up every morning and work really hard..A lot of you don’t even like your job anymore..A lot of you have health problems, stress and kids to bring up..

I don’t have kids and don’t have a full time job but I live with CPTSD every day..I am also an introvert and highly sensitive person, so being around people as much as I have recently has worn me out..

There have been times throughout my intensive course where I have just wanted to cry and give up..where I just come home and don’t want to even think about German let alone do the daily homework given to us… Then there is the extra studying of the vocabulary…the memorising of words (which is challenging as my short term memory is awful due to the meds I am on)…where my feeling of being overwhelmed makes me extremely irritable and I just want to hide away in my bed..I also had 3 incidents so far where I would arrive in class and it felt like my heart was beating irregularly, completely out of the blue..This would then make me feel sick or dizzy.. Nevertheless, I have been on time, every day and haven’t missed any days at all..So many of my classmates have had at least 1 or two days off for whatever reason and I am still pushing on..

My teacher told me that I am in the top 3 of the class, so I guess that is a good thing..With only 11 of us in total though, i guess it really isn’t such a big accomplishment..At least I know I am trying my hardest.

..For the last 2 weeks we have had an extra hour added onto each day which has literally made it exhausting..25 hours of German is a lot! Tomorrow is the last 5 hour day however, so I am feeling a little happier about next week being back to only 20 hours.

I am not sure how worth it the course has been, due to the fact that I am still unable to understand people talking German, apart from when it is veeeeeeeeery slow and simple German..My vocabulary has at least increased a lot and I have learnt a lot of the grammar, which will be useful when trying to speak more.There are 3 weeks left before our final exam so I guess until then I will just have to wait and see if this A1 class of German was enough to enable me to get a small part time job. If not, then would it be worth me doing the A2 course next with the same teacher?! Who knows! I like my teacher but has she been good? I have no idea!!

Anyhow…. I hope this post wasn’t too rambly..If it was, I apologise..I am literally falling asleep as I write and I still have 4 pages of homework to do! It might just be power nap time…20 Minutes should hopefully refresh me, although to be completely honest, afternoon naps for me usually turn into 1 hour naps or more!!

Much love to you all ♥

Intensive language courses can be exhausting

Dear friends and fellow bloggers,

I apologise for being away from the blogging world recently. I am struggling to keep up with my new routine at the moment, so my YouTube videos on my channel have had priority, as well as the important decision to finally start German lessons.

Yes, I finally gave in!! I have signed up to an intensive 7 week course!

Hubby and I were discussing our future in Germany a few weeks ago and I was talking about whether moving back to the UK would be a good idea or not after all.

I still want to do my Art Therapy MA in the future, which I will now have to re-apply for, (as I have lost my unconditional offer after 2,5 years of not starting) however our life here in Germany has been good due to my husband’s job. It has provided security, health insurance & a cosy home. Germany has been extremely kind to me over the last 2,5 years.

Looking back on that time, I have come to realise that I needed these years away from full time work, in order to fully grieve the loss of my parents and in order to continue my healing journey. Grieving the loss of the healthy parents I never had was extremely painful, time consuming but absolutely necessary..Germany gave me that time..My husband’s work gave me that time..

In these 2,5 years I have:

1.grieved extensively

2.dealt with 1 last family drama when my father attempted suicide

3.gone no contact with my father

4.married my husband

5.started the gym

6.studied Cognitive Behavioural Coaching & completed my qualification as seen below 🙂

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7. continued my healing in therapy & achieved a new sense of freedom from this healing

8.grown in confidence

9.met some amazing bloggers which I am lucky enough to also call friends.

10.had EMDR therapy to minimise my emotional flashbacks & nightmares

11.learnt how to make homemade bread, homemade pizza & other vegetarian dishes for my hubby

12.learnt new creative hobbies

13.started blogging & vlogging

and finally 14. started learning German

Now it may seem VERY strange that learning German is the last thing on my list but there were many reasons for this. Firstly, it isn’t a language I particularly like and secondly it is a difficult language to learn.

The main reason for not learning straight away however, is because I was originally only going to stay in Germany for 6 months, whilst hubby settled in to his new job. I was then going to head back to Sheffield to start my Art Therapy MA.

When we realised that this would be a little too costly, whilst we were also preparing to get married, I then ended up defering my course and just stayed on in Germany for the full year. After I got married, I was thrown in the deep end in regards to family dramas with my parents, so ended up spending the next year grieving and suffering greatly with my CPTSD & depression. It’s incredible how big a part mental illness can take up in your life sometimes!

Germany has been very kind to me and for this I am grateful…My husband’s insurance covered all my therapy sessions over the last 2 years, which would have otherwise been very expensive or almost non existent if I was in the UK. I have taken baby steps in achieving goals I never thought I could achieve and I am currently in a very good place in regards to my mental health. Although I am still on anti-depressants and fortnightly therapy, I am feeling more at peace with myself as a person and have developed a new sense of self-compassion and confidence I never had before.

My decision to FINALLY start German lessons was because of the discussion of leaving Germany or staying. I thought that the only way to truly know if I could stay in Germany more long term, would be to give the language a try and hopefully get a part-time job.Having a part-time job would enable me to save money for a pension when I am old and wrinkly. At the moment I am not able to do this on a few hours of coaching with my new business.

I promised myself that I would give learning Germany my best try and if after completing the course I still didn’t feel confident in getting a job, then we would move back to the UK and start over.

These 2,5 years have been the longest time hubby and I have lived in one place without moving. Since we met almost 5 years ago, we have lived in many different towns and places. Now that we are nearly in our mid 30’s we would like to settle somewhere for longer and get a dog.

At the moment, Germany and specifically Bonn still feels like home.

I have completed 4 days of my intensive German course and I must admit it is incredibly tiring as there is so much to learn in a short space of time. Unfortunately with my CPTSD, I have problems with my memory so I have to repeat stuff over and over again until I can properly learn it..Although I attend classes every day for 4 hours, I still have to spend 3 hours just doing the homework at the end of each day.Today I have given myself the afternoon off to blog and just relax!

I am so glad it is Friday 🙂

So once again, I am sorry if I have been a bit distant dear friends..This will continue for the next 7 weeks but I will try and catch up each weekend with writing, as well as reading your posts!

Love Athina ♥

Illustrations of mental illness

Although this artist doesn’t depict all types of mental illness, some of these are very accurate and some illnesses I must admit I had never heard of.

I always admire truly talented artists, so had to share this link for all of you to see.

Some are very dark so they might be a little ***triggering*** for some of you, whilst some ilnesses are not included.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Shawn Coss

 

This is the full list of illustrations in the link below:

http://www.boredpanda.com/for-inktober-i-focued-on-mental-illness-and-disorders/

Love Athina ♥

Mental health-Lets keep talking about it

Until I wait for the arrival of my new webcam, I am continuing to create text videos for my youtube subscibers. After having problems with the sound quality on my youtube videos, I wanted to invest in something that would offer my viewers something much better.

As today is World Mental Health Day, I created a video in honour of this day.

I live with mental illness every day and have done for most of my life, so it is important to keep talking about the importance of our mental health..

Much love

Athina ♥

 

What is LBD?

Happy Wednesday lovely readers & friends,

Just been feeling a little uninspired as of lately with writing posts here, so please forgive me for my absence.

Today’s post is about something that caught my attention and I felt the need to share it.

It is about a condition known as Lewy Body Dementia, which I wanted to raise awareness of after reading a post by Robin Williams’s widow.

This condition is apparently what led Robin Williams to take his own life, after suffering severely in the last months before his death.

So what is Lewy Body Dementia?

LBD is not a rare disease. It affects an estimated 1.4 million individuals and their families in the United States. Because LBD symptoms can closely resemble other more commonly known diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, it is currently widely underdiagnosed. Many doctors or other medical professionals still are not familiar with LBD.

LBD is an umbrella term for two related diagnoses. LBD refers to both Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. The earliest symptoms of these two diseases differ, but reflect the same underlying biological changes in the brain. Over time, people with both diagnoses will develop very similar cognitive, physical, sleep, and behavioral symptoms.

What are the symptoms of this disease?

LBD is a an umbrella term for two related clinical diagnoses, dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia.

The latest clinical diagnostic criteria for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) categorizes symptoms into three types, listed below.  A diagnosis of Parkinsons’ disease dementia (PDD) requires a well established diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease that later progresses into dementia, along with very similar features to DLB.  A rather arbirary time cutoff was established to differentiate between DLB and PDD.  People whose dementia occurs before or within 1 year of Parkinson’s symptoms are diagnosed with DLB.  People who have an existing diagnosis of Parkinson’s for more than a year and later develop dementia are diagnosed with PDD.

Central feature

  • Progressive dementia – deficits in attention and executive function are typical. Prominent memory impairment may not be evident in the early stages.

Core features

  • Fluctuating cognition with pronounced variations in attention and alertness.
  • Recurrent complex visual hallucinations, typically well formed and detailed.
  • Spontaneous features of parkinsonism.

Suggestive features

  • REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), which can appear years before the onset of dementia and parkinsonism.
  • Severe sensitivity to neuroleptics occurs in up to 50% of LBD patients who take them.
  • Low dopamine transporter uptake in the brain’s basal ganglia as seen on SPECT and PET imaging scans.

Supportive features

  • Repeated falls and syncope (fainting).
  • Transient, unexplained loss of consciousness.
  • Autonomic dysfunction.
  • Hallucinations of other senses, like touch or hearing.
  • Visuospatial abnormalities.
  • Other psychiatric disturbances.

A clinical diagnosis of LBD can be probable or possible based on different symptom combinations.

A probable LBD diagnosis requires either:

  • Dementia plus two or more core features, or
  • Dementia plus one core feature and one or more suggestive features.

A possible LBD diagnosis requires:

  • Dementia plus one core feature, or
  • Dementia plus one or more suggestive features.

The above text has been directly sourced from: https://www.lbda.org/

Please check their website for more detailed information.

Love Athina ♥