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Okay, I Am Really Shaky On This One...


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so please be gentle? i have lived with a narcissistic mother my whole life... it was always "you cant do anything right on your own", or "why do you do everything so strangely (wrong)?" etc... it has occurred to me that Dysautonomia is a body's inability to regulate itself autonomously. which is exactly what you are basically told your whole life by a narcissist. i am not saying this is "psychosomatic" as in "you are doing it to yourself mentally"... i am wondering if eventually your body follows the program your mind and emotions have been indoctrinated into...? i know this is tricky and a very sensitive subject... *i wish to offend NO ONE*. lately i just keep finding myself asking this question in my head... like if i had to get sick... WHY is my body acting out everything my mother ever said to me?

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I don't think you are alone in having a narcissistic parent, though I don't believe it has to do with your developing dysautonomia. That sort of upbringing could cause continual anxiety, doubt, fear which all may not play nicely with dysautonomia symptoms, but I wouldn't see it as the cause.

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I'll echo others who have answered. My symptoms came up fairly suddenly and at a time in my life that I was not experiencing significant stress. I was initially told by several doctors that I had anxiety and depression (it was a psychologist who told me and my GP that my symptoms were not psychosomatic!). As others have said, stress and anxiety can certainly exacerbate autonomic dysfunction. To add to the confusion there certainly can be symptom overlap with autonomic dysfunction and anxiety/depression which can be hard for doctors (and even sometimes for patients) to tease apart.

I'm sorry you've had such a rough relationship with your mom.

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yes, the dysautonomia most definitely seems to have come from a severe car accident, in which i had head neck and chest trauma. any of my doctors will tell you specifically that they think it was either the damage to my heart, or the severe whiplash incident, which no one checked until wayyy later.

i guess it is just the 'your illness is the equivalent of what you dealt with mentally/emotionally your whole life'. kind of thing... thank you all

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thank you all for your replies. dysautonomia is a complex, often misdiagnosed, 'invisible illness'. it does effect different people in different ways, there is no 'test' or 'lab work' capable of diagnosing it definitively. i know that a 'tilt table' test *can* diagnose POTS. but as far as its effect, and experience on so many different people, so many different ways, there is just no way to do labwork, and limited medical/psychological Dr's who will recognize it.

i just found it quite uncanny how the illness that my body became disabled with *literally* takes away your autonomy, which is exactly what i have dealt with my whole life. as a kid, i was almost always in a 'fight or flight' situation, mostly with my mom. and now having tried to research it as much as possible on my own when the Dr.s did not seem to know what they were doing, i saw that dysautonomia basically does the same thing... keeps you in a fight or flight condition.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dear Nova,

My view is I think the demarkation between "mental" and "physical" illness is, outside the realm of dysatonomia and especially within it, very blurry. In my case, I know my dysautonomia, which came on with a whallop this year, emerged from a traumatic work situation: on top of the fact I struggled with depression and PTSD for years. There is much in the literature about this: look up "allostatic load," or the effects of profound stress: it is highly associated with chronic disease in general, and and dysautonomia is acknowledged in particular. Dysautonomia can emerge from physical or mental trauma, infection, co-morbid syndromes, or seemingly nothing at all!

Like you, I tend to blame myself for being dysfunctional now. However, I am brightening, knowing that this disorder is truly out of my hands and head in a way I can truly control. However, this was also true for depression, which frankly, until recently, I handled extremely well. The medical world has created a great rift which is reflected in society. No one chooses or has true contral over either a "physical" or "mental" illness: in our cases, the boundaries are truly blurred. Perhaps your mother created such a stressful environment for you that your were susceptible to your current illness, but maybe not. It is confusing to doctors; it is confusing to us. Yet the origins or manifestations of our illness should not be a source of self-blame. It should not make a difference: we should be treated (and treat ourselves) with compassion and respect.

I am working hard to put together a goods medical team -- with some success after eight months of searching. Meditation, in the context of Zen Buddhism, is teaching me a lot. Like how to "detach:" in your case from your mother, in mine from my now former work situation and the preceding experiences that led to my becoming ill over it. I also need to detach from my obsession with my symptoms (not there yet!). We must learn compassion towards ourselves. Try taking care of yourself as you wish your own mother had -- with warmth, sympathy and kindness.

It really makes no difference whether our dysautonomia is the result of physical or mental illness and/or trauma, or whether it came out of the blue. We are all in the same boat here, and we need to associate ourselves, in our personal and medical worlds, with those that keep us bouyant and optimistic.

I wish you (and all out there) the best,

Sylvie

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Dear Nova,

My view is I think the demarkation between "mental" and "physical" illness is, outside the realm of dysatonomia and especially within it, very blurry. In my case, I know my dysautonomia, which came on with a whallop this year, emerged from a traumatic work situation: on top of the fact I struggled with depression and PTSD for years. There is much in the literature about this: look up "allostatic load," or the effects of profound stress: it is highly associated with chronic disease in general, and and dysautonomia is acknowledged in particular. Dysautonomia can emerge from physical or mental trauma, infection, co-morbid syndromes, or seemingly nothing at all!

Like you, I tend to blame myself for being dysfunctional now. However, I am brightening, knowing that this disorder is truly out of my hands and head in a way I can truly control. However, this was also true for depression, which frankly, until recently, I handled extremely well. The medical world has created a great rift which is reflected in society. No one chooses or has true contral over either a "physical" or "mental" illness: in our cases, the boundaries are truly blurred. Perhaps your mother created such a stressful environment for you that your were susceptible to your current illness, but maybe not. It is confusing to doctors; it is confusing to us. Yet the origins or manifestations of our illness should not be a source of self-blame. It should not make a difference: we should be treated (and treat ourselves) with compassion and respect.

I am working hard to put together a goods medical team -- with some success after eight months of searching. Meditation, in the context of Zen Buddhism, is teaching me a lot. Like how to "detach:" in your case from your mother, in mine from my now former work situation and the preceding experiences that led to my becoming ill over it. I also need to detach from my obsession with my symptoms (not there yet!). We must learn compassion towards ourselves. Try taking care of yourself as you wish your own mother had -- with warmth, sympathy and kindness.

It really makes no difference whether our dysautonomia is the result of physical or mental illness and/or trauma, or whether it came out of the blue. We are all in the same boat here, and we need to associate ourselves, in our personal and medical worlds, with those that keep us bouyant and optimistic.

I wish you (and all out there) the best,

Sylvie

Beautiful and well written. Nice comment!!!

Issie

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Dear Nova and Issie,

Thank you so much for your gracious replies to my comment, which I just saw today.

Writing even a short piece is so difficult in the midst of my onslaught of symptoms, so I am heartened I was helpful to you both.

Wishing us all health and comfort!

Sylvie

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