What it’s like to be a diagnosed narcissist

How did you come to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder?

I lost my job at the end of 2009, and I got depressed over that, very deeply. I was treated, and about a year and a half [later], I was considered cured. Three months later, I was back at the doctor’s because I was depressed again, to a level of suicide. He referred me to a different, older, experienced psychologist, who said “I cannot help you” within 20 minutes of talking. He said, “What you need is much more extensive therapy than I can offer you, because your depression came back so hard that there is probably some underlying cause.” He said he’d refer me, and would advise [the new clinician] to do a personality test first, because he expected there to be some personality issue that caused recurring depression.

They did the personality test, and by process of elimination, it was concluded that it was narcissistic personality disorder. So from that moment on, I started treatment, because I didn’t want to have that. Of course, at that time, I didn’t know that there is no such thing as “I don’t want to have that,” because when you have it, you have it. I just had to learn to live with it. I was in therapy ever since. It lasted six and a half years, and I stopped last year, in 2017.

Did you have any suspicion that you might have NPD, or was it a total surprise?

None, no. Until that day I didn’t even know what it was.

So you kind of learned about people’s perceptions about it at the same time you were learning what it actually meant for you.

Since I’ve been diagnosed with it, I’ve done everything I can to get familiar with the concept of narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder. I became somewhat of a specialist myself, and that makes you very aware of how a lot of people look at it. It hurts to see how other people look at it. In my opinion, a lot of people confuse NPD with psychopathy. There is so much written about malignant narcissism, which, as far as I’m concerned, is pretty much the equivalent of psychopathy. There is a lot of harm done by people whose primary behavior looks like narcissism. But narcissism [primarily affects our] decision-making processes.

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