Repetition Compulsion: Repeating the cycles of childhood abuse.

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He was the epitome of a narcissist, my father. Dominating, intimidating, charming, arrogant. And he was a sexual predator. Women used to fawn over him like drunk and dizzy bees swarming around a honeypot. I remember him once slapping the bottom of my best friend, we were 14 years old. The next morning at breakfast he commented on the shape of her breasts and said the boys at school must really like them. She became mute and hung her head in shame. He didn’t have any friends, because who wants a narcissistic bully for a pal? His closest acquaintances were…

A True Story: The artful skill of spotting a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.

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I sit down on the sofa first, my husband sits in the seat opposite before standing up to remove his jacket and stare idly around the room looking I know, for somewhere to hang his expensive clothing. I note our therapist clocking this. He takes my husband’s jacket and hangs it on the back of his door.

My husband has shown his hand.

I wonder to myself if our therapist has noticed the first clue of my husband’s character — his unmistakable self-importance. …

Dis-order in the mental health ward.

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There is a common misperception amongst humans, that we must be orderly to be worthy of existence in mainstream society. Orderly as in, one must show courtesy and respect to others, one must exercise judicious judgement of others, (lest thou be judged), one must comply with legal and moral code, one must pay their taxes, one must bake cookies for the new neighbour (even when the new neighbour is a flagrant idiot), one must stand robot-like in orderly queues, and one must most certainly, give two shits about their friends’ first world problems. And so on. …

The absurdity of depression.

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Little has been said or documented about the fact that depression is ridiculous.

Just when I thought I was emerging from one dark place; clouds parting and vitality starting to make itself known, I unpredictably slip quietly back into the black hole. Like a mole emerging from under his hill, only to find himself tethered at the neck, to some vexatious anchor deep within the muddy earth.

Changing the channel on the TV makes me want to cry. The futility and senselessness of it. Emails pile up, the letter box overflows, the soil in the plant pots dry miserably. I…

The adaptive function of dissociation, personality parts and amnesia.

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Dissociative disorders involve problems with memory, identity, emotion, perception, behavior and sense of self. Dissociative symptoms can potentially disrupt every area of mental functioning.

Examples of dissociative symptoms include the experience of detachment or feeling as if one is outside one’s body, and loss of memory or amnesia. Dissociative disorders are frequently associated with previous experience of trauma. —

Two and a half years ago I was sitting in front of my psychotherapist of one year when he uttered the words “Amelie, what you have experienced is a dissociative fugue”. “A what?” I mumbled with raised eyebrows. I don’t…

Passivity drives us deeper into our past.

When trauma was imprinted in childhood, repetitive and interpersonal, the damage is profound and far reaching.

Sadly it’s often not until we are truly broken, deep into our adult years that we come to recognise or understand the true extent of damage owing to what happened in our infancy.

Victim-hood is an inevitability of trauma but feeling like a victim does not have to be a lifelong label, nor life-sentence. In actual fact, it mustn’t stay this way. As adults we are no longer victims of our childhood trauma, but survivors of it.

The ownership of our past tragedies gives us a springboard to first, resolve what was once intolerable, second and most importantly, to heal…

It’s the marker of a very shallow soul.

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The need to speak of others negatively; to benefit or get a kick out of somebody else’s misfortune, or character failing is a glaring signal of one’s own weakness and frailty.

I had friends around for dinner the other night and one of them took me to one side to ‘discuss’ our mutual friend and her current woes. These woes according to this friend are ‘petty and trivial’, and in her words she has ‘had it to here’ (with accompanying hand to forehead gesture) with the ‘constant moaning’ from our mutual chum.

She goes on for quite some time, lamenting the character flaws of said chum; and asserts multiple solutions — so very obvious in her mind — for how our friend should just ‘fix’ her problems and no longer be…

And not losing your own self if you love somebody with one.

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I was brought up in what may be aptly termed as reigned chaos. I have a borderline mother, narcissistic father, schizophrenic middle brother and narcissistic elder brother. Don’t laugh.

Thanking my lucky somethings, I have managed to muddle through life sans personality disorder; but not without a few healthy scoops of complex PTSD, depression and anxiety to boot along the road. To add a cherry atop my scoops, I married my university sweetheart, who 2.5 years ago, was diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.

You might be noticing a recurrent theme here — yes, I am like a magnet for the…

Functional impairment and the loss of memory. Can we get it back?

Cognitive functioning in many mental illnesses runs the full breadth of human potential. In particular with regard to mood disorders.

Where some people with bipolar accomplish poignant landmarks in human achievement, others experience significant difficulties in managing the tasks of daily life. The disparate functional variability in mood disorders points to a prognostic complexity, which is not immediately evident in the diagnosis. In these heterogeneous illnesses, clinicians cannot predict how one’s clinical and functional trajectory will differ from another.

Many studies have cast light upon various aspects of illness progression in bipolar disorder, yet significant understanding, and improvement to functional…

It sounds like we are the ones that are unhinged.

I was at a friend’s birthday lunch the other day — a boozy (and very fun) affair. With loose tongues and well-oiled brains afoot, a friend sitting next to me at the bar turns his body to face mine and asks with loving eyes, “Ams, what actually happened with Rich?” Rich being my ex husband.

I looked at my friend squarely in the eyes, noting the kind intentions residing behind them and thought carefully. Do I want to open this box I asked myself. I said: “buddy, it’s difficult to explain.”

“Try me” he says.

“I just can’t, I just…

Amelie Bridgewater

Mummy. Mental Health Advocate. Adorer of Great Coffee. Lover of all Acts of Kindness. Reach me at

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