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Depressive Grandiosity and Narcissism

Posted by Mark H. on June 14, 2002, at 20:32:28

I find a theme running through my own experience of mental illness that I call depressive grandiosity, which seems similar at times to narcissism (though I assume one could experience both at the same time). It's something that is easier for me to see in others than in myself.

Here's a fairly extreme example offered by a friend. They go into a local restaurant close to one p.m. for lunch, and most of the people eating there soon get up from their tables, pay their bills, and leave. The woman leans across the table and asks quietly, "Did they all leave because of me?"

That (to me) seems to capture in a single short question one of the great curses of mental illness and of depression in particular. I call depression "the selfish disease," because my world closes down to a sphere about six feet around my head, and it seems like EVERYTHING is about me, even when I know better cognitively.

So how do we help others (and ourselves) when we feel paranoid and take everything as an unbearable criticism or affront? Any suggestions?

Many thanks,

Mark H.




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