Narcissistic Personality Disorder Vs. Depression. They really aren’t that different from each other!

I was talking to a friend about NPD and I said it was a choice, whether conscious or unconscious, it’s still a choice like depression.  But who would choose to be depressed or to be NPD?  Well… if the world is your oyster and you can get whatever you want… wouldn’t you be tempted too?  I’ll illustrate similarities in a minute.  The NPD info comes from Wikipedia which isn’t always the best source but it helps.  The Depression part comes from observation and studies in psychology because doctors kept trying to say I was depressed and wanted to keep drugging me.   I said I was tired, not depressed, so I studied the thing.   And you know what?  I was depressed.  But I didn’t take any drugs.  I instead, made a different choice.  And yes, life is harder when you’re “not depressed” but I think it’s better this way.  At least I’m no longer taking advantage of people.  Btw, I’m still tired but that happens when you stay up too late and work…

NPD is a personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others in the process.

Depression:  The world is about YOU and what is wrong with YOU and how the rest of the world seems to be against YOU.  That person is unable to see that their selfishness affects others.  “I don’t feel like it, so I’m not going to” is a common theme among the depressed.   Relationships and bonds are destroyed because that person “doesn’t feel like it” and thus entitled to everything else.  People should cater to THEM.

Depression doesn’t LOOK like people worry about power, prestige, vanity, or personal adequacy but they do.  Why else would they worry about what they “do not have” if it didn’t bother them?

Back to NPD: Some people diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder are characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance. They have a sense of entitlement and demonstrate grandiosity in their beliefs and behavior. They have a strong need for admiration, but lack feelings of empathy.

Ask a depressed person if they care about others or others’ feelings.  They don’t.  They only care that they’re the ones depressed and that others should help THEM.  Like I said, they feel entitled to being the victim and to be helped.  Perhaps it’s not an obvious grandiosity as in NPD but if the world is all about them, well, they must feel like gods then?   The thing is, the depressed person isn’t as obvious as the NPD.  They have a strong need for admiration too, why else would they be constantly saying woe is me, please help me, I need attention/love/etc. etc.

I am depressed virtually means “don’t ask anything of me.  I won’t give anything back. Just cater to me.”  Basically it’s a carte blanche to do NOTHING.  Ever.  As long as they’re “depressed.”

NPD:     Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments, expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others, envies others and believes others envy him/her, is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence, lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others, is arrogant in attitudes and behavior, has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic

Did I not just pretty much say this is typical of the depressed mind?  With the exception of envy.  I don’t think an depressed person thinks others are envious of them.  However, if people saw just how much the depressed person got catered to objectively, they probably would be envious.  The depressed person thinks “Once I get out of depression I’m going to be awesome!”  But of course, they sabotage themselves so this never happens and therefore always stay “depressed.”  They think the world should just open up their arms because they’re depressed.  Much like the last line in the NPD paragraph.

Are depressed people arrogant?  Sure they are.  Because if you don’t cater to them you’re an evil person.  After all, how can you look at this pathetic person and turn your back on them?  How can you be so cruel?

NPD: Other symptoms in addition to the ones defined by DSM-IV-TR include: Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends, has trouble keeping healthy relationships with others, easily hurt or rejected, appears unemotional, and exaggerating special achievements and talents, setting unrealistic goals for himself/herself.  NPD is characterized by dramatic, emotional behavior, and an over-inflated sense of self-importance that is in the same category as antisocial and borderline personality disorders.  

Which as I illustrated, is the same with depression.  NPD however, probably doesn’t cry in public and probably doesn’t sit at home alone thinking what else can I do?  Then again, maybe they do…  but I think NPD’s tend to be more “outwardly.”  Kind of like the extroverts of the DSM book.  

NPD: Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others, when in reality they have a fragile self-esteem, cannot handle criticism, and often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. Comments and criticisms about others are vicious from sufferers of NPD, in an attempt to boost their own poor self-esteem.

Depression: if you critisise them, they will buckle and cry.  How can you be so cruel?  So you have to be on pins and needles so you don’t “hurt” them more.  What this means is, you can’t ever say anything to them.  You can’t even opinionate because they see that as an attack.  Their battle words is how can you hurt me so badly when I’m already depressed?  You want to make me suicidal?  So they don’t use belittling to “disarm” their opponent.  They use guilt.

NPD: Instead of behaving in a way that shows how they are feeling in the moment, they behave in the way that they feel they are expected to behave or what gives them the most attention.

The depressed person does whatever they need to do to get the most attention and take advantage of everything given and always wants to take and get more.  They are never satisfied.   However, compared to NPD, depression is more vocal about how shitty people feel about themselves.  NPD’s won’t ever say omg I suck monkey balls and that’s why I need to deflect your words so you won’t see it.  Depression says I suck monkey balls so badly I think I ate maggots from last week’s kill!  You have no idea how horrible that is!!  It’s never mole hills, only mountains.

The interesting thing is for depression there are a million drugs, for NPD?  Not so much.  Why?  A chemical reaction/disorder, what have you?  Sure, sometimes chemicals get out of whack and it may cause for some mood swings and what have you… but if the doctors and pharmaceutical companies can make a million dollars off drugs as “placebos” wouldn’t you jump on that wagon too?  And what if it was like the mechanics at a bad auto shop?  They break something else so you need more “maintenance” or another “part” for your “broken” car?   Think about it.   Depression never comes with just ONE pill.  Often it starts out that way and then another and another and another…  it’s like everything else.  You take one pill, makes you better, next thing you know you’re taking 20…  The solution isn’t to take more pills.  The solution is to look around and within you to find out WHAT the heck is going on with you!

Now I’m sure I’ll get flack for this.  People will say how mean or cruel I am for saying that depression is a choice.  I can assure you that if NPD’s and Depressed people took a damn good LOOK at themselves, from the inside out, the depression and NPD would be gone.  The thing is, instrospection is HARD…it’s messy… it’s UGLY as hell… it’s the worst thing in the world, I think.   But once you do it, you can learn SO MUCH about yourself and the things you can achieve and my god, the things you’ve overcome!!  You will look at yourself as some kind of hero for yourself.  The real question however, isn’t can you do it?  The real question is “Can I give it up?”

Depression, and I presume NPD, is like a drug addiction.   When people cater to you, when you get people to do your bidding, when they never ask anything of you in return… well… can you really give that up and actually start doing work for yourself?  If you have person slaves…  why would you “return to sender” on them?   It’s very lucrative… it’s enticing… it’s magnificent… wrong… but damn awesome!   I STILL have my moments of wow… I used to get so much more…all I had to do was cry or bitch… now I have to do everything on my own… this sucks!  The world no longer sees me with the “you’re broken” eyes and I sometimes miss the depression.  I miss the attention and the lack of work.  I mean seriously, who likes working?  OK, maybe I’m still depressed…. or maybe now I’m insane… but would I give up all this work and go back to depressed?  I don’t think so…  you know why?  Because now I know better.

I am not completely fixed… I have other issues to work on… depression still comes and says “hi” once in a while but I say hello, I wallow, and then send it away again.  Depression, much like I hear drugs and alcohol and other bad habits, never helped me get better.  It let me stay in one place and also made things worse.  So no, I’m not going back to that.

And maybe someone out there needs my help.  Maybe someone out there needs me to show them how to “get out” of depression.  And many will balk and call me insensitive.  That’s OK. I’m honest and I’m blunt.  I also have thick skin.  I can take the comments.  At least depression left me with that gift and I’m OK with that.  Thick skin is better than thin skin when it comes to comments.


14 thoughts on “Narcissistic Personality Disorder Vs. Depression. They really aren’t that different from each other!

    • I love how you just make a comment without any backing. I guess that means you’re just full of it. Opinions but no backing. That’s cool. I can hang with that.

  1. This is the first blog of yours I have read, so forgive me if this is meant to be a satire or if you are being sarcastic in your comparison of narcissism and depression but I can’t say that I agree at all with the expectations for, or feelings of a person with major depressive disorder. Depression is characterized by lethargic behavior, loss of interest in things typically enjoyed and sometimes suicide attempt and even completed suicide. I have been depressed for about 25 years and I NEVER expected nor do I now expect anyone to cater to me; quite the opposite. I work hard to not “put people out”. I feel guilty if I am causing anyone stress. And will often overcompensate at work and home to hide my illnesses so no one worries about me. I tend to have a low feeling of self worth and have been a tireless overachiever my whole life to make up for what I feel I lack as a person. I did this until I broke. And was forced to accept help. As soon as I was treated and agreed to counseling I went right back to my career, stronger than ever. I have feelings of depression and anxiety; low self worth and guilt; but someone with depression is not at all like a narcissist.

    • Ms. Christine, I appreciate your feedback. I was once depressed, maybe like you, maybe not. How can I read someone else’s mind, right? I was suicidal three times, attempted once but never fulfilled it. I was lethargic by clinical standards. As I said, I think I’m just tired. I’m always tired. I go to bed tired and wake up tired. They say I’m depressed. I say I don’t have the time.

      Think back to when you were depressed. Did you ever think about how other people felt while you were depressed? Sure. You didn’t want to put people out or burden them. I get that. But did you ever think how THEY might feel when you rejected their help or any attempt on their part to “get you out of it.” My guess, is you didn’t. You were stuck on “I don’t want to bother you with my problems.” As you say, you feel guilty for causing anyone stress. But did it ever occur to you that NOT letting them help you caused THEM stress?

      You think/thought you hid your illnesses or maybe your depression. I come fromt he culture of no dirty laundry and no crying and no feeling or else you’re weak. I did my best to appear happy ALL the time when I was in public. That didn’t stop the doctors from thinking/saying I was depressed. It didn’t stop my family or friends from worrying about me anyway. The suicidal attempts were thwarted by friends who I swore didn’t know “anything was wrong with me.” So the truth is, you can’t hide from loved ones. They DO know and they DO worry.

      You said you didn’t expect people to cater to you but did you ever ask people to leave you alone? Did you ever say no thanks, not today? Or I just don’t want to or I don’t feel like doing x activity today. You were (are?) an overachiever so you expect a lot from yourself. But when you didn’t get whatever that reward you were looking for was, you got more and more depressed. You did expect a certain SOMETHING from someone… or else, you wouldn’t have been so depressed. So when I say “catered to” I don’t mean you asking people to do as your beck and call. You asked life to do x y and z so that you can feel better. In other words, YOU feeling better depended on outside sources aka not you.

      My opinion/observation is that Depression is the twin of NPD. However, NPD is more vocal and in your face. Depression is more passive aggressive. Of course, I’ve only known a few NPD’s in my life. I know a lot more depressed folks. Some like me, some worse, and some better. It always comes down to choice. Only YOU can make yourself feel better and it comes from the inside.

      Do you know WHY you got better when you accepted help? My guess is because you finally let go of that wall that said no, I only do things MY way. The fact that you said it was forced on you only means you were so ingrained in the YOU that it had to get pried out before you could let go. Doesn’t that sound Narcissistic? Me first, you second?

      Think back and go over it. You will see, as I have, that in my most depressed state, it was only ME I was thinking about and my guess is, it was only YOU that you were thinking about. How you feel, how you act, how you do x Y and z… woe is me. This happened to me… etc etc etc… It was all about the “me” in that world.

      I do, however, apologise if I came off rough. I don’t want to hurt anyone. But all I know how to be is blunt and honest. I don’t know what to do with people who don’t like the truth so I just continue on and well, sometimes I come off like I don’t care. I do care. And I am glad you are out of the depression stages for the most part. Now it’s time to do homework so you don’t go back to those days and stay there.

  2. So, here’s a very key distinction. This is a direct quote from Wiki, and it comes apparently from three sources:

    “It is unusual for people to seek therapy for NPD. This is partly due to the NPD sufferers’ not believing they have a problem. Most, if not all, are unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others and usually only seek treatment at the insistence of relatives and friends.[6] Unconscious fears of exposure or inadequacy often cause defensive disdain of therapeutic processes.[39][40]”

    Never mind the rest of what makes the two kind of vastly different, a NPD doesn’t think there is something wrong. Or, if they do think there is something wrong, they think there is something wrong with the other person. That’s why choice isn’t on the table, a true NPD is characterized by an inability to ascertain that they are the problem.

    And that’s why you experienced having a choice, you were able to conceive that you might be the problem. A clinical narcissist can’t do that; every time their eyes turn toward their self, their eyes become like quick silver . . .

    • Yes, but Tygarjas the depressed person doesn’t see it as a problem until they hit way rock bottom or are suicidal and get forced into help. To them, life is just “this way” and they do blame outside sources (other people, jobs, circumstances, etc.) for their problems so like NPD, THEY don’t think they have a problem. Things just happen to THEM.

      Do NPD’s get help once they realise they’re alone? Maybe… If they ever get suicidal they’ll be forced into help. But I have limited expereince with NPD’s. I will be researching that one because now I’m fascinated with how deep this issues actually goes.

      • I have no doubt that initially outside sources really are the problem barring physiological brain impairment. And before there’s a basis for comparison, of course any consciousness of a difference is virtually impossible.

        The mark of the narcissist, in comparison, is the inability to see one’s self as the problem, even as the rock is hit again, and again, and again.

        I look forward to seeing the results of your research.

  3. I strongly disagree that either of those are choices. Of course there are things that can be done to improve how one behaves and how one reacts to emotions. But to claim that it’s a choice to have a mental illness? That it’s an addiction? If people were addicted to those things, they wouldn’t need drugs.

    • What about the people that don’t need drugs? There are a lot of people who get out of depression WITHOUT drugs. So your argument there just went south.

      See, I don’t see this as a mental illness. It’s in the book, but so was homosexuality and clearly THAT is not a mental illness. But unlike homosexuality you weren’t born depressed. I know of NO baby or toddler who was born depressed. Some were made that way and others just had no options to cope with whatever was going on in life. They chose to withdraw or do other things, perhaps because they saw it as not having a choice. Unfortunately, they got stuck there. They still have the choice to learn how to cope, but that’s messy so most people don’t. Like people who “can’t quit” smoking…it’s something that works for them, so why change it?

      It’s a choice to stay where you are. Life is full of choices. Some of them suck, but there are still choices for you to make.

      • The nuance that seems to be missing by your argument is that each brain is physiologically different, and that not all forms of depression are the same. While some may not need a drug to find their way out of depression, others might due to the fact that their brain is otherwise incapable of producing the chemical it otherwise would naturally produce to allow them to “will” their self out of depression . . .

        It also seems really faulty logic to say that just because one thing in a book is mistaken, then all things in a book are mistaken. A pinch of salt may make the taste better, but a pile of salt is, frankly, inedible. That, by the way, is why that particular book is always in a state of change, it is always being reviewed by scientific scrutiny. For example, while once homosexuality was included as a low-level mental disturbance, it hasn’t actually been included in “the book” since 1974 . . .

  4. Mental illnesses are not solely acquired by nature, but also nurture.

    You are correct that life is full of choices, but making certain choices also requires strength. Getting through depression isn’t just a single choice. It’s a constant build-up of the mental muscle required to make one small choice after another to change, and even then that change can take years and years.

    Calling depression (and I’m not even getting started on NPD, because that’s even more complicated) a choice or an addiction is far too simplistic. The reason I think “mental illness” is a better phrase (maybe not perfect, but better) is because illnesses can be fought and cured. Sometimes people relapse, and sometimes they’re not strong enough to fight on a particular day. Sometimes they don’t win. But the point is that they can, through a lot of effort.

    I understand why you want to call these things addictions and choices, but believe me, it’s a lot more inspiring and helpful to people to think that it’s not just as easy as turning a switch on or off to change their lives. It truly is a battle to get through depression, and it’s important that the extent of that accomplishment is recognized.

    • So, up until reading you bio, I was under the impression that it is in the nature of the illness itself that a NPD CANNOT become self aware. Perhaps it would be enlightening for both Cnith and myself if you did elaborate a bit on NPD . . .

      • Well… What would you like to know? I mean I’m self-aware but I don’t feel like I know everything about NPD. It’s hard to be objective about oneself.

  5. Well, my experience with the NPD in my life suggests that, up unto this moment of the 55 years he’s been alive, the idea that he has NPD is not a thought that he is capable of entertaining. Leads me to question whether or not truly NPD is the diagnostic for you.

    That aside, how would you characterize your compulsion towards being destructive? More specifically, do you believe that you could refrain from destructive behavior if you made a concerted effort at it? And, please forgive me if I’ve been misreading you, this all coming from a place where I know next to nothing about you specifically . . .

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