During times of intense stress, the body burns through more resources than it can replenish. In this vein, for a sensitive empath a relationship with a malignant narcissist can resemble a life in a gulag.
The emotional and psychological abuse can severely dis-regulate your hormonal system, damage your connection with yourself and make recovery much slower.
This post is not to take place of professional medical advice. I’m a coach, not a doctor. But since it’s a common question I receive from time to time from my viewers and clients, I wanted to share with you what I did shortly after coming out of my relationship from hell to help my body (and brain!) recover faster. Many of these supplements I continue to take with occasional breaks till this day.
While not a supplement per se, for a body running primarily on cortisol, available water can quickly become scarce. When the body is in flight and flight after narcissistic abuse, which is pretty much all the time, it’s only a matter of time before inflammation reaches alarming levels. Drinking 2–3 L of fresh pure water daily becomes essential. It can also help minimize headaches that can be very common during recovery due to severe sleep deprivation and dehydration.
If you can, avoid plastic containers, especially on hot, sunny days. If the plastic leaks and gets consumed, inside the body it can become an estrogen mimicking endocrine disruptor, further damaging the delicate hormonal balance of your body. Instead, try reusable glass containers and look into investing in a water filter. Or if you get your water in larger plastic vessels, pour it into glass and sip like a royal.
For the last 20 years, I’ve began my day with 0,5 L of water to wash away metabolic waste from the night and give myself a clean jumpstart to a brand new day. It’s been a good habit to have.
In the early days of my recovery, I came across the work of Dr. Daniel Amen. He has a very useful, free test on his site that helps you determine your brain type and what nutrients it is likely low on.
Well, it turns out that my brain is highly prone to anxiety because it doesn’t produce enough GABA. I so wish I knew this when I was in high school to spare myself the additional self-flagellation for being ‘too sensitive!’ GABA is a neurotrasmitter that helps inhibit over-excitability of the brain. Think, the reverse of the well known neurotoxin, aspartame.
Finding this gold, I dove right into research. Turns out that for my type of brain, drinking coffee is not recommended. Makes sense. Coffee can make anxious people even more anxious. I didn’t mind adding supplements, but the idea of letting go of my beloved latte(s) just didn’t sit with me well.
Until I came across the work of Dr. Sara Gottfried who wrote in one of her newsletters that drinking matcha tea boosts the production of GABA in the brain. Matcha. Matcha lattes... Yum. Problem solved.
Since substituting my brown java with the green goodness two months ago, I’ve been feeling much more stable in my moods and my sleep quality has improved. No more getting up at 4 am! For instructions on how I make my matcha latte, see the video below.
In addition to my daily green tea ritual (one only), I also take additional GABA in a supplement form in the morning.
I’ve heard of ashwaganda, also known as Indian Ginseng, for a few years. But it wasn’t until I tried it that I realized what all of the hype (not) was all about.
High stress incurred in toxic relationships and enviornments can make your body feel like it’s riddled with a network of bullet holes in the tissues. Ashwaganda helped me seal them up. More. This adaptogenic plant makes you feel more grounded, rooted and solid. I felt as if an energetic boundary was beginning to form around me. This was a huge discovery and exactly what my body needed.
This supplement is also recommended for people who work in high stress environments and for recovery after engaging in intense sports. I’m a fan.
Magnesium and Other Essential Minerals.
Like I wrote in the beginning, bathing in the fever of constant fight-or-flight destress depletes your body from water and also minerals. While taking them in synthetic form is better than nothing, I prefer green powders to take in the entire spectrum of complex goodness straight from nature. When I’m in the US, I go for Vitamineral Green by Healthforce Superfoods.
Supplementing with additional magnesium has also been helpful because magnesium helps calm the nervous system that gets jacked up in times when stress runs high. I prefer capsules to tablets to avoid binders and fillers and giving my liver less work to do. The dose that has worked for me is 300 mg of mag with cofactor of B6 for better absorption 2 hours before bed.
B-Complex, C and D3
I think it is thanks to me loading up on the vitamins that I didn’t get sick with a cold or flu during the longest, coldest and darkest winter of my life when I was in recovery. Because cortisol will erode your immune system, making you susceptible to bacteria and viruses, I found it very helpful to take in the additional immuno-protective vitamins:
B-Complex helped repair my severely damaged nervous system, vitamin C gave my cells the kick it needed to function properly, and D3 boosted the production of serotonin, the happy chemical, in by brain when sunlight was scarce.
The Mighty Omega-3
Abuse and stress cause inflammation. There is hardly a better nutrient out there that helps attack this fiery beast. Omega-3 fatty acid has been shown to cool down over-stressed brains and help lift people out of depressed states.
While it is not a substitute for seeking professional help, Omega-3 can help keep our brains more resilient and well-nourished.
A Note on the Diet.
It is easy to binge on sugar and let our good eating habits go sideways while under a lot of stress. My go-to is chocolate and yes, there is such thing as too much chocolate…
What I’ve found works for me the best is to go on a body cleanse when my appetite runs low. I turn to fresh juices and kale salads. I scramble my eggs on low heat. I eat fresh fruit for supper. Keeping it light and nutrient dense has made it easier to bounce from stress and find my footing again. Not to mention the welcome side effects of a glowing skin and more lustrous hair.
Finally, with enough rest and good diet, our energy will start to come back. When that happens, it’s time to move! And since nothing heals us better than love and nature, before you hit the racks, I recommend long walks in a park.
I hope this post was helpful. If so, please clap, share and follow.
If you are suffering from the shock of being subjected to narcissistic abuse, have a look into my FREE three-step SOS program available on my website.