On the Outside, Looking In: Derealisation, Depersonalisation and Identity Disturbance in Borderline Personality Disorder

By Catherine Stone: For More Info, Go Here…

When I was sixteen I used to complain to my then-therapist (and sometimes my then-friends) that the state of being alive was, for me, comparable to being in a film — that there was a pervasive sense of unreality in the everyday experience. It mostly still is this way — I’m just used to it now. But this early awareness may have been foreshadowing the more distressing feelings of unreality that would come years later.

Back then, and throughout the years, I also complained that I was tired of acting out a role, because I simply did not know how to just “be myself”. This phrase, a motivational saying extremely popular among the teenagers of my generation — and the go-to phrase for adults whenever they felt it their duty to comfort us — made me feel nothing but unease. I was very shocked to slowly discover that most people did not seem to share this feeling of eternal performance, but I was particularly disturbed by something else: feeling trapped in the supposed ‘role’. It was unsettling because it seemed intrinsically illogical. If I was performing (and that’s exactly what it felt like I was doing), then surely I should be able to alter my performance as I pleased — and yet I couldn’t seem to be able to do that. Everything I did seemed fake, forced, and “not me”. And still, I couldn’t help but do it, and knew of no other way to act out the character that was, apparently, “me”.

“You’re not acting”, a professional would eventually correct me. “That’s personality”.

This really unsettled me.

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