31 Days of BPD
This is a fairly new word to me. I never really understood what it meant, so I did a bit of research in order to answer this question.
The American Psychiatric Association defines dissociation as “disruption of the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception of the environment.”
- Depersonalization. Depersonalization is a feeling of separation from yourself and your body. People who experience depersonalization may say that they feel like they are observing their own body from the outside, or as if they are in a dream.
- Derealization. Derealization is similar to depersonalization, but it is a feeling of being detached from the external world, such as other people or things. Derealization may cause familiar things to look strange, unreal, or unfamiliar. Derealization and depersonalization often occur at the same time.
- Amnesia. Some people who experience dissociation have periods of amnesia or “losing time.” They may have minutes to hours or days when they were awake but cannot remember where they were or what they were doing.
I can definitely relate to both Depersonalization and Derealization – not so much Amnesia. The worst I’ve ever felt it and for the longest period of time was just under a year ago when I was living in Brighton. I’d just moved south for work and didn’t know anyone in the area. All of a sudden I felt more insecure and alone then I ever have in my entire life.
I’m not a self conscious person. I’m not vain but I’m not underconfident in the way I look. I make an effort. I often have hair extensions and I rarely go out without makeup and I spend some time deciding on an outfit in the morning. In some respects you could say that this is because I’m not so confident so I feel the need to overcompensate and that would be true as well, but usually this over compensation is enough. But none of this mattered. For three whole months I felt ugly and everything felt wrong. My clothes didn’t feel right; I felt like everyone that looked at me in the street was laughing and judging me.
It was like an outer body experience. I could see me from other people’s perspective. Fragile and looking down at the floor wherever I walked. I wanted to cry every time I left the house. I felt as though everyone’s impressions of me at work wasn’t right, because I wasn’t this person. I didn’t act like this and I didn’t look like this.
I’m somebody that suffered an eating disorder and not because I wanted to lose weight. I had a fear of choking. I was desperately trying to eat and gain weight, I hated the weight coming off me. I’ve never been above a UK size 8/10, so losing 2 stone made a world of difference. And even then, I didn’t feel half as separate from myself and my body as I did during these three months.
It’s happened in small bursts before then and since then, but never again in quite such a constant way. It was amongst some of the hardest and most painful three months. Even though it was only a part of the problem, I began to associate Brighton with the pain. As long as I was in Brighton the pain would be there. I couldn’t shift it. I can tell you now that as nice as Brighton is, it’s the last place I want to go and I probably won’t ever go back. In the end I ran away. I packed my bags and I moved – and although I’m not advocating running from your problems, it worked. From the day I left.