Identity disturbance is a common symptom of BPD. People are always telling me to “do what makes me happy” or asking “what do you want out of life?”. Advising me that only when I listen to what I want and include meaningful activity in my life will I be happy.
But how do you do this when you don’t know who you are? And I don’t mean, like the “normal” level, where “everyone feels that way” (I hear this all the time). I mean like in a way where, if I’m not wearing a mask of some kind there is purely and simply a void of emptiness beneath. I might just disappear. Cease to be.
Cognitively and through therapy I know that not to be true, but the search for “who I am” still consumes my every waking moment in a way that makes me doubt existence, reality, the world around me, myself, anyone and anything.
I often feel that nothing is real. That everything is a projection from my own mind. And that it can change, therefore, on a whim, as my mind and persona can change overnight.
It feels to me like I wake each morning in a void of emptiness, from where I select the bits and pieces of “me” that I will need for the day ahead. And if I don’t do this, and go out into the world without a pre-constructed persona, worn like a costume, I might not even exist at all.
I’ve been passionate about so many things, been so many “selves” only to wake up one day and ask myself…. “do I even care about this..?” and find out the answer is “no”. And then I’m back at square one. An actor in my own life, asking “Who am I? And what do I want?“