Saturday, 1 December 2012

Who Am I? No, Seriously.

Today I am thinking about the diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder that relates to Identity Disturbance:

   "3. Identity Disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self."

I spent my two hour day leave from hospital today shopping with my Mum. Shopping is one of my favourite activities, but one that I have to be careful with to make sure I don't become overly impulsive about purchases (impulsiveness - another BPD criteria!) and to make sure that I don't spend more than I have.

However, while I was shopping today I kept noticing little internal struggles about which item looked like my "style" or what sort of "look" to go for. I began to feel really confused to the point of being overwhelmed. 

I realised that I honestly feel I have no defined sense of style for myself. 

I also realised that I am far more likely to feel confused about this if I see examples of other young women who do have a very strong sense of their own "look". 

In this case, last night I was catching up with an old school friend on Facebook, and saw lots of great photos of them and their band. I was simultaneously really glad for her and her career taking off, while depressed that I don't have a similar lifestyle for myself. 

So today when I was wandering through stores, I found myself trying to emulate certain aspects of this friend's style, and feeling even more confused about what I like or don't like as a result.

I have often felt this confusion in regard to many things: hobbies, interests, career, friends, music.

I can remember as a kid waking up one day and wanting to play the violin, convinced this was going to be my new thing, only to lose all interest two weeks and one lesson later. (I also remember my Dad driving two hours to a stockist to purchase the specific violin I wanted, and then of course having to drive there again to return it! My Dad is very lovely.)

This unstable sense of self is apparently classic BPD, and is also why we are sometimes known as "chameleons" for being so ready to alter ourselves.

I am not sure how to tackle this. I know I want to understand myself better, and then be assertive about who I am as well as pursue what I want. I think this is tied in with having better self-esteem as well.

I have started by writing a list of things I am absolutely certain are true about me. I only have a few items on there so far, but I add to it when things come up.

From time to time, I might get some help with this too, when a friend or family member will make an observation about me. For example, "Of course you don't like action films!" I guess I know I don't, but I can be surprised when I'm reminded of some things.

Other than this, perhaps it will all just have to be worked on through experience.. And maybe some more shopping.

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