I Can Have Fun With My Borderline Personality Disorder


I can have fun with my borderline personality disorder (BPD).

That statement is not, “I can have fun in spite of having borderline personality disorder.” I can have fun with the disorder. The words even sound wrong in my head, not because I do not believe in them — because I do — but because I cannot imagine anyone truly believing I feel this way.

Dissociation is one of the strongest aspects of BPD that roots itself in my head. Perhaps this does not mean much, since my BPD makes everything strong all the time. All my emotions, my opinions, my thoughts and my misconceptions. Everything is either the best thing or the worst thing. That’s just how it is.

But we don’t talk about dissociation enough. Quite frankly, it’s terrifying. The way I feel in dissociation is not the typical, “I’m watching my life like a movie,” interpretation. My already intense empathy kicks into high gear, so much so that my brain detaches itself from my body and falls somewhere else.

I have scared myself doing this. I have looked up from writing my novel and wondered why I was not in the house the scene had taken place in. I have not recognized my own body when I have looked down at it. I have heard my own voice and wondered who was speaking. Just the other day, I watched my dog play with a new toy I had bought him. I was fluently conversing with my mother. I had not realized I had dissociated. But my sister reached out to touch my dog’s paw, and I flinched, wondering why I had not felt it before remembering I was myself, and not someone else.

This is not entirely strange, at least not for me. I frequently carry on cohesive conversations while my brain is out dancing elsewhere. But this is the best part. This is where I have fun. Dissociation does not have to be scary, though, like anything else, it can be quite frightening if it catches you by surprise.

I believe my creativity is partially thanks to dissociation. My greatest talents have always been deeply rooted in the visual arts or words. I, of course, have fostered these talents to mold them into gifts I am proud to possess, but ultimately, they became an outlet for the thing my brain does best: remove myself from the situation I am in and put my vision, energy and emotions in an entirely different setting. My mind has sprung up and hung from a power line with a pair of greyed tennis sneakers slung around the wire, catching the afternoon sunlight. It has shrunken down beside the drainpipe where runoff begins to flow over the crystallized waterfall the pipe had spit up when the weather was warmer. It has transported itself to each of the characters in my novel. Characters are not just flat thoughts, but real people in my mind who I have sculpted to breathe, feel and push their own emotions out through me, like a beautiful sort of parasite. I have perfectly visualized my future, not in a stressful way, but in a way that puts me at peace. I know exactly where I want to go in life, so now I can simply enjoy the journey and enjoy the little details that really make it worth it.

My mind will tell me dark things about myself and about others, but the way my dissociation manifests itself, the world has remained beautiful. I can see it so closely and personally that I truly feel connected to it, even when I do not feel connected to my own body. People have always commented on the whimsy I carry with me. I found this cruelly ironic when my BPD really began its relentless beat-down, but as I have found acceptance and normalization in my situation, I have realized that I did carry whimsy. If it had not been for my BPD, I likely would have lost it, as so many do as they age into adulthood and become jaded with the world. The world is beautiful and new and changing all the time, and I love being able to enjoy that to its fullest.

For me it’s dissociation. For someone else, it’ll be something different. Everything has a good and bad side, but in the end, it’s the good side that really counts.

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