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When BPD Makes You Live in a Permanent Fantasy World

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Editor's Note

If you have experienced emotional abuse, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

We can all be caught out daydreaming from time to time regardless of who we are, regardless of whether we are mentally ill or not. It’s always good to escape to our own personal fairyland for a moment.

However, I’ve discovered through therapy that I live in a fantasy world so much more than the average person.

Apparently, it is common within mental illness, but particularly trauma-related illnesses such as borderline personality disorder (BPD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Why? To protect ourselves from our damaging thoughts, our troubled memories which can lead to destructive behavior such as self-harm.

This protection we give ourselves from reality, while we believe is a better alternative, can actually lead to far more dangerous behavior.

The fantasies I live in always involve me being this superhuman who is fit, healthy, attractive and confident. I can find myself wasting hours of a day sitting on the sofa or my bed and daydreaming about this person I want to be. It can consume me so much some days that I feel this sense of euphoria — almost, I would imagine, what a drug trip would be like.

My fantasies make me compulsively lie to everyone around me. I have this huge urge for “fantasy me” to become a reality for the people around me. I make up scenarios in my head and message my friends or family. I have even verbally vomited a complete lie about an encounter with a stranger that never happened in mid-conversation. These scenarios would be along the lines of someone picking some confrontation with me and being able to be sassy and stand up to that person. Within seconds of telling my family or friends this complete and utter lie of an encounter with a stranger, I have this feeling of guilt weigh down on me.

The self-deprecating thoughts then begin. “You’re a liar, a phony.” “Why do you chat about so much crap all the time?” “You’re boring, even when you’re trying to make yourself look interesting.”

I also fantasize about upcoming events — that I’ll turn up looking attractive and I’ll be funny and everyone will want to talk to me. It’s honestly the most bizarre and counterproductive way of spending my time but I can’t stop it.

Therapy has confirmed for me that my fantasy world I live in, which often completely consumes me, is a way through which I have escaped the trauma I experienced as a child. It is a way my brain protects me from the invasive thoughts and memories of being bullied and criticized by people I thought loved me and cared about me.

It’s infuriating but while it can make the word vomit often uncontrollable, it’s my little place I can call my own — my place to which I can escape and feel safe.

Photo by JoelValve on Unsplash

Originally published: December 27, 2018
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