I have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and complex post traumatic stress disorder resulting from trauma. The most scary symptoms of both the disorders I get is dissociation and micropsychotic episodes once in a while.

Most of the people may not know what dissociation is. It is the feeling of your mind and body float away from the present. Trauma survivors often have gone through this. It is your mind’s defence mechanism when it feels that the present is scary or experience the trauma again as flashbacks, it floats away to the safe place in order to avoid the feelings.

When dissociated I often feel that I am not in my body and I am an outside watcher of it. Whatever is happening I am watching from a far away place totally numb to the feelings. During dissociation I feel numb toward all the emotions. It is like losing the sense of reality for some time. Doesn’t matter how much I want to get over that I feel distant from my own body and mind. It is like splitting into different persons. One that is experiencing it and other that is only observing it. And both the parts of your personality are unaware of each other.

Other common symptom I experience when under high stress or experiencing the cptsd or bpd symptoms intensly is micropsychotic episodes. I generally get auditory hallucinations during that time. It’s like two people are arguing hrashly in my head and saying nasty things to me or ordering me to kill myself. Other times I hear muffled voices around me trying to say something. I know that this isn’t happening in real. It is only I am experiencing the symptoms that will get over in some time. But they sure feel scary and overwhelming. These are micropsychotic episodes that people may experience in borderline personality disorder.

My psychiatrist has taught me several coping strategies to try under these situations.

1. Mindfulness- trying to stay in present. Observing what is happening around me. What I can feel, hear, taste , touch and smell. It helps to come into present.

2 . My journal – it is a big help during such periods. When I experience dissociation I would often colour in my journal. It helps me to calm down. This is one of the reason I carry my journal with me always.

3 . Deep breathing – inhaling for 5 seconds holding for three and exhaling for 5 seconds. And mentally reapeating I am safe.

4 ice – in distress tolerance skill I have learned this by rubbing ice between your hands or washing your face with ice cold water. It helps a lot with dissociation and coming back to present.

This is how I struggle with my mental illnesses. And I am not even a bit ashamed of it. It can affect anyone. And I have learnt how to cope with them. Mental illnesses are a part of me. They don’t reduce me. And there shouldn’t be any stigma surrounding the mental health.