I like to pretend to be a character from a movie or book. It’s really hard for me to be honest to myself that I’ve been pretending. Recently I imitate a character from a movie with depression, social anxiety, and hallucination and I become really depressed that I cut myself, taking analgesic pills, and talked to my friend like I’m really a depressed person. I always confessed myself that I’m not pretending but I think I can’t do this forever. I’m scared I can’t control it anymore. I once became a person with bipolar disorder and I actually felt like I have extreme mood swings but if I thought about it honestly I was more like trying to have those mood swings. I like to read about psychological problems and that’s why I know the symptoms. I feel like there’s something wrong with me but I can’t stop it, it’s like I automatically imitate the character even if I don’t realize it. It’s really hard to explain because I can’t really distinguish my real self or if I’m just pretending. I’ve read about munchausen syndrome but I’m not really sure if I did it because I want attention. I rarely tell people if I’m mentally ill or anything. I even act like everything’s okay when people start to question me. This is also happen when I’m in a relationship. Unconsciously, I’ll act out as a really jealous girlfriend(even if I’m not that jealous type) or a bossy person or basically someone I’m not and I like to create some scenarios in my head and I’ll lead my relationship to that scenario and I think that’s why I don’t have any long-lasting relationship. And honestly, I somehow want to be mentally ill. I’m scared I’ll lose myself. What should I do?
If you study cases of people who want to be mentally ill or pretend to be mentally ill, a common theme among them is unhappiness and depression. It also serves the purpose of gaining sympathy and attention from others, or so they think.
Ironically, people who are mentally ill often hide their illness from the world. They worry that if people knew about their mental illness, they will think less of them. They do not see it as a way to garner sympathy. People who want to be mentally ill see it differently. They see a mental illness as a way of getting people to notice them. Perhaps your desire for attention and sympathy is driving your behavior.
You might believe that if you feign an illness, your friends and family would pay more attention to you. Faking an illness is one way to receive attention but it is maladaptive; if the people in your life learned about your lying, they would no longer trust you and may not want to befriend you.
Pretending to be someone else means that you don’t have to think about your own life, at least temporarily. It’s the ultimate form of escapism.
It’s important to learn a healthier way to fulfill your social and emotional needs. You can learn these skills with counseling. Counseling will help you to understand what’s motivating your behavior and learn how to correct it. Counseling would be the wisest approach to solving this problem. I hope you will consider it. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
I Pretend to Be Someone Else in Real Life
Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW
Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.
APA Reference Randle, K. (2018). I Pretend to Be Someone Else in Real Life. Psych Central.
Retrieved on September 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/10/11/i-pretend-to-be-someone-else-in-real-life/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.