What Can You Do About BPD?

Words often fail to describe just how difficult and overwhelmingly bad the experience associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be. Sometimes the magnitude of the pain can feel so great that it is impossible to imagine that things can be better, even just a little. However, in spite of this negative experience people do change and life does get better. Remember you are not alone - others have felt like you and have learnt to cope.

Some ideas that other people have found helpful include:

Attitude

  • Be willing to try different things.
  • Attend to what you can control.
  • Every little step helps, even though it might feel hard or slow.
  • Only you can do it but you can't do it alone.
  • Note and build on positives in your life. Actively value what is good, or even just okay.
  • Structure activities, have a daily routine. Structure is important to deal with overwhelming feelings and chaotic relationships.
  • Avoid things that are self-destructive or that will make things worse and add more problems.

Health

  • Keep healthy - this is a way of nurturing and caring for yourself. Eat well, get enough sleep and exercise.
  • Have any medical condition treated and take your doctor's/ treating professional's advice.
  • Sensible use of medication can help you get through the really difficult times. Medication prescribed for an as needed basis can be useful. Avoid relying on alcohol or drugs to make yourself feel better.

Feelings

  • Remember the intense, awful feelings will pass eventually, just as everything in life doesn't stay the same forever.
  • The urge to hurt oneself or someone else passes if you let it and each time you resist it is less likely to bother you.
  • When you are upset, it is important that you not always react.
  • When feeling distressed - try to settle yourself in very basic ways. Focus on breathing slowly...take slow normal breaths...notice the feeling of the air entering your lungs...leaving your chest...do it again and again.
  • People have found it helpful to do an activity that distracts them eg exercise, listening to music.


These things may sound simple but they are not so easy to put into practice. Remember to be willing to give new ways a go...and start again and again, if need be.

Self-harm

Self-harm can serve several functions:
  • It can be a way of coping with intolerable feelings.
  • It can bring some momentary relief.
  • It can be a way of communicating or demonstrating to others just how dreadful the feelings are.
  • It can be a way of punishing yourself.
  • It is important to try to understand why you self-harm.
  • Once you understand your self harm urges more, you may find other ways to meet your needs without harming yourself. As a first step work out some ways to distract yourself until the urge passes. People who self -harm often need to talk with family, friends, a doctor or mental health professional to learn ways of overcoming self harm

Relationships and support from others

  • Seek and use people and supports that you feel safe with.
  • Take the time to build trust with other people.
  • Repair your relationships, say you are sorry if you have something to apologise for.
  • Learn to be assertive...stick up for yourself.

Treatment/therapy

  • Treatment/therapy can help settle down out-of-control feelings and behaviour.
  • It can focus on helping you get a better sense of yourself, what you want and how to get there.
  • You may feel a need to address past or current trauma. Don't tackle trauma until you have found someone you feel is safe, and you feel confident that together you can cope with the strong emotions it will bring up.

Fundamental to treatment/therapy is the relationship between you and the therapist. This is an important relationship and you both need to work at maintaining it.