Borderline Personality Disorder BPD: How to Help yourself or a loved one cope well

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is also referred to as Emotionally unstable personality Disorder (EUPD). To understand it a bit more read my earlier blog about EUPD

Diagnosing Borderline Personality Disorder takes time as it’s not always clear from a one-off assessment but becomes clearer over time. That’s why it is almost impossible for your psychiatrist to see you just once and diagnose you.  In children and young people, it’s very hard to diagnose BPD because their personality is still developing as they grow up.

However, if a psychiatrist is confident that the symptoms have lasted for long enough for which there is no other cause, they could diagnose you with BPD while you are still a teenager.

Self-Help Techniques and Tips to help you cope with BPD

Not a negative thing – Firstly, receiving the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder does not need to be a negative thing – seeing it as a relief to understanding the problems and symptoms you’ve been experiencing is helpful. It will help you identify the appropriate treatment now that you know the issue.

Realize that other people are experiencing similar difficulties – this may help you feel less alone.

Taking this opportunity to start understanding yourself – it’s always the beginning of positive change.

Daily routine – start a healthy daily routine and maintain it e.g regular sleep, and meals. You may become more vulnerable to stress if tired or hungry

Physical activity – give walking or swimming a go. It helps to lift mood and reduce stress and tension.

Self-compassion –Connect with yourself in a more compassionate and understanding way. Pay attention to your achievements however small. Acknowledge and applaud your own hard work. Acknowledge that you may be behaving the way you are for valid reasons that aren’t necessarily your fault. Let the inner cheerleader from within you arise to counter the ‘inner critic’. Read more about the inner critic

Talking to someone – bottling up your emotions may worsen the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, share with the one you trust /professional.

Regular planning – expect and prepare for any changes. Break down problems into smaller blocks. Don’t avoid problems as you may get overwhelmed.

Test expectations – ask others if they can help you recognize when you’re setting yourself too big a task, or when you’re losing perspective. Remember your strengths as well as your weaknesses – connect with a sense of resilience – what have you managed to overcome or survive? Do you keep going even when it’s hard? Have you shown you’re strong at times?

Calming activities – they will soothe you e.g guided meditation (nice videos on Youtube), and relaxation.

Me time – Prioritize yourself by setting time aside. Do something nice for yourself.

Nature – Be around nature or animals if you love animals.

A healthy diet – helps you have the right nutrients and energy to cope with things when you’re having a difficult time.

This will pass –always remember this will pass. Things often get a bit better with time with borderline personality disorder

Grounding activities – focus your attention on very specific things for example counting the number of objects in a room. Smell something with a strong smell. Try using all 5 of your senses. The rationale is to return your focus back to the present.

Distracting activities – board games, Lego, jigsaws, and crafts are good.Watch a DVD/film/TV, music

Burnout – Keep up any work or education but don’t over-work. Burnout is real.

Alternatives to self-harm – This may be common in those with a borderline personality disorder diagnosis. Research other alternatives to self-harm and try to see which works for you. For example, punch pillows, smash fruit or ice, squeeze ice blocks, use an elastic band, and rip up a newspaper. Throw ice cubes into the bath so they smash. rub ice over where you want to hurt yourself, stick Sellotape or plaster on your skin and peel it off, and take a cold bath.

Mood diary – keep a mood diary to help you identify your triggers or changes in your mood. This will help you learn how to cope with triggering situations in the future.

Avoid alcohol and drugs –with BPD you are more likely than most people to misused rugs and alcohol for self-medication to cope with difficult emotions. It may give you temporary relief but it’s more dangerous in the long run.

How to support a loved one diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder

Be patient. If a loved one is struggling to deal with their emotions, avoid arguments in the heat of the moment. Wait until you both feel calmer to talk things through.

Don’t be judgemental. Listening to them without telling them how they should feel, or that they’re overreacting is often helpful. It’s important to acknowledge how they are feeling. Whether you understand why they feel like they do or not, and regardless of whether you feel it’s reasonable, it is still how they’re feeling.  They may be already feeling a lot of guilt due to their emotions, validating their emotions helps with the guilt.

Crisis plan. know how to get them to help in a crisis. When they’re feeling well, it’s a great idea to formulate a plan with them on what to do in a crisis. Here are some useful HELPLINES

Calm and consistent. A loved one may be experiencing a lot of overwhelming emotions. Being calm could help them feel more secure and supported and it often helps in moments of conflict.

Reassuring. When a loved one is finding it hard to believe anything good about themself, it can be reassuring to hear all the positive things you see in them.

Boundaries. Set clear boundaries and expectations. If your loved one is feeling insecure about being rejected or abandoned, or seems worried about being left alone, it can be helpful to make sure you both know what you can expect from each other.

Plan. When a loved one is feeling well, ask how you can help them best when things are difficult. This tells them there is somebody who cares and has time for them.

Learn their triggers. Talk to them and try finding out what situations/conversations might trigger negative thoughts and emotions.

Psychoeducation Learn more about BPD and help to challenge the stigma

Last thoughts on caring for someone with borderline personality disorder

Take care of yourself. Caring for someone else can sometimes be difficult and stressful. It’s important to remember that your mental health is important too. There is a lot of support below

Click Here for BPD world – support for borderline personality disorder.

NHS Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder

8 thoughts on “Borderline Personality Disorder BPD: How to Help yourself or a loved one cope well”

  1. Great follow-up post on the EUPD one. I loved that one and this connects with it perfectly. Just by reading the tips one with BPD can use, had a calming effect on me. But more importantly the things others can do to help people who are diagnosed with BPD. Show understanding and patience. Moreover what you said was beautiful, that receiving this diagnosis can be a great step of getting to know oneself better. Thanks, Ron!

  2. This is a really informative article. I like your approach to viewing diagnosis as a positive, as it now gives you relief, understanding, and finding appropriate treatment. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I like the way how you describe Borderline Personality Disorder. I now have a better understanding of what it is and how to better help someone with this metal health condition

Comments are closed.