Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a severe mental illness that affects how you relate to yourself and others. A study published on the NCBI website shows that around 1.6% of the general population suffers from BPD. The symptoms of BPD can be frightening, painful, and overwhelming.
They can also affect relationships, work, and school performance. But BPD is manageable. Treatment can help you cope with your symptoms. In this article, we will learn how to manage and live with BPD.
What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
BPD is a mental illness that affects how you feel, think, and behave. People with BPD often have intense emotions, mood swings, and low self-image. They can have problems controlling their anger and impulses, leading to reckless behavior such as excessive spending or unsafe sex. Around 20% of psychiatric patients are diagnosed with BPD.
If you have BPD, it’s essential to understand what it means for your life and know there are ways you can get help.
Symptoms of BPD include:
- Unstable relationships with friends and family members
- Frequent changes in moods
- Impulsive behavior, such as spending money irresponsibly or having unsafe sex.
If these symptoms sound familiar, talk to your doctor about getting diagnosed with BPD so you can start getting treatment immediately.
Getting Therapy for BPD
If you want to get therapy for BPD, talk to your doctor. They can help you find a therapist with experience working with people with BPD. However, if your doctor has no references, you can research online. When looking for local professionals, you can look for terms like “therapist near me” online to find individuals with the right skills and expertise.
A simple online search can help you find therapists for in-person and online sessions. It might seem that online sessions might not be as effective as in-person ones, but that’s not true. According to Zencare, online therapies are different from text therapies and offer a similar consistent relationship with a therapist. These sessions take place via phone or video sessions.
Therapy can help you manage symptoms and improve your quality of life by teaching skills such as mindfulness and distress tolerance which are used in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for BPD. In DBT, therapists teach patients to regulate their emotions better and manage intense situations without resorting to self-harming behaviors like suicide attempts.
The goal is not just symptom reduction but also helping people with BPD become more functional members of society so they can live fuller lives despite having a chronic mental health condition. This treatment has proven very effective for BPD. Data shows that 77% of BPD patients do not require more treatment after a year of DBT sessions.
Breaking the Stigma: Advocacy and Awareness
Advocacy is an integral part of living with BPD. Advocating for yourself and others is important, especially for those marginalized by society. There are several ways you can do this:
- Raise awareness about BPD in the media by contacting journalists or producers when they use stigmatizing language or portrayals of people with mental illness. You can also explain why their story would be more effective with a different approach that doesn’t focus on stereotypes and stigma.
- Get involved with local organizations that work on raising awareness about mental health issues, including BPD. These groups often have events where you can volunteer your time or donate money toward improving treatment options available today and hopefully tomorrow.
Strategies for Managing Symptoms and Improving Well-Being
One of the most important things you can do is to identify and use coping mechanisms. Coping mechanisms are ways to manage stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. They include emotional support from friends or family members, walking in nature, practicing yoga or meditation, listening to music that soothes you, exercising regularly, etc.
Here are a couple more ways to manage your symptoms:
- Identify your triggers: Triggers are events or situations that remind you of past trauma or cause strong negative emotions such as anger, sadness, or shame. For example, if someone cuts you off while driving on the highway, it may trigger feelings of being unsafe because they remind you of an abusive ex-partner who sometimes drives aggressively when angry with me.
- Be mindful of your thoughts: Be aware of what goes through your mind when something makes you feel uncomfortable. Are there any negative thoughts about yourself? Do these thoughts help solve anything? Or do they just make things worse?
When suffering from BPD, you may have a lot of negative thoughts. For instance, many individuals also get suicidal thoughts. This is also why many people die by suicide when suffering from BPD. In fact, a study published in the Jama Network shows that almost 6% of those suffering from BPD die by suicide.
Support Systems and Resources
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Many people have BPD, and many of them live happy, fulfilling lives. You can be one of them.
- Family and friends: Your family and friends may not always understand what you’re going through, but they can still be an invaluable source of support. If they don’t know how to help, ask them for advice on resources that might be able to help. If possible, try having a few people in your life whom you trust implicitly, people who will listen when things get rough or just hang out with you when nothing else seems fun at all times.
- Online forums: There are many online communities where people with BPD gather to discuss their experiences and support each other. However, only some allow members under 18 years old, so make sure before joining any group online that it’s okay if younger users are present too.
Overcoming Challenges and Celebrating Success
While many challenges can arise, it is essential to remember that you are not alone in your journey. Many people with BPD have found success and happiness by learning to live with the disorder and build on their strengths.
When you’re experiencing a positive emotion, take time out of your day to acknowledge it. This could be as simple as writing down three things that made today great or giving yourself five minutes of quiet reflection before bedtime. This helps reinforce those good feelings so they stick around longer than just one day; plus, it’s fun. When something goes wrong, don’t let this discourage or upset you too much. Instead, try again tomorrow.
Living with BPD can be a challenging journey. But it doesn’t have to be an impossible one. You can learn how to manage your symptoms and improve your well-being with proper diagnosis and treatment. We must all work together to break down the stigma surrounding this disorder so that others who are struggling don’t feel alone or think they have no hope. As someone who has lived with BPD for over 20 years, I know firsthand how important these things are.