Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health state that leaves the individual having a lack of self-image, emotional and behavioural control, and a tendency to be in unstable relationships. Individuals with BPD often experience extreme mood swings and maladaptive coping mechanism, which includes self-harm, substance abuse or violence. Therefore, in this article, we aim to share some insights, tips, and methods that might help you or an individual with BPD cope better with the symptoms.
Some signs and symptoms commonly associated with BPD include:
- A great dread of abandonment, to the point of going to excessive lengths to prevent actual or imagined separation or rejection.
- Stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality that might range from a few minutes to a few hours.
- Wide mood swings that might continue from a few hours to a few days, with strong happiness, irritation, humiliation, or worry.
BPD can result in many damaged areas of the individual’s life, affecting negatively interpersonal relationships, social life, and work life. Some complications include:
- Changing or losing jobs repeatedly
- Getting in trouble with the law
- Conflict-filled interpersonal relationships
Additionally, with BPD, the individual may also develop further mental health issues such as:
- Substance abuse
- Bipolar disorder
Short-term strategies for BPD-affected individuals
Here are some de-escalating methods that you can employ for yourself or an individual with BPD should you feel overwhelmed by certain emotions.
- If you are feeling angry, you might want to consider engaging in a high-intensity exercise to work off the excess adrenaline.
- If you are feeling sad, you might want to consider writing down what you are feeling and physically tearing the paper up.
- If the thoughts of self-harm surface, take a cold shower or rub ice over the targeted spot as a means of relief.
Long-term strategies for BPD-affected individuals
The short-term strategies listed above are quick relief that can help you or an individual when there is an extreme shift of emotions. They are, by no means, a long-term solution. And hence, in the long run, some strategies to help combat such emotional changes include:
- Talking to a mental health provider, a therapist, or a counsellor: Verbalising your emotions, feelings, and thoughts to professional help during counselling therapy.
- Make a self-care box: Similar to how we need a first-aid kit when we are injured, a self-care box will consist of all the things that we need to make us feel better emotionally and mentally.
- Make your physical health a priority: Your physical health correlates with your mental health. Start by cultivating healthy habits like having a nutritious diet, exercising, or getting sufficient rest.
How to support someone with BPD
If you know someone suffering from BPD, it too can take a toll on the relationship you and that individual have, as well as your own mental health and emotional state. It is vital to reinforce healthy boundaries and good communication techniques when supporting that person. Always be empathetic and listen actively, validate how they are feeling, and stay as calm as possible no matter how agitated they may get.
Remember that you can only support as much as you can take, so do not always attempt to solve the situation unless you have the capacity to do so. At the end of the day, it is always best to let the professionals handle such cases. As such, if you know someone with BPD and would like professional help to step in, then consider A Space Between.
No matter what you’re facing, perhaps our website can offer up some solace or comfort. Know that you’re not alone, and that there is help available. This can be hard to keep in mind if you haven’t quite found the right support system. While it’s definitely not easy to find the right fit—whether you’re looking for a support group or a mental health provider—with diligence, it’s totally possible.
If you are a therapist, life coach or counsellor looking to join our growing community, head over to book a tour once you have learnt about the plans we offer. At A Space Between, there is a ready league of providers you can network with. With professionals from various backgrounds and therapy practices, there are bound to be the ones you can connect with. Private practice does not have to be lonely.