The taboo surrounding Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is slowly disappearing as more and more people are coming forward with their experiences on social media these days.
Just like other mental health conditions like depression, OCD, PTSD, panic attacks, paranoia, bipolar disorder etc., BPD patients are finally starting to open up about their struggles on public platforms, encouraging a lot of others in the process.
Before we delve into how a person can deal with BPD, we should perhaps take a closer look into what this mental disorder may look like.
What Is BPD?
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that can impact a person’s day to day life. People with borderline personality disorder have difficulty regulating their emotions and controlling their behaviour with others, as well as with themselves.
Why Is There So Much Taboo Surrounding It?
Almost all the people who suffer from BPD fall victim to extreme self-image issues and have a consistent pattern of unstable relationships in their life.
And one of the biggest fears of a BPD patient is the fear of being abandoned by the people who are close to them. Even if things are going smoothly with their significant other or a friend, for example, BPD patients still tend to get insecure about them.
Emotional feelings are generally very intense for people with BPD and it takes them quite a while to get back to a balanced state after an emotional breakdown has taken place. This often results in unstable relationships, impulsiveness and self-image issues.
If a BPD patient is struggling to regulate such emotions normally, they often end up resorting to self-harm, which, more often than not involves cutting.
BPD patients also see people or situations as either black or white. There is no in-between for them. Their distorted sense of self and behaviour often leads to drastic changes in their moods, opinions, values, relationships and goals.
Disassociation is another concern for patients who suffer from BPD, which often results in psychotic episodes or extreme depression.
How To Deal With BPD?
If you or someone you know has BPD, the first step towards dealing with it would be to seek therapy.
One of the major problems with mental conditions like BPD is that it can go undiagnosed for years if you are not seeking help from a professional. However, once diagnosed, there are a couple of things that you can do to keep your BPD under control.
Here are some of the coping mechanisms that you can adopt to deal with BPD:
Medication is a crucial element for anyone suffering from BPD. Although there is no one medication made for patients with BPD, anti-depressants and mood stabilizers can be effective treatments to deal with BPD.
Doctors may even prescribe a very low dosage of anti-psychotic medication in order to eliminate cluttered thinking.
Therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy and dialectical behavioural therapy are appropriate for BPD patients. Some of these therapies often result in major breakthroughs for dealing with emotional paranoia.
Once you have started therapy, the next step would be to adopt some of the coping mechanisms listed below when dealing with stressful situations.
- Doing an activity
One of the best ways to deal or cope with stressful situations for BPD patients is to engage in any sort of activity!
Do note that watching a movie or using your phone cannot amount to activities for this point. You have to engage in physical activities like going out for a walk, taking dancing lessons, cleaning the house or even painting on a fresh canvas.
- Get Support
Having a good support system is very important for people who suffer from BPD. Supportive friends and family members can play active roles to make BPD patients feel better about themselves and their surroundings.
- Take a Shower
Taking a warm bath or shower can distract you from whatever emotions you are going through at the moment. It allows you to relax under the flow of warm water to shift your consciousness into the present. This will also calm the nerves and allow your muscles to relax.
- Breathing Exercises
From all the other methods of relaxation, breathing exercises tend to help the most when it comes to patients suffering from BPD. All you have to do is find a peaceful spot and either sit, or lie down to concentrate on your breathing. This will give you a sense of self amidst all the chaos you are going through.
- Grounding Oneself
If your thoughts and emotions are all over the place, perhaps, it is time for you to ground yourself into the present.
One way of trying to recollect oneself is to stand with one or two ice cubes in hand for a couple of minutes. This should be enough to keep you in touch with reality for a good period of time.
- Being Mindful
Let yourself go through all of the emotions that you are feeling, instead of trying to suppress or block them. Accept whatever wave of emotion you are going through right now and try to stay focused in your present to be mindful.
- Wait it out
Generally, intense levels of emotions last a couple of minutes until they finally ride out. Take a watch and sit with it for about 10-20 minutes. Chances are that after 10 minutes have passed, you will be more in control of your emotions.
There is perhaps no therapy in this world that is better than music. Turn on your favourite playlist and dance along. There’s a good chance that you will be able to distract yourself from whatever was causing you to stress out in the first place.
Studies show that people feel a lot calmer after saying their prayers. If you are religious and have faith in that religion, why not give this coping mechanism a real try?
You can even say your prayers or do something spiritual, like attending a prayer ceremony or a congregation of spiritual talks. You never know, this might just end up working out for you!
How To Help Someone Deal With BPD?
Got a friend or a family dealing with BPD? Here’s how you can help:
More often than not, BPD patients tend to calm down after unloading their feelings with someone they trust. And if you happen to be that someone, all you have to do is just actively listen to them.
2. Be Sympathetic
Only listening will never be enough. You will also have to be sympathetic towards your loved one who is suffering from BPD.
Say you are sorry that they are having to deal with this every day. Acknowledge that they really have it hard than the others and be compassionate.
3. Distract Them
Distraction works best for BPD triggers, but only temporarily. Try distracting your friend or family member with BPD by doing an activity together, no matter what it may be. Paint something together or go swimming. Just remember to have fun.
4. Talk About Other Things
Just because your friend is having an episode, it doesn’t mean that you will have to talk about BPD only. Instead, try talking about other things that will soften or lighten up the atmosphere. You can even try asking them about their overall feelings and give them the opportunity to let it all out.
5. Focus On Emotions
There are high chances that their emotional well-being is not up to par. And that’s where you have stepped in!
So instead of judging their words, focus on the emotions and where they might be coming from. They will really appreciate it.
To this day, no known reason has been found for what exactly causes a person to suffer from BPD. While some believe that it can be inherited through genetics, others believe that there is a fair chance of BPD being caused by certain environmental factors while growing up.
Whatever the cause for BPD may be, always know that you are not alone in this. And with recent developments, there are active changes that you can make to your overall lifestyle to battle this mental health condition.
Yes, it may seem like a struggle to have to repeat these adopted changes every day, but remember that you are only doing this for your own emotional stability.
And while there are many more ways of dealing with BPD, however, none is more effective than taking regular therapy to keep your fluctuating emotions and behaviour in check.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your road to recover today!