Before I begin I would like to explain that this post has been prompted by the brilliant educational post about borderline personality disorder by : Make it Ultra™
Eric’s post describes 9 Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) which prompted me to find out more about this mental health issue and what can be done to help someone who suffers from this illness, which pervades every area of a sufferer’s life.
Eric describes the illness and suggests that anyone suffering from this affliction should seek proper professional help. Make It Ultra do offer such help, so please do seek help if you recognise this issue in yourself or a loved one.
(Note for Eric: if anything within this post is incorrect/unacceptable please let me know)
I’m not going to describe the disorder or explain the 9 signs as Make it Ultra have already done that perfectly here – Please read the original post in conjunction with reading this post.
What I am going to do is provide some self help suggestions which I have found on another site which I think may be of use to someone struggling with this issue. I’m also going to link to some videos of people who are talking frankly about their struggles and treatment on you tube.
I would like to strongly convey that if you or someone you love does suffer with BPD it is NOT un-treatable. BPD can be treated quite effectively with professional psychiatric help according to many other Psychology sites.
These self help tips have been pulled from the Website: HelpGuide.org – if you would like more information please read their FULL article at: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/personality-disorders/borderline-personality-disorder.htm
They also offer a FREE Emotional Intelligence Toolkit
Self Help 1.
Calming the Emotional Storm:
As someone with BPD, you’ve probably spent a lot of time fighting your impulses and emotions, so acceptance can be a tough thing to wrap your mind around. But accepting your emotions doesn’t mean approving of them or resigning yourself to suffering. All it means is that you stop trying to fight, avoid, suppress, or deny what you’re feeling. Giving yourself permission to have these feelings can take away a lot of their power.
Try to simply experience your feelings without judgment or criticism. Let go of the past and the future and focus exclusively on the present moment. Mindfulness techniques can be very effective in this regard.
- Start by observing your emotions, as if from the outside.
- Watch as they come and go (it may help to think of them as waves).
- Focus in on the physical sensations that accompany your emotions.
- Tell yourself that you accept what you’re feeling right now.
- Remind yourself that just because you’re feeling something doesn’t mean it’s reality.
Do something that stimulates one or more of your senses
Engaging your sense is one of the quickest and easiest ways to quickly self-soothe. You will need to experiment to find out which sensory-based stimulation works best for you. You’ll also need different strategies for different moods. What may help when you’re angry or agitated is very different from what may help when you’re numb or depressed. Here are some ideas to get started:
Touch. If you’re not feeling enough, try running cold or hot (but not scalding hot) water over your hands; hold a piece of ice; or grip an object or the edge of a piece of furniture as tightly as you can. If you’re feeling too much, and need to calm down, try taking a hot bath or shower; snuggling under the bed covers, or cuddling with a pet.
Taste. If you’re feeling empty and numb, try sucking on strong-flavored mints or candies, or slowly eat something with an intense flavor, such as salt-and-vinegar chips. If you want to calm down, try something soothing such as hot tea or soup.
Smell. Light a candle, smell the flowers, try aromatherapy, spritz your favorite perfume, or whip up something in the kitchen that smells good. You may find that you respond best to strong smells, such as citrus, spices, and incense.
Sight. Focus on an image that captures your attention. This can be something in your immediate environment (a great view, a beautiful flower arrangement, a favorite painting or photo) or something in your imagination that you visualize.
Sound. Try listening to loud music, ringing a buzzer, or blowing a whistle when you need a jolt. To calm down, turn on soothing music or listen to the soothing sounds of nature, such as wind, birds, or the ocean. A sound machine works well if you can’t hear the real thing.
Reduce your emotional vulnerability
You’re more likely to experience negative emotions when you’re run down and under stress. That’s why it’s very important to take care of your physical and mental well-being.
|Take care of yourself by:|
|Avoiding mood-altering drugs|
|Eating a balanced, nutritious diet|
|Getting plenty of quality sleep|
|Practicing relaxation techniques|
Self Help 2.
Learn to Control Impulsivity and Tolerate Distress:
The calming techniques discussed above can help you relax when you’re starting to become derailed by stress. But what do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed by difficult feelings? This is where the impulsivity of borderline personality disorder (BPD) comes in. In the heat of the moment, you’re so desperate for relief that you’ll do anything, including things you know you shouldn’t—such as cutting, reckless sex, dangerous driving, and binge drinking. It may even feel like you don’t have a choice.
Moving from being out of control of your behavior to being in control
It’s important to recognize that these impulsive behaviors serve a purpose. They’re coping mechanisms for dealing with distress. They make you feel better, even if just for a brief moment. But the long-term costs are extremely high.
Regaining control of your behavior starts with learning to tolerate distress. It’s the key to changing the destructive patterns of BPD. The ability to tolerate distress will help you press pause when you have the urge to act out. Instead of reacting to difficult emotions with self-destructive behaviors, you will learn to ride them out while remaining in control of the experience.
For a step-by-step, self-guided program that will teach you how to ride the “wild horse” of overwhelming feelings, check out our free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit. The toolkit teaches you how to:
- get in touch with your emotions
- live with emotional intensity
- manage unpleasant or threatening feelings
- stay calm and focused even in upsetting situations
The toolkit will teach you how to tolerate distress, but it doesn’t stop there. It will also teach you how to move from being emotionally shut down to experiencing your emotions fully. This allows you to experience the full range of positive emotions such as joy, peace, and fulfilment that are also cut off when you attempt to avoid negative feelings.
A grounding exercise to help you pause and regain control
Once the fight-or-flight response is triggered, there is no way to “think yourself” calm. Instead of focusing on your thoughts, focus on what you’re feeling in your body. The following grounding exercise is a simple, quick way to put the brakes on impulsivity, calm down, and regain control. It can make a big difference in just a few short minutes.
Find a quiet spot and sit in a comfortable position.
Focus on what you’re experiencing in your body. Feel the surface you’re sitting on. Feel your feet on the floor. Feel your hands in your lap.
Concentrate on your breathing, taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe in slowly. Pause for a count of three. Then slowly breathe out, once more pausing for a count of three. Continue to do this for several minutes.
In case of emergency, distract yourself
If your attempts to calm down aren’t working and you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by destructive urges, distracting yourself may help. All you need is something to capture your focus long enough for the destructive impulse to go away. Anything that draws your attention can work, but distraction is most effective when the activity is also soothing. In addition to the sensory-based strategies mentioned previously, here are some things you might try:
Watch something on TV. Choose something that’s the opposite of what you’re feeling: a comedy, if you’re feeling sad, or something relaxing if you’re angry or agitated.
Do something you enjoy that keeps you busy. This could be anything: gardening, painting, playing an instrument, knitting, reading a book, playing a computer game, or doing a Sudoku or word puzzle.
Throw yourself into work. You can also distract yourself with chores and errands: cleaning your house, doing yard work, going grocery shopping, grooming your pet, or doing the laundry.
Get active. Vigorous exercise is a healthy way to get your adrenaline pumping and let off steam. If you’re feeling stressed, you may want try more relaxing activities such as yoga or a walk around your neighborhood.
Call a friend. Talking to someone you trust can be a quick and highly effective way to distract yourself, feel better, and gain some perspective.
Self Help 3.
Improve your Interpersonal Skills:
If you have borderline personality disorder (BPD), you’ve probably struggled with maintaining stable, satisfying relationships, including with lovers, co-workers, and friends. This is because you have trouble stepping back and seeing things from other people’s perspective. You tend to misread the thoughts and feelings of others, misunderstand how others see you, and overlook how they’re affected by your behavior. It’s not that you don’t care, but when it comes to other people, you have a big blind spot. Recognizing your interpersonal blind spot is the first step. When you stop blaming others, you can start taking steps to improve your relationships and your social skills.
Check your assumptions
When you’re derailed by stress and negativity, as people with borderline personality disorder often are, it’s easy to misread the intentions of others. If you’re aware of this tendency, you can check your assumptions. Remember, you’re not a mind reader! Instead of jumping to conclusions (usually negative), consider alternative meaning and motivations. For example, let’s say your partner was abrupt with you on the phone and you’re feeling insecure and afraid they’ve lost interest in you.
Stop to consider alternative explanations. Maybe your partner is under pressure at work. Maybe he’s having a stressful day. Maybe he hasn’t had his coffee yet. There are many different possibilities.
Ask the person to clarify their intentions. One of the simplest ways to check your assumptions is to ask the other person what they’re thinking or feeling. Double check what they meant by their words or actions. Instead of asking in an accusatory manner, try a softer approach: “I could be wrong, but it feels like…” or “Maybe I’m being overly sensitive, but I get the sense that…”
Put a stop to projection
Do you have a tendency to take your negative feelings and project them on to other people? Do you lash out at others when you’re feeling bad about yourself? Does feedback or constructive criticism feel like a personal attack? If so, you may have a problem with projection.
To fight projection, you’ll need to learn to apply the brakes—just like you did to curb your impulsive behaviors. Tune in to your emotions and the physical sensations in your body. Take note of signs of stress: rapid heart rate, muscle tension, sweating, nausea, light-headedness. When you’re feeling this way, you’re likely to go on the attack and say something you’ll regret later. Pause and take a few slow deep breaths. Then ask yourself the following three questions:
- Am I upset with myself?
- Am I feeling ashamed or afraid?
- Am I worried about being abandoned?
If the answer is yes, take a conversation break. Tell the other person that you’re feeling emotional and would like some time to think before discussing things further.
Take responsibility for your role
Finally, it’s important to take responsibility for the role you play in your relationships. Ask yourself what you are doing that may be contributing to problems. How do your words and behaviors make your loved ones feel? Are you falling into the trap of seeing the other person as either all good or all bad? As you make an effort to put yourself in other people’s shoes, give them the benefit of the doubt, and reduce your defensiveness, you’ll start to notice a difference in the quality of your relationships.
These self help tips have been pulled from the Website: HelpGuide.org – if you would like more information please read their FULL article at:
Hope this post helps someone somewhere.
Awareness is Key – Knowledge is Power
If you are struggling then please do seek help – you are worthy of a life well lived.
Best Wishes – Peace & Love