“I want to feel something, anything other than nothing. I go from okay to suicidal in an instant and I don’t even know why.”
What to do if you think you may have BPD
- Personality disorders are really difficult to deal with on your own, so if you’re worried about having a personality disorder it’s a good idea to visit your GP. It will make the process of diagnosing and managing the disorder much easier and quicker if you seek professional help.
- Alongside a professional treatment plan, people with personality disorders also develop strategies to manage their symptoms in everyday life, including developing positive coping skills.
- Attend the emergency room if you have thoughts of harming yourself or others
How to support a family member or friend with BPD
- Validate their experience and listen without judgment
- Educate yourself about BPD
- Support their efforts to seek professional help
- Do not ignore threats of harm and get in touch with emergency services
- Remember to take care of yourself!
“I feel empty and lonely, sometimes like I don’t exist at all, and saying my name feels like a lie because I know there’s nothing inside. I play roles, try to be who I’m “supposed” to be, and I’m good at being anyone but me.”
THE GOOD NEWS: BPD IS VERY TREATABLE
With appropriate therapy most patients can recover and live a full productive life.
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is highly effective in treating BPD. DBT combines standard techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness.
DBT has also proven effective in the treatment of other mental health issues such as bipolar disorder and eating disorders. By providing an effective skills base for overall emotional stability, practicing DBT skills helps in regulating emotions; relating better with others and handling distress. See Family Connections for an evidence-based program developed to help families and friends with loved ones living with emotional dysregulation.
When we teach DBT skills to general populations, we help ensure that non-inherent life skills become more widely utilized. We believe this could result in fewer people exhibiting BPD traits, thus reducing the strain on medical resources. This could also help improve relationships within educational institutions, families and workplace through the creation of a more validating environment for everyone.
How Does the Future Look?
Research has shown that people can recover from BPD and that their recovery is often long-lasting. Everyone’s path to recovery is different, whether you are an individual with BPD or a family member or a friend. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in life as people grow beyond the impact of BPD. O’Grady and Skinner (2007) say it best: “Recovery has also been described as a process by which people recover their self-esteem, dreams, self-worth, empowerment, pride, dignity and meaning.”