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How to live a happy with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Living with BPD, life can feel like a turbulent rollercoaster, ranging from moments of intense joy and bliss to extreme and uncontrollable rage. Caged by feelings of anxiety and insecurity, you can feel plagued by the fear of abandonment and end up pushing all your loved ones away. Suffering from BPD, you may find it hard to love and accept yourself, or even to really know yourself. Changing identities and feelings of disassociation can leave you confused about who you really are and what your purpose and motivation are.

What is it like to live with BPD?

BPD can take a serious toll on your self-esteem. You may have a negative self-image, feeling inadequate and worthless. You may also engage in impulsive behaviour, such as substance abuse, binge eating or reckless driving, which can have negative consequences on your physical and mental health.

 

However, it’s important to remember that this is not a dark and dingy tunnel. There is a light beaming at its end, and therapy and medication can slowly but surely take you there.

BPD is a treatable condition, with therapy and medication being the most effective forms of treatment. With the help of a mental health professional, you can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. 

 

In this blog, we talk about some things you can do in addition to your therapy and medication to cope with your BPD and live a happier and more fulfilling life.

Don’t shy away from getting help

Getting help for borderline personality disorder (BPD) is essential, because the symptoms of this condition can significantly impact a person's daily life and overall well-being. People with BPD may struggle with intense emotions, impulsivity, and unstable relationships, which can cause significant distress and make it difficult for them to function in their daily lives.

 

Untreated BPD can also lead to a number of negative consequences, such as:

  • self-harm and suicidal behavior, which can be life-threatening

  • difficulty maintaining stable relationships and friendships

  • Substance abuse and other impulsive behaviors, which can have negative consequences on physical and mental health

  • Difficulty with trust and abandonment issues that make it hard to form healthy relationships

  • Difficulty regulating emotions and managing mood swings

  • Negative self-image and low self-esteem

 

With professional help and treatment, individuals with BPD can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. Treatment for BPD often includes therapy, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and medication can also be used to help manage symptoms such as impulsivity and depression.

 

Don’t forget that BPD is a treatable condition and people with BPD can lead fulfilling lives. With the help of a mental health professional, individuals with BPD can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.

Have a safety plan

Having a safety plan in place can be a valuable tool in preventing self-harm and suicidal behavior, and it can help individuals you feel more in control of their emotions. A safety plan is a personalized plan that outlines specific steps that you can take to manage and reduce the risk of self-harm or suicidal behavior.

 

To chart your safety plan, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the triggers that can lead you to self-harm or suicidal behavior?

  • What are some healthy coping mechanisms to manage intense emotions?

  • Do you have any friends, family members, psychiatrist or therapist you can call during your time of crisis?

  • Are there any places or activities that provide a sense of calmness and safety?

  • What are some emergency contact numbers you should have handy?

  • What are some things you can do to cope with your emotions instead of self-harm?

 

It's important to remember that a safety plan is a dynamic document that should be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect the person's changing needs. Also, it should be kept in mind that a safety plan is not a substitute for professional help. It’s essential for your safety plan to be developed and reviewed with the help of a mental health professional. Used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, such as therapy and medication, having a safety plan can help manage symptoms of BPD and improve overall well-being.

Get support

BPD can be a challenging and isolating condition. Getting the right support can be beneficial for you in a number of ways. 

 

  • It can provide emotional support and understanding which can be a huge relief for those struggling with BPD

  • It can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness that can be common with BPD

  • It can provide practical help, such as assistance with daily tasks or childcare, which can be beneficial for someone struggling with BPD

  • It can improve communication and understanding between the person living with BPD and their loved ones, which can in turn help to improve relationships

  • It can provide accountability and encourage the person with BPD to stick to their treatment plan

  • It can provide a sense of hope and encouragement that things can improve.

Support can come in many forms, such as family and friends, support groups, or online communities. Try to find the type of support that works best for you, and make sure that everyone involved understands the condition and how they can best support you.

Maintain a mood diary

Maintaining a mood diary can be a simple and effective way to track your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors on a daily basis. Here are a few tips on how to maintain a mood diary:

 

1.    Choose a format

Mood diaries can be kept in a variety of formats, such as a physical notebook, a digital document, or an app. Choose a format that works best for you.

 

2.    Set a schedule

Decide on a regular time of day to record your mood, such as in the morning or at night. Consistency is key to tracking your moods over time.

 

3.    Be specific

Record specific details about your mood, such as the intensity of your emotions, what triggered them, and how long they lasted. This will help you identify patterns and triggers.

 

4.    Include thoughts and behaviors 

In addition to recording your mood, include information about your thoughts and behaviors. This can help you identify patterns and connections between your mood and your thoughts and behaviors.

 

5.    Be honest 

Be honest and accurate in your entries. Don’t let the fear of being judged or misunderstood keep you from being honest, as a mood diary is a private document and it's not meant to be shared with others.

 

6.    Reflect and review

Review your mood diary regularly to reflect on your progress, identify patterns, and make connections between your mood, thoughts, and behaviors. You can also share this with your therapist if needed.

 

7.    Make it a habit

Make sure to record your mood regularly, as consistency is key to tracking your moods over time.

 

Make yourself a self-care box

A self-care box is a collection of items that can be used to promote self-care and well-being for someone living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Here are a few tips on how to create a self-care box:

 

  • Identify your needs: 

Before creating a self-care box, it's essential to identify your specific needs and preferences. Some people may prefer items that help them relax, while others may prefer items that help them cope with intense emotions. Take some time to think and decide what works best for you.

  • Personalize the box: 

Personalize the box to your preferences, for example, if you like essential oils, add some scents that you like. Does coloring help you calm down? Include some coloring books. Does knitting get you busy and distracted? Add some knitting wool or a knitting pattern.

  • Include items for relaxation: 

A good idea is to add items that can help you relax, such as a journal, a book, a stress ball, a calming tea, or a relaxation CD.

  • Include items for coping with intense emotions: 

Don’t forget to include items that can help you cope with intense emotions, such as a fidget toy, a stress ball, a piece of jewelry, a picture of a loved one, or a quote that you find inspiring.

  • Include items for self-expression: 

Keeping items like art supplies or journals can help you express yourself and take some of that rage or grief out.

  • Make it visually appealing:
    You can make the box visually appealing by using wrapping paper, stickers, or a personalized box.

 

Live a fulfilling life with borderline personality disorder (BPD)

Living with borderline personality disorder can be challenging, but it is possible to lead a fulfilling life with the right support and management. It is crucial that you understand and accept the condition, as well as build a strong support system of friends, family, and professionals. Therapy, medication, and self-care are all important tools that can help individuals with BPD manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being. By taking the time to understand and address the unique challenges that come with BPD, you can learn to live a life that is meaningful and satisfying. Remember to be kind and compassionate with yourself, and to never give up on your journey towards healing and happiness.

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