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Talking therapies are potentially the most valuable treatment for people living with BPD. There are many kinds of talking therapy, but one of the most effective for people with BPD is called Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).
Surround yourself with friends and family who make you feel confident, comfortable and protected. This is a crucial factor in aiding your positive approach to the outside world.
DBT can be delivered either in a group setting or on a one to one basis with a specialist and focuses on supporting people to find the skills to cope with difficult and intense emotional states.
The focus is on finding healthy coping strategies, to support people to come away from any reliance they may have on self-harm, alcohol, drugs or other harmful coping mechanisms.
Don't forget that you are not alone in your isolation. There are thousands of us facing the same battle, and it’s quite a comforting thought.
Two other commonly recommended forms of therapy for BPD are Mentalisation Based Therapy (MBT) and Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT). MBT can be especially helpful for feelings of abandonment and to improve relationships with others.
Video insights: Living with borderline personality disorder
BPD makes me feel I’m not enough for anyone or anything. It can affect friendships and other relationships. The feelings are the rollercoaster, not what life brings. Words that hit me as a person can trigger mood changes, but different times of day create different moods, as do music and films. I can shut down, like I’m in shell or I’ve been electrocuted. Then will come the rage… the mania moment… followed by the guilt.
How does BPD affect you?
How does BPD make you feel?
What triggers BPD mood changes?
My partner used to look at me like, ‘what’s wrong with her’. They don’t know what’s happening; you know. Try not to be unaware of how people are reacting to you. Expressing yourself is absolutely fine. When you start damaging people, you can push them away. Some people with BPD might regularly show outbursts, other may take themselves away. Getting a diagnosis is the hardest step, but getting one helps you get the right support.
Can BPD vary, person to person?
How did you get your diagnosis?
How does BPD affect relationships?
I go through different stages throughout the day where I feel ‘I need to be happy again’ or ‘I need to take myself out of this place’. Mood changers like music help me. So do good people. If you need more, push for the extra help, go to the doctor. Fighting a mental illness without understanding it is like fighting with a blindfold on.
How do you control the condition?
How does a diagnosis help?
How do you feel after a diagnosis?
What to do if you are worried you might have borderline personality disorder
The therapy focuses on looking at why other people behave the way they do – you may be making assumptions that behaviours mean you are unloved or uncared for, such as a partner choosing to have a night out with friends without you. MBT can support you to understand more likely explanations for people’s behaviour and recognise that it is unlikely to be a negative reaction to you as a person.
I’m gradually accepting that borderline personality disorder– as the name suggests – is part of who I am.
However thanks to the skills acquired in dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), I am also learning to contain it.
CAT therapy is linked to MBT in that it seeks to help people with BPD identify patterns within their relationships that are repeatedly causing problems. This will then allow the therapist to support the individual to break these recurring patterns and find ways to create and maintain more stable relationships with others.
Accepting my borderline personality disorder while slowly starting to manage it is not easy or straightforward. But this approach allows me to see the disorder as part of me without it becoming all-consuming or the only feature by which I define myself.
There are not currently any medications that specifically help to manage the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, but many people with the condition experience other psychiatric issues and so may be offered medication for those, for instance anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication.