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Self-Help Techniques for Borderline Personality Disorder

written by: LotusSnow • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 11/16/2010

Dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder can be challenging. There are many facets to this disorder. Learn some self help techniques that can help you cope when dealing with a crisis. Make it a priority to build support, generate coping ideas to enable self help when you are not under stress.

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    Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental disorder that is usually best treated by qualified mental health professionals. However, just as in other types of illnesses we should not just rely on the medical profession. There are many things we can do to help ourselves cope with our disorder. Here are some of the self help for borderline personality disorderr we can use in conjunction with conventional treatments such as psychotherapy and medication:

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    Self-Help By taking Responsibility

    You have to take charge when it comes to building the foundation for your own recovery. It is crucial the you have a clear understanding and a deep believe that you and only you have the ability and responsibility for increasing control over your own life. Much patience and persistence is required for you to successfully achieve this.

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    Educating Yourself

    One of the best ways to help yourself is to learn all you can about BPD diagnosis, identify what your symptoms are, and find out about the different treatments that are available in your area. Research shows that just by receiving education about BPD can reduce your symptoms. You can “google" for websites and get books about BPD however you have to be careful and remember that not all sources of information are reliable.

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    Coping Skills

    There are many coping skills techniques that BPD sufferers can utilize to help themselves manage stressful situations and the emotions that result. You just have to find the one that is most suitable for you. Let us explore the different types of coping skills.

    Seek social support

    Call someone. It can often help if we talk to other people who are also going through what we are going through. Reach out to others and you may find that it can be helpful when you are struggling with strong emotions. If you can’t find another person who has BPD that you are comfortable talking to, you can call a supportive friend or even a family member. If you truly have no one to call and you need to talk to someone you can call a helpline (for example, in the U.S. you can call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK).

    Engage in Behavioral Activation

    Think of an activity that might take your mind off a stressful situation. At least for a little while distract yourself, and then refocus. You can prepare a list of highly engaging activities that you can do when you are stressed. Activities such as watching television or spending time on the computer are not too effective because these are passive behaviors. Instead try dancing, yoga, going to the gym, going for a walk, playing the guitar/piano, even cleaning your house, or reorganizing your closet. Choose an activity that will engage and distract you from your current emotions. The activity does not need to be complicated, even something as simple as a warm shower or bath may help. The sensations of the warm water, the smell of your body wash, shampoo, may distract you from the situation that is making you upset.

    Engage in Relaxation Exercises

    Learn a relaxation exercises such as deep breathing where you find somewhere quiet to sit and focus your attention on your breathing. Breathe slowly, evenly and deeply, be aware of the rising and falling of your stomach with each breath. Or progressive muscle relaxation where you tense and relax each part of your body. Sometimes you can even use music, to create emotions that are the opposite of the one you are currently struggling with. If you feel anxiety, you can play something slow, if you are feeling depressed you can play something that may be upbeat or a piece that make you happy.

    Practice grounding yourself

    There are exercise that are designed to keep you “grounded" in the “now" (present moment). These exercises will help prevent you from getting caught up in the replaying of events in your head, creating worry about the future, regret about the past or zoning out. An example of a grounding exercise would be:-

    • Mindfulness Meditation. This meditation method help you observe the rise and fall of your emotions. You are required to pay attention to the feeling you are currently experiencing, let yourself experience that emotion without trying to block it, suppress it, or hold on to it. Acknowledge that feeling then let it go.

    Praying and letting your emotions ride out

    Some BPD sufferers may find comfort in prayers, even if you are not a religious person, prayers can sometimes help when you are stressed. When encountering strong emotions people with BPD may also get the urge to engage in harmful activities, like self harm or drinking, doing drugs. Try to remember that these emotions will subside. In the meantime you can help yourself by using a timer, set it for 10 minutes and wait for 10 minutes, letting your emotions ride out.

    Self-Help by processing your emotions and expression

    Engage in self for Borderline Personality Disorder can come in the form of learning to process or express your emotions. There are many ways that you can express yourself, some people find that writing in journal or a blog helps, others like to draw or paint. Research has found that expressive writing can have positive consequences, such as promoting better physical health and reducing psychological symptoms. However BPD sufferers have to find what is most suitable for them, to some people these type of strategies could be overwhelming and stressful.

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    It is evident that there are numerous self help for borderline personality disorder people, we just need to find the ones that are most suitable in aiding us on our quest to gain the best control possible over our emotions, impulsive behaviors, thought patterns, and relationships. In short help us function as closely as possible to “normal".

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    References

    1. Self-Help Strategies for Borderline Personality Disorder http://bpd.about.com/od/treatments/a/selfhelp.htm
    2. Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified http://www.bpddemystified.com/index.asp?id=4
    3. BPD support http://www.bpd411.org/