We may do very dramatic things, such as harming ourselves in some way (or threatening to do so), going to the hospital, or something similar. While these cries for help should be taken seriously, we understand that you may experience "burn out" from worrying about us and the repeated behavior.
- Remind yourself that the person's behavior isn't your fault
- Tap into your compassion for the person's suffering while understanding that their behavior is probably an intense reaction to that suffering
- Do things to take care of YOU. On the resources page of this blog, there is a wealth of information on books, workbooks, CDs, movies, etc. for you to understand this disorder and take care of yourself. Be sure to check it out!
- In addition to learning more about BPD and how to self-care around it, be sure to do things that you enjoy and that soothe you, such as getting out for a walk, seeing a funny movie, eating a good meal, taking a warm bath -- whatever you like to do to care for yourself and feel comforted.
- Ask questions. There is a lot of misconception out there about BPD.
- Remember that your words, love, and support go a long way in helping your loved one to heal, even if the results are not immediately evident
Not all of the situations I described apply to all people with Borderline Personality Disorder. One must only have 5 symptoms out of 9 to qualify for a diagnosis, and the combinations of those 5-9 are seemingly endless. This post is just to give you an idea of the typical suffering and thoughts those of us with BPD have.
This is my second year in DBT. A year ago, I could not have written this letter, but it represents much of what was in my heart but could not yet be realized or expressed.
My hope is that you will gain new insight into your loved one's condition and grow in compassion and understand for both your loved one AND yourself, as this is not an easy road.
I can tell you, from personal experience, that working on this illness through DBT is worth the fight. Hope can be returned. A normal life can be had. You can see glimpses and more and more of who that person really is over time, if you don't give up. I wish you peace.
Thank you for reading.