When you tell someone about your feelings of wanting to end it all, many people ask the question ‘How could you?' At these times I imagine internally you think to yourself… “why shouldn't I?”
Borderline Personality Disorder is a lonely and isolating condition, coupled with chronic emptiness and often unresolved trauma. Life for someone with Borderline Personality Disorder is full of chaos and impulsivity, it's hard to know where to start with the little motivation and hope you have left within. Should someone truly understand how this feels through long days and lonely nights, they may take a pause when asking: How could you want to do this to yourself?
It may be that you have started harming yourself in an effort to show the people around you what you can't say. You don't have any idea what they could do, but then again you equally have no idea of how to help yourself. You become frustrated with yourself and with the people who are supposed to care around you. You then go to your GP who knows very little about your condition so they refer you to a Psychiatrist. The circles begin - You think to yourself; At the time of seeing the Psychiatrist things may have got too much, you hope for a quick fix, some answers. Most of all, you hope for them to give you a little optimism that things won’t always be like this.
You explain to the Psychiatrist how you're feeling so low, so desperate, so frustrated at yourself and others around you for not being able to help. You try to occupy yourself during the day, or you sleep through it, but then comes the night. This is the real challenge. Each minute that passes feels like hours. Everything is closed: The shops, the library, even the utility companies you call just to have someone to speak to and pass another moment. You go on to say how you took some medication last night, you know that it was more than you should have taken but you wanted it all to stop for a moment. You know you could have died, but then that would have been okay. In a strange way it offers the hope you so desperately seek, the possibility that you could be free from your hurt.
You may have been lucky and got a Psychiatrist you could see was listening and really wanted to help and they may even prescribe something to help you sleep or something to help with your low mood. Whatever they do, it won't be enough. Once again you wanted something to make it go away now, a quick fix. On top of everything you're feeling when you went into the appointment you're now concerned that the Psychiatrist will think you're ungrateful, and a time waster. What's worse is that you're probably right. After your appointment they feel at a loss, they feel de-skilled. They trained to help people for many years and usually the medication they prescribe works, but they know you will be back time-after-time as medication won’t fix your problems.
Everyone around you becomes distant as they all share the same despair and don't know how to help you. At times you try your best to take the pressure off and not talk about your problems with them, you may compliment them more, buy them gifts or take them out, you will do all of this in an effort to get them back on side and supporting you as they once were. This works well for a while anyway, but then people start to label you as manipulative and attention seeking.
Now when you try to contact people who were once called your ‘Support System’, phones are switched off, people are busy, in meetings or out. When you eventually do get hold of people they may suggest, when confronted, that you're being paranoid and displaying signs of inappropriate and intense anger. This may be one possibility but the other is that your concerns are well founded.
So now you have read this and think ouch… what now?
I would suggest you get yourself a good Therapist but before that, work out exactly what you have problems with. It could be that you want some help with drinking to much, intimate relationships, or gaining a sense of who you are but it will really help your work with a Therapist if you are able to identify exactly what it is you wish to work on.
In the mean time, I have put together some useful bits and bobs that may help you through day to day…..
The idea behind this technique is that every time you feel the urge to self harm you wait a few second before doing so. Each subsequent time you increase the amount of time before you self harm. After increasing the time to around 30 seconds you will find the likelihood of you still wanting to self harm is reduced. This is also a good technique should you suffer with bulimia.
Try and think of a time and place where you felt completely safe. Picture this within your mind, picture exactly your experience of feeling within this moment, what could you smell? What could you see?
Take a deep breathe, hold it for five seconds and then slowly release. Do this repeatedly for a period of 10 minutes. After this time you should feel significantly calmer. It sometimes helps to do this with your eyes closed.
The and and approach
At a time when you haven’t been so good to yourself e.g. you have self harmed with this approach you would immediately after do something nice for yourself. As an example you would indulge in some of your favourite chocolates. This technique helps break down addictive behaviours.
|Emotion Regulation Handout|
|Identifying your coping strategies worksheet|
|Benefits and problems of coping strategies worksheet|