My background is working with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in the NHS in the UK and I decided to write about it here for those of you who might need some proper information.
I am going to divide this page into the following sections:
- How to know if you or someone close to you has BPD.
- I have just been diagnosed, what now?
- What treatments are available?
- What can I do to help myself?
There is a lot of information on the internet about BPD, so I shall stay away from the jargon, and tell you my experience, as if I were sitting talking to you about it now.
Do I have Borderline Personality Disorder?
The only way to find out for sure, is to get someone to test that for you ( since returning to Ireland, I cannot carry out this type of testing for you, my advice is to make an appointment with your local GP to find out where to go in your area to undertake an assessment.)
Do not use internet tests. When I undertook my professional training, the first thing I discovered is that we all have little bits of everything, and so many symptoms and traits overlap with each other. If you turn to the internet, it is possible to diagnose yourself with almost everything and anything!
Some people suspect that they may have BPD, when they do the following:
- Self harm
- Have difficulty in regulating emotions
- Are afraid that people they care about will leave them
- Get angry and find it difficult to calm down
These type of symptoms do not mean that you have a Personality Disorder, as you can experience some of these things, without this type of diagnosis. So please, do not diagnose yourself.
I have been diagnosed with BPD, what now?
From my experience, since returning to Ireland, there are not many places that offer, what we called the recommended treatment, which is Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) although I do believe that the HSE are training teams across the country.
People may offer many things that they claim help with BPD, but I would go for DBT. Why? It is the model that has been shown to work the best.
Treatments: Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
If you can get DBT, this is an excellent model. I no longer offer this, as it needs an entire Team working together, and I work alone. Unfortunately I cannot give recommendations for DBT therapists, but suggest that you speak with your local GP who should be able to tell you about DBT Teams within your area.
DBT will give you weekly therapy with a DBT therapist. You will also receive skills teaching, which takes place as part of a group, the therapy is individual, just you and your therapist.
What is it like?
Good, but there is a lot of hard work on your part. You have to make a serious commitment to the program.
You will get understanding, not judged, or blamed.
All of us do the best we can, at any given time, with what we have available.
You may have felt blamed, or blamed yourself for some things you have done in the past. Read the statement above again, as that includes you. Hindsight gets in the way, when you go to judge yourself, or when other people judge you. What you have available at any given time is
- Did you sleep well?
- Are you feeling under the weather?
- What do you believe about yourself?
- What are you coping skills like?
- How are you under pressure? etc
Before you judge yourself, you have to consider the questions above, as well as many other ones, and then you shall start to see, that you did your best under the circumstances. Even if you self harmed, you were managing as best as you could at the time.
Working within DBT teaches you to learn acceptance of yourself and how you are, while pushing for change at the same time. It is much easier to change, if you are not berating yourself for how you act. Acceptance is key.