The treatment of borderline personality disorder is especially difficult. The nature of the disease is that people who have it tend to have unrealistic views of themselves and others, and it can take years, or decades, simply to reach the point of accepting the diagnosis. Even when the problem is clear, solutions are not easy, and it is very difficult for people who have borderline personality disorder to maintain healthy relationships with anyone, including their therapists.
So what can someone who has borderline personality disorder, and wants to live more successfully, do to get better? Here are some suggestions.
- Don't try to go it alone. If you have borderline personality disorder, or you think you have borderline personality disorder, you may be able to function without therapy, but talk therapy usually can make a huge difference in the success and pleasure you find in life.
- As hard as it may be to keep on trying, resolve that you are going to live and you are going to live as healthy as possible. There will be many times you don't feel like going on, so keep some reminder of your decision to be well. The good news is, borderline personality disorders usually begin to improve on their own about age 35 and sometimes resolve on their own by age 60. That's a long, long time, but things do eventually get better.
- Realize that when you are preoccupied with an individual, there are usually unhealthy emotions involved. This is particularly true if you have a pattern of falling in love and then finding yourself disappointed or repulsed by the same person. A counselor can make a difference if this is your pattern.
- Stick to your treatment plan. Medications won't cure borderline personality disorder, but they will make it easier to manage. Therapy doesn't cure the disorder, either, but you may gain the insight you need to avoid situations that "push you buttons."
- Get to know lots of people in a positive way. One of the major issues for people who have borderline personality disorder is the feeling of abandoment--and sometimes the feeling of abandoment accompanies actual abandoment in your time of need. The more people you know, the more options you will have to stave off loneliness and depression.
- Stay away from situations in which you have opportunities for unsupervised drug use. The drug that makes you feel good today make make you feel lousy tomorrow.
- Let someone else take care of your food preparation. Overeating is the undoing of many people who have borderline personality disorders. If you make a habit of ordering the same simple meal at a diner or restaurant, or eating the same prepared foods (they can be healthy prepared foods) you get from a deli or market, or even eating the same selection of frozen dinners, you are less likely to binge and add obesity and related problems into your already-complicated life.
- But avoid sugar, and try cutting out wheat, beef (at least beef with blood in it, like hamburger), and unfermented dairy products. Wheat, beef, dairy, sugar, and, oddly enough, spinach, contain chemicals that interact with specialized opioid receptors in the brain. These foods can dull your senses so that you have trouble dealing with your emotions. It is unusual for someone who has borderline personality disorder to go into remission just by changing diet, but it has happened, when the drag on mental capacity was relieved enough that emotional health peaked through.
And what about St. John's wort, yoga, Emotional Freedom Technique, meditation, and exercise?
Generally speaking, what works one day won't work another (with the possible exception of Emotional Freedom Technique). That doesn't mean that you should not try them, but if you do, you should stick with them even when aren't "working" so that they will be effective for you most of the time. Be aware that St. John's wort doesn't mix with prescription antidepressants; don't take the herb if you have taken a prescribed antidepressant in the last six weeks.
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