BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER
1. How can someone who doesn’t live with BPD better understand some of the BPD behaviors?
The best way to understand people better who have BPD is to educate yourself on the various symptoms. You can find this information in the DSM-V or Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Additionally, you can learn more by seeking out information from a mental health professional. As you learn more about BPD, you may become more capable of empathizing and understanding what they are going through. While you may not be able to truly understand what they are going through, with more learning and patience, you may be able to become a stronger and more supportive partner.
2. How can someone with BPD better understand the reactions and needs of their non-BPD partner?
Someone who is struggling with BPD may have difficulty in understanding other people’s reaction to their behaviors. They may not understand why someone cannot understand their choices, views, or actions. I would say that communication is key. Communicating your frustrations, confusion, and questions can help you find a middle ground.
3.What are some tips to help partners meet in the middle?
As mentioned above, communication is the most important approach to partners understanding one another. Discussing “give and take” can help two people figure out what they need in the relationship and what they are willing to let go in the spirit of finding middle ground. Think of it by both parties communicating this way: ‘help me help you,’ ‘what is it that you need from me in order to feel better?’
4. What are some relationship challenges that BPD symptoms can create, and what are the solutions to those challenges?
Those with BPD may suffer from fear of abandonment, mood swings, outbursts, and impulsive behavior. This can lead to the partner feeling helpless, lost, and even abused. The constant change in emotions can put a strain on both parties. The solution to these challenges is to seek out help. It is often difficult to conquer this on your own. The person struggling with BDP may need psychotherapy and medication. Additionally, it is important for both parties to seek out support as they navigate the ups and downs of being in a relationship with someone who has BPD.
5. What are some tips for improving communication?
In terms of improving communication, it’s best to emphasize being honest, supportive, and having boundaries with your partner. People with BPD often struggle with boundaries due to being on an emotional roller coaster that includes but is not limited to abandonment fears and intense attachment. They see boundaries as a form of rejection and therefore, may lash out. It is important to establish healthy boundaries but doing it in a way where your partner understands where this need is coming from. Seeking out both individual and couple’s therapy can help both parties develop stronger communication and coping skills. Learning how to verbalize your thoughts in an empathetic, expressive, and understanding way can help your partner understand where you are coming from.
Here are 5 specific ways that you can improve your communication skills:
1. Make sure that you focus on the problem at hand and not the person you are speaking to. This means that you want to avoid making it personal via insults, mocking tones, or yelling. This defeats the purpose of trying to communicate your feelings.
2. Reflective listening can be useful when trying to solve a problem. Reflective listening includes repeating what your partner said in your own words and allow your partner to tell you if you understand what they mean. Even if you disagree on the statement, you will have a better understanding of their feelings and then they in turn will feel heard.
3. Utilize “I” statements. This allows you to take responsibility for your feelings as opposed to placing the blame on your partner. This can prevent your partner from becoming defensive as if they feel they are under attack. You can say thinking like, “I feel upset about xyz…” instead of, “you hurt me.” Try to avoid blaming your partner since blaming doesn’t lead to a de-escalation of the conflict.
4. Become self-aware of when the conversation is not going in the right direction. If you feel it is getting too volatile or aggressive, take a break. Have both parties do something that relaxes their mind and body before returning to the issue.
5. Try to find a compromise. It is common that disagreements happen, and people will not come to an agreement. Therefore, it is beneficial to try and find a solution that will make both parties feel satisfied and okay enough to move forward.
6, How can couple’s therapy help?
Going to couples therapy could be an effective way to help the relationship. Couples therapy enables both partners to have a safe and neutral space to be honest about their feelings and concerns. A couple’s therapist can guide you by asking the right questions and to help both parties feel understood and heard. The therapist can mediate, educate, and support both parties as they work towards a more balanced and healthy relationship.
7. What’s your message of hope?
BPD can be a challenging mental health disorder for both the person diagnosed and their partner. There can be a lot of strain in the relationship as each partner tries navigating through the ups and downs. However, this is not an impossible task. Utilizing different forms of support such as a professional, education resources, and patience—you may be able to work together to achieve a happy medium in the relationship. BPD will be a part of your life but does not have to take over the relationship.
WHAT IS SEASONAL DEPRESSION?
Seasonal Depression, also known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) affects nearly 15 million adults in the U.S. SAD is a form of depression that comes from seasonal weather changes. Most often, you can expect to experience these dips in your mood beginning in the fall months and continuing throughout the winter.
The symptoms that you may expect to see in someone suffering from SAD include the following:
-Feelings of depression that last nearly all day, every day
-Losing interest in activities
-Having thoughts of hopelessness, guilt, or even death
-Decrease or increase in appetite
-Feeling sluggish and having low energy
-Weight changes, either loss or gain
So, what causes SAD? Are there particular risk factors that make one more prone to it? SAD can be caused by a disruption in your circadian rhythm, meaning the reduction of sunlight can disrupt your internal clock. Additionally, this reduced sunlight can decrease serotonin levels making you more prone to feelings of depression. Finally, the change in the seasons can affect your balance of melatonin, which in turn will affect your mood and sleep patterns.
How does one cope with SAD? What can you do to improve seasonal depression or even prevent it from happening?
Common treatments include light therapy, medications, and psychotherapy. Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, is an activity where you sit near a light box, exposing your mind and body to bright light immediately after you wake up. Light therapy can work by mimicking sunlight, therefore, altering brain chemicals linked to feelings and mood. Medications, specifically antidepressants, can help alleviate symptoms caused by SAD.
Lastly, psychotherapy is an effective treatment option for SAD. Many professionals use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is a form of psychotherapy, to help their patients through SAD by working to identify and then change the distressing thoughts that are causing their SAD symptoms. You may be encouraged to take part in activities that relax the mind and body such as Music therapy, Yoga, Meditation, or Art therapy. Utilizing techniques that can allow you to feel grounded can be beneficial in alleviating symptoms of SAD.
While SAD can be challenging, it certainly does not have to consume your life. SAD is a disorder that can be diagnosed and treated, like most other mental health disorders.
WHAT IS EMOTIONAL ABUSE?
Emotional abuse occurs when a partner engages in behavior to embarrass, insult, or instill fear in their partner. Emotional abuse is a tactic used to make someone feel weak which leads to the abuser gaining control. Emotional abuse can occur in a variety of relationships such as parental, romantic, friendship, or even professional.
The following are signs that you might be in an emotionally abusive relationship:
Your partner uses coercion and threats:
ex: threatening to leave
ex: threatening to hurt themselves
ex: forcing you to drop charges or engage in illegal activities
Your partner uses intimidation:
ex: making you feel afraid by choosing violence
ex: abusing pets
ex: destroying property
Your partner uses emotional abuse:
ex: making you feel bad about yourself
ex: name calling
ex: embarrassing you
ex: making you feel guilty
Your partner isolates you:
ex: your partner limits your outside activities
ex: your partner controls who you talk to, who you see, and what you do
Your partner minimizes, blames, and denies:
ex: making light of the abuse
ex: not taking the abuse seriously
ex: denying that any abuse happens
ex: blaming you for the abuse happening
Your partner uses your children:
ex: using children to communicate messages
ex: threatening to take your children away
Your partner uses male privilege:
ex: making all the decisions
ex: defines the men and women’s roles
ex: treating you like a servant in the home
Your partner uses economic abuse:
ex: preventing you from keeping your job or obtaining one
ex: preventing you from reaching your professional goals
ex: making you ask for money or giving you an allowance for your basic needs
If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, there are ways to get help. It is important to acknowledge that the behavior is not your fault and the abuser most likely won’t change their toxic behaviors.
When you leave an emotionally abusive relationship, it is crucial to accept help and support from your friends, family, and a mental health professional.
The Real Sleep Remedy: Sleep Hygiene— 7 Steps towards getting the best night’s rest so you can dream deeply!
1.) Use a sound machine: Sound machines help to block out distracting noises. Most sound machines produce relaxing sounds such as waves, rain, crickets, and white noise. By blocking distracting noises and producing soothing sounds—this enables the most perfect environment to drift peacefully into sleep.
2.) Create a sleep routine: Try to create more structure for your evening routine. Structure can include taking a soothing bath before bed, getting into bed at a certain time, and/or meditating for 10-20 minutes before bed. Additionally, consider reading before bed, listening to a sleep story(Calm app), or having a cup of decaffeinated tea. These light activities can help soothe the mind and body. The routine of getting into bed and giving yourself enough time to transition from your daily activities is essential for dreaming peacefully.
3.) Put away all screens at least an hour before bed: Unfortunately it’s the nightly routine for so many of us-- hop into pajamas, put the lights down, get comfortable in bed and then… reach for the cell phone. It’s the way of our current culture, especially while we are constantly using our screens to connect with the world. If you can, try putting your phone on “do not disturb” mode or silent when you go to bed and face your phone down on the table--screen first. It is recommended to cut off screen time 1 hour before bed. Try this with all screens including TV’s and computers as well.
4.) Try to make your bed as comfortable as possible: Being comfortable is known to help you fall asleep faster. When you are comfortable, your body can unwind and you can fall asleep with ease. Being comfortable means your body can relax. If you are uncomfortable, you will constantly be readjusting to find the right position hence disrupting your sleep. Comfort has a direct affect on the quality of your sleep, the relaxation of your thoughts, and can affect the tone of your dreams.
5.) Try not to eat at least an hour or more before you go to bed: An increased metabolism may be caused by a pre-bedtime meal. According to research, an increased metabolism causes the brain to become more active which can possibly lead to nightmares. If you notice that you have more bad dreams after having a late-night snack or meal, try setting a goal to avoid snacking and heavy meals right before bed.
6.) Avoid drinking caffeine post 3PM: Caffeine stimulates your nervous system which explains why we love it to start the day. Unfortunately, It also hinders the neurotransmitter called Orexin that tells your brain when you should feel sleepy, explains Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine
(http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/science/how/neurophysiology) The research shows that caffeine directly stimulates brain activity, even during sleep, which can lead to nightmares. If you experience nightmares, consider easing up on the caffeine intake especially in the afternoon and evening.
7.) Imagine the type of dream you would want to have: Lastly but most importantly-right before you go to bed, think about relaxing thoughts such as playing in a field or feeling loved and at peace. Studies have shown that if you try to focus on calm-lighthearted images before bed, you will dream more peacefully.
WHAT IS AGORAPHOBIA?
Agoraphobia is a DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed.) diagnosis assigned to individuals who have a disproportionate fear of public places, often perceiving such environments as too open, crowded, or dangerous. An anxiety disorder, agoraphobia can manifest in symptoms of distress and panic, disrupting sufferers’ everyday lives. Agoraphobia can be caused by a variety of factors, such as associated health conditions, genetics, and your environmental stressors. More specifically, you are at higher risk for developing agoraphobia if you already suffer from panic disorder or have another phobia.
How you handle panic attacks and stress can have a direct correlation to you being at risk for developing agoraphobia. Do you have an anxious or nervous personality? While this does not guarantee you will become agoraphobic, it does put you at a higher risk. In addition, it is important to note the risks of being agoraphobic. Due to the limit on your life’s activities and socialization, agoraphobia can be linked to depression, substance abuse, and other associated mental health disorders. Accepting treatment will be a huge step but can ultimately change the trajectory of your life.
The most common treatment for agoraphobia is a combination of psychotherapy such as Exposure therapy and medication. I find that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is very helpful in reducing fears. The skills in which you teach a client will help them to learn how to tolerate their anxiety and challenge it in a way that gives them the power to return to the scenarios that once frightened them. The medications that are used in conjunction with psychotherapy are often either antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. You do not have to use medication alongside psychotherapy in the treatment of agoraphobia. This will depend on the severity of the case and the patient’s clinical symptoms and physical history.
Agoraphobia is a phobia, which means it is occurring in your mind. Like other phobias, this is something that can be worked with. While it may be challenging and come with assorted struggles, this phobia does not have to rule your life. With proper treatment and care, this is something you can overcome.
Below are 10 texts to send to a stressed-out partner:
1. What happened to set this off? Do you want to talk about it? If you want to be left alone, I understand and respect that too. Never forget that I am always here to listen and help you through any challenge.
This message shows that you are genuinely interested in why your partner is stressed and willing to give them what they need.
2. I am sorry you are going through this. What can I do to help you through this?
This message shows compassion and the eagerness to help and support them.
3. Let us go take a walk when you get home if you’d like. It may be useful to let off some of this steam brewing.
This gives your partner something to look forward to. Knowing they have an outlet to release their emotions may help them get through the day.
4. Take some deep breaths in and out, in and out. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, and then release for 8 seconds. If you’d like, I can do this with you until you feel a bit more relaxed.
This gives them a physical way of relieving the stress. This message is important because it is giving them an activity to try and something to redirect their mind towards.
5. I want you to try and put your phone down and your computer away. Disconnect for an hour and let your mind calm down.
This message showcases the importance of disconnecting from electronics which could be possibly adding to their stress.
6. Have you talked to your boss about the stress you are experiencing regarding this project? Perhaps you can find a solution together.
This text is useful if the stress is coming from work. If your partner is unsure how to approach the problem, you may be able to help them through that.
7. I know things have not been easy for us, but I believe we can overcome this. Why don’t we sit down this evening and have an open and honest discussion about this?
If your partner is stressed from a personal issue, this type of message shows that you are acknowledging the problem and address it head on.
8. Remember that time you slipped on the banana peel? Life can be that silly and carefree again. This will pass.
Sometimes, humor and a good laugh can relieve stress. Feel free to fill in the example to make someone laugh. Distracting someone might help them in the moment.
9. If I have done anything to add to the stress, please talk to me about it. Let’s work through this together as one solid unit rather than two pieces alone.
Similar to other examples, it is important to show your support and empathy while your partner is going through this struggle.
10. Why don’t we plan a nice day together this weekend? How do you feel about going to the nature preserve?
This message can lead to a longer conversation about making fun plans, which can distract them from whatever they are feeling stressed about.
Challenges are placed in your life to help you grow. If life was simple and easy, would you ever be challenged to change? Probably not! Change happens when you are uncomfortable and forced out of your comfort zone. Challenges are there to provide you with an opportunity to expand your horizons, open your comfort zone, and thrive in ways you never could have imagined.
Another way to view challenges is to think about it in this way: Have you faced challenges in the past? Have you been able to successfully overcome them? After you answer these two questions, look back on these challenges and remind yourself what has positively changed because of it. What have you since been able to accomplish? Are you a stronger person now? Finally, remind yourself that you have survived challenges before, and you can do it once again. You are strong enough to overcome whatever life throws at you because you have developed the skills needed to do this. Do not be afraid of challenges- they are only there to help you.