Have you ever had a blister re-form, an old paper cut split or a scab that opens back up after a sudden movement? You think, “Darn, I thought I was done dealing with this already,” but you have to clean it all up again, reapply the ointment, and secure a bandage to restart the healing process. Even though you took all the steps to give the wound what it needs, moving your hand the wrong way, tripping clumsily into a door frame, or someone knocking it at just the right angle reminds you of how much you’re still hurting under that bandage. Well, recovering when you deal with recurrent symptoms of pervasive mental health illnesses or experiences can often feel the same way. This is especially true in those with borderline personality disorder (BPD), where trauma is the wound, and learning to have corrective relationships with the self and others is the treatment. However, healing from BPD is possible with a supportive team like THIRA Health on your side.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder
In our Intensive outpatient treatment program near Seattle, we commonly treat women and girls along the spectrum of borderline personality disorder, from first diagnosis to some longevity of symptoms. So whether you are at the start of your healing from BPD journey, embarking on particularly rough terrain, or are just slowly walking and breathing deeply as you brace for what comes next, let THIRA Health partner with you as you learn to live a full life worth living.
Healing from BPD Often means the Path of Least Linearity (…and Definitely Some Resistance)
We’ve all heard the trope that healing is not linear, which means it doesn’t follow a prescribed process, set of tasks, or timeline. Healing from BPD sounds like hope and all good things, but the truth is that healing (and specifically borderline personality disorder treatment)can be scary. The process requires a little bravery.
When we engage in therapeutic practices and DBT skills that put us to task to manage our emotions, actions, mood, and thoughts, we are challenging every part of our previous way of being. Our defense mechanisms get challenged, our emotions are made raw and vulnerable, and our relationships are put to the test based on new things we learn about how to care for ourselves.
Those who live with BPD have undoubtedly felt the pervasiveness of their symptoms, which can begin in childhood/adolescence and/or begin or continue in adulthood. Oftentimes borderline personality disorder develops as a result of childhood trauma, as recent research out of the University of Manchester reported that those living with BPD are 13 times more likely to report childhood trauma than those without mental health conditions.
Some BPD symptoms include intense fear of abandonment, unstable relationships, changing self-concept, suicidal behavior or self harming behaviors, intense anger, frequent mood swings and impulsive behavior.
The major difference in experiencing a personality disorder versus a struggle with a mood disorder or other mental health condition is the perceived lifelong sentence of living with BPD. The reality of living with BPD is feeling like you or your body is under attack, either by your own thoughts, beliefs or intense emotions, others’ responses/reactions, or the changing/stagnate world around you. As a once heavily stigmatized disorder—diagnosed commonly in women and people of color—society’s negative opinion has been soothed with research connecting BPD symptoms to post-traumatic responses. Prior to this shift in understanding, BPD sufferers were not only forced to endure hard things but were marked with a scarlet letter across their personality instead of placing the blame on a disordered society. In the face of social misunderstanding, individual healing is possible, community healing is necessary.
Healing Within, Healing Throughout
It’s clear that despite the stigma that is held against women, people of color, and other marginalized folx who face scrutiny from a BPD diagnosis, healing must happen both within (ourselves) and throughout (society). Here are some ways how:
Dialectical Behavior Therapy, borderline personality disorder treatment and community-based healing help by addressing the following:
- Changing behaviors that result in self-destruction. Receiving education in therapy on red and green flags in relationship, harm reduction (e.g., exploring substance use and tendencies toward impulsive behavior), and coping skills that reduce permanent harm to the body and mind and help manage the extreme emotions associated with a BPD diagnosis.
- Creating insight of your relationship “templates”. Exploring relationship images, childhood expectations and messaging, and the models you’ve had for self-care and being in relationship with others affects how you see yourself in context. This is important content for dialectical behavioral therapy sessions at our focused BPD treatment center.
Whether you live with BPD or another a mental health disorder, or have a loved one who is in BPD recovery, the following is how you can help heal community perceptions:
- Telling your story. The most powerful lessons for researchers, laypeople, and communities have been from people who have lived, endured, and experienced the continuum of shame, stress, and fear that exists in living with BPD. This could be through support groups, local workshops, community events, or even classrooms with future mental health practitioners.
- Challenging the narrative. In telling your story, you might already be challenging the narrative. To create change, we must be different than the system. By saying no, speaking up, or educating loved ones on the signs and symptoms of BPD, the historical roots, and the possibility of healing from BPD, this mental health disorder does not need to be a lifelong struggle.