Living With BPD Can Feel Like An Emotional Roller Coaster Ride

Are you struggling with managing your emotions, such as feelings of rejection, fear of abandonment, anger, loneliness, emptiness, sadness or heartbreak? Are you experiencing anxiety and depression? Are you feeling emotionally unstable sometimes, or most of the time? Do you experience frequent mood changes, feeling very sensitive or easily hurt? Do you sometimes resort to self-harming behaviors, or experience suicidal thoughts? Do you find yourself in unstable relationships, feeling unsure how to handle the tumultuous ups and downs? Do you find it difficult to calm, soothe and regulate your feelings when you are angry, alone or upset? Are you feeling ashamed of not being “normal,” whatever this may mean, desperately wanting to be OK with life, like most people seem to be?

Has a parent, partner, psychiatrist or any other health care professional suggested that you may have a condition called Borderline Personality Disorder’ (BPD) or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD)? Or maybe traits of this condition? Are you feeling unsure or confused about what this means? Or, are you afraid of being stigmatized and labeled with this condition?

Even if you may feel inclined to give up on the idea of ever getting better, there is still hope! With the help, support and guidance of an experienced, well-trained and understanding psychologist or psychotherapist and a strong commitment and desire to change on your part, there is a good chance of gradual recovery. This would involve someone working alongside you, helping and guiding you in making sense of your confusing and painful world of feelings. Your commitment to and engagement in the psychological therapy process is crucial in facilitating  changes within you, it can bring you closer to living a more balanced life.

Emotionally Unstable Conditions And Childhood Trauma

Emotionally unstable conditions are more common than you might think. Often, individuals who have developed emotionally unstable personality traits grew up in families in which trauma, alcoholism, abandonment and neglect were an integral part of their day to day reality. This kind of emotional climate, if experienced on a day to day basis, is a fertile ground for the development of emotional instability. It is well understood today that emotional instability is strongly associated with what we call “attachment trauma.” This means that emotionally unstable personality traits arise within an insecure family context marked by persistent and repeated experiences of emotional neglect and possibly abuse. This inevitably causes high levels of stress within the child and teenager, causing the development of emotional insecurity, difficulty managing feelings and trusting people later in life.

Often parents and also mental health professionals misunderstand the tumultuous behaviors and stormy emotions associated with emotionally unstable personality traits as “the nature of the individual” rather than the “nature of the condition.” Therefore, individuals with these difficulties often feel misunderstood and stigmatised.

The Recommended And Evidence-Based Psychological Treatment For Emotionally Unstable Conditions Is Mentalization-Based Therapy

Initially, MBT (Mentalization based Therapy) was developed specifically for patients with prominent features of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. Over the last ten years, MBT has also been researched, trialled, recommended and effectively used for other personality disorders, eating disorders, depression, trauma and addictions. Today, mental health professionals consider Mentalization-Based Therapy as the psychological treatment of choice for Borderline Personality Disorder.

What is Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT)? MBT therapy is a type of long-term psychotherapy which aims to develop and improve a person’s capacity to mentalise. What is mentalizing? Mentalizing is an innate human capacity which can be developed or undermined within the family culture we grow up in. It underpins all human relationships and is particularly important in developing and sustaining mutually supportive relationships. Mentalizing is strongly associated with our capacity to make sense of our relationship experiences. It can be described as a form of mindfulness, that is, being mindful of our own thoughts and feelings as well as being mindful of what others might be thinking and feeling. A fragile mentalizing capacity is a core feature of emotionally unstable personality traits, therefore, Mentalization-Based Therapy is considered one of the most effective BPD treatment approaches available. When used as a form of therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder, it is often a great help for people with BPD.

How do I know you’re the best therapist for me?

I suggest that we meet for an initial consultation to get a feel for whether we can connect and work together. On my side, this involves assessing whether I am able to offer you effective therapeutic input, and whether I feel my approach is going to be useful for you. On your side, it may involve getting a sense of whether you feel comfortable with me, my approach and whether you will be able to bring whatever you need to your sessions.

In my therapy practice, it is one of my priorities to create a space in which a trusting therapeutic relationship can develop. This is likely to facilitate and encourage a gentle and gradual unfolding of thoughts, feelings and memories that you may have disconnected from for some time.

I am a fully qualified MBT Practitioner and Clinical Psychologist. I have had extensive training and experience in this field. Over the last twenty years, I have worked with many patients who struggled with varying degrees of emotional instability and a real difficulty with emotional regulation, specifically their capacity to manage uncomfortable and painful feelings. I also have had the privilege to witness many of my clients gradually getting better and developing the life-giving ability of making friends with their feelings and understanding better what is going on in their hearts and minds.

What should I expect during sessions?

During MBT therapy sessions we will be exploring together experiences and potential difficulties in your current life situation with the aim to improve your understanding of yourself and others. We will focus on what is going on in your mind and feeling world, and also reflect together what might be going on in other people’s minds, particularly in situations which may cause strong emotional responses, conflict and problematic behaviours. In this way, Mentalization-Based Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder can help you to better understand and manage your impulses, emotions and behaviours, which in turn can improve your relationships with people that are important to you.

MBT therapy, like all psychological therapies, is most successful when there is a strong commitment to the therapeutic process. Your readiness and motivation for change are vital factors associated with a good outcome. Some of the ingredients that I will bring to our work are curiosity, empathy and a capacity to listen well and deeply. I will articulate and share with you my observations in a sensitive and thoughtful manner. Also, I will introduce you to new psychological ideas and perspectives, which are aimed at enhancing your self-awareness and understanding.

What if therapy makes me feel worse?

Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder can feel unsettling and destabilizing at times. Talking about difficult life experiences naturally can trigger turbulent feelings and memories. MBT, which is considered to be a very effective treatment approach for BPD, offers an opportunity to explore, contain and integrate these emotional states. With gentle guidance, I will support you in developing inner resources aimed at helping you manage and contain difficult thoughts and feelings. Over time, this can gradually bolster your capacity to withstand stress and strengthen your resilience in day to day life .

If you’re struggling with BPD, help is just a phone call away…

If you are struggling with emotional instability, emotional regulation difficulties or EUPD/BPD traits, please contact me via my website to arrange an initial consultation, where we can talk and think together about the most suitable way forward for you. I am looking forward to hearing from you.