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BPD self help - is it possible?

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i have BPD in addition to my bipolar and it's been untreated for years. i have recently been stabilized for the bipolar and since that's kind of sort of taken care of, i've been fighting overwhelmingly BPD symptoms daily, not functioning pretty much at all.

i can't afford a therapist. i can't get one institutionally; my country's mental health system's been taking hits and my psychiatrist will not refer.

is there something i can do. i am in pain daily. is there a book or another self-help resource i can use. i am new to this side of things. thanks.

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There's a really great website called dbtselfhelp.com that has a ton of info on dialectical behavioral therapy, one of the therapies that was developed for and has proven effectiveness for treating symptoms of BPD. Sometimes they do "closed" study groups via email.

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It's really frustrating that your psychiatrist won't refer you.  I am in Canada also, so I know how hard it can be to get care.  It's unfortunate because there are some programs for BPD in hospitals and such that would be free, but you'd need the referral.

What helped me was doing a lot of reading about BPD, including books that are more intended for providers, like Marsha Linehan's books (both the source textbook and the training manual).  I did a lot of reading about attachment and trauma, as well.  It helped me to understand myself better, which helped me have more compassion for myself and my symptoms, as well as gave me some insight into how I might approach managing them.  I also read some of the recent literature about psychotherapy for BPD, and what helps and what doesn't.

The book Getting Through the Day by Nancy Napier helped me a lot on the trauma side.  I also used The Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Workbook, which is green.

I was part of this Yahoo skills practice group for a while: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/dbtclass/info

I didn't personally find it hugely useful but some people do and it gives some accountability in your skills practice.

Reading about mindfulness can also be useful.  I eventually took up meditation using the app Headspace, but it took me many years of treatment before I was able to do that.  However, reading about mindfulness in day to day life and using some of those approaches can be helpful in reducing suffering.

There is a DBT app for iPhone (idk if they have it for Android too) that has skills coaching and diary cards and I liked that a lot for a while.  It cost like 6 dollars or something when I got it.

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Self-help is variable. Depends how in touch with yourself and your symptoms and triggers you are, from my experience. And how motivated you are to make any effort, as well as willingness to change and or accept, wherever applicable. 

Therapy, treatment etc, full stop, for BPD, its effectiveness is almost entirely subjective and dependent on severity of symptoms, in my experience. For me, there are traits I have that won't ever change. I guess trying can show you what is changeable and what needs to be accepted, its different for all of us. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

"is there something i can do."

this is left of field advice for sure, however I've done clinical DBT, and it covers a lot of the bases:

Bikram Yoga.

here's what it's going to do for you:

1) you have to get organised enough to turn up, having drunk a liter of water, and not eaten for 2 hours beforehand.

2) you're going to be around other people

3) you're going to meditate.

4) you'll learn to deal with what seems like unbearable conditions

5) there will be breathing exercises.

6) you will fail. miserably. this is why its called a yoga practise.

7) there is no out to this - you're in a hot room for 90 minutes.

8) you'll need a shower.

if you've never done yoga or DBT, it's a bootcamp of sorts. most yoga places have a low cost trial - like $30 for 30 days for you to try, and while you do that, if you want to stick with it, you can volunteer with most centres (i know only of places that welcome anyone willing with open arms), and that will get you free yoga. 

yup. free therapy. neat, huh?

it's not for everyone, sure. but it's an option, particularly when you feel like you're running out of them.

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