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Supporting a friend with Borderline Personality Disorder

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coylygirl
coylygirl Community member Posts: 283 Pioneering
I am currently supporting a friend who has BPD.  I figured this out for myself over a 5 year turbulent relationship, during which time she has regularly fallen out with me and either ghosted me or blocked me for reasons that I could never quite understand.  I have persevered as I value our friendship and never like to abandon someone who is obviously suffering.  After the last falling out, I reached out to her and suggested that she might like to do some research on BPD at which point she told me she had a diagnosis of the condition.  This has made it easier for me to talk to her as I have a layperson's understanding, but currently, she is in crisis, both emotionally and in her personal circumstances.  Today, I have spent about 4 hours on the telephone to her, trying to calm her and offer hopefully helpful support, including listening, allowing her to express herself and signposting to a mental health telephone service, a local women's group and also a book that I hope she would find helpful.  I myself suffer with Bipolar Affective Disorder and am currently experiencing a depressive episode following on from a major manic which lasted for about 6 months.  Since I reached out to her about 3 weeks ago, she has been calling me 5 or 6 times a day.  She has a very limited support network and tbh, I think I am pretty much it.  I am trying to increase her resources by signposting but she doesn't follow up.  I feel that my mental health is suffering and I am feeling drained by the amount of my time that I am giving her.  If I go out, she always wants to know what time I will be back and as soon as I log onto facebook in the morning she is on the phone.

I do want to be a good and supportive friend, but not at the expense of my own mental health and just wondered whether any of you fine people have experience of my friend's condition or how to set boundaries.

Thanks for reading


Comments

  • Sandy_123
    Sandy_123 Scope Member Posts: 52,489 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi @coylygirl welcome back it's good that you've been supportive but if it's draining you then you might have to step back. 
  • coylygirl
    coylygirl Community member Posts: 283 Pioneering
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    Thanks @Sandy_123, I'm sort of thinking along those lines myself, but will try again to put in support resources.  Good to chat to you xx
  • Sandy_123
    Sandy_123 Scope Member Posts: 52,489 Disability Gamechanger
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    Yes good to see you about I think last time you were here you were doing lots of walking for charity.
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community member Posts: 16,130 Disability Gamechanger
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    Now he doesn't have a diagnosis, but both my son & I independently came to the conclusion his Dad had BPD a few years ago; sadly why I left him after a very long marriage. Unfortunately knowing someone with a problem such as BPD can indeed be draining. If my now ex-husband rings once, then I can expect even more calls, then more in the coming days. Prior to leaving him, he constantly kept on ringing me when at work to 'check up on me' tho I was housebound, & going nowhere. I'm not sure you can set 'boundaries,' with those that have BPD. Just my personal experience, but can only agree with Sandy, so do take good care of yourself too.
  • niknak7278
    niknak7278 Community member Posts: 85 Pioneering
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    Do yourself a favour and switch your phone off for a few days.  

    Take huge steps back and breathe.

    Your health and happiness comes before anything else..
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,503 Disability Gamechanger
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    It's good to hear from you @coylygirl :) 

    It can be difficult when you really want to help a friend, but realise that you might need to take a step back for the sake of your own mental health. It's a tricky line to walk, but I think you've been a fantastic friend so far in terms of signposting her to resources that could be useful to her.

    You've said that she's in crisis- do you think she's currently unsafe (whether that be regarding being able to keep herself safe, or whether she's at risk of harm from someone else)? 
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  • coylygirl
    coylygirl Community member Posts: 283 Pioneering
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    Thanks @Tori_Scope , I don't believe she's at risk of harm to herself or others, I meant a personal crisis which is making it very difficult for her to cope with life at the moment.  I can empathise with her from a time in my life about 10 years ago and my difficulty is that she has few friends (or none who understand) and a very limited support group.  It's difficult to step back from that
  • Dutchie5
    Dutchie5 Community member Posts: 4 Listener
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    Hi coylygirl,
    It sounds like you are an incredible friend. It sounds like your friend doesn't really want to help herself. You have given her plenty of directions where she can go for help. Has your friend got an CPN she can talk to. Me to have been diagnosed wit BPD and I know what she is going through, but she is taken to much from you, and you really need to take a step back. My friend is the same, I always have to be their for her, but when I'm not well she is nowhere to be found.
    Sometimes you have to look after number 1.
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