A common query we get is ‘I think my loved one has BPD and it’s really difficult for us as a family. I love them, but the situation can be hurtful and sometimes unbearable. How can I support them, and protect myself?’
It can be hard to know where to go for information and support, and the needs of carers – family members, friends, spouses – are often overlooked. We know that there simply isn’t enough support available for carers of people with BPD. Here are our top tips for supporting your loved one, and looking after your own wellbeing.
Learn About BPD
The first step in supporting someone living with BPD is to learn as much as you can about what it is. Most people have never heard of BPD before a diagnosis, so learning more about the condition is key – not just for the main carer, but also for the family around the person.
Ask them what they need
It’s not always this simple, but sometimes what a person needs is for someone to acknowledge they are in pain and ask what they need to help them at that moment.
Remember their behaviour is influenced by their illness
It can be hard to see a loved one behaving in a harmful way, whether to themselves or others. It’s important to remember that their behaviour is affected by their illness, they are not choosing to be this way.
Be involved in their treatment
Go with them to appointments if you can, or arrange to have coffee afterwards so you can chat about how things went. Learn about their medications and what they do, or what the recommended therapy entails.
How to stay well
The old adage ‘you can’t fill from an empty cup’ is so true – you must look after your own wellbeing, in order to help your loved one. Take time away for you to do the things that you love, or that soothe you, such as listening to music, going to a show, visiting family or friends, reading books. We also have some wellbeing ideas on the site.
Talk to others
There is real comfort to be gained from knowing you are not alone. It can take a great deal of courage to open up about your loved one and how their illness affects you, but there are people who understand because they are in the same position. Our own Partners, Parents and Carers support group meets virtually once a month, and there may be a face-to-face group in your own area – the Carers UK website has a directory of support.
Some useful resources for carers
- Carers UK
- Carers UK is a charity that provides expert information, advice and support for unpaid carers in the UK. They provide practical and emotional support, advice on a range of topics including benefits, and can advise on a carer’s assessment. www.carersuk.org
- Carers Trust
- Carers Trust is a charity providing support, information and advice to carers in the UK. www.carers.org
- Rethink support groups
- Rethink have a directory of support groups rights across the UK – some which are specifically for carers. https://www.rethink.org/help-in-your-area/support-groups/
- Turn2Us is a charity which helps people find and apply for benefits, grants and other support. www.turn2us.org.uk
- Citizens Advice
- Citizens advice offers online and face-to-face advice on benefits, grants, finances and more. www.citizensadvice.org.uk