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BPD vs. COVID-19

How those with BPD can cope.

The current, ravaging coronavirus is forcing much distress on all of us. The havoc caused by reactions to this plague can cause particular anguish for those struggling with borderline personality disorder. Fear of infection increases anxiety and insecurity. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are intensified.

Recommended responses to this scourge also threaten stability. Adjustments that precipitate a change in the usual routine are frightening. Distancing and isolation escalate abandonment fears. Feelings of emptiness increase. For someone with BPD, lessened contact raises fears he will always be alone and is unworthy of a relationship. Continued seclusion may increase paranoid thoughts.

During these chaotic times when we are all encouraged to minimize contacts and preserve sequestration, there are actions you can take that can help a loved one with BPD:

  • Stay in contact. Live connections with webcam are preferable to phone calls, but regular connections are important. Use social media. Having a routine schedule when he can expect you to contact him is reassuring.
  • Encourage routine. Help her arrange a regular timetable of activity, which may include exercise, reading, meditation, journaling, etc.
  • Involve a pet. Caring for an animal is a healthy distraction. Walking the dog, feeding the cat, watching the goldfish swim are activities that allow him to focus away from his anxieties.
  • Give a piece of you. A picture to look at, a sweatshirt to wear (and smell) are connections to you that are comforting.

All of us are stressed during the national pandemic. Reaching out to those we love, especially those who are inflicted with mental illness, brings all of us closer.