Remember that having BPD doesn’t define who you are. Treatment for BPD works. It does take time and effort. These links are given as a guide to what may help you manage tough times. Please note that these resources do not substitute professional help and should preferably used in consultation with your treating team.
For information about treatments for BPD please go to the "Treatment for BPD" menu.
A number of self-help skills (mainly DBT) based sites are listed below.
A peer-based approach to supporting people who have made suicidal attempts or who experience suicidal thoughts. Peer-to-peer mutual support groups provide a space for voicing, sitting with, understanding and moving through suicidal thoughts.
Groups are available in many states or via zoom which are open to anyone.
NB: Alt2Su approach won't appeal to everyone. We're providing the information in the spirit of 'Here's something some people are finding helpful, see what you make of it...'
ABC Radio National Podcast - Ways to Stay Alive
Alternatives to Suicide Research Project: Exploring the experiences and impacts of a peerbased approach to responding to suicidal distress
is a community based driven organisation specialising in mental health support services. The Grow program is a holistic, group support model based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. (not BPD specific).
..... is a non-profit organization created by a network of families and individuals affected by borderline personality disorder (BPD) who have united around our mission to improve social connection, awareness and health care systems for those with BPD. Website has a number of peer developed resources and some online groups.
Coping skills help us to get through difficult times - they can provide an important break from mental and emotional distress.
The following suggestions / resources are given as a starting point for you to explore what works best for you.
When you feel floaty or separate or stressed or are dissociating learning to use your senses is a helpful way to ground yourself back in your body.
eg Touch: cushions, soft toys, squishy balls, play doh, pebbles.
Smell: essential oils, pot pourri, fresh mint leaves or lavender.
Taste: Fruit bowl, mints.
Sight: Beautiful images, art books, landscape books. Hearing: ipods or cd player and headphones with soft music, instrumentals.
Movement: swing, rocking chair, vertical jumping as on a trampoline
A number of information sheets and video clips from PD and Me (UK)
Using art: many people find art soothing when in distress either free drawing or completing mandala templates (available on the internet or books or aps). Free templates available for download (designed by a lived experience advocate)
Drawing for Distress Tolerance - a series of videos by Mahlie Jewell (LE advocate/Art Therapist)
'This Christmas remember' A poster by Mahlie Jewell (Lived Experience Advocate)
Project Air Strategy has a number of self-help fact sheets on its website
Strategies for Coping with Distressing Voices. This poster was developed by the Hearing Voices Network Australia and offers a number of skills to help manage internal distress.
Lifeline offers a number of free self help tools, a coping kit and fact sheets on it's website.
DBT Coach is a phone app that aims to help individuals to understand DBT skills as well as create diary entries to record DBT skills and target behaviours. The app contains exercises and short videos to help understand DBT skills and features to connect users to a discussion community of other people learning DBT skills. The DBT diary record can also be shared with a psychologist or care team to track progress. This app would be most helpful for someone who has engaged in therapy before and would like to get additional health with learning, practicing and recording DBT skills. DBT Coach offers a free version with limited features or users can access all of the features via subscription- $11.99 per month or $59.99 every six months.
'Journaling as a Path to Hope' a peer presentation from the TheMHS conference 2021
The Science of Well-being - a free course offered by Yale University that teaches you the skills on how to be happier.
Professor Laurie Santos taught "Psychology and the Good Life" first in spring 2018 in response to concerning levels of student depression, anxiety, and stress. It became the most popular class in Yale's history and garnered national and international media attention....and is now offered free online
DBT Self-help - a site written by PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN THROUGH DBT, not DBT professionals.
DBT-RU - a series of Youtube clips from Rutgen University (USA) from their Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Clinic at Rutgers University.
Distress Tolerance Modules PROVIDED BY Facebook Support Group: DBT Skills Application
Links used with permission of Tasha 2018
This site (by Mission Australia) is mainly designed to help with substance use by building on a person's ability to identify and manage emotions, communicate effectively with others, and to get through tough times without making them worse. The skills presented are modified from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and the site has been included here as the information presented may also help you with other aspects of your life.
Free Guided Meditation Smiling Mind. A modern meditation app that uses mindfulness to boost calmness, contentment and clarity. Available via Apple Store or Google Play
In Hand Taking you through different activities in times of stress or low mood, aiming to focus on where you’re at and bring back the balance. Available via Apple Store or Google Play
Note: this app was developed in the UK. The emergency contact numbers are for the UK but the content can be accessed from Australia.
Calm is a simple mindfulness app that brings clarity and peace of mind into your life. Available via Apple Store or Google Play Note: This app offers a free 7 day trial.
Breathe2Relax This app is centered around the basic concept that breathing into the belly—diaphragmatic breathing—provides deeper relaxation than does breathing into the chest. Designed mainly for use by individuals with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, the app helps with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management. It is a portable stress management tool with breathing exercises documented to decrease the body’s “fight-or-flight” stress response.
Self Compassion Guided Medications and Exercises with Dr Kristin Neff
Self-Compassion with Dr Kristin Neff (YouTube clip)
Mindfulness Exercises - free mindfulness worksheets, talks, eBooks and meditations
The Free Mindfulness Project free downloadable mindfulness resources
Guided meditations with Tara Brach
Instant Mindfulness - a collection of mindfulness videos
Fact sheet - A guide for women and their families
LifeSigns - LifeSIGNS Self-Injury Guidance & Network Support (UK) - a user-led small charity creating understanding about self-injury. Their mission is to guide people who hurt themselves towards new ways of coping, when they’re ready.
There are a number of either open or closed facebook pages that encourage mutual support. We suggest you search for one that is supportive for you.
You may find some of the following helpful:
A series of 4 online modules offered by The Centre for Clinical Interventions (WA Dept of Health).
Module 1: Understanding Distress Intolerance
Module 2: Accepting Distress
Module 3: Improving Distress
Module 4: Tolerating Distress
The Centre also offers a series of self-help modules for those experiencing Social Anxiety.
Aguirre, B. & Galen, G. (2013). Mindfulness for borderline personality disorder: relieve your suffering using the core skill of Dialectical Behavior therapy. New Harbinger Publications. CA
Hoekstra, R. (2013). The Emotional Extremist’s Guide to Handling Cartoon Elephants: How to Solve Elephantine Emotional Problems Without Getting Run Over, Chased, Flattened. Hoekstra
Linehan, M.M. (2015) DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets 2nd Edition . The Guilford Press, N.Y.
Spradlin, S. (2003). Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Put You in Control. Oakland: New Harbinger
Van Dijk, S. (2011). Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills for Helping You Manage Mood. Oakland. New Harbinger Publications