A lot of the time I talk about the extreme mood swings, poor interpersonal skills, and impulse control issues when I talk about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), which are all valid but today I want to shed light on something that is a little less talked about, the depressed side of BPD.

People with BPD have extreme mood fluctuations which can sometimes take over from a couple hours to a couple weeks. Depression is one of these fluctuations that tends to last longer than the others. Anger and anxiety are usually able to decline on their own especially since they are usually triggered by an event, but depression can come on for no reason and stay for several weeks. A lot of people don’t talk about depression and borderline because the person’s emotions can fluctuate even minute by minute. However, it’s important to recognize because when someone is stuck in a depressed state with BPD they can become suicidal. When someone with BPD becomes suicidal they tend to rely on their black or white thinking, if they don’t want to be alive then they figure they should be dead. But, more often than not they don’t want to die, they just want the pain to stop.

People with BPD have extreme mood fluctuations which can sometimes take over from a couple hours to a couple weeks. Depression is one of these fluctuations that tends to last longer than the others. Anger and anxiety are usually able to decline on their own especially since they are usually triggered by an event, but depression can come on for no reason and stay for several weeks. A lot of people don’t talk about depression and borderline because the person’s emotions can fluctuate even minute by minute. However, it’s important to recognize because when someone is stuck in a depressed state with BPD they can become suicidal. When someone with BPD becomes suicidal they tend to rely on their black or white thinking, if they don’t want to be alive then they figure they should be dead. But, more often than not they don’t want to die, they just want the pain to stop.

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So what can we do about it?

I read an interesting article today about suicide and I found this really interesting quote regarding the intense state of suicidal ideation and urges to commit suicide;

For most people, this intense state only lasts from a few minutes to a couple of hours, she says.

When we add emotion regulation (from DBT) we get a sense of emotional awareness. Recognizing an emotion seems easy but it’s actually one of the hardest things for a person to do. We are taught from a very young age that what we are feeling is the emotion but in reality what we are feeling is a symptom of our core emotion. For example, if someone is extremely angry, to the point they feel like crying, they are usually not experiencing anger but they are experiencing sadness. Emotions can come out in several ways and it’s incredibly difficult to attach an action to an emotion without having time to analyze it.

When someone with BPD is experiencing suicidal thoughts they should pull out their DBT booklet and start to identify what they are feeling. If they “why” they are feeling is too heavy for the moment that’s totally ok. Just focus on what you are feeling. Do you have a racing heart? Are you sweating? Do you have excessive energy? Do you have no energy? Figure out what it is that you’re currently experiencing. Then go onto emotion regulation techniques such as PLEASE, Check the Facts, Distract, and any other skill you find helps that is personal to you.

Depression can be deadly in a person, no matter if they are diagnosed with a mental illness or not. Please remember to reach out to your local groups, schools, hospitals, and treatment centres if you are struggling with any type of suicidal thought. You are not alone, and I personally promise the feeling will pass.

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