Personality disorders

Explains personality disorders, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.

Your stories

Having a BPD diagnosis - my reality

Rebecca's account of being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Posted on 21/11/2014

A disordered personality?

Debbie talks about her experience of borderline personality disorder.

Posted on 30/07/2014

"What are you like when you're well?"

Louise talks about how her response when she was asked this question.

Posted on 27/04/2015

How can I help myself?

Taking some time to make your wellbeing a priority can make a big difference to how you're feeling. Here are some ideas:

  • Talk to friends and family. It can be hard to reach out when you are not feeling well, but sharing difficult thoughts can often make them seem easier to handle.
  • Know how to get help in a crisis. See our pages on crisis services and seeking help in a crisis for more information.
  • Try online peer support. Networks like Elefriends can be a good way to get some support if you don't feel like you can talk to the people around you. It can also be a good way to connect with other people who understand what you're experiencing.
  • Find ways to help you cope with self-harm. If you have a personality disorder, you may be self-harming as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings or overwhelming situations and experiences. See our pages on self-harm for other ways to help yourself cope. You can also access confidential advice about drugs and alcohol on the FRANK website. Find out more information and what support may be available in our pages about the mental health effects of street drugs.

I learnt to be kind to myself and that life can be different if I put the work in. Some days I forget what it feels like to be positive and hopeful for the future, but I know it won’t last. I deserve to be happy and live a fulfilled life and I’m not about to let an illness take that away from me.

  • Try mindfulness and relaxation. This could help you to feel calmer and manage unhelpful thoughts. See our pages on mindfulness and relaxation tips for more information.
  • Try keeping a mood diary. This could help you identify things or situations that trigger a change in your mood. You can then use that information to learn how to cope with triggering situations in future.
  • Get enough sleep. This can help you have the energy to cope with difficult feelings and experiences. See our pages on coping with sleep problems for more information.
  • Do regular exercise. Physical activities like dancing or going for a walk can distract you from your current mood, and help get rid of anxious or angry energy. See our pages on physical exercise for more information.
  • Eat a healthy diet. This can help you have the right nutrients and energy to cope with things when you're having a difficult time. See our pages on food and mood for more information about how your diet can affect the way you feel.
  • Find specialist support. There are organisations offering specialist information and support for anyone affected by personality disorders  – see Useful contacts for details. If you've experienced abuse in childhood, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood is there to support you. If you are in prison, the Prison Reform Trust offers an advice and information service.
  • Find local support. This can be a way to meet people with similar experiences – Mind's Infoline can help you to find local support.
  • Contact an advocate. If you feel like you're not being listened to or treated fairly (such as when talking to doctors or accessing treatment) an advocate can help you have your voice heard. See our pages on advocacy for more information.

For more ideas about caring for yourself when you're feeling unwell, see our pages on self-care for a mental health problem.

This information was published in August 2016. We will revise it in 2019.

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