Are you okay? For any day of the year

What to say and do when someone says “no I’m not okay”

Please be prepared incase someone admits they are not okay

1. Just listen.  Don’t switch into logical mind and think you need to be their superhero. Listening is so powerful. The best friends are listeners rather than speakers. 👂

2. Listen… we have two ears… Don’t be quick to suggest. We know you want to help but please don’t suggest “Have you tried this?”. It’s invalidating. Most likely we have tried to find ways to manage. 👂 👂

Again “It will get better” can be insensitive. I know for myself I have heard this over and over. Which makes me feel hopeless when I hear this. I am learning to accept that I have BPD and this might mean I could live with this for the rest of my life. Additionally, unless support is in place and this person receives help itwon’t necessarily get better right then and there.

One I get is “have you been exercising?” “Have you been taking your medication”. These statements make me infuriated. There are also invalidating as it suggests everything can be cured by exercise.

3. Refrain from saying “I understand what you are going through”. 🤐
The truth is no one understands what another person is going through. Unlessyou are that person. This statement is made often with best intentions but canleave a person feeling more alone. Do the best you can to put your judgements aside.


4. Say words with love 💕 …
“I’m so sorry you are going through this”
“I can see that you are going through are tough time”
“I am here for you”
“That is awful. I can’t imagine the pain your feel right now”.
“How can I help you during this time”
“I want to be here for you”
“Can I support you in finding some help”
“There are people who can help make things more manageable, can we have a look together in finding these people”

5. Stay. If someone admits they are not okay, don’t leave them. Keep incontact with them. Make time to be there for them. 🤳

6. Make a plan to check on them. Ask them to commit to being safe particularly in the next 24 hours. This requires action. For example, do you need to call for emergency help?
Do you and this person have to create a plan towards “staying safe”
-e.g. I will put the alcohol away, I will remove sharps (blades) from out of sight, I will not drive (perhaps call them a taxi), I will give my meds or drugs to my partner so that I can not access them.

From experience. Its best to help the person feel in charge. E.g. I experience panic attacks when my husband hides the knives in the house. But if I place them out of site or give them over I feel more in control rather than having them taken off me.

7. Continue to check in with them. Keep lines of communication open. This person has just shared some very sensitive information with you. They may feel vulnerable or frightened. Keep validating them. E.g Thankyou for sharing. I will appreciate you opening up to me.

8. See how they are going with accessing supports. Continue to listen to what they need. Ask them how you can help. ❓❓

9. Read up. Do some reading on how you can support someone going through a tough time and also how to look after yourself. 📚

Until then… Have a day,   

Love Laura

Love Laura 

OT for BPD Founder


Published by Beyond Personality Disorders

Founder of My Potential Mental health Advocate; Occupational Therapy Teacher and Researcher Australia “As an occupational therapist diagnosed with BPD I will use this page to share about the various interventions and strategies that are helpful to those with BPD. I will also share about the positive and sometimes challenging approaches that health professionals have used in my treatment in emergency, inpatient, outpatient and community settings. I hope that by sharing my lived experience I can help improve the experience of those struggling to understand Borderline Personality Disorders (BPD) and also support those living with BPD and other mental health challenges Most importantly we will share how occupation can powerfully help change lives!" Laura

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