Occupational therapists are health care providers that help people from all walks of life. We are therapists that are focused on supporting people to participate in their valued daily activities or occupations. This is anything and everything that you do in your daily life that helps you live, and gives your life purpose including: self care (e.g. dressing, toileting and showering), enjoying your life (leisure e.g. play and recreation activities), and productivity e.g. employment, volunteering or student roles.
Occupational therapists support people with all types of disabilities, illnesses and conditions – including Borderline Personality Disorder. From the moment you get out of bed, brush your teeth, make breakfast, go to work/school/volunteering/groups, to playing sports and socialising, we can help you. Think about all the skills you require to do these activities…. There are many. As occupational therapists we are trained to look at these skills with you and collaborate on how to make these activities easier.
One of our main focuses is looking at the environments people live, work and play in. This means looking at how the environment either acts to prevent or encourage you to do your daily activities. With your help we work together on how we can modify aspects of the physical, social, political, institutional environment to enable everyone to participate in life to their fullest potential.
This may mean advocating for policy changes and funding for BPD, educating health care providers on how to work sensitivity with our needs or simply changing our home environment to make us feel more safe and comfortable.
As an occupational therapist with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder I am aware of the difficulties and hurdles we face each day. And how these challenges may prevent us from participating in our life including looking after ourselves, eating properly, showering, cooking, seeing friends, and leaving the house.
In my life, I have used occupational therapy strategies to cope with fatigue, managing nightmares, headaches, my sensory sensitivities, reducing self-injurious behaviours, with memory issues and back pain. Strategies such as learning how to conserve energy, reduce pain, release emotional pain through activities and accept my diagnosis has helped me with getting back into normal daily life such as cooking, having a shower, my art interests and finding employment. As such I have an increased sense of hope and purpose in my life and I see myself more than just my diagnosis.
But the amazing thing is that, an occupational therapist’s role changes from one person to the next – depending on your struggles, your goals and dreams.
For example, other ways an occupational therapist may support people with BPD could include:
· Running group therapy workshops such as managing stress, acceptance and commitment therapy and cooking classes
· Working alongside your life goals, dreams and projects
· Supporting you with budgeting and money management
· Supporting you in creating a healthy sleep environment that reduces sensory sensitivities
· Using the creative arts to help build self-esteem and explore your self-identity
· Working with you to explore your sensory needs and sensitivities to reduce feeling overwhelmed in different environments
· Empowering you to build and maintain your daily routines
· Supporting you in finding study, employment or volunteering opportunities
· Encouraging you to use occupations to release and manage difficult emotions
· And building your confidence to continue living your life.
If you would like more support in reclaiming your life with BPD please reach out to us.
Occupational therapy has made my life so much easier to live, I hope that it can do the same for you and your journey.