For many people, the holidays are traditionally a time to gather for festive celebrations with family and friends. It’s the “most wonderful time of the year,” after all, as you’re reminded each time you hear that classic holiday song. Even with the strange circumstances of the year, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the holidays.
But what if the holiday season is not the most wonderful time of the year for you? If you struggle with borderline personality disorder, it might not be. The holiday season isn’t the same jovial experience for everyone. In fact, your experience could be quite the opposite. There are countless possible BPD triggers during the holiday season that make this time of year a challenge.
Gatherings are joyous and comforting for millions, but that’s not the case for everybody. Many of those with BPD and a history of trauma feel anything but excitement during this time. Expectations to spend time with difficult friends or family members might feel like more than you can handle. You need to consider how to manage BPD triggers during the holiday season.
How can you make it through, and maybe even enjoy, the holidays this year? There are ways you can manage your BPD triggers and hopefully find some relief over the next few weeks. Here are some ideas to help you regulate your emotions while handling the holidays!
Understand Your Particular Triggers
Borderline personality disorder doesn’t always look the same for each person. Specific symptoms vary depending on the individual and their experiences. Most people with BPD experience triggers, though. You probably have at least some understanding of your particular triggers that you deal with daily.
Triggers are challenging enough to deal with during the year. The holiday season brings with it an entirely new set of circumstances that only amplify your existing difficulties. It’s more alarming when you aren’t prepared for them. Make sure you use coping skills for situations that could arise in order to manage BPD triggers during the holiday season.
Consider the possible circumstances you may be faced with over the coming days and weeks. Fear of abandonment is one of the most common symptoms of BPD. Feelings of loneliness are often amplified during the holidays. They could likely increase your fears of being hurt by others or a strong need for validation and reassurance from others, which can be BPD symptoms.
There are often certain people or places that exacerbate or intensify your BPD symptoms. You may avoid them throughout the year but have an event during the holidays that calls for interacting with those people or visiting that place.
Awareness doesn’t necessarily make them easier to handle. It does allow you to make some decisions about what you’ll do with these possible situations and symptoms, though. It will be easier to manage BPD triggers during the holiday season when you take the time to prepare for them.
Stay Connected with Your Solutions
How do you manage your borderline personality disorder during the year? Whatever you do, stay connected with your solutions during the holiday season. Schedules usually fill up throughout the next few weeks and the time speeds by. Don’t let this be an excuse to disconnect from your usual routine, though.
It’s easy to get off-track with the whirlwind of the holidays but getting off-track will only make your symptoms worse. Staying connected with the things that help you cope with stress is an essential way to manage BPD triggers during the holiday season. Don’t try to make it through the holidays on your own.
Continue doing the things you do to relieve stress, anxiety, and worry. If you meet with a therapist weekly, don’t cancel your appointments. If you take medication, make sure your prescriptions are filled and you stay on schedule with taking them. The things that help you during the year will be even more important during the holidays.
Don’t trick yourself into believing you’re a burden, either. The people who love and support you want the best for you and will be willing to support you during this time. Make sure to seek help from multiple sources, though. You can’t rely on one single person to assist you.
The more people you ask for help, the wider your network of support will be. You’ll better manage BPD triggers during the holiday season if you look to multiple people for help. Having additional support in your corner will help you get through the holidays this year.
Avoid Alcohol and Other Substances
Alcohol is a central part of holiday gatherings. There are festive cocktails, glasses of wine, flutes of champagne, and highballs galore. You might feel tempted to manage BPD triggers during the holiday season with the help of a drink or two.
Mixing alcohol with an already intense emotional situation isn’t the best idea, though. The effects of alcohol often amplify the symptoms of BPD. Despite its association with holiday spirits, alcohol is actually a depressant substance. You might have a drink or two to help you only to find that they make your triggers more unbearable.
It’s best to avoid alcohol and other substances when trying to manage BPD triggers during the holiday season. You don’t need alcohol to make it through an event or to have a better time. You can have just as much fun without drinking. If you’re worried about being the only one sober, ask a friend if they’re willing to stay alcohol-free with you for the evening.
Don’t Neglect Your Self-Care
Just like your year-round solutions, self-care is crucial when trying to manage BPD triggers during the holiday season. No one knows how to care for you better than yourself at the end of the day. Don’t neglect your self-care practices even as the days and weeks start to speed up through the end of the year.
Set aside time for yourself every day to stay centered and keep your stress levels to a minimum. Anything that gives you some time for relaxation is important. Pick at least one thing you can do to care for yourself daily. These include things like journaling for a few minutes, practicing meditation, reading a couple of pages in a book, or taking a bath.
Ask for Additional Support
No matter how much help you have, there’s nothing wrong with asking for additional support. Everyone understands the stresses that come with the season. Even folks who don’t have a mental illness or personality disorder have difficulties during this time of the year. Asking for additional support is nothing to be ashamed of.
Anything you can do to recruit more help make it easier to manage BPD triggers during the holiday season. Reach out to understanding friends or family members. Find a community of other people who know the hardships of BPD from personal experience. Join a support group if you aren’t already a part of one.
Additional support can also include reaching out for professional help. Mental health treatment offers extra structure and support during this difficult time of year. If you feel you can’t manage BPD triggers during the holiday season on your own, seeking help at a treatment facility can help.
Are you heading into the holiday season and concerned about your BPD? Clearview Women’s Center is the premier mental health treatment facility for women battling borderline personality disorder and other mental health disorders. We’re here to keep you from feeling alone this holiday season and ready to set you up with assistance if you need it.
Whether you’re looking for short-term or long-term support, we have a program that’s right for you. From residential treatment to outpatient programs, Clearview Women’s Center offers a compassionate, comprehensive approach to mental health treatment. Call us today and let us know how we can support you this holiday season as you navigate the next few months!