Don’t worry, you don’t need your wetsuit for this session. This week we will be talking about the trickle-down effect and how you can cause unseen waves of effect on other people that you might not realise. You see, while you think you are the one in therapy it’s important to note that most people are not alone in this journey. Some have family, friends, children and some will even have dependents that will need their time as well, so what happens in therapy needs to take all of those people into account as well. This is especially true when it comes to BPD which often affects ALL others around the patient.
So you have filled in the Kessler-10 form from our first week and now you kind of know where you are on a scale of self-help. But have you considered getting close friends and family to fill in those same ten questions? Sure, you seem to be struggling a little, but what about them? It’s all well and good learning to ride those emotional waves that you get with BPD, but what about the other people who are also affected by them?
While some people think BPD is all about the individual it really isn’t. BPD is a problem for all those around the individual as well, even if it is something small like they notice you are in mental pain a lot of the time and feel down themselves about it because they love/care for you, it is still affecting them in some way.
While it is good you are trying to get help with this course you might want to talk about it with anyone and everyone who will listen to you. This will not only help you remember the teachings inside these pages but also might help them to understand you and your BPD a little more. How knows, you might even stumble across a family member who also has the symptoms of BPD! By discovering how far your own ‘Wave’ travels should enable you to feel a little less alone in the struggles and a lot more understanding of what is going on inside your head.
While a lot of the DBT teachings you will read in the next 50+ weeks is centred around you and your self-care, once you are feeling strong enough it is OK to start thinking about others. Mindfulness for example is such a simple and beneficial practice and makes everyone around you feel more loved and validated because once you are in control they will be more inclined to relax around you.
This Week’s Homework: What I would like you to do this week is to create something like the diagram above…
All you have to do is put all the names you consider close to you inside the circle and have a little think about how your BPD might be affecting them. Write down words they might be thinking or the emotions they are feeling when your BPD symptoms are at their worst. Maybe they don’t notice anything and if so you should write that down as well. If you can’t think of any names to put down why not make some people up and think how they might react to you when you are having a bad day.
Then 2nd, you should write at least a few names of people who are not in your close circle. These could be the names of people you hardly see, like your delivery driver, the postman or a nosey neighbour. Just have a think about how they might see you or think about you, even if it is a little triggering to think about it, have a little try. The end result might look a little something like this…
Again, if you feel brave enough do share social media links below with your worksheet filled in, or just let me know in the comments below about anything you might notice. If you don’t fancy filling in the sheet just try and imagine for a while what it might look like if you did. Even if it is in your mind you might still get an understanding of the effects your waves might have on others.