Borderline Personality Disorder and Giving Thanks

November 23, 2011 Becky Oberg

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. You can be thankful in spite of a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD). It all comes down to a matter of perspective. Are you thankful for the little things, or do you even notice? Are you taking much of what you have to be thankful for for granted? What are you thankful for?

Alphabetical thanks

In 2001, I was not in a good Thanksgiving mood. I'd lost my dream job, moved back in with my parents since no job meant no apartment, and I was having trouble with my medication. At dinner, my youngest brother Tim, then still in middle school, suggested a game. We would go through the alphabet, each person saying what they were thankful for with the letter we were on.

I could've strangled him.

Halfway through the game, I was in a considerably better mood because some of it was downright silly. For example, I had the letter "R". I replied that I was thankful for my pet rat. Dad had the letter "T", looked at my grinning brother and said "Tim! I am thankful for Tim." And to tell the truth, so was I. He'd gotten me out of the rut of self-pity.

The game also had the effect of putting me in a better mood because I realized I had a lot to be thankful for. For example, my basement bedroom was drafty. I had the letter "H". I said I was thankful for heaters. I felt warm just thinking about it. Yes, it sounded silly, but I truly was thankful for my heater. With that realization, I realized there were other things to be thankful for as well.

Thanks of others

Sometimes listening to what others are thankful for can help us realize what we are thankful for. When I moved back in with my parents, Tim was happy to have his big sister back. I'd attended college in a different state, so he was happy to finally have me close by. He let me know this on more than one occasion. I had to learn to see it from his view.

In addition, I tried to remember my time in the mission field, especially my week in Haiti. I had so much in comparison to them that it was obscene not to be thankful. I had two parents who loved me, the freedom to practice my religion, the ability to read, the ability to seek and pay for medical treatment, more than enough food to eat, and clean drinking water. Not all of these are promised, even in the U.S. I really did have a lot to be thankful for.

People are thankful for you

Another thing that helped with my depression was my "Nice Notes" file. It is filled with thank-you notes and other words of encouragement I've received over the years. Since it's easy to forget the thanks and encouragement of others, I've found that keeping a written record helps tremendously. When I get frustrated or depressed, when I feel like I don't matter, I go through the notes in this file. It always leaves me feeling better.

Everyone should keep a file like this.

It's also important to let people know you are thankful for them. Sometimes just seeing the look on their face when you tell them (or, better yet, give them a card) can lift you up as well. Let someone know today that you are thankful for them. You might find out they feel the same way.

Happy Thanksgiving.

APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2011, November 23). Borderline Personality Disorder and Giving Thanks, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 20 from

Author: Becky Oberg

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