Vacationing When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder
Going on vacation with borderline personality disorder can bring added challenges. A few years ago, when I was on vacation with my friend in France, I found myself crying on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night becoming increasingly distressed and desperate to be at home. I love going on vacation and being lucky enough to explore new places, but there are times when going away causes me additional challenges for managing my borderline personality disorder (BPD).
3 Tips for Vacationing When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder
1. Packing and Preparation for Vacations with BPD
When I’m away from home it can be difficult because I don’t have access to think things I need to help calm me when I feel anxious. These things range from my art materials, which I use to express my feelings in a safe way, to a shower which I use to ease tension and my yoga mat which I can roll out whenever I need it. Planning my packing well in advance is helpful so I can find items that are portable. Whilst at home I have a multitude of art materials at my fingertips, a sketchbook and a handful of crayons stashed into my suitcase is almost just as good for a couple of weeks.
Before a trip, I make sure that I’ve downloaded any music, podcasts or TV episodes that I can use if I need to take a break or use as a distraction from anxious thoughts. I also make sure to pack snacks, as being hungry really lowers my resilience to intense emotions, headphones and enough warm clothes as being cold really affects my mood.
2. The Importance of Communication During Vacations about My BPD Symptoms
Because of borderline personality disorder, it is vital that I communicate often and effectively when I’m on vacation with the people around me. I’ve found that it’s much more effective to state my needs and feelings clearly before they spiral out of control. It’s much more helpful to say, for example, "I’m feeling tired and would benefit from a short rest," than get so overwhelmed that I have a meltdown in the evening.
Scheduling in some time alone is useful too as social situations are often the most difficult for my BPD. If I stay out late or have a flight that gets in during the small hours, I schedule a late sleep-in without feeling guilty. Sleep is a non-negotiable for me for my mental health.
3. Learning to Cope Without My BPD Therapist During Vacations
It used to be hard being away from my therapist during vacations (or when she went on vacation). In the past, I felt really fragile without a weekly or twice-weekly therapy session. However, in recent times, I’ve learned to cope with my BPD better and I can manage without seeing my therapist for a few weeks at a time.
Last month, I went on holiday to Poland. I packed carefully, had a (mostly) manageable schedule and communicated my needs clearly on the trip. I’m happy to say I had no major emotional meltdowns during the vacation because of BPD and, rather than returning drained as I often do, I came back feeling refreshed.
Cappuccino, R. (2019, July 17). Vacationing When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2019/7/vacationing-when-you-have-borderline-personality-disorder
Author: Rosie Cappuccino
It was good to hear that I am not the only one that has trouble with vacations away from home. I always feel out of sorts and it makes me very irritable and hard to get along with. I am going to try the tips that you gave. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Nelda, thank you for sharing. I can completely see how being on vacations would lead to you feeling irritable and you can find things difficult. I hope the tips are helpful and you find some tips of your own that work for you. Best wishes! Rosie Cappuccino, More Than Borderline Blog Writer