In this blog, we will be discussing the best jobs for borderline personality disorder and also cover what is a borderline personality disorder, its causes, symptoms of BPD, working with BPD. We will then talk about a few areas in which people with a borderline personality disorder will be able to work efficiently with proper guidance.
What Are The Best Jobs for People With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?
The jobs that are best suited for people with borderline personality disorder:
- Graphic design
- Teaching online
- Animal care
These are best suited for people with borderline personality disorder as these provide you a flexible schedule, work mostly independently, use their creativity, and help them stay financially independent.
Let us understand borderline personality disorder and then explore what kind of work is suitable for people with BPD and factors that people with BPD should consider while looking for a job in the further sections.
What is borderline personality disorder (BPD)?
People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) tend to show a pattern of behavior that is characterized by impulsivity and instability in their self-image, their moods, and their interpersonal relationships. A central attribute is affective instability.
Before getting into further details about the characteristics of people with BPD, let us know what personality disorders are; characteristics of a person, coping styles, and forms of interaction in the social environment emerge in childhood and usually materialize into established patterns in late adolescence or early adulthood.
These patterns form the personality of the individual which is defined as the set of unique traits and behaviors that characterize the person. Individually. For a personality disorder to be diagnosed, the person’s enduring pattern of behavior must be pervasive and inflexible, as well as stable and long-lasting.
It must also cause clinically significant distress or impairment and be manifest in at least two of the following areas: cognition, affect, interpersonal functioning, or impulse control.
Coming back to BPD, the American Psychological Association explains BPD as follows; people with a borderline personality disorder display great instability, including major shifts in mood, an unstable self-image, and impulsivity (APA, 2013).
These characteristics become the main roots of the instability in their relationships. Their emotions always seem to be the exact opposite of what others might be feeling, leading to conflicts. They are prone to outbursts of anger, which may sometimes result in physical harm or even violence towards others.
They also, however, direct their anger towards themselves impulsively and inflict physical harm on themselves. They often are very troubled over their prolonged feelings of deep emptiness. Their impulsive, self-destructive actions can range from alcohol and substance abuse to delinquency, unsafe sex, and reckless driving.
Many resorts to self-mutilation or self-mutilation, such as cutting themselves or burning themselves, or hitting their heads. Suicidal threats and actions are common among people with BPD.
Signs and symptoms of BDP
BPD affects how a person feels about themselves, how they relate to others, and how they behave.
- Going to extreme measures to avoid imagined or real separation or rejection because of an intense fear of abandonment.
- Instability in relationships can be quite intense such as one moment they may be idealizing someone and then the next moment, believing that the person does not care enough or is rude.
- They undergo rapid changes in self-image and self-identity that include shifting of goals and values, and feeling as if they are bad or that they do not exist at all.
- Stress-induced paranoia along with loss of contact with reality that can last from a few minutes to a few hours.
- Engaging in risky behaviors impulsively, such as reckless driving, spending sprees, unsafe sex, gambling, binge eating or abusing drugs, sabotaging stability by impulsively abandoning responsibilities ending a healthy relationship, etc.
- Self-harming behaviors and Suicidal threats are common often in response to the fear of rejection and/or separation.
- Extreme mood swings can last from a few hours to a few days, including feelings of intense happiness, shame or anxiety, and irritability.
- Mostly constant or recurring feelings of emptiness.
- They are usually short-tempered and have a sense of Inappropriate and intense anger issues, leading to a frequent loss of temper, behaving aloof, or being sarcastic, and occasionally they also get into physical fights.
Working with Borderline Personality Disorder
Of course, having BPD will impact your life in many ways, even if you are taking the necessary treatment.
This is a challenge you have to take up every day. But yes you can have fairly good job satisfaction provided you choose the right job. First, let us see a few challenges a person with BPD might face while in a work environment.
Because a person with BPD might think in a black and white way it will be either all or none perspective for you. You will either love your job a lot or you might end up hating it in the future, there is no in-between.
This might obviously lead to instability which can lead to frequent career changes, making it hard to reach your long-term goals. Because you might hold a changing self-image you may find it difficult to progress in your career when you find your goals are shifting constantly.
Impulsive behavior and mood swings may impact your workplace relationships. If the workplace does not have a supportive environment, you may feel misunderstood or find it hard to “fit in.”
Your BPD symptoms may affect your concentration and also your focus at work, making it hard to keep up with the deadlines.
It is a given that work sometimes involves stressful situations for any person. However not being able to handle the stress or not having enough time to yourself for attending therapy or just trying to compose yourself may end up making your symptoms worse.
What to look for in a job for someone with BPD?
There are no obvious jobs in which people with borderline personality disorder can thrive. Just having BPD does not make everyone similar. Everyone has their own individual symptoms and manifestations.
So the best thing for you to do is to understand yourself, your symptoms by maybe talking to your therapist and looking into what you are good at and what are some common things you should consider.
Factors to take into consideration while looking for a job
Schedule of the job
This is the first thing you need to consider. Given that BPD is something you have to keep managing constantly and given that you will come across frequent triggers in your daily life, a typical 9-5 job might not be the best fit for you.
You might need more time for yourself than others and you’ll also need to take time off for a therapist’s appointment if you are seeing one.
Therefore a part-time job or work with a flexible schedule like freelancing might be the better option for you. Also maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle is a must therefore look for something during the daytime.
Job roles like Graphic designer, Editor, Photographer, Copywriter, Animal care, Childcare, Online teacher, freelancer, etc. are suitable for people with BPD because these provide you with a flexible schedule.
What kind of work environment is best for you to thrive in? Some people with BPD prefer quiet workplaces where you can direct your entire focus onto the task at hand. Whereas others might prefer an environment where they might have to do multiple things at once, like multitasking to keep their mind constantly busy.
Whatever the workplace is, it is important to find a supportive environment. Places where they know about your diagnosis and offer a safe space for you to thrive in. Places, where you have to hide your diagnosis, are not the best place for you to work. It can lead to a lot of problems for you and also for others.
Job roles like Graphic designer, Editor, Photographer, Copywriter, Animal care, Childcare, Online teacher, freelancer, etc. are suitable for people with BPD because these provide you with a conducive environment to work. These job roles are also possible to be performed from the comfort of one’s home and can be a right fit for people with BPD.
Having a creative career like arts will keep you from getting bored. Many people with BPD have known to thrive when they have the opportunity to be creative. This might include opportunities like photography, theater, production, arts like music, dance, fashion industry like fashion designing, interior designing, etc.
Keep in mind that you would have to avoid jobs that involve frequent teamwork. You have to understand some things about yourself including your limitations, strengths, interests, values, and skills. self-awareness is the most important part of finding a fulfilling career in which you can be satisfied.
Job roles like Graphic designer, Editor, Photographer, Copywriter, Animal care, freelancer, etc. are suitable for people with BPD because these provide you with a workspace that can help you understand yourself better and also work alone.
Dealing with BPD on a daily basis is pretty much like a walk on a tightrope. You might have to put in constant efforts in order to not lose control and sometimes this can seem quite tedious. Always remember to have a good support system and seek the necessary help. When you feel tired, think about why you want to get better. Think about your goals and aspirations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What Are The Best Jobs for People With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?
What is a borderline personality like?
A person with borderline personality might feel unstable, ranging from unstable moods, relationships, thinking, behavior, etc.
What triggers a person with a borderline personality disorder?
Being under constant stress for long periods of time, being a victim of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse can all be triggers for the manifestation of BPD. It should be mentioned that the exact triggers of the manifestation of BPD are not scientifically established.
Can borderlines have friends?
Yes, people with BPD can have friends. Having proper self-awareness, being accepting and understanding, knowing when to get involved and when not are all the qualities that are required when you are trying to befriend a person with BPD. With proper care, People with BPD can have long and rewarding relationships.
What does a BPD episode look like?
A BPD episode can range from a few hours to several weeks during which the persona can become extremely irritable with frequently changing mood swings, chronic emptiness, paranoia, self-harming behaviors, etc.
Name some famous people with borderline personality disorder
Brandon Marshall, Doug Ferrari, Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie, etc are some people who are assumed or have admitted to having BPD.
How many people with BPD are unemployed?
According to a study, about 45% of patients who have been diagnosed with BPD, remain unemployed. (see references)
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
Hooley, J., Cole, S., & Gironde, S. (2012). Borderline personality disorder. In T. Widiger (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Personality Disorders (pp. 409–36). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2012). Employment in borderline personality disorder. Innovations in clinical neuroscience, 9(9), 25–29.