Coping with Intense Emotions and Panic with Borderline

November 16, 2016 Laura Lewis

Intense emotions and panic are hard to go through. As a person with borderline personality disorder (BPD), I have intense emotions all day, every day. It never stops. There is no complete relief. The best way for me to cope with feeling so emotionally charged is to distract myself with an activity. This could be cleaning, exercising, reading, watching television, playing and snuggling with my pets, cooking, listening to music, writing, or many other coping activities. I've come to realize that borderlines can deal with intense emotions and panic.

When Borderline Emotional Intensity Turns to Panic

If I linger too long in what feels like craziness in my brain and body, panic might take over. When panic sets in, I sometimes look at suicide as a possible way out. I don't want to kill myself, so I have learned to do what is best for me when strong emotions and/or thoughts of suicide seem to rule. (If you or someone you know is in danger of harm, please call a suicide hotline immediately.)

Steps Borderlines Can Take to Cope with Intense Emotions and Panic

A person with borderline personality disorder feels intense emotions all day, every day. Coping with intense emotions and panic is job 1. Here are some tips.

Take Medicine as Prescribed if Panicked

First, I take an anxiety medicine prescribed for me for such times. The medicine takes about an hour to calm me, so I look at the clock and tell myself that I will feel less intense in an hour. My doctor and I, after much trial and error, have determined that this should be my first step. For some, medicine might be further down on the list or not used at all.

Check Your Physical Needs When Coping with Intense Emotions

Next, I assess my physical needs in that moment and nurture myself accordingly. If I'm hungry, I might need to cook or eat. If my body feels paralyzed by anxiety, I know that I need to move around, even if all I can manage is to stand up and stretch. If my body feels scared and vulnerable, I can wrap a blanket around me or hug a pillow.

Talk to Someone When Feeling Panicked

I have friends that I can call, email or text. Sometimes I just need to be heard and sometimes I feel better knowing someone is thinking of me. If I reached out every time I felt overwhelmed, though, I would be writing or calling people too much. So I have to determine what my communication needs are. I keep in mind that I don't want to isolate, but I also don't want to completely depend on others to comfort me. There is a healthy balance, so I'm told. I worry about this balance most of the time, as it is at least daily that I have a time of panic. Sometimes the panic lasts all day. I communicate with others during these struggles, but I always keep in mind that no one has the ability to "fix" me or take my emotions away. Loved ones can certainly help to soothe me, but it's not healthy to depend on them completely. Many borderlines struggle to find and maintain this balance.

Pray or Meditate When Feeling Intense Emotions

I believe that there is a "higher power" in my life, one who fills me and surrounds me. I call this higher power "Love." Sometimes I forget that Love is available to me. When I remember, I close my eyes and breathe slowly and evenly until I feel Love's presence. This process might last 30 seconds or 30 minutes. I find that meditating in this way improves my overall mental health, so I intend to make time every day to focus on Love.

When the Panic is Over

After doing all of these things to take care of myself, the panic usually lessens or subsides and I return to my usual state of intense emotions. Borderlines can cope with panic and intense emotions.

I congratulate myself for making it through another panic episode and continue to constantly monitor my emotional and physical states so that I can function as much as possible. Having borderline personality disorder is exhausting to me. It's no wonder I usually feel both physically and mentally tired. I keep telling myself that life is worth the struggle. And so, it is. Love, in its many forms, sustains me.

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APA Reference
Lewis, L. (2016, November 16). Coping with Intense Emotions and Panic with Borderline, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 19 from

Author: Laura Lewis

November, 22 2018 at 11:01 pm

I have been hospitalized because of severe depression and attempted suicide two different times...years apart. I have never been happy for any length of time and is can be SO draining emotionally AND physically. I do NOT want to live like this bue I do not want to take my life because I know it would be so painful for my family. I am afraid that if I ask for help on a local level (my own hometown) the police will show up at my door and I may be carted off to a psyche ward. (That has happened before.) DO NOT WANT THIS! How can I ask for and get help so that my family will not have to be embarased like this again?

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