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12 Gifts to Give Your Friend With Borderline Personality Disorder

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Giving a helpful and heartfelt gift to a loved one is a great way to show your appreciation. If you’re living with a mental illness like borderline personality disorder (BPD) though, some gifts may be more helpful than others. Sometimes, comforting and meaningful gifts can make the hard days easier. Other times, the “gift” of support and quality time can be just as impactful as a  tangible item.

We asked people in our community who live with BPD to tell us what kinds of gifts they’d love to receive. Of course, not everyone with borderline personality disorder is the same — but we hope this list at least sparks a few ideas!

Here’s what they shared with us.

1. Stuffed Animal

“Stuffed animals are big comfort objects for me when I’m freaking out. Having one that was given to me by someone important reminds me that they care when I’m feeling alone.” — Lish O.

“A tangible object that can represent our relationship to me when you’re not around. I collect plushies, but it could be anything that can remind me of you when we’re not together.” —  Nora T.

Our picks: Elephant plushie, Vermont Teddy Bear.

2. A Guided Journal

“One of those ‘complete the journal’ books that asks you a bunch of random questions to help you journal. I feel so desperate for order and organization that I am constantly trying to journal, but having a guided journal would be so much more helpful.” — Katie V.

Our picks: “Start Where You Are” journal, Mindfulness journal.

3. Candles

“I’ll go with candles. Scents really calm me down and help me focus. I light candles every time I’m stressed or studying for college. Plus scents can evoke really strong memories and emotions, and it can really comfort me to remember happy times if I’m down and feel alone. It can help evoke senses and help with emotional permanence, stress and dissociation.”– Kellyann N.

“Candles or essential oils. The scents help calm me.” — Nikki R.

Our picks: Four-pack of scented candles, Chesapeake Bay Candle.

4. A Hand-Written Letter

“Letters or people sharing positive memories with me so I can put it in my ‘hope box’ to reflect upon when I’m feeling like I need the reassurance or I’m worried I’m a burden.” — Nicholle U.

“I’d love some short notes or letters from people close to me that I can look at when I’m feeling alone or need a boost to reach out for help.” — Samantha B.

5 and 6. Activity or Craft Kits

“Some kind of activity kit. Legos, craft kit; anything to keep me busy for a few hours at least. It helps take my mind off my mental health. Bonus points if it can be used over again.” — Stephanie S.

“Coloring books and the tools to color.”– Danielle B.

Our picks: Lego KitArt 101 Set.

7. Self-Care Package

The perfect gift would be a self-care package. Some holiday socks, soaps, face masks, maybe some tea and a cute mug. Something personal and comforting. Items like these make me feel warm and loved when BPD makes me feel the opposite, and receiving them from someone I love makes me feel it all the more.”– Michaela L.

“I’ve always had in my mind that I wish somebody would make me something like a self-care box, or something to remind me that I’m loved.” — Sarah C.

“Box of various self-care items to help in a difficult moment.” — Mel MB.

Our picks: Take a look at our piece 25 Things to Put in Your Self-Care Kit.

8. Heated or Weighted Blankets

“I could really use a heated blanket. When I have my bouts with depression I’d like to have something warm to soothe me.” — Hali B.

“A heated blanket. I get overwhelmed a lot, especially during depressive/hypomanic/manic episodes, and heat makes me feel better and calmer. I’m always cold and sore too, but I don’t always have the energy for baths, so a heated blanket would be perfect.” — Abby A.

“A weighted blanket! When I get really worked up, overwhelmed and depressed, and find that I can’t stop crying, the best thing that calms me down is crawling under a bunch of blankets and the weight always puts me to sleep! It’s such a relief and they’re too expensive for me to actually afford myself unfortunately.” — Kendra L.

Our picks: Fleece heated blanket, Weighted blanket.

9. Quality Time With Loved Ones

“If I had a friend or family member who just came over one day to check up on me, bring me something thoughtful, even a note or just to give me a hug and say, ‘I’m spending the day with you — let’s go and snuggle, wrap ourselves in blankets and watch a movie/talk.’ I’d be forever grateful. It would make me feel so cared about and appreciated.” — Sarah C.

“One day with my mom where we can go see ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ in NYC and just forget about our problems, money, illness and create a wonderful memory of us being part of something truly magical together.” — Krisiti G.

“Quality, one-on-one time with my favorite people whom I rarely get to see. A date with the guy I’ve been talking to most recently would be really special, too.” — Hollyn D.

Our pick: You can find great deals for events and activities in your area to do together on Groupon.

10. Books

“Books to indulge myself in! Keeps my mind in a whole different world.” — Leslie B.

“A WRAP (wellness recovery action plan) book from Mary Ellen Copeland (even though I might purchase one before the holidays) or anything that is related to mental health recovery.” — Vicki C.

Our picks: “Wellness Recovery Action Plan”, Barnes & Noble eGift Card.

11. A Vacation

“A little holiday somewhere. Almost like I’ve been given permission to go and relax and have a break from everything.” — Lisa R.

“A trip to see my favorite things that would be a complete surprise until I got there to show that the person really does care about me.” — Michaela E.

“I would like to go on a vacation, even just a day trip, where my family could be together and have fun and not have to worry for just a small amount of time.” — Emily G.

12. Reminders That You Care

“Continued reassurance, love, and care from my loved ones. Nothing more I could ask for than knowing someone cares about me and will be there for me through all my tough times.” — Alexis M.

“For the people who I love to reassure me daily they still love me, and they will not leave me. Emphasis on the word daily.” — Steven H.

Have a gift you’d love to receive that isn’t on this list? Let us know what’s on your list in the comments below.

Originally published: October 25, 2018
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