05 July 2021


Are you living with borderline personality disorder and looking for work?

In this guide, you will find information about finding good jobs for people with BPD as well as tips for managing your symptoms and succeeding in the workplace.

What is borderline personality disorder (BPD)?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder which affects someone's emotions, thoughts and behaviours. It is the most common personality disorder in Australia.

BPD symptoms can impact all areas of a person's life, including their personal relationships and work life.

People living with BPD often experience intense, uncontrollable emotions and may have an unstable view of themselves and other people in their life.

A person with BPD might experience one or more of the symptoms below:
 
  • Intense emotions
  • Mood swings
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Depression symptoms
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fear of being alone
  • Self-harm and feelings of self hate
  • Risky and impulsive behaviour
  • Unstable relationships with other people
  • Unstable view of oneself
  • Extreme beliefs or black-and-white thinking
Not everyone with BPD will experience the same symptoms. The severity and length that symptoms last can be different from person to person too.

Can you work with BPD?

Many people who live with BPD have meaningful and successful careers in a wide range of industries.

When it comes to borderline personality disorder and work, everyone's experience is different. For some people, their BPD symptoms can lead to challenges in the workplace.

Some examples of challenges a person living with BPD might experience at work include:
 
  • A person who thinks in an all-or-nothing way may find themselves loving their job in the beginning and feeling like quitting later on. This may lead to job instability or frequent changes in careers, making it hard to reach long term goals
  • A person who has a changing self-image may find it difficult to progress in their career if they find their goals are constantly shifting
  • Impulsive behaviour and mood swings may impact a person's workplace relationships. If the workplace is not supportive, the person may feel misunderstood or find it hard to "fit in"
  • A person's BPD symptoms may affect their concentration and focus at work, making it hard to keep up with deadlines
  • Stressful situations at work or not having enough time to attend therapy may make a person's symptoms worse
With the right support and symptom management, many of the challenges someone living with BPD might face at work can be overcome.

If you are living with BPD and finding it hard to get a job or manage at work, support is available.

APM supports people like you to find meaningful work and succeed in the workplace.

We believe everyone has the right to experience the benefits of a supportive workplace. We've seen firsthand how having the right job can improve mental health, help people grow in confidence and create a sense of purpose.

Get in touch with us today to see how we can support you on your employment journey.

What are some good jobs for people with BPD?

What makes a good job for someone with BPD may not be a good job for someone else with BPD. Searching for work is highly individual.

If you aren't sure what types of jobs might be a good fit for you, it's a good idea to talk with an employment consultant who can help you discover opportunities where you will thrive.

When looking for work, you might want to consider the following factors:

Level of creativity

Many people with BPD thrive in creative roles which allow them to continually work on new projects. Creative career paths include copywriting, graphic design, photography, set design and video editing.

Caring roles

Many people with BPD feel emotions deeply and find working in a caring role fulfilling. If you are an empathetic person, consider jobs such as teaching, childcare, nursing and animal care.

Flexible schedule

You might work best with a flexible schedule which allows you to take time off for appointments or take breaks throughout the day when you need them.

Workplace environment

Stressful workplaces may make BPD symptoms worse so it's important to look for a work environment that is supportive for you.

Training and qualifications

You may be able to apply for some roles with your existing skills and experience. Other jobs may require further training and education. Consider the different pathways you can take towards your career goals and how long they will take.

Managing in the workplace with borderline personality disorder

Here are some good practices for managing in the workplace:
 
  • Continue with your treatment and keep your appointments with healthcare providers
  • Avoid stress as much as possible
  • Use relaxation techniques to help you manage stress
  • Instead of reacting in the moment, take a step back and give yourself time to assess the situation
  • Explaining your feelings to others may help improve communication and strengthen interpersonal relationships 
  • Consider disclosing your disorder to your employer if you feel safe to do so. You do not have to disclose to your employer, but some people find having an open conversation about their BPD leads to better support and stronger workplace relationships

Workplace accommodations

In addition to the strategies above, you might find some types of workplace accommodations to be helpful.

Workplace accommodations are changes in the work environment or your job tasks which help you manage at work and do your job well. Your employer is legally required to make reasonable adjustments and could be eligible for funding from the government to help make these changes.

Workplace accommodations are made based on your personal needs. They could include:
 
  • Rest breaks to help with managing emotions and concentration
  • Noise cancelling headphones to help with focus
  • Restructuring your job tasks to minimise stress
  • Flexible schedule to allow for health appointments
  • Working from home part of the week

Need support finding work or keeping a job? APM is here to help.

If your BPD symptoms are affecting your ability to find work or perform your job, you could be eligible for Disability Employment Services.

Disability Employment Services is a government funded program which supports people living with injury, illness or disability to find and keep meaningful employment.

APM is a Disability Employment Services provider and borderline personality disorder is one of our supported conditions. We can help with things like:
 
  • Career guidance
  • Finding good job opportunities for people with BPD
  • Writing job applications and resumes
  • Preparing for interviews
  • Accessing further training
  • Accessing ongoing workplace support

If you're ready to succeed at work, we're here for you. Register with us today to get started.


For media enquiries, please contact

adrian.bradley@apm.net.au

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