There are so many characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder that I don’t know how to sum it up without writing an essay. Usually, I give people insight to one facet of BPD, which is emotion dysregulation. With BPD, emotions are provoked more easily, emotions are felt much stronger than what might be justified for the situation, and it takes longer for emotions to return to baseline, or “back to normal.” A day might start off perfectly fine, but could leave me emotionally drained before it’s even over because I am still affected by the events that took place at 9:00AM. I illustrated a rather intense day that I recently dealt with. On this particular day, I was falling behind on my schoolwork. I only documented my day from 8:00AM-5:00PM, but from that information, you can see how the delayed return to baseline makes emotions even more intense as new issues arise.
This is how I felt when I woke up in the morning. At this point, nothing had happened to affect my day. However, I carried some anxiety from the previous day, and happiness from the start of a new day.
Not much happened between 8:00am and 11:00am, but I sent an e-mail to my informatics professor regarding an assignment that was due the next day. This relieved some anxiety about the assignment.
Around 1:00PM, I rode the city bus to get to my college campus. A passenger who was sitting close to me was talking to the bus driver. It appeared as if they were on friendly terms. As he got off the bus, he said to the driver, “Watch out for that whore!” I immediately thought he was referring to me, and it took a decent amount of energy to hold back from defending myself. I was offended by his words, but was also afraid of what I could have done to make myself stand out as a potential whore. A few minutes later, I felt selfish for even thinking that he was focused on me in any way, shape, or form.
When I arrived at my Elementary Statistics class, I shut down mentally after trying to understand what was going on in the lecture. I missed the previous class because I took a trip to Boston with my debate team, and began to judge myself for skipping class- had I been in the classroom, I would understand what was being discussed. There were so many Greek letters, symbols, and formulas on the screen that I couldn’t keep track of what was happening. To make matters worse, my professor kept saying, “You should all know this- this is from high school!” The last time I took a math class was in my senior year of high school in 2012, and I don’t exactly have the best track record of succeeding in math classes (we don’t talk about my Algebra II/Trigonometry state exam).
After deciding that there was no hope of understanding this lecture, I hopped on my laptop and electronically submitted an assignment that would be due later on in the day. I still had to submit a printed copy, but I would handle that after class. I also checked my e-mail to see if my informatics professor had responded to my question. He didn’t.
Once class had ended, I went to a spot on campus where my friends usually hang out. Some of them were there, so this got my mind off of my professor’s lack of response temporarily.
My next class began at 4:15, but I was running late because I was trying to print out the assignment I had just handed in. I couldn’t figure out how to get the printer to work- turns out, the college doesn’t give us a printing fund automatically, and it costs money to print. I feared for my grade in the class.
After failing to print out my assignment, I decided to go to class without it. Showing up seemed like a better idea than not doing so. I began to worry about whether or not I was ready to go back to school, and what would happen if I failed out of school. I felt like I was letting myself and my family down by doing so poorly on this particular day. I broke down crying in my intimate class of 25 students, and my professor approached me and excused me. I felt terrible about leaving her class early after having only been present for ten minutes, especially since the entire class is based on group work. I had also let my group down.
Imagine having your days filled with this emotion multiple times a week. Although therapy has helped me in regulating my emotions, I still need to make a near constant, conscious effort. Believe it or not, this is not an example of one of my worst days. I start off my days in a fairly decent mood because I still have hope that each day will be better than the last. I am eternally grateful for those better days, and always excited for the ones that have yet to occur.