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6 Ways Borderline Personality Disorder Affected My College Experience

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Editor's Note

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

Going off to college is a daunting task that tends to make everyone a little nervous. Finding friends, maintaining good grades and enjoying the experience can be a challenge to juggle. For me, tackling college is difficult because I have borderline personality disorder (BPD).

1. Trouble managing friendships.

College is the time to meet new people and develop lifelong friendships. I want to do this, but often I am too busy sleeping to go out with friends. As a person who feels emotions intensely, sleep is the only escape from negative feelings. This makes socializing difficult because I am usually asleep when my friends text me to hang out, leaving me feeling guilty and apologizing to them. My friends are often confused by my behavior.

2. “Splitting” on my roommate.

In college, you often have a roommate. I found myself liking my roommate one day and disliking her the next day for no apparent reason. Then I found myself begging her to not be angry with me and to still be my friend. I would become jealous if my roommate was hanging out with someone else besides me. Was I not good enough for them?

3. Emotional meltdowns.

Because I have trouble managing my emotions, when an assignment seemed too hard, I would find myself crying hysterically and getting extremely frustrated with a simple assignment. I would lash out at my friends and parents because if I didn’t do well on the assignment; it was “the end of the world.” Little amounts of homework would send me into an emotional tailspin, causing me to have to run over to my therapist for help with my meltdown.

4. Having a “Favorite Person.”

Having BPD in college also meant multiple crisis trips to the campus health center, which means I developed a FP (Favorite Person) with one of the nurses, but having that same nurse tell me that my problems were, “Out of her scope, and that she could no longer help me.” It also meant having a frustrated counselor tell me I couldn’t come see him anymore because he didn’t know what to do to alleviate my pain.

5. Suicide and self-harm.

Most nights in college should be spent pulling all-nighters studying for an exam or to write a 10-page paper, right? Not for me, as many of my school nights were spent in the local emergency room with suicidal thoughts or self-harm incidents.

6. Hospital admission.

Dealing with BPD in college meant being days behind on assignments and tests. The reason? I was admitted to the psychiatric ward, leaving me with the task of explaining to my professors what had happened and why I wasn’t there.

But in the end, I pushed through. I made it through the semester. I passed all of my classes. I kept my scholarships. I realize those facts, and I’m now looking forward to my next semester of college. Why? Because BPD makes college difficult, but not impossible. Finding the right resources helped me manage my mental illness as a college student, and I know I can continue to tackle this obstacle in the semesters to come.

Photo by Pim Chu on Unsplash

Originally published: August 5, 2018
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