Diary Cards

Diary Cards

I'm newly diagnosed with BPD and I haven't found a DBT group. I've been hearing a lot about diary cards. It looks like they're a lot of work. Did you ever find them useful?

My experience with Diary Cards over a longer period of time (like a year) is that I began to see patterns in the way I thought about things and what things triggered negative or self-abusive ideation.

For instance, over time I saw that when someone ignored me, I would react in a way highly inappropriate to the situation. I would immediately "mind read" the person, i.e. take a judgmental stance as to the meaning of their behavior. I would tell myself, that person is ignoring me because they don't like me or they wish I would go away. My reaction then, was to pout or feel put out. Since I have difficulty maintaining keeping my anger outward, I would then turn it in on myself and say, it's because I'm bad. There's something wrong with me. I deserve to be punished.

Wow, that's a lot of garbage to carry around just because someone ignored me
(and probably innocently). But it took some time for me to see this pattern. Then, by working with my therapist, she helped me to examine the reasons why I might have such an extreme reaction. I discovered it had to do with the way my father used to treat me. Together, she helped me set up a plan to identify the trigger sooner. We then looked for the DBT skills I could use to help cope with the phenomenon.

The shorter term benefit I got from diary card work was an hourly or at least daily awareness of my behavior in a way that I'd never tried to understand it before. It helped me to slow down and think before letting my emotions run away with me.

- Lisa

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