Lesson 4) Strobe Light Emotions


Professor Baine walks into the room, an open book in her hand and a quill in her mouth. “Hello, students!” she says around the pen, not looking up from the pages. She slowly walks to the front of the room, taking the pen in her hand and mumbling something under her breath as she writes something down. She waits a second, re-reading the contents of the page one more time before snapping it shut and setting it down. She looks up at the students with a smile.

“Sorry, dears! Working on a new potion and all that. There’s a lot to be done before one actually starts brewing a potion! You’ll discover it all too well if you stick with me until Year Seven, when you’ll be instructed to begin your own theoretical potions work and develop your own potion.  Now, let’s delve right into work today.”


Last week we talked about depression. This week we’ll be talking about two other disorders that affect mood, both of which come with bouts of depressive moods. These disorders are bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. These can get a little confusing, so just hang in with me and I promise we’ll survive it together.

Let’s start off with bipolar disorder. Like depression, there are multiple types of bipolar disorder. Three to be exact: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymia. This is another disorder that is highly stigmatized.

People with bipolar disorder are often seen as disruptive or violitale. A lot of people are actually scared of them! This is never a good thing for anyone, and can leave people feeling very alone and isolated. As we discussed in Lesson One, anyone and everyone is important and deserves to be treated like a person, instead of a disorder. None of us that suffer from mental illness are categorized just by our disorder, even if we feel like it sometimes!

Bipolar is categorized as a mood disorder that involves mood swings. It can be exhausting to live with, waking up some days feeling so depressed for no reason at all, after you just spent weeks or months even feeling like you were on top of the world. We talked about depression last week. Now imagine, if you will, that feeling you get when you find out you just got the job you’ve been wanting. That rush, that feeling of being able to do anything. Now imagine feeling like that all the time for days. I know it may sound great, but trust me. It can lead to problems of its own, and it can be so exhausting to never be able to feel things middle of the road. Things are always one extreme or the other. These high feelings are called manic states.

There are two types of manic states, known as hyper and hypo manic. People going through a manic episode may have a lot of energy, have racing thoughts, exhibit risky behaviour such as spending extra money, doing things normally seen as dangerous, participation in drugs, or participate in promiscuous sexual behaviours, have an increased sense of being able to multitask, speak at a faster rate and switch from topic to topic, and generally feel very elated. The difference in Bipolar I and Bipolar II is that Bipolar II is categorized as  having hypo manic episodes more so than hyper, and the depressive episodes tend to last longer. Depressive episode are often just as bad, however.

Let’s take a step back and talk about the three different types of bipolar as a whole. Bipolar I Disorder is characterized by the severity of the episodes. Manic episodes tend to last for at least seven days, and then depressive episodes last at least fourteen days. Note that these periods can last longer than the seven and fourteen day periods, but they typically last at least that long. Manic and depressive episodes can be so severe that hospitalization can be required to protect the safety of the person suffering from bipolar disorder.

Bipolar II Disorder is characterized the same, except instead of full manic episodes, sufferers tend to suffer from what is called hypomanic episodes. ‘Hypo’ means low or less in Latin. This means that they are simply less severe manic episodes. These episodes consist of a less severe emotional response. The high is not quite as extreme as those of regular manic episodes.

Cyclothymic Disorder is characterized by more rapid switching between hypomanic and depressive episodes. However, these episodes do not meet the requirements for hypomanic and depressive episodes like they do for the other two types of bipolar disorder, as they are generally not as severe. This simply means, as stated above, that they don’t reach the same high point or low point.

Occasionally, a specific time frame may consist of a mixture of manic and depressive symptoms. These are called episodes with mixed features. There is no specific pattern between when someone has a manic episode, a depressive episode, or an episode with mixed features. It’s completely random.

It’s possible for people experiencing severe episodes of mania or depression to exhibit psychotic symptoms as well. These include things such as believing things that aren’t true, like being famous, having super powers of sorts, or believing that one has more money than they actually do. These are typical in manic psychotic episodes. As for depressive psychotic episodes, one may believe that they are ruined, that they have committed a crime, or that they will never amount to anything.

It’s been observed that bipolar disorder tends to run in families. If someone in your family has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may find yourself at a higher risk than someone with no history within their family. Now, just because someone in your family has it doesn’t mean that you will develop the disorder as well. There is no definite cause nailed down as to what causes bipolar disorder. Some believe it can be environmental, others believe it is strictly genetic.

Now let’s jump into Borderline Personality Disorder (we’ll be shortening it to BPD for the rest of the lesson). BPD is a very complex mental disorder that encompasses a lot of different symptoms. We’ll go through the clinical definition and diagnostic criteria, and then we’ll discuss it on a more personal level.

To be diagnosed with BPD, one must meet at least five out of nine of the diagnostic criteria set out by the DSM V (an encyclopedia of sorts used by both Muggles and the magical communities to diagnose mental illnesses). These are:

  1. Extreme efforts to avoid abandonment
  2. Unstable or obsessive interpersonal relationships, often including alternating emotions of idealization and devaluation. This means that the person is revered and seemingly perfect at times, while other times they are hated and seen in a very negative light.
  1. An unstable sense of self image or sense of identity.
  1. Impulsivity in at least two potentially self damaging areas. This includes money spending, substance abuse such as drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, or sex.
  1. Recurrent suicidal thoughts, behaviours, or threats, or self-mutilating behaviour.
  1. Instability due to rapid mood changes. This includes intense periods of irritability, dysphoria, anxiety, euphoria, or mania that last anywhere from twenty minutes to a few hours, and rarely last more than a few days.
  1. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
  1. Inappropriate or intense periods of anger.
  1. Stress related paranoia or severe dissociative symptoms.

Anything, really, can trigger symptoms of BPD, from dropping something in your kitchen to a fight with a friend. People with this disorder also tend to have a hard time reading and processing emotions and become overly aware and perceptive of emotions. Neutral faces can often be seen as angry or upset.

Living with BPD often feels like living in a world that’s against you, including yourself. Everything can switch at the drop of a hand. You can go from being so happy and out with friends to all of a sudden feeling unwanted and like nothing more than a bother at the drop of a hat, for no apparent reason; then it feels like you’ve never known that happy feeling due to emotional impermanence.

This is related to object impermanence that infants experience. Object impermanence is what makes playing peek-a-boo so fun for children. When you cover your face and they can no longer see you, they believe that you are no longer there. For those with emotional impermanence, when an emotion is not being actively displayed, they can believe that it is not felt. This can cause issues in relationships, as when someone with BPD gets into a fight with a loved one, they often may try to leave as they believe their partner or loved one no longer cares for them. This also goes the other way for people that may be in abusive relationships. When the abuse is not currently happening, it can cause them to forget about it and only remember the good parts of the relationship.

This is something that really takes a toll on people, especially in those down moments, because it feels like life is terrible and awful and nothing will ever get better. It’s why BPD has such a high suicide attempt rate. 80% of people with BPD find themselves passively suicidal at some point in their life. This means that while they may not be planning or actually try to kill themselves, they want to die. It’s like if you were going for a walk and a car started driving towards you. You wouldn’t jump in the way, but you wouldn’t move out if they swerved towards you, either. You don’t actively want to kill yourself, but you want to die. 70% of people with BPD are actively suicidal and actually attempt to kill themselves at some point. Of that, 8% to 10% of people will actually accomplish it. That’s double the rate of completed suicide within people without BPD.

I know that’s a lot of statistics, so let’s look at it as if there were a group of 100 people. All of these people have BPD. Of that, 80 of them will be passively suicidal in their lifetime. Of those 80, 70 will actually try. Of the 70 that try, up to 7 will be successful. Below you’ll find an infographic to help you visualize these numbers.

People with BPD also have a very shifting sense of self. They have a need for acceptance and a severe, severe fear of abandonment. Because of this and the nature of the disorder itself, they tend to adapt to the people around them. This can cause an ever changing list of activities they enjoy, things they like, and can even affect their personality. For instance, someone with BPD may love Herbology, but if the person they hang around most loves Defence against the Dark Arts, that may become their new favorite subject. Sometimes the person doing this may not even notice that’s what’s happening. It can be rather distressing to someone

Another thing that makes BPD so hard for those that struggle with it is that for a lot of them, even though you have to be 18 to be diagnosed, these symptoms have been going on since they were little. A lot of people don’t know what it’s like to live without BPD, and thus don’t know who they really are. As we discussed above, people with BPD are very adaptive to the people around them, taking on small parts of their personality. That leaves many wondering who they would be without the disorder at all!

A song that I think really describes the mindset of someone with BPD is “Heavy” by Linkin Park. You can listen to the song here!

Now, we’re going to be learning to brew the Temperament Modifying Potion. As you can see, this can be very helpful for people with depression, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder (please remember that depression itself can also be treated with the Elixir to Induce Euphoria). This potion allows people with polarized emotions to experience things at a normal level, instead of being always at one extreme or the other. Now, let us get to the potion itself!

Temperament Modifying Potion

Estimated Brew Time:

Pewter Cauldron: 12 minutes

Brass Cauldron: 10 minutes

Copper Cauldron: 9 minutes


1 erumpent horn

5 drops lily oil

2 white rose petals

4 springs sweetgrass


Part 1:

  1. Add 5 drops of lily oil to your cauldron.
  2. Crush the sweetgrass into small pieces using your mortar and pestle.
  3. Add the sweetgrass to your cauldron.
  4. Stir two times anti-clockwise using your wand.
  5. Bring to 383 Kelvin (120°C/248°F) in your Pewter for 12 minutes (This will brew for 10 minutes in a Brass cauldron and for 9 in a Copper cauldron).

At this point, your potion should be a wintergreen color and should smell of like a fresh Christmas tree. If you brew it for too long or with two high of a flame, it will turn a dark brown color and should be immediately discarded. When over brewed, this potion can be deadly!

Part 2:

  1. Grind the erumpent horn into a fine powder using your mortar and pestle.
  2. Add the entire contents to your cauldron.
  3. Add the two white rose petals to your cauldron.
  4. Stir once clockwise.

Your potion should now be a thick paste that is pale yellow in color. It should emit no smoke and smell almost like a mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg.

To Store:

This potion should be stored in a moderate temperature. There are no negative effects if kept in the dark, though keeping it in direct sunlight will shorten the shelf life. This potion should not sit more than two weeks without being consumed. Make sure it is stored with potions and not food.

To Use:

This potion is to be consumed orally in a one tablespoon dose. Do not consume more than one dose daily. It can be spread on toast if desired, as it has a cinnamon taste to it, or eaten straight off a spoon. Please note this potion can be over consumed and is highly toxic when done so. If this happens, consult a healer immediately.

I hope you enjoyed the lesson. Your assignment this week will be a quiz! I look forward to seeing you all next time.

Welcome to Fifth Year Potions! This year we will be discussing and exploring potions relating to Psychology and the mind. I look forward to seeing you in the dungeons! Enroll