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Medicines on the borderline

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After years without medication, I decided last year to give them a chance. What kind of experiences I have had, how they influence the borderline and my recommendation to you.

The most important at the beginning: No, there are no drugs for / against borderline personality disorder. But there are resources from the psychiatric environment that are used in the treatment of borderlines. Above all: Antidepressants, with which I have also had my experiences in the meantime.

In addition, there are, for example, still mood stabilizing drugswhich are mainly used in bipolar disorder but may also be helpful in borderline cases. Sedatives Against tension and racing thoughts are another option, as well as remedies that are used when Falling asleep / staying asleep help. But that's just a first overview.

My way to the decision

... was a very, very long time. If you take 2002 as the year my "dark side" was born, it should at least be 15 years old before I made use of chemical support for the first time. Of course, I knew that there were psychotropic drugs, that some sufferers regularly swallow drugs and that their experiences with them are varied. But somehow that was never an option for me.

My main reason why I waited so long: I was never afraid of the effects, only of the side effects (more on that later). For a long time I have said (and thought) that I don't need antidepressants because I run, and that is known to be more effective than some medication.

I even wrote my own article on the relationship between the two.

During my 12-week stay at the Schön Klinik in Hamburg, the topic was of course raised again and again. As far as I can remember, I was pretty much alone up there with my "no pills" strategy. Almost all fellow patients went (several times) a day to dispense medication. In order for me to be able to participate in this ritual, I was given vitamin tablets for the first time, which were then "discontinued" at my request.

Every now and then I have it with me homeopathic remedies tries, for example, St. John's wort, which is known for its mood-enhancing effect. But I really didn't notice anything.

What I noticed, however, was my suicidal crisis in spring 2017. Thanks to (professional) support, I came out of the crisis relatively unscathed. What remained, however, was the realization: maybe my construct is made up of routine, outpatient therapy, self-care, exercise, mindfulness and sleep just not enough. Not stable enough yet.

The influence of a very long-time friend who had to watch my (unsuccessful) fight from the sidelines for years was certainly not insignificant. And who had suggested or suggested to me again and again that I should try medication support. After the crisis, including the briefing, the time had come, I somehow felt obliged or guilty towards him to at least give it a try. And then I have.

My way to the drug

... was a bit shorter, but not a direct one either. In a way, I'm still on it because I haven't found the final solution yet. But from the beginning:

As it is with us in Germany: just because you decide to seek psychiatric help does not mean that you have it immediately. Long waiting times here too. A few weeks after my crisis night, however, I had the first appointment with a psychiatrist, whom I had simply found on the Internet with Google and rum surfing.

The appointments there were very different from what I was used to from my therapist: much shorter, a fuller waiting room. I had to get used to it a little bit. After taking a very short anamnesis, he wrote down my first medication for me, as I know today an entry-level antidepressant.

General note: don't ask me for drug names. Unfortunately, I absolutely cannot remember them.

After two more visits to the good gentleman, it was clear that I would not go further to him - it just did not fit. But for now I continued to take the drug and took it with me looking for a psychiatrist again made. So a few weeks later I was sitting in a new waiting room and finally in front of a new doctor. Once again found using the classic Google-I'm-surfing-times-through-the-net method.

But this time I was sitting right here. I immediately felt at home, could speak openly and felt competent advice from the first second. It is also with whom I am looking for the right drug for me to this day, because it is not that easy.

Find the right drug

At the beginning we decided that I should continue to take the first doctor's medication, but increase the dosage. So far, I hadn't noticed much effect, but I didn't want to just stop because I had heard that this can't be so good with psychotropic drugs. So it went on with a higher dose and slowly I also noticed effects. Unfortunately, there were also side effects in the form of a lack of energy, so that at the beginning of the new year we snuck out drug 1 and drug 2 was on.

This game has been repeated three times to date, so I'm now on drug 4. Or even at drug 5? I'm slowly losing track of things. The changes are exhausting every time, for the head and the body. However, since I have chronic depression and I will probably take the drug for at least a few years, I want to be sure that it will fit. Doesn't want to compromise but try it out until I feel good.

In addition to the antidepressant, doctor No. 2 has also prescribed me a drug that I do not take permanently, but instead only when I need it. It has a calming effect and I take it, for example, when I notice that the tension is increasing, my thoughts are drifting too much and possibly even drifting in dark directions. It works very quickly, in around 30 minutes.

In a way, the effect for me is comparable to the consumption of alcohol: if it used to be difficult / strenuous and / or the tension increased, I drank to calm myself down. This is now done by the drug. And both also have a preventive effect: if I know that a situation is going to be stressful, I can take a tablet in advance. Really nice remedy, even if I don't need it as often today thanks to my changed, more stable life situation - it's good to know that I have it.

How does it work?

Now it's back to the antidepressant: if I write that I'm losing track, it doesn't mean that I'm losing faith in its effectiveness. Because: it is there. Out of my sight I've never been so stable as in the weeks and months with medical support.

For me, depression has often expressed itself as a force that stands behind me and wants to pull me down into the hole, into the dark. Who got my attention to everything bad, who wanted to see me lying on the floor crying. And constantly, every day anew, I had to resist this force - with all my strength. In turn, I lacked this strength to cope with my everyday life and my borderline.

The drug now makes that this invisible force is no longer there. That the dark in the back of my head gives rest. Which does not mean that I am constantly in a good mood and laughing, but simply that I no longer lose so much energy to the depression.

And even if antidepressants don't have a direct effect on the borderline, they still make me more stable overall. Thoughts, feelings, self-perception - all of them no longer quite as unstable as without. I no longer have to spend so much time and effort discussing with my own head.

Side effects?

And of course I realize that these are not gummy drops that I swallow. But that there are substances that intervene deeply in my systemwithout my knowing exactly what is happening. This thought also kept me from trying for a long time.

Above all, the fear of gaining weight was my focus for a long time. When you hear horror stories about the use of psychotropic drugs, they are very often related to it. And there are sure to be people who have gained weight because of them. I can't say whether it's the drug to blame or there are other reasons.

I can only say that the medication has not changed anything for me in terms of weight (so far). No changed eating habits, no water retention, my skin is still as bad as it was before. So this great fear has turned out to be absolutely superfluous for me.

However, I had and still have the pleasure of having other side effects: the first drug stole almost all of my energy, so that I - a person who actually gets up easily in the morning and is otherwise quite active - could no longer get up, preferably the whole Day slept and was chronically weak. Almost a bit like being in the middle of a depression, but without thinking about it. Because they were less present. After all.

Fortunately, this loss of energy was no longer an issue with the remedies afterwards. Instead, for example, I noticed that my emotions weren't quite as extreme anymore. At both ends of the spectrum. The depth of the sadness, but also the height of the euphoria, were less pronounced. The latter is a shame, but I could have come to terms with that.

Not running

But what I cannot come to terms with and what is the main reason that I have changed so often: when my cardiovascular system is influenced too much. When my resting heart rate is 20 beats higher than usual and this severe consequences for my running training Has.

Even while preparing for the marathon in Paris, I noticed that I couldn't train the way I was used to. And knew that this was due to the drugs. It wasn't nice, but I had the hope that my body might adapt and get used to it over time.

It wasn't a good time in Paris, which wouldn't have been too bad, because the run itself was still great. But beyond that, my performance continued to decline. That went so far that I could have howled with frustration on some laps. I felt like I was walking in running shoes for the first time and not a longtime runner.

I am happy to accept side effects. But if they have such a strong, negative influence on the cause that has been helping me for so long, that is so good for me, that gives me so much, that is so important to me - then I can't accept that. That's why I keep looking and I am confident that I will find the right remedy - also thanks to the great support from my psychiatrist.

Shame? - Why?

Again and again I come across the topic of shame when it comes to medication in other mental health accounts on social media, in articles and posts.

My attitude to this is very clear: Taking psychotropic drugs is no reason to be ashamed. Is someone with high blood pressure ashamed to need medical assistance? Is a car owner ashamed of the fact that he has to keep driving to refuel to keep his car going?

There are probably also people who think that one should stop taking these drugs at some point: "After all, it has been long enough now". I bet these people don't tell a diabetic to stop taking insulin, it has to be good now.

I suspect that the drugs are not the real problem here, but as is so often the case dealing with mental illness in general. The stigma and ignorance around it.

As you are used to from me, I also deal openly with this part of my illness. The reactions - as with the illness itself - often go unbelieving ("What, you and depression?") But maybe that's exactly what people need: a person who is strong in their perception and who speaks about it as a matter of course, how much help in medication in everyday life?

My conclusion

So far I can really only say that it is was a good and right decisionto try antidepressants. And I wish I hadn't waited that long. The phases in which I switch medication confirm me in particular:

Since you shouldn't simply switch medication from one day to the next, a changeover is always a process that takes at least several days. The old one is "sneaked out" (so I'm gradually taking less, lowering the dose). When this is done, one begins to "sneak in" the new drug. Or simply to take it, depending on the dosage and dosage form.

So it happens that in the middle of this process I am practically drug-free. And these days are not nice. Because then everything is back to the old one. Then it's back to how it was for many years. The head rages, the thoughts turn in circles, turn black, the dark force wants to pull me down. And I notice how much energy it takes from me to push myself against all of this. Until the new drug takes over this task for me again and I notice how it becomes calmer and easier. I have more energy again for all the other things in my life.

That all sounds very violent, and it is partly. But what I also want to emphasize: I don't feel like a different person because of the drug. I'm still Dommi, with all my strengths and weaknesses, dreams and memories, likes and dislikes. The antidepressant doesn't change me, only my depression.

Of course, that doesn't mean that everything is light and beautiful and fluffy. The borderline continues in the foreground. It would be even better if it could be stopped by a few drugs =)

If you are wondering that I didn't just get a prescription for antidepressants from my therapist, with whom I have been treating for years and whom I often talk about, as a psychologist she is not allowed to, but a psychiatrist can.

Confused? You are not alone there. So here is the link to a good article that explains the differences between the job profiles:

Do you know the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist and psychotherapist?

Tension borderline depression recovery therapy