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Mental Health Story: Battling Against Borderline Personality Disorder

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I have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) in January of this year. It is a type of personality disorder. Just like me, you might be diagnosed with a personality disorder if you have difficulties with how you think and feel about yourself and other people, and are having problems in your life as a result.

My family and friends will have noticed big changes in me. The majority of these changes are great, but they aren’t without cost.

About three months ago just before I left my job, I decided to try a new medication. It has been recommended for some time, and while I wait for therapy I decided it was worth a shot. It’s been extremely effective in its response to my up and down mood swings and most of my anxiety. I’ve found the courage to head out much more frequently, make new friends, try new things and be a lot less anxious. But like anything it has side effects.

The medication is gradually increased over six months and it has been this month I’ve struggled the most. The biggest side effect is drowsiness, in an evening within an hour of taking it I’m fast asleep. This is fantastic for my sleep, and lack of it from before, but sadly it is now keeping me drowsy throughout the day. At first, I was just a little tired in the morning, now I’m still sleepy as the kids come home from school at 3pm.

Some days I’ve struggled to do much more than loading the dishwasher and start dinner. At times it’s soul-destroying and embarrassing. Being unable to answer the door in the morning, drive my car, even concentrate enough to read a book. I’ve had times slurring my words, in a Kerry Katona this morning type way.

There are also times when I can’t remember words even though they are on the tip of my tongue and times when I’m falling asleep mid-conversation. But I’m stable mentally at the moment and that is so important.

When I start my DBT in the next two years, I’ll be able to wean myself off them, but right now they are helping and the pros far outweigh the cons. 

Sarah Cardwell has been under a mental health team since 1998. She is firstly a mother to her two daughters and wife to her husband.

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