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About gcac

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  • Birthday 11/22/1981

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  1. 12th Week @300 mg/day (A.K.A. Month #3) This week is sort of a mile-marker for me: I suppose the majority of the medicine's benefits should have materialized by now. Now is probably a good time to switch to monthly updates, as I don't expect things to change so much on a week to week basis going forward. So, I guess it's a good time for a broad recap: The Good: More physical energy, improved brain fog, less defensive, more comprehensive, more perspective, digestion has gotten better, more calm and at peace, much less anxious, sleeping more soundly and resting better. The Improved but Not Totally: Focus and attention, memory, emotions and feelings, level of openness. The Bad: Very little. My blood pressure may have gone up just a tick and I feel a bit thirsty, but those are the only persistent things I can think of. The Absent: Interest in things, heightened sexual arousal and function, appetite for food, wants/desires, pleasure, motivation and reward. So it seems like Hedonic based improvements are the biggest laggards, so far.
  2. 11th Week @300 mg/day The truth is, I was thinking today about how bad I was feeling before beginning treatment, as well as how (unnecessarily) bad I felt for over a decade, and I'm feeling pretty damn good these days, considering. There has really been a pretty remarkable improvement for me. While I would love to take credit for it, the truth is it has been mostly dependent on the medication. One thing I'm not sure I've mentioned on here is how bad the brain fog was, and how much that has improved in these recent months. Still trying to get the Hedonic functions to up themselves to what I consider baseline, but I can't really complain.
  3. 10th Week @300 mg/day Don't want to be too repetitive. I am kind of maintaining the same trend from the last few weeks: still improving on a smallish scale? Still pretty much the same areas of improvement, and also pretty much the same areas where improvement is largely absent to this point.
  4. I've been doing pretty well with exercise, averaging 3 times a week for almost four months now. Pretty good considering I hadn't exercised at all in over a decade. Last week I committed myself to a new goal of exercising 5 times per week. Have also been doing what I can as far as bootstraps and therapy, but I really think the medicine part has been instrumental. Not sure any amount of bootstraps or exercise could have pulled me out of myself. I hope you get your pdoc figured out and you are able to improve the situation surrounding your medication. I will pass along to you the thought that was given me by a psychologist very early on in this process, she suggested I visit many psychiatrists and psychologists before choosing one to continue therapy or medication with. She said sometimes people feel committed to continuing with a doctor or therapist just because they've already been seeing them for a while. She said that mental health is very important (clearly) and that I needed to be smart about finding someone I considered good, not just the first person that came along. She also said to trust my gut.
  5. @Laura123 I have really appreciated your commentary. Your validation is really well received.
  6. 9th Week @300 mg/day My arrow is still pointing up, albeit with a softer slope than I imagined before initiating treatment. I suppose I expected this process to be faster: I imagined at 4 weeks the medicine would be showing it's full effect (work or not) and afterwards it would just hold steady. Here I am, nine weeks in, and my p-doc thinks my progression is quite normal, can be a slow process. He says Remission (improvement of 50% of symptoms) should happen on a 6 - 12 week time-frame, and the months that follow should continue to bring improvement. Positive, Negative or Absent Effects: First the Positive Effects: I definitely feel steadier, more "profoundly calm". It's different than the calm that comes from Benzo use, which feels inherently transient. This calm feels like it has a more solid foundation behind it -- you wake up calm in the morning and go to sleep calm in the evening. I am able to put things in perspective better. I generally have more energy than before, and I now appreciate just how critical a role energy appears to play in this whole "depression" thing. Negative Effects: I can't say the medicine is causing any negative effects really, after the adjustment period. Just a persistent need to drink more water in order to stay hydrated. I was having fasciculations for several weeks, but even those seem to have stopped recently. Absent Effects: I feel like the best way to describe where I am today is through the Positive Effects and the ABSENT Effects, because even though there are quite a few positives to like, and I have improved compared to baseline, there are still groupings of things that appear to be absent. Stuff like pleasure, appetite, libido and response to sexual stimuli, interest or attention, and memory. The two best weeks I've had under this medication served as a recent reminder that those things are still POSSIBLE. So, I'm still holding out hope that I will continue to gravitate in that direction. Fingers crossed.
  7. 8th Week @300 mg/day Another pretty solid week. It's funny, because for the last 10+ years that I've been depressed, I never forgot what "normal" felt like, and I always kept imagining I would find a way to reach that "normal" feeling once again. To that end, I didn't really make any progress this past decade because for whatever reason, the depression diagnosis/realization didn't happen until just over 3 months ago. During my treatment, Wellbutrin has given me two "normal" weeks, and it was exactly like I remembered (Week 1 honeymoon and Week 4 @ 300 mg). It was fantastic, unbelievable and almost surreal to feel that way again! So, the kind of odd situation I find myself in at present is: On one end, being tantalized by the confirmation that this mythical unicorn of "normality" does in fact exist, that Wellbutrin has been able to provide me with the magnificent beast on occasions, but not yet on a consistent basis. Wellbutrin set a pretty high bar for itself by showing me glimpses of absolute normality. That's the carrot on the stick that I'm still chasing. On the other end, I read somewhere on this forum that the fairest way to judge an antidepressant is to compare the few weeks prior to initiation of treatment with the last few weeks of an ongoing treatment. By that metric, there's no question that overall I'm feeling better and doing better on Wellbutrin than I was before.
  8. I know it's difficult, but try and be patient with any of the medications you are prescribed. None of the antidepressants are meant to work as early as two weeks (unfortunately). There are no "fast-acting" antidepressants. Your pdoc really should have explained that better. The timeline you should be working with is probably more like 4 - 12 weeks. Same will be true for the next medicine you try.
  9. I have a suggestion: take a quick trip to Mexico or Central America and buy a year's supply! I ran into the same issue as you guys, I was prescribed Wellbutrin in the US and I tried to buy it over there, only to find it was $2,100 for the namebrand and $400 for the generic. My insurance would cover only like $320 for either, I would have had to foot the rest. Luckily, I live in Central America. In my country (Nicaragua) it's only $50 (less than $2 per pill). I have also bought it in another Central American country for $100 (Guatemala). I'm sure it's also cheap in Mexico (a quick online search reveals a $75 price). Not sure what the prescription situation is in Mexico, but in the other two countries I mentioned they have never asked me for a prescription (in the event it were necessary, it would be very easy to get one anyway). When you're talking about a $35,000 yearly difference, or having to resort to generics that are causing you serious troubles, it might be well worth the trip. Hope this is helpful to someone.
  10. 7th Week @300 mg/day Week 7 was better than the last couple weeks. I just generally felt calmer, more at ease, in a better mood. Nothing too specific worth writing home about. Maybe I'm reaching the other side of the negative effects from my Klonopin taper? It's difficult to know for certain (withdrawal may take anywhere from 2-5 weeks cold turkey, but I suppose that timeline might be extended by a tapering process?)
  11. I have been using the Wellbutrin brand of Bupropion, not a generic brand. I buy Wellbutrin outside of the USA for like $50 for 30 pills of the 300 mg presentation. I was shocked to find that the same amount of pills would have cost me about $700 in the US if I was to get the brand name. As for the side effects, I am currently keeping a weekly diary of my experiment with Wellbutrin on this forum, if you do a search you will find it. The jury is still out for me, but I'm hopeful that it will work.
  12. 6th Week @300 mg/day Posting a couple days late this week (busy). Week 6 resembled Week 5. Not great... It hadn't occured to me, but some of these steps backwards in the last two weeks could also be linked to the fact that I'm aggressively tapering off my Klonopin (Clonazepam) usage. Didn't really consider myself an addicted user, always tried to keep my usage to a minimum (out of fear and respect for the drug), but I can't deny that the last 6 years I have taken (0.5 mg) an average of 2-3 times a week. So, it's NOT nothing. Anyway, I've tapered off it in the past, so I expect to have it resolved soon. When the Doctor prescribed Klonopin 6 years ago, he warned me that anxiety and depression often run together. Too bad I didn't take the hint back then... Could have saved myself quite a few years of anguish.
  13. @Laura123 Thanks for sharing your insights/experience. I look forward to improving in some of the ways you mentioned. This made me laugh!
  14. @Laura123 Thank you for your post and your encouragement. Will keep updating (good or bad) just in case it's useful to someone later on. Can you elaborate some on the positive side effects you have experienced with Bupropion?
  15. 5th Week @300 mg/day Arrgghh! I took a pretty significant step backwards in the way I felt this week compared to how I felt during Week 4. The quality of my sleep worsened some, as well as the vivid dreaming appears to have gone. I could feel my attitude slip some, and the return of some of the mental side effects. Lastly, everything that has to do with pleasure also took a step back, including the sexual desire and functioning that I mentioned last week, went down to unsatisfactory levels. It all kind of came hand in hand, and that's the same way it went, hand in hand. Luckily, I had a visit with my psychiatrist today. He considers it normal to have steps backward like the one I experienced, because it takes a while for the organism to "reprogram" itself (paraphrasing). He thinks that's why it's important to be patient in reaching 12 weeks of treatment in order to decide if a medicine is working for you. And if you find one that works, it's important to stick with it for at least two years (a lot of people start feeling better and they stop taking it too early).
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