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gcac

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About gcac

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  • Birthday 11/22/1981

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  1. Thanks guys!! It just chapped my hide a little that I wanted to do research about ketamine because it appears to be (maybe) the only thing that's effectively helping treat/cure anhedonia -- and I find that the conversations are being blockaded for a bunk reason! I'm also using the opportunity to bump this thread and see if it catches the mod's eye this time... @20YearsandCounting
  2. Month #5 My post from Month #4 pretty much nailed it. Pretty well describes how I'm feeling at Month #5 too, so I won't repeat myself. I will mention that for a couple weeks I lowered my dose to 150 mg -- because I'm a stubborn b**tard. This resulted in a marked downward trend towards feeling like I did prior to starting medication. I went back to 300 mg and rather quickly regained the positive effects. In separate news, I wasn't really comfortable because I hadn't found a good enough talk therapist yet, and was not making good progress there. Luckily, I'm really enthusiastic that I may have found a very good one, and I expect that could yield positive results over time, as I learn how to work on myself. It's true, medications can be helpful, but the way I see it -- our brains wired themselves the wrong way -- either through our own destructive patterns of thoughts and behavior, or from some other misfortune. If we want to fix it, I suppose we have to rewire our brains -- strengthen desirable neural pathways and let the old destructive pathways atrophy. I don't think there's really a medicine that will do that for us entirely, only medicines that can somehow facilitate that process. We still have to do some work, we can't just sit back and let Merck fix us. Also, I've gotten pretty reliable about exercising 5+ times per week. Everyone says it, but the importance of exercise can't be overstated, once you are doing it regularly you feel the difference! Consistently exercising promotes the release of BDNF (the stuff that grows and repairs the neurons and synapses in your brain). I don't think it's any coincidence that it's the same stuff that's released during ketamine therapy (the big "new" promising discovery in mental health treatment). Makes too much sense that extra BDNF (through ketamine or exercise) will facilitate the rewiring of our brains. @Laura123 I attribute the improvements partially to a shift in neurotransmitters, where an increased presence of norepinephrine facilitated either the improvements directly, or engaging in other activities that may have lead to the improvements. I've also made lifestyle changes that are impossible to isolate from the medicine, because they happened at the same time. I started going home earlier, exercising, changed some of my priorities and perspective, and started engaging in more self-care than I ever had before (nonexistent prior). I still feel some brain fog, and I feel it still manifests with impaired short-term and long-term memory. My thoughts feel less "crisp". I never feel my whole brain engaging in a thought process like I used to, just the narrow part that appears most relevant, if that makes any sense? Understanding information, abstract or complex thought, problem-solving are also reduced from what I always considered "normal" for myself. Even my spatial orientation feels "off". Hope that answers your question. Thanks for the positive feedback. Glad you're "still here". Best to you as well.
  3. I know the Mods of this forum are well-meaning and doing a great job. I can't help but notice that most of the ketamine treatment threads get shut down, citing that it's a Schedule 3 drug, and referencing a link about potential ketamine abuse from the Department of Justice. Maybe someone sent you guys a scary looking cease and desist with some official looking letterhead, insisting that you should shut down these conversations, or maybe it was just a well-meaning but misguided decision. Whatever the case may be, I would like to point out a few things in the hope that you will allow this necessary and productive discourse to take place: The first is that being listed on a controlled substance classification system most certainly does not preclude you from talking about or even using these substances in a medical setting, which is exactly what's happening with ketamine clinics. Other Schedule 3 drugs include Xyrem (used for narcolepsy), AndroGel, Testosterone Cypionate, Testosterone Enanthate -- certainly treatments based upon those medications are described ad-nauseum in a host of related forums (narcolepsy, male hypogonadism, etc.) How silly would it be to stop talking about those medicines because of their scheduling class? There is nothing illegal or immoral about conversing about these treatments. The schedule classification is only to highlight what they consider a sort of warning for the abuse potential that those medicines may have. Key words -- warn of abuse potential. Here are some Schedule 2 drugs for you to consider -- remember Schedule 2 drugs are considered to have a much higher potential for abuse than Schedule 3 drugs. Schedule 2 drugs includes Adderall, Vyvanse, Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin. Can you imagine a lot of depression and/or ADHD forum conversations where you were not allowed to discuss any of the medicines I mentioned above? They would be worthless! Another thing I'd like to draw your attention to is the importance of ketamine as an apparent treatment for depression - it's considered possibly the most significant advancement in psychiatry of the last 50 years. The Cleveland Clinic (one of the best/largest research hospitals in the world) declared ketamine treatment for depression the 7th most important Medical Innovation for the year 2017. There are some very sinister forces at work here. Pharma had pretty much given up on developing new/useful medicines for mental health decades ago. In the late 90's you had Yale School of Medicine researchers discovering ketamine's antidepressant properties. Ketamine is impossibly cheap and useful around the world. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. Don't you find it curious that as soon as it becomes clear that Ketamine (this cheap and abundant medicine) has the potential to become a widespread treatment for one of the most important and pervasive illnesses of our time, a couple of things happen? First, Janssen Pharmaceuticals sets out to "develop" something called Esketamine (just a mirror image of the regular ketamine molecule -- the fancy word for this is an enantiomer). They didn't develop anything new at all, enantiomers are really easy to do and provide no value over their mirrored counterparts, but they get awarded a (bulls**t) patent for it anyway. Now, something that costs just a couple of bucks can be sold with government protection at $800 per dose! The second thing that happens is that there is a significant lobby to get ketamine reclassified as a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin, LSD, MDMA, and mescaline (this has yet to occur). The mods here should not fall prey to these disgusting and cynical games that are being played at the multi-billion dollar level. The people responsible will have a lot of blood on their hands for scheming a ripoff of this magnitude with so many innocent lives in the balance. This forum is a very important forum in the depression community -- you have a responsibility to all of us forum participants to allow productive conversations to take place regarding the illnesses we are sharing and treatment options that are available. You should at the very least make the necessary legal consultations to verify that the forum has every right to allow open discussions about this medical therapy that is being provided across dozens or maybe hundreds of clinics across the USA under authorized physician's supervision.
  4. Month #4 Four months in. It doesn't feel like much has changed from the previous month. Holding steady, I would say. I feel like the separation is becoming clearer regarding which grouping of things have improved under medication and which grouping of things appear not to be making any real progress. My uneducated guess is that progressed / stagnant symptoms are organizing either along a norepinephrine / dopamine divisory line or a depression / anhedonia divisory line -- probably both; there might be significant overlap between those two ways of clustering symptoms. Essentially, my anxiety is resolved for the first time in 12+ years, and I have had more energy (less desire to stay in bed). I'm sleeping better. Digestion and brain fog are partially improved. My anhedonia is still pretty well intact -- emotions, interests, desires, appetite, motivation, reward, pleasure -- all these things appear to be at a standstill. I will have the odd moment of enhanced emotionality or desire, but it might be a couple of hours in a given week, if I'm lucky. ­čśâ
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. @Laura123 I have really appreciated your commentary. Your validation is really well received.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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?)
  15. 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.
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