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About gcac

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  • Birthday 11/22/1981

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  1. The treatments were really, really interesting. Overall, I enjoyed them a ton. You're basically tripping, something I had never done before. I think part of the therapeutic effect is just the tripping aspect (stereotypical stuff like love, connection to the universe, meaning, etc.) Yes, there were temporary effects. There is a marked silencing of all the "noise" in your brain in the days surrounding a treatment. It also seems to facilitate emotions. It is good, really good. Want to give it a fair chance. I may be moving to another country later this year, if so, I will for sure be doing a full treatment then. Ketamine seems like a low-risk, high reward thing to me. I think positive health benefits of BDNF release induced by ketamine can only be good for you. My sense is that even "healthy" people would benefit from that kind of treatment. Not at all. This is not based on any science -- I was just concerned whether the Wellbutrin might reduce effectiveness of ketamine, so around the time of those treatments I reduced Wellbutrin intake. Not much to report back about it. I'm back at 300 mg again, so I guess I felt the need to return to that dosage at some point. I'm not a doctor, but the most basic way I understand depression now that I have read about it for 1+ years, is that it's primarily damage being caused by inflammation in the brain. Inflammation appears to be the most destructive force behind A LOT of illnesses -- it's even being implicated in Covid complications. So, feel pretty certain that I did indeed have inflammation in my brain. I believe most "depressed" people do. Whether that clinically qualifies as brain "swelling", I would guess maybe not, because I did have an MRI and CT scan in those years and they didn't turn up anything noteworthy. But swelling is the way it "feels" to the average Joe, like myself, trying to describe how it feels. And it's no wonder that inflammation and swelling are related. I don't know exactly how it works, the catecholamine theory of depression is that messing with the Dopamine, Norepinephrine or Serotonin neurotransmitters helps somehow. I suspect somewhere along that chain, a reduction in inflammation is part of the process. Again, not a doctor, but yes a medical paper enthusiast. Exactly!! I always felt this way for 12 years! And I told every doctor for so many years, and they never seemed to be sure what I was talking about. I don't know how it wasn't more obvious! Either that, or I was totally blocked mentally from picking up on what the doctors were saying... Wellbutrin definitely helped. Finally being able to give the problem a face/name has helped. Working on myself has helped. Thanks. I hope it's useful to somebody. Just felt like when I was looking to take the medicine, I couldn't find many good stories where the person taking the medicine kept you updated over a longer period of time.
  2. Month #12 I guess I'm wrapping up my first year on Wellbutrin. As far as symptoms that resolved and symptoms that remain, those are the same as in my last few posts. Overall, I give my experience with Wellbutrin a B+. It has really helped, a lot, so I am thankful. The most blessed thing is that I don't feel like my brain is swollen anymore. I felt like my brain was swollen 24-7 for the previous dozen years, and it was awful. I don't feel that way anymore, or much less anyway. Also, my sleep is really, really solid. My anxiety is in normal ranges. I'm able to be a lot more "like me" again. I'm using these new superpowers of partial normalcy to work on myself and implement new mental models and behaviors. So, I feel like I'm slowly becoming a new and better person. I hope that translates into eventually weaning from medication, but it's not my top priority at this juncture. Will probably be renewing Wellbutrin's lease for another year. I mentioned ketamine treatments. I did four infusions total, but was not able to do a complete course of treatment. It was very, very interesting. I am still interested in doing a full treatment to give it a chance and see what effects it has, but I have to figure out a way to do it locally. I had to make international travel to receive my four infusions, and that made it very difficult, not to mention expensive. No one has mentioned ADHD to me. But it feels like there must be some overlap between the two things. I understand Wellbutrin and Ritalin are both amphetamines, and sometimes there is overlap in the way Pdocs choose to prescribe those medicines. My checkered history with taking medications long-term puts makes me a bit wary of continuous medication. That's why I was/am interested in ketamine, because the draw is that it may help repair brain circuitry and it may also be of temporary intake.
  3. There's a lot of positive buzz. Hopefully it proves to be true over time, and not just a flash in the pan.
  4. I should add that the standard ketamine treatment is 6 infusions over the first month, and single "booster" infusions that will hopefully become further and further spread out over time (ex: 1 month, then 2 months, etc.) So, I am still in the absolute infancy of that treatment and do not yet have a realistic appraisal on how well it is, or is not, working for me.
  5. Month #9 I mentioned in my last post that I had been looking into an alternative treatment. Well the day finally came that I went in for my first two ketamine infusions last week. The trips themselves were remarkable and quite a lot of fun, if I'm being honest. It also felt useful in terms of the "profound realizations" they provided, that stuck with me. As far as "results", it's still pretty early. I would say the main thing I've noticed is that I have been sleeping fantastically well. I was already sleeping pretty well, once I started the Wellbutrin, but these last 5 nights have been some of the most profound rest I've gotten in the last decade. I'm also breathing slower, deeper. I noted my breathing during one of the infusions, and it was pretty clear to me that's the way I should be breathing all the time. This may be crazy-talk, but it definitely "feels like" my brain is repairing itself even more. I'm also hoping that ketamine means I may be able to quit Wellbutrin without taking a step backwards. I'm very thankful to Wellbutrin, and I will take it forever if I need to, but obviously if I can stop depending on any medicine, that's a great thing. So far, I've taken 150 mg (half my usual dose) for 3 days in a row, and I've felt exceedingly well. Though, that may change yet. It is still very early days, and I have no idea whether the ketamine treatments will prove to be good, bad or anywhere in between. Will continue to provide updates, either way.
  6. I mostly take one 300 mg pill, though I have taken two 150 mg pills the same day, for small spells of time. I don't really see any reason there should be much of a difference between the two modes, and in my experience it didn't appear to be any different really. Hope you are feeling better.
  7. You've also made me very curious about which additional treatment you are finding success with -- do tell. The treatment I'm looking at is ketamine infusions. It's not really a secret, was just avoiding mentioning it because the mods on this forum appear to be sorting out whether they want to allow discussions pertaining to ketamine treatments. I think it's pretty obvious they should allow it, but it's their decision I suppose.
  8. Be very careful with HOW you quit the Xanax. From what I understand, Benzo and Alcohol withdrawals are the only two that can actually be lethal. Tapering over an extended period of time is highly recommended. It's true that response has been overwhelmingly positive, but there are people that it does not work for. Still seems like a worthwhile gamble. A valid frustration. I have come across a few posts elsewhere indicating that some clinics may have "slush funds" given by other patients that are hoping to sponsor someone who may have economic difficulty in getting this treatment. Of course, I have no idea how easy or difficult it is to find those funds, I have only heard of them. Lots of people find the cost prohibitive. Sad, because it does appear to hold a lot of promise. Warm wishes.
  9. Month #8 I guess I sort of skipped a month by posting a few days later on multiple occasions. At any rate, this is the eighth month, and it is mostly similar to the preceding months. The main item I should add to the previous posts is that there is kind of a weird "cumulative" effect that I feel, but is hard to describe. It's like, nothing has really improved, per se, but just the fact that I've felt this way for so many months makes me start to feel more like I own the improvements, instead of having them on loan from the medication. On separate news, I've been thoroughly researching an alternative treatment that I think might be helpful, and is unlikely to make things worse, so I consider it kind of a zero downside proposition (economics aside). I will continue taking Wellbutrin during and after this treatment, so no change there. Will also keep updating the thread. Also, many thanks to @Laura123 , @JD4010 and @MtnDreams for your kind words of support. Best to all of you.
  10. I also never suspected my symptoms might be "depression". I thought it could be early Alzheimer's, or something hormonal. My whole concept of "depression" was wrong. I agree there is something wrong with the depressed brain, I'm beginning to understand it as a kind of "reversible brain damage", where treatments are generally aiming to allow restoration of those neural networks. Totally agree with this. I can see how stress and GAD wore my brain down. This is probably my biggest fear as well, though they are young still. Do the best you can moving forward, and share with them anything you've learned about self-management and understanding "depression". And above all just love them and show them genuine appreciation. I recall my depression getting worse before it got better, I think it was somewhere around weeks 2 - 6 that I was feeling more depressed than before I started. In fact, that may not have corrected itself until I upped the dosage to 300 mg. The details are a bit fuzzy now. I would definitely increase to 300 mg and give it a chance to work for a good 6 weeks or so. If you still don't have any gains, then maybe talk to your pdoc about switching strategies. That's exactly how I described my feelings to the psychiatrist who first diagnosed me earlier this year. "Off the rails". He made note of it. I'm thankful to the Wellbutrin the help it has provided. But it's certainly not a complete resolve. I have been doing a ton of research on a different treatment the last 3-4 months, and I think I am going to give that treatment a try. I will continue my Wellbutrin whilst I try out the other treatment. Will continue to post either way.
  11. Definitely worsens with stress. Though, I haven't felt "myself" in 10+ years. Since I started Wellbutrin sleep is one of the main things that has improved quite a lot. Exactly. That's the best I can gather from all I have read and heard. That feels like it's probably true for most people -- part environment, part genetics, with one being more prevalent than the other. I feel like both are present for me as well. The part that feels strange is: why didn't I always feel badly? Why did it happen from a certain point forward? My best guess is that I wasn't able to cope properly with stress a dozen years ago, and that had a whole "breakdown" effect that has me where I am. Could you explain this more?
  12. Thanks for reconsidering, hope you are able to oblige. In the meantime, and for those interested, Reddit has a therapeutic ketamine group that is very useful.
  13. Month #6 Pretty much the same as the last few months. I should just add to the list of stagnant symptoms a couple of omissions I noticed from my last recap -- these things are maybe 35% improved, which means they are still 65% present -- brain fog, everything related to memory, and spatial coordination. Additionally, I continue to feel pretty disconnected from the world. All things considered and looking at the entire timeline (before/after), I think the medicine has been very useful to date. Though, I must confess, I'm very much on the lookout for something that would help with all the symptoms that have yet to improve. I'm doing my part as well -- exercise, therapy, leaving work earlier, learning about self-care.
  14. 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
  15. 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.
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