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GCAC's - Wellbutrin Weekly Journal

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Posted (edited)

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.

Edited by gcac

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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?)

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gcac

Thanks for the updates.  I'm reading them with interest.  

Best to you

T

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I always feel that there is a cause and effect when making any changes to medications.  Thus, I would expect some reaction to lowering your Klonopin dose.

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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.

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Interesting.  It's as if I wrote this.  I can completely relate. 

I read a lot of Wellbutrin reviews and remember one girl said that she felt better by 8 weeks in her experience and it got better and better after 8 weeks.  

I think your journal will hit home with many that read it.  Thanks again for posting your experience.

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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. 

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Thank you, I'm glad to hear that.  Your descriptions have been so easy to relate to.  I have many thoughts and am very inquisitive on this subject.  After all, it's "only" my brain! haha. When you consider that it can take a compound leg fracture up to 10 months to heal, I guess it's not too unreasonable a time to expect the brain to respond to medication and start working right.  I know I expected the medication to work faster.  

It sounds like you have a very knowledgeable doctor.  And I look forward to hearing his opinions as things progress. My primary care doctor helped navigate me through this ssri and Wellbutrin treatment until he left and took on a different position.  I just started with a psychiatrist and not so sure of him yet. For taking on a new patient, he wasn't very thorough and so far has not picked up on any clues as far as some strong side affects I've been experiencing with the Paxil/wellbutrin combo.   Anyway, my pcp always emphasized exercise and it does help, except the Paxil makes me sooo tired- like functioning through mud.  How have you been doing on the exercise front?

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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Posted (edited)

So glad you mentioned brain fog. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time. When I lowered my Wellbutrin dose a few months ago from 300 to 200, thinking it was too strong, the brain drag/fog was the first thing to emerge.  I had been on the 300 dose for 4 months up to that point. After 6 weeks on 200 I increased it back to 300.

Have now begun to lower the Paxil and getting good results. I want to thank you for passing on the doctor search advice. I very much appreciated hearing it. It reinforces my own inclinations of not wanting to settle with less than expected from a professional. 

Glad to hear there has been considerable improvement from the Wellbutrin so far.

Edited by Laura123

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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.

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