Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Brain on Wellbutrin

For the past month, I've found it increasingly difficult to get out of bed. I've also had difficulty focusing on tasks; something as minor as sending out an email sometimes paralyzes me. I was bitten by a deer tick around a month ago and thought maybe I was coming down with lyme disease, then as time went on I began thinking maybe I'd just become depressed, although I've never had this sort of depression before.

My mood started changing for no apparent reason. I'd suddenly be anxious, suddenly become hostile, then suddenly feel incredibly happy. I couldn't control these mood swings any more than I could feel like getting out of bed in the morning. Last week I finally realized what was causing this. About six weeks ago I began taking Wellbutrin to help me stop smoking, and what I was experiencing was my brain on Wellbutrin.

I tried Wellbutrin a little over a year ago, and in the month I took it my only side effect was insomnia. In fact, the insomnia was the reason I stopped. When I decided to take it again, I figured I'd have some trouble sleeping for a month or two, but that was a small price to pay for the health benefits of becoming smoke-free. When, after a couple of weeks, I didn't experience sleeplessness, I just thought I was lucky and side-effect free. When I started feeling exhausted I attributed it to the tick bite, figuring it was early lyme that just didn't show up in the blood test, and that when I go back to the doctor next week I'd test positive.

I've never before felt helpless in the face of my own emotions. When I read Darkness Visible years ago I thought, "How awful. I can't imagine something coming upon you like that." Unfortunately, I now can imagine what Styron went through. Each day I became a little more tired, each day became a little bit harder on me. Then last week I found myself at the grocery store suddenly incredibly anxious: I'd been out of the house for two hours. I needed more than anything to get home, to get into bed, to get myself away from my own life. That's when I read up on all Wellbutrin's possible side effects, and decided it was time to stop taking my daily dose.

Some good has come out of this. I've greatly reduced my nicotine intake. Despite my lethargy I've lost a bit of weight. If I weren't depressed I'd probably feel great. Hopefully I'll be back to my old self in about a week, when the medication has worked its way out of my blood. In the meantime I've learned two lessons. First, rely on willpower if at all possible and avoid medications you don't need. Second, be glad it wasn't Chantix.

7 comments:

cognitive psychologist said...

DEPRESSION,amongst medical pratitioners,is now viewed of as a FATAL disease.the medication you r on is an anti-depressant,which has side effects of smoking cessation in most patients.That medication will not LEAVE your system,but rather your system will become acclamated 2 the drug.U will become use 2 the side effects.that drugs efficacy will only be effective while u take it under its strictest guidlines.should u stray, the drugs efficacy will not be as effective.u will need more of it 2 get the same effect.Ultimately u will develop a medication ADDICTION.That is when your physician will take u off of the drug 4 fear of liver damage.there r only a small number of psychotropic medication classes,when they r exhausted,other measures r considered.psychiatry is a relatively new discipline,an inexact one.Depression is a terrible,dark,invisible disease.those people who STRUGGLE with it will ultimately succumb 2 it.After awhile the heart says enough already,I can't take it anymore,and stops.please take your medication as prescribed and don't abuse it,because it will no longer work.I luv U El.who else is going 2 yell at me when i do wrong,I can't imagine life without u

tunsie said...

U don't need wellbutrin 2 quit smoking.when i was in australia i went to my aunties house and she asked me, tunsie people tell me they saw u at the cafe and u had a cigar,and i said, auntie those people r lying.i don't smoke.if i took u 2 my aunties you would be afraid 2 smoke 2.I LUV U EL tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

Beth said...

I've struggled periodically with depression throughout my adult life. In the last few years, I have developed a more and more certain belief that investingin one's physical well-being goes a long way toward marshalling one's forces against depression. Yes, I indulge in the occasional existential drunken evening or couple days in a row under the covers with a long novel and old movies, every evey item of junk food in the house. But when the demons creep in, I know they are daunted by exercise, healthier food sun and fresh air, and the company of friends.

So keep fighting against smoking, even without the Wellbutrin. After two sets Saturday night at the Laf Barmy clothing was--as usual--saturated with cig smoke. Monday I did a load of laundry and hung it on the line. Now I can't seem to take off the weater I hung there because it smells so darn good.

Keep up the good fight, ELucidator

Beth said...

I shoulda previewed. Sorry 'bout the typos.

cognitive psychologist said...

my friend,a clinical psychologist,said it is hard 2 keep people on thier medication because the side effects r so bothersome.side effects which include:food doesn't taste the same.weight gain.metal taste in thier mouth,women develop a full beard that they have 2 deal with the rest of their life,sleeplessness,tired all the time,sexual dysfunction,anxiety,confusion,irritability,extreme anger,extreme mood changes.I am wondering if the symptoms of depression outweigh the symptoms of side effects that u have 2 deal with while taking them,but it is imperative 4 some people 2 take them,because without u will need 2 deal with suicide thoughts that may be realized 1 day.

tunsie said...

at the lafayette bar I have asked people 2 not smoke or smoke in designated areas 4 certain singers who don't like the smoke.It is if I am asking these people 2 aputate thier arms and legs.the look at me and as if I am offending them.people will look 4 a reason 2 smoke.the common reason is stress,but some smokers say it is coffee or after a meal or when I drink.I know when she pulls her cigarettes out I look in her coat pocket and I find an extra pack of cigs.she is afraid she is going 2 run out.If I ask her how many she indulged in today,she looks me square in the face and lies,these r from yesterday tunsie,I start yelling because she always tells me that.One time i was with her and another person,and they smoked 3 packs of cigs in 2 hours,after which she ran out in the freezing cold of the winter 2 get 2 more packs.I can't figure it out.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

tunsie said...

I went out 2 dinner with a beautiful woman last night.the place was quaint and the food was spectacular.It was a most enjoyable evening.after dinner my date excused herself from the table for awhile.I began 2 worry that she was in the potty 2 long.and i wanted 2 know if she was alright.she then came back into the restaurant from outside,she did not go 2 the potty.she was outside.can anyone guess what she was doing outside,and can anyone guess who my date was.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie