Wellbutrin Doubts Answered

I took Wellbutrin for years. It was originally prescribed to try and mitigate the unfortunate personal side effects of the SSRI medications I was taking and it just never really went away. In the back of my head I was never really sure it was doing much of anything. A couple times over the years I would get fed up with the side effects of the SSRI and stop it. This always led to a slow decline in the stability of my mood. The first indicator that something was wrong would be chronic stomach upset. Before my actual mood deteriorated I would get tired of feeling sick all the time and end up back on the SSRI.

A little over a year ago I stopped the SSRI medications again and until recently my mood and stomach have behaved nicely. Over the winter I survived benzodiazepine withdrawals without the help of and SSRI and actually felt really good for awhile on the Wellbutrin alone. I suppose in hindsight I should have left well enough alone, but I had this nagging doubt that the Wellbutrin was doing anything and was excited by the prospect of a drug free existence. I worked my way off the Wellbutrin and by the end of May I was living with no chemical safety net. Within a month things started to decline. I was flirting with the idea of calling the doc when the recent insomnia hit and I had little choice but to do something.

About the same time the insomnia popped up I was beginning to lose myself in my own head. The anxiety was dripping off me. I worried about everything and just generally began to feel fearful. I was worried about the big questions in life. What are we doing here? What happens when we die? Big stuff with no real answers, but that caused me to spend way too much time in my head. I tried to stop myself from having these internal conversations, but my brain just went there on its own.  About a week after I started the Wellbutrin I noted a slight let up in the overriding sense of unease, but I still couldn’t get out of my own head. When I last saw the doc we increased the Wellbutrin dosage from 150mg to 300mg. About a week in I finally found some relief from these dangerous internal though patterns.

I guess the question is answered. The Wellbutrin is doing something. The question now is if it will be enough. I travel around and work with the public. Twice in the last week or so I have had a customer point out that I look unhappy. I don’t feel particularly unhappy. I am tired. Sleep has been better, but not perfect, and even when I get a good night’s sleep I feel tired in the morning. I know that is not a good sign, but there have been improvements in my sleep over the past week so I remain hopeful that the fatigue will pass. I have also experienced some of the milder side effects of the Wellbutrin restart which include occasional dizziness and feeling cognitively slower. Some of these symptoms are letting up, and I wonder if the fatigue may be part of that as well. In the past when I have taken SSRI medications I have felt pretty good. At this point on the Wellbutrin I wouldn’t say I feel good I would just say I don’t feel bad. I am most certainly not on solid ground

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Breaking The Cycle

Disclaimer – I have said in the past that I have limited time to write in the summer. This was written in a small window of opportunity during which my 3 year old repeatedly got up from his nap and interrupted my train of thought. If I tried to proof it thoroughly it would never have been posted, Please forgive the typos, misspellings, and odd sounding sentences that are undoubtedly everywhere.

 

When I last checked in just after the 4th of July I was still struggling mightily to get a decent night’s sleep. The Friday before this past, the 6th, I again went to bed with the knowledge that the alarm would be sounding at 4:00am which is about the same time I had been getting to sleep. The pressure of needing to sleep was the trigger that set this all off in the first place, and predictably sleep that night was not going to come easy. The stressor had been needing to get some sleep prior to getting up early to go work with my father. This work is something I both enjoy and need for additional income. I had canceled the previous two times I was supposed to get up because of the insomnia. This time I decided to take a different approach. Going into Friday night I had slept reasonable for a couple nights. I decided that no matter what happened overnight I would get up and go fishing. The day we had planned was going to be easier than normal and the weather was to be ideal. I figured if I took away the sleep requirement for going it may help.  When sleep came hard I reset the alarm for 5:00 to give myself  a little time, but held firm on my commitment to get up no matter what happened. Some time after 3:45 I drifted off and I woke again before the alarm around 4:55 and got up.

The day started grey and foggy both in my brain and on the water. The drive to the boat was pretty bad and the first

Not my photo. No credit information available.

couple hours work were equally horrible. My brain was moving slowly but I was functioning. Finally around 9:00 the sunchased the fog away and the warm rays of my skin cleared the cobwebs from my mind. The rest of the day went pretty well. That night I stayed up until 10:00 and when I hit the pillow I could not sleep. I was very very tired and as we all know when you are that kind of tired the little voices in the back of your head get louder and more forceful. By 10:30 I was experiencing high anxiety and in pretty rough shape. Even my anxiety couldn’t overcome the level of fatigue I was experiencing and sometime after 11:00 I slept. It was a toss and turn kind of night, but I did sleep.

As the new week began sleep again became a more regular part of my life. Getting there was still a bit of a struggle taking an hour or two each night, I got a lot of reading done, but sleep was coming. When Friday rolled around I had a follow up visit with the shrink concerning my restart of Wellbutrin and the sleep problems. During the visit we increased the Wellbutrin dose from 150mg to 300mg, and talked about adding a drug to ensure nightly sleep. He indicated that my prolonged  use of the benzodiazepine Klonopin would likely make sleep aid such as Lunesta and Sonata ineffective. I found this an interesting observation and wished he had elaborated as to why.  In the end the conversation boiled down to two old antidepressants with sedative side effects Mirtazapine and Trazodone. I am not looking to take a lot of pills and was encouraged by the improvements to my sleep over the course of the week. The Mirtazapine was a drug I would have to take on a daily basis, but the Trazodone was something I could take an a more as needed schedule. I really wanted to see if my sleep kept improving so we decided I would take and prescription for Trazodone and use it if I needed it.

Friday night I was again facing and early alarm, and all day I was wrapped pretty tight about it. The week before I had proven that I could go fishing with no sleep so I again decided that I would gt up no matter quality of quantity of sleep I got. At bed time I could feel the anxiety in my body when we turned the light out at 10:00. By 11:00 I was no closer to sleep that when the light went out so I got up took some of the left over Buspar for the anxiety and read for almost an hour. Sleep finally came around 1:00, and I got up at 4:00 when the alarm sounded.

Yesterday we fished our biggest day of the season. I was on the water for over 11 hours in 90+ degree heat. My stomach gave me some trouble over the course of the day so I didn’t eat, but I drank about 50oz of water. I didn’t feel great, but I again functioned effectively on minimal sleep. I am hoping that by breaking the cycle of not going when I don’t sleep my brain will begin to realize that there is nothing to get all worked up over. By taking away the negative consequence (not going fishing) I hope that sleep will become less a big deal and therefore come easier on these nights. We will see what happens next week I guess. I would really like to keep those pills in the bottle.

A Better Day

I would like to tell you all that I slept like a baby last night, but I did not. I was tired and stayed up a little later than I should have watching nothing of any importance on the television. I think we were both mostly just putting off what has quickly come to feel like the inevitable pain of another sleepless night. I was feeling sleepy enough when we did turn out the light around 11:00 that I figured I would try sleeping without the prescribed pills that had done so very little the first night.

I don’t really recall much after the light went out, but I woke up around 1:15 and I remember thinking to myself “Christ it’s been two hours and I’m still awake”. I immediately decided to pop a pill, but as I walked to the bathroom I began to realize that I may have been asleep. I took the pill anyway and returned to bed. The next thing I know its 3:15 and I have definitely been asleep, but I need to use the bathroom. I returned to bed and slept through to 6:00. As the day winds down I am again feeling pretty tired, but it was nice for awhile today to feel human again. The sun was shining and I actually felt pretty good for a significant portion of the day.

A few days ago I mentioned that I had made the call about getting another prescription for Wellbutrin. Last Friday the prescription was filled and took the first dose. It has been seven days now and the stuff should be just about starting to take hold. It will probably be another week or so before it is at full strength, but maybe some of the lifting today has to do with the medication. Wellbutrin has never helped with insomnia in the past, but I have never had Insomnia like this in the past so maybe it will get better. The pills prescribed for sleep were actually clonodine which is a blood pressure medication rather than sleeping pills. Apparently is has a relaxing sedative effect without all the baggage that comes along with actual sleeping pills. After my recent experience with Klonopin I was relieved that they were “light weight” sleep aids, but of course they weren’t the most effective solution either. In the light of the day at this moment I am again hopeful that things are improving. I felt so good for a short period of time, and my fingers are crossed that I can get back there and maintain that place.

The Tiptoe Awards Show

After I had been writing here for a while I found myself nominated for a couple awards by my readers. I felt a little silly about that, and I ended up pretty much just ignoring them. Over the past month I have again found myself nominated for a couple awards. This time around I have come to respect and value my readers a great deal and will not make the same mistake again so here goes…

I would like to thank Working Through The Madness for the Versatile Blogger Award and Angel Fractured for the One Lovely Blogger Award. I truly appreciate that they not only taking the time to read my nonsense, but actually mentioned me in a list of blogs they think are worth reading.

        

The rules of receiving both awards are:

1. Add the award to your blog

2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you and include a link to their blog.

3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.

4. List the rules.

5. Give the award to 15 or more bloggers.

 

One, Two, and Four are covered so on to the part I dread. Seven things about me… hmm…

1)      Sugar is my kryptonite

2)      I love the ocean. The movement, the smell, the view, all of it.

3)      Mayonnaise makes me want to vomit

4)      I am blessed with a fantastic family

5)      Summer heat zaps me. Give me sunny and 65 forever.

6)      Speaking of Sunny; I am the most solar powered person I know. I hate gray and dark

7)      I don’t think I have ever discarded a book I have ever owned. I love books.

That wasn’t as hard as I thought but the next rule is simply impossible because I simply don’t read 15 blogs on a regular basis. I could not fulfill the requirement for one award let alone both. I am going to have to keep it pretty simple here and nominate three bloggers for each award.

The Versatile Blogger Winners Are:

My Depression Chronicles

The writer is very open about her struggles with past trauma, depression, and anxiety all while balancing being a wife, mother, and working professional.

How do You Eat an Elephant

A relative newcomer to the blogging scene I have enjoyed her writing very much, and even reblogged one of her posts here.

Musings of an Over Analytical Mind

This writer is often hit or miss, but I find her writing is from the heart and inspiring. I particularly like this recent post.

The One Lovely Blog Winners Are:

Ten Years In

I am have not heard from this blogger in a couple weeks, but I hope she is still with us. Marriage, love, sex, and mental health all in one place. What more do you need?

The Sexpeditions of Lady J

In a word inspiring. A very thoughtful and insightful writer and reader. There is plenty of sexy rumpus (her words) in this blog, but it is much much more than that. It is journey of healing and discovery that is truly remarkable.

The Depressed Scientist.

I have been meaning to add this blog to my blogroll for sometime. He is notably the only male writer in my list of awards. It is my opinion that there are too few of us, and I relate well to much of his writing.

Sleep Problems

“I’ve always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.”
– David Benoiff

I struggled with Insomnia all weekend. Saturday morning when the birds began to sing outside I had yet to even feel the urge to doze. I did feel the anxiety attacks rack my body as the minutes and hour slipped past. I thought for certain that it couldn’t happen two nights in a row, which seemed ironic to me at 3:30 on Sunday morning. Last night I went to bed with a book and read some.  When my eyelids began to feel heavy I shut the light out. Complete sleep came within 45 minutes. God I hope it is over. The heaviness of the fatigue is debilitating, and brings a weakness to my mind that allows my thoughts too much freedom.