One month on a new antidepressant…

And the big question is “how am I doing?”

My therapy session with Lynn is coming up in 2 days so I always like to mentally prepare for how I will respond.

I’ve been on the Wellbutrin 100mg SR for 18 days. Before that, I tried 50mg of Wellbutrin for 2 weeks, which I did not respond to but that low dose gave me a jump start on the 100mg efficacy.

Lynn will ask, “How do you think the new dose of Wellbutrin is working?”

The answer: My depressed mood has somewhat lifted.

I most certainly feel better than I did 2 weeks ago when I sat nervously in Lynn’s office, feeling mentally ill and insupportable. My own self-loathing was evident in that I couldn’t freely converse. I no longer have such a negative sense about myself. However, I do recognize symptoms of depression.

My quickness to feel guilt and shame is still lingering. I notice an overwhelming sense that I can’t handle bad news or criticism because I will turn it against myself. This makes me want to isolate myself and try to avoid conversation and confrontational situations. At work, if I am remiss in any fashion, I feel like the walls will fall down and fingers will point at me as the guilty one. I carry the weight of my children’s successes or failures. I watch them and feel I am directly responsible for their shortcomings because I am not good enough. This is not a “normal” response from me. I give my kids freedom of expression and I know they are individuals with their own strengths and weaknesses. So, why self-judge myself on their behavior? Why am I blaming myself for my son’s sports injuries? Why do I feel guilty that he can’t play? My other son is looking pretty scrappy lately because he wants to grow his hair long. I encourage self-identity but, nevertheless, I’m overcome with a sense of guilt and condemnation.

These fears have me in a flight or fright mode. Anxiety creeps in by 5 pm and I desperately want a drink to wash away the blame I feel for things out of my control. That is a sign depression is not properly managed. I’m well enough to get through my work days and all the required social interactions, but once I get home all resolve crumbles and I seek relief from the built up mental anguish.

Lynn will ask, “How are you doing with your drinking?”

My answer: I have not had a drop of wine all week, instead I am taking Klonopin as directed, which is once daily, in the afternoon.

I did not do as well on the weekend, and drank 2 bottles of wine. My mission was to be drunk enough to forget the nagging thoughts and anxieties, so I can’t say it was in moderation. Well, at least I did not take the anti-anxiety medication on those evenings so that is showing some control and, in my eyes, progress. Yes, I can hear some of you saying “just cut out all alcohol” but that has been my crutch since I was an early teen. I’m late 40’s now so you do the math – alcohol is a coping mechanism that has served a purpose for many years. I need help learning new coping skills, that I freely admit.

The Klonopin has stopped making me feel buzzed. Once this week, I took it before a nighttime meeting and felt pretty good. I like the sense of an emotional void it offers. It can cause dizziness if I take it without a meal in my stomach, though. And if I take it too close to bedtime, I get drowsy.

The Klonopin or Wellbutrin is causing a slight case of constipation. I’m trying to up my fruit and fiber to prevent that side effect.

Summing up, I would have to tell Lynn I still feel anxious and depressed so I don’t believe I’m on the right dosage of medication.

Since she is a therapist and an RN, she’s got her Rx pad at the ready, prepared to pull something new out of her pharmaceutical bag of tricks. Or, maybe I will be encouraged to continue along this path of semi-better and be happy with the minimal side effects.

My question for my therapist is: If we increase the Wellbutrin will more side effects appear? If her answer is in the negative, than that’s what I lean toward. So far, I’m cautiously optimistic about Wellbutrin. ♥

4 responses to “One month on a new antidepressant…

  1. I am glad you are feeling better. The fact that you can sit and describe you feelings indcates things are better. 100mg of Welbutrin isn’t a lot, less than 25% of the max so I would stick with it. maybe a higher dose? I dont know, but I doubt new side effects will appear just more of the same old ones. I hope your appointment goes well. And keep working on the drinking! I know you know you will be better off when you dont need it anymore.

  2. Personally, I don’t think that medication will help you. I’m no shrink, but to me you’re a really normal woman and mother and I just think you need a therapist you can really be honest with and cry and cry and cry for a few sessions (about the incest!!!) and you’ll feel so much better. Who the hell DOESN’T need a drink at 5pm, I ask ya???

    • I’m laughing at the 5 pm drink! Girl, we need to be friends so I wouldn’t feel like I’ve got a major drinking problem just because my husband doesn’t drink like I do. SERIOUSLY, though, I have a nagging feeling that I drink to self-medicate and I recently learned I have high blood pressure and I already know I’m overweight. Those 3 things together justify why I’m focusing on trying not to drink.

      I have cried my eyes out about the incest, back in my late 20’s. I did a lot of hard work around it but, you may be on to something, I’ve never cried my pain in front of a therapist. I go home to do that!

      • Sure, it’s embarrassing to sob in front of ANYONE, let alone a professional in an office, but I tell you, it has unbelievable healing power. I’m AMAZED at how my pain practically evaporated after those sessions. I kept telling her “I’m embarrassed!” and she kept saying “For what? for having feelings??”. What REALLY helped was, after she got to know me, after a few months, one day I sobbed again (NOT about sexual abuse or even having been a prostitute, but instead about growing up with a narcissistic mother!), and she said “God, that must’ve been awful for you!”; instead of just patiently waiting for me to cry it out. The look on her face…of horror!… the real empathy that I’d waited my whole life for somebody to have…the relief was indescribable. She says we behave badly as adults, because we’re subconsciously begging people to see how much we’re hurting inside. Even when we think we are just soooo in control of everything…so strong…such capable citizens and mothers…there’s that little girl in us, saying “My heart is so sore!!!! Make it better!”

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