I have Drugs! an update.

Hey everyone! Christina here.

I’ve spend the last month and a half since being prescribed drugs testing them out, and I’m happy to report fairly positive results.

Last time I wrote about mental illness, my psychiatrist prescribed Lexapro and Wellbutrin for depression/anxiety/depersonalization.

Part of me doesn’t want to bore you with the details, but here they are anyway:

Lexapro didn’t seem to do much for me at first except make me yawn. A lot. I found myself yawning some 10-20 times in a row, probably at least 30 times a day – no joke. Eventually, I figured out the yawning must have a vestibular component. If I were to, say, lay in bed, I wouldn’t yawn, but as soon as I arose, the yawning fits started I also yawned nearly constantly while driving.

After a week or two, the yawning subsided, and I started to feel better. I was unsure at first if I felt less depersonalized, or if I felt depersonalized but cared less about having those feelings. I also noticed my thoughts about suicide slowly went away, almost without me noticing. One evening as I drove home, I realized I had not thought about suicide the entire day.

I decided to start on the Lexapro first, to see what effects it might have by itself. After a few weeks on it, I felt decent, so I started on the Wellbutrin.

Wellbutrin made me want to accomplish ALL OF THE THINGS the first few days I took it. I wrote something like five blog posts and cleaned the entire house. I thought Wellbutrin might save me from my incessant procrastination – however, after the first day or so, instead of wanting to do everything, I felt… well, I can’t describe how I felt other than to say I felt bored.

Frustratingly bored. I kept texting, “I’m so BORED!” to my friends. I could have been standing onstage in the middle of Las Vegas, surrounded by Richard Dawkins, Greta Christina, my husband, JT, and Teller, singing Skeptical Girls while PZ Myers poured glitter all over me, and I would have felt bored and uninterested by the whole affair. After a few weeks of Wellbutrin, I quit. So too, did the frustrating feeling of boredom.

At the end of February, I met with my psychiatrist a second time. She nixed the Wellbutrin and added Adderall.

Adderall makes my mouth a tad dry, and if I take a dose less than 10 hours before bed, I have difficulty falling asleep. However, it makes me feel more motivated to accomplish things. I’m working on a short story, and to my amazement, I was able to work on it for about five hours straight the other night without getting burned out or paying attention to 245 other things.

So, I think I am pretty close to fixing my brain. I’m not really bothered by feelings of depersonalization much anymore. It comes and goes. Last weekend, I spent the night at a friend’s house and forgot to bring my meds, so I went without both Lexapro and Adderall for a day. Not only did I feel depersonalized, but I was also really lethargic, so when I got home around 5pm, I promptly took a nap. I can’t say for sure if that points to any causation, though.

Now, instead of feeling like I don’t want to do anything, I feel like I want to do many things and don’t have enough time to do them all. This is assuredly preferable!

I also should touch on cost. Lexapro was $120 for 30 pills. Ow. However, Lexapro is going generic – I knew it was on the way to becoming generic, and my local pharmacy just sent me a letter confirming that it is, right now, generic, That means it will probably cost something closer to $20. So, for all of you Lexapro users out there who have crappy prescription medication coverage or none at all, rejoice! Your brainpills are now cheaper.

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

About christinastephens
  • deeneely

    My wife as on Abilify for Bipolar. She would stick her leg straight up into the air in the middle of the night. I would wake up freezing and realize that all the blankets were up in the air. As soon as she stopped taking Abilify it stopped. Side effects are really strange.

    • Katie Tims

      Careful with that one. It almost gave my mom a full-out heart attack. :)

  • Mike

    I’m glad you’re having success with your medication! Nothing worse than being your own worst enemy. Cheaper meds are even better!

  • Laura

    Yay!! Since I started keeping track of your progress, i’ve started my own journey. I’ve finally. Made an appointment with a psychiatrist who will hopefully recommend the right sort of (non-judgmental or *hopefully* non-theist) counselor or psychologist, but I’m in Alabama so there is no telling. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for a whole without realizing what they were and recently I’ve had more issues with little nervous tics and compulsions than ever before.

    Tl;dr: thanks for reminding me it’s not the hardest thing in the world to go get help.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      YAY! You are why I expose my inner mental struggles on this blog. Thank you!

  • thztds

    6 years ago I bought some Lexapro for my cat (yes, it’s prescribed as a medication for pets as well) and it cost me $15 for a month supply, which was about 15 days worth for a person. About a year later I ended up getting a prescription for myself and spent $40 for one month with my insurance. Ever since I’ve been tempted to go to my veterinarian for my mental health needs.

    In any event, I’m glad it’s helping you. I quit the Lexapro after 3 months because it had zero effect for me.

  • Egaeus

    Lexapro was a miracle drug for me. I’m on Celexa now, due to the generic availability ($3/month instead of $40 with insurance) but it makes me sleepier. I’m glad Lexapro is now generic. I’ve been counting the days.

  • dmf

    I was on the exact same 2 meds for a while. Well, I went with the generic Wellbutrin (there was no generic Lexapro at the time). I think they helped. I weaned myself off after grad school. For me, I think the crucible of getting a PhD was really just too much to deal with it on my own. I’ve always been rather averse to psych meds.

    I’ve still got my swings and times when I feel profoundly sad out of the blue, but it’s a lot easier to handle with this 9-5er job I got m’self.

  • Moe

    So if you are mentally ill, could some of your ire at believers are others be a product of that mental illness, or even influenced by it?

    We now know that was behind some of Nietzsche’s rants.

    • Aquaria

      And how about all the atheists who don’t have mental health issues and still don’t believe.

      And how do you account for all the hate, of everybody, even yourselves, that comes from christslime like you? Think that’s informing your being a deluded sack of shit?

      Fuck off.

    • walton

      As a sufferer from a mood disorder myself (bipolar type II), I resent this comment greatly. It’s demeaning and infantilizing. Having a depressive disorder does not make a person incapable of rational thought, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can write off their opinions. Plenty of people have suffered from depression and similar illnesses and have also made outstanding contributions to intellectual life.

      I say this not because I always agree with JT or Christina on religion – I don’t – but because stupid comments like yours are contributing to a culture of stigma and prejudice against mentally ill people.

      • walton

        (Sorry, to be clear, my comment above was directed to Moe at #7.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      Moe,

      No.

      -Christina

  • Jen

    I was on the Lexapro/Wellbutrin combo two years ago and it worked well for me. However, my insurance would go back and forth between covering it and not, so I would have it one month, then not the next, then again, etc. The cycling was worse than the depression, so I stopped taking my meds which eventually led me to stop going to therapy too.
    I’ve been reading about your’s and J.T.’s struggles/journeys and have been hoping to be inspired to help myself again. Today, was that day.
    When I read that Lexapro is available as a generic, I put down my laptop and called my doc, without even closing my browser. Three hours later I have my now super cheap meds and am looking forward to feeling them working soon.
    Thank you for sharing so openly and for providing the final kick in the pants I needed.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      *hug* Thank you for letting us know. <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1583067300 alisonmeyer

    The Lexapro/Celexa are popular with a lot of doctors because they’re more finely tuned for serotonin receptors – less spillover effect on other neurotransmitters. As for the tiredness, go ahead and start taking them at night. They work the same on depression no matter what time of day you take them, but they make you more tired in the hours after you take them than as time goes on. Try not to miss them, though, because withdrawal brain zaps can be really uncomfortable.

    It’s also not unusual for people who respond well to buproprion to not do quite so well with amphetamine salts and vice-versa. Are you taking IR or XR, brand or generic? (I think you might have said before, but I forgot. . .) I absolutely will not touch anything but brand-name XR, because any other formulation does horrible things to me.

    Glad to hear a GOOD progress report!

    • Tex

      Seconding the take the Lexapro at night comment, covering psych in nursing school right now and they teach us that the drowsiness is a fairly common problem and to tell patients to try taking them at night instead of getting off the med. Kinda makes me wonder why the MDs dont just tell people to take them at night to begin with instead of waiting to see if drowsiness is going to be a problem.

  • Cunning Pam

    Yay! I’m so glad to hear you’re seeing positive results!

  • http://grasexuality.wordpress.com Elizabeth

    Huh. I read this, and linked it to my partner, because I found it interesting. I was on Wellbutrin for a while, about a year or a year and a half ago, and apparently I had the boredness side effect too, but I never realized it was a side effect until now. My partner said I drove her NUTS!

    That medication did basically nothing for me. My main problem is anxiety, and while my anxiety was reduced after I started taking it, I also started treatment for thyroid issues at the same time, and the Levoxyl is what has made the most profound difference. After I stopped taking Wellbutrin, I didn’t notice any difference in my anxiety levels (actually, they went down, but it was also a less stressful time in my life). From what I understand, it’s not usually prescribed for anxiety, but because of potential conflicts with my other medications my doctor didn’t want to prescribe me an actual SSRI. I haven’t gone on any other medications since I stopped the Wellbutrin, mainly because I did see somewhat of a remission for a while. I still have major issues with anxiety, though, and even more so lately.

    Anyway, I wanted to say thank you to you (and JT too!) for writing about this. I’m not usually much of a commenter, mostly because I don’t often have the time. But I’ve been reading about this for a while now, and it helps especially to read about derealization/depersonalization, because I’ve had some issues with that, too. For a long time, I didn’t understand it, and it made it very difficult to recognize when I was being abused, because it just didn’t feel real. So thank you for writing about it. I wish you all the best. <3

  • ibelieveindog

    Thank you thank you thank you for telling/reminding us that Lexapro just went generic!

    Dog thanks you, too. Less money to the drugstore means more money for dog treats and toys. So he thinks.

    I have the bored feeling and I’ve had it for a long time. After all these years (and years) with depression, I ignore symptoms. I neglect to see them as symptoms, out of habit, I suppose, because of that tendency to remind myself that life is hard for everybody, so shut up and don’t whine and don’t be a hypochondriac. Ungh.

    So thanks for that, too, and I’m calling my doctor.

  • Cynthia

    Christina,

    Congrats on the meds working for you, that’s wonderful news! Please update us whenever you have something you wish to share, I’m interested in how your journey goes. And from the responses I’ve read, many people are inspired to seek help because you and JT are willing to admit there is a problem.

    Hey MOE – You really need to look into things more before you post silly comments. Mental illness is not a major factor in atheism, just as it’s not a major factor in religion. It’s a BRAIN CHEMICAL ISSUE. Got it? And if you can’t actually open your mind and discuss stuff, you’re going to find life gets really hard for you here.

  • CC

    I’m so glad to hear you’re doing well with the meds and that you only needed one drug change! As I mentioned before, I take celexa and wellbutrin. I took lexapro for a month or so, but it was so expensive, I went back to celexa. I’d love to give lexapro a more thorough try, so I’m really happy to hear it’s coming out in generic. After a year and a half of taking celexa, the never ending sexual side effects are really starting to get to me. Please continue to keep us updated!

  • Amanda

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience with various drug combos. I’m still waiting for my Lexapro to kick in, but once I see how I fare with it, I may choose to add Welly for the utter lack of motivation/intense apathy toward getting things done that I would usually enjoy. It’s good to read some detailed reports of personal experiences.


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