Done with Wellbutrin, Starting Celexa

Yesterday I took the last wellbutrin pill that I plan to take.

I’ve been weaning off of those ever since my big driving panic attack that I am convinced they triggered.    On Friday my doctor agreed that I needed something different.  Not sure the wellbutrin had been helping much before that anyway and I have been taking ativan almost daily so thats not good.  That is not the purpose of my ativan.  It’s just supposed to help me as needed, and I’m not supposed to need it every day!

Part of me wants to just wait it out and see how I do without any medication in my system.  I hate that medication has become normal for me.

But then kid2 asked me to take her and 3 friends to the mall this weekend to shop for dresses for the spring formal.  Just the thought of driving them there made me want to start popping ativan!

Last night I drove to kid3’s playoff basketball game – my kids and kid2’s BFF – and it was HARD.  I did it cuz hubby didn’t go to the game but it wasn’t fun at all.  I had a little episode on the way there and slowed way down, expecting to pull over, but kept fighting and and got through it and kept going.  Amazing to me that kids don’t notice.  Ha.  They were gabbing and picking on each other and fighting and all that they do and were oblivious to what was going on up front.  Ha.  Even Kid1 who sat in the front passenger seat.  She had her headphones on and her head laid back and was in her own world.  I’m glad she was.

Anyway…. the thought of drivign them to the mall should not freak me out.  And that is ridiculous.

So I decided I would start the Celexa  (Citalopram) today.   I haven’t done it yet though.  I keep putting it off.  I’m starting with half a pill and its unlikely to have any side effects immediately but I was reading online about how one of the beginning side effects is dizziness and I am afraid of that I guess.  And I really don’t want to have to deal with that and have to be in charge of my kids…. I don’t know.  Then what if I take it now – almost bedtime and it keeps me awake tonight?  I have a conference call tomorrow with the Maybe Millionaires and I need to be completely focused and ready for that.  I cant be all sleep deprived and foggy!  Aggh.    Yes, this is just me babbling whats happening in my head right now.  Ha.

OK.  I’m going to take it now.  If not now, when?  I am praying this will help.  The plan is for this to help me overcome a lot of my social anxiety and get strong and confident and do all the things that I need to do and that I want to do!  Then I will wean off off this medication too and be forever fixed.  Yep, that’s right.  I didn’t use to have panic attacks.  And I don’t plan to have them for the rest of my life either.  :D

Here we go.  Celexa:  Day 1

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Off Wellbutrin to Try Anti-Depressant?

So after all that happened with the Wellbutrin, I want off of it!  Once I figured out that it contributed to my freak out I started weaning myself off of it immediately!  I have reduced my dose significantly and feel so much calmer overall.

I also have been taking Bright Spark from NativeRemedies.com and think it works wonderfully for concentration and focus.  I seriously feel happier!  I dont know if it is because of reducing the wellbutrin.  Or taking Bright spark (take this occasionally, not every day so I don’t know…)  Or maybe I’m just happier because my marriage is pretty great right now.

Don’t get me wrong, Wellbutrin did help me for a while.  The reason I chose to start taking it was because of this comment I read on a forum:

“The wellbutrin gets rid of the obsessive thoughts I have about my anxiety and panic attacks and I take the ativan when I am having an actual panic attack.”

And it really did help with that.

The problem is that I am still struggling so much to do everyday things.  I am so tired of having to work so hard to do normal things.  And I’m sick of missing out on life.

I was on Paxil for post-partum depression after kid3.  Paxil is a wonderful drug!  It helped me so much and not only helped with the depression, but helped in many other ways as well.  It basically erased my shyness.  That’s the way I described it at the time.  This was way before panic attacks had entered my life.  I have always been shy and hated being the center of attention, or giving speeches etc.  I’ve done those things – just didn’t like to.

Now – I have trouble sitting in the bleachers watching my kids play volleyball.  Then – I was on the volleyball team playing in front of everyone!

Now – bleachers at football games suck!  Then – I was in the band marching around on the field in front of everyone!

Now – Do not even ask me to get up and talk in front of a group.  Then – not only did I give oral reports etc at school, but I gave a speech at graduation!  In the same gym that I have trouble sitting in!  That gym was packed for graduation with some people having to stand.  And I stood in front of all those people and gave a speech!  Now I wont even go into that gym unless I’ve taken ativan and can get a seat near the door.  Ugh.  What the hell happened to me?  And why?!

Anyway… Paxil cured me of that.  I even hosted a wedding shower for my sister and was bossy and in charge of the games and gave a sweet little talk about my sister – in front of all those people.  I didnt know a lot of them either.  And then I stood up in her wedding as maid of honor – in all my fat glory.  Ugh.  I hate all pictures that I am in from that wedding! When my other sister got married before that I refused to be in it and was guest book attendant instead.  Heck even for my own wedding, we had a “destination wedding” with 4 other people there – cuz I didn’t want to be the center of all that attention!

Paxil worked wonders for me and I remember thinking that this must be how everyone else feels.  I felt normal for once.

The problem with paxil though is that I gained 40 pounds.  yes – 40!  And Paxil withdrawal is no picnic.  That is putting it mildly.  So I don’t really want to go back on Paxil.

I want something that works just like paxil but without the weight gain.  I doubt that exists.  I’ve googled so many different medications and it seems all anti-depressants have possible weight gain as a side effect.

I’ve decided I want to try an anti-depressant again though anyway.  Just remembering how I felt when I was on Paxil makes me think it might really help me.  I want to get on with living!  And I’m hoping that other meds are as likely to result in weight gain as Paxil is.  And I know to look out for that side effect now so maybe I’ll be able to keep it under control if it does become an issue.

(Of course I’ve just set a new weight loss goal for myself too – 10 pounds by April 30th – just in time for our 20th anniversary!)

This post was a lot of babbling I know.  I’m trying to figure this out.  I go to the doctor on Wednesday and am going to talk to her about all this.  I’d also like to try xanax instead of ativan since it works faster – that should help with having to plan ahead so much – to be sure to take it in time for whatever event is gonna stress me out next.

But then I love my dear ativan.  I need a refill on that and am wondering if they will do both – refill ativan and a new RX for xanax at the same time.  They may not.  I want my ativan still – it is like my security blanket!

See, I have no idea what will happen but I’d like to have an idea about what I want before I go in there on Wednesday!

G’night.

Driving Anxiety : My Last Big Panic Attack

So here it is.  The story of my last big panic attack that I keep referring to.

I take  wellbutrin to help me with my anxiety.  It has been working.  I need brand name because the generic makes me puke and I don’t stop puking even after an “adjustment period”. Every single time my prescription runs out and the pharmacy requires a new one from the doctors office they give me terrible trouble and try to get me to switch to generic.  So much I could say about their nonsense but the result this time was that I was almost out of pills and they were taking their good old time in approving the new RX.  I started stretching the pills out.  You don’t just quit taking these pills, you have to taper off of them.  I didn’t want to do that, I was just trying to spread them out until I got more. And it was taking forever!  I finally got the refill and started back in taking them again as normal.  That was my first mistake.  I didn’t think about the fact that I was weaned off of them pretty well by now.  About 3 days later I was a nervous wreck and it took me a while to realize it was because I overloaded my body with the wellbutrin too quickly.

Of course that was the day I had to drive my daughter to the ortho.  I had been sweating all day.  My hands had been shaking.  At times that day my heart felt like it was beating so hard I was sure people could see it popping out of my chest.   I took 2 ativan to help me calm down and then I picked my daughter up from school.  I had the window down in the car. The cold air helped even though she kept complaining that she was freezing.  We were talking a lot.  I was trying to distract myself and focus on her instead of how I felt.  That worked for a while.

Then we started talking about my brother and his wife who are trying to have a baby.  That turned into a conversation about sis-in-law’s sister who died from a brain tumor shortly after her twins were born. That is an emotional story.  Oh my.  I hadn’t thought of that in several years and it hit me.  I don’t like medical stuff.  It makes me feel queasy even on good days.  Well I was not having a good day anyway and the emotion of those memories put me over the edge I guess.

Here it was.  The panic monster had come for me.  We were stopped at a red light and I was trying hard to refocus.  I changed the radio station, looked in my purse for nothing really, checked my phone.  Oh my.  I couldn’t shake it and the black spots were there and they were big.  I was terrified I was going to pass out at the wheel of my car!  The light was red for what seemed like forever so I put the car in park, figuring that would be best in case I actually did pass out.

The light turned green and I was shaking so bad but put it in drive and went.  My daughter was worried by this time so I told her I felt very sick and that I felt like I was gonna puke any minute.  There was no where to pull over.  There was a lot of traffic and I was in a middle lane.  Thank God that there was a left turn possible at the next light.  We stopped at the light and I put it in park again and waited.  You have no idea how badly I just wanted to get out of that car!  I pictured myself getting out of the car and walking across the traffic and sitting down on the curb.  I just wanted out!  When the light turned green, I went and pulled into the first parking lot we came to on that road.  I got out and just kind of walked back and forth pacing.  Taking deep breaths and being thrilled to be out of the car!

She was worried about being late for her ortho appt.  Last time we were late the lady was not nice at all and upset kid2 so much she cried when we left.  So she wanted me to hurry up and get back in!  Wow I wished she was old enough to drive!  I talked myself into trying again.  It wasnt very far away and only 1 more light to go through.  So we went.  The light to pull back out on the highway took forever though and I was a sweaty mess again by the time it turned green.  I sped there as quickly as possible – like a mom on a mission.  SO relieved to reach the parking lot!

Her appt was  just a quick adjustment.  Basically each time we just sign in, they call her back, I sit there and wait, she’s done in 10-15 minutes and we leave.  I told her to go in herself.  She was nervous about it and got a little mad at me.   I laid my seat back in the car and told her I’d be right there waiting.  She is 14.  She could handle this with no problems and I was parked right by the door.  So she did.  As soon as she was out of sight I kinda freaked out a little again.  I was still having trouble catching my breath.  I tried turning music on the radio to help me relax.  Didn’t help.  I got out my ipod and played some games, thinking I could distract myself enough to forget about it a little.

When she came back I still didn’t feel confident enough to start the drive home so I gave her some cash and sent her into TJ Maxx – her favorite store ever.  She took a really long time in there and I was glad.  I went in after a while.  I wanted to walk around, build some confidence, feel normal again.  We paid for her stuff and I had  a hard time in line and went outside while she was still checking out.  I felt like I just needed air.

The ride home was terrible.  I just wanted to be home.  She was afraid I was gonna have to pull over and puke at any minute.  I was afraid I would pass out at any minute and kill us all.  There are not always places you can quickly pull over if you need to!  I felt like a race car driver.  When I was on a stretch of road without places to pull over, I was so focused and going as fast as the cars in front of me would allow.  I was determined to get through those places before more black spots came.  It wasn’t good.  At all.  On the more country roads where I could stop if needed, I relaxed a little and that helped get me through the other parts.  It was about 1/2 an hour drive home and we both were very relieved to make it home.

We went into the house and she announced that they should watch out cuz mom is sick and heading for the bathroom.  lol  I did and put cold water on my face and tried to not be a nut case.  I went to where hubby was sitting on the couch.  I wanted a hug so badly!  I sat close and he said something about me being sick and he didn’t want to get sick.  Ha. Cant blame him I guess.  He didn’t know what had really happened.  (I did finally tell him later – just a few days ago actually – and this happened at the beginning of December)

So then I went to bed and stayed there.  I felt like a rag doll, completely limp, worn out.  Everyone left me alone cuz they thought I had “germs” and it was bliss.

Generic Wellbutrin Recalled

This is huge.

“The FDA has withdrawn its approval of Teva Pharmaceutical’s Budeprion XL 300-mg tablets, a generic version of GSK’s Wellbutrin XL extended-relief antidepressant.

The FDA action comes five years after patients complained of headaches and returning depression after switching from brand-name Wellbutrin XL to Teva’s generic version. The Teva generic was approved in December 2006.

In 2009, the FDA wrongly assured patients that the Teva generic worked just as well as the name brand…..”

Read the rest here if you are interested:
http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20121005/teva-high-dose-generic-wellbutrin-xl-withdrawn

I did not take this specific generic wellbutrin medication.

BUT.

I had my first panic attack 5 years ago.  Right after my medication was switched.

I was switched from one generic Wellbutrin to another.

At the time I was convinced that was what caused my panic attack in the grocery store that day.  As soon as I figured that out I got off of anti-depressants altogether.

As time went on and my panic attacks got worse, I decided that the generic Wellbutrin was a contributing factor but it was not the sole reason. There were other reasons & circumstances that I am sure were also part of the cause.  But I believe that was the final push.  I have an unfinished post about this.  And I don’t recall right now which generic I was switched to.  But I do remember that I spent many hours online after that – researching it and discussing this in forums with other people who were also convinced that generic Wellbutrin was NOT the same as the brand name and it caused anxiety & panic attacks –  but the doctors, FDA, and of course the drug companies would not hear our complaints.

There was a place to report these types of complaints and many many of us did.

As I said I do not think I took that specific generic Wellbutrin medicine, but I stand behind my belief that the generic I did take caused (or at least contributed) to my panic attacks.  The fact that they have found this to be true for this other generic, just makes me feel even stronger about my own belief that generic Wellbutrin is NOT equivalent to the brand name.

Right now I am back on Wellbutrin.  “Brand Necessary”  This is what the doctor needs to write on my prescription forms.  And that will be fought at EVERY level.  The doctor disagreed, gave me the generic, I tried it and puked my guts up for several weeks before I refused to take that anymore and insisted he let me try the brand name.  The prescription was sent to my mail order prescription service I have with our health insurance.  They ignored that completely and sent me the generic.  I called to complain.  They said the doctor didn’t fill out the form correctly.  The doctor said they did.  The form was resent.  My insurance company called me 3 times to try to sell me on the idea that generic was just as good.  Seriously, it took 3 irritating phone calls of me saying no, no, no before they would actually send the brand name.

I do pay more for the brand name obviously.  But thankfully it is manageable with our insurance.

Anyway, I was so excited to read this today!

Even though it is not the exact drug I took, it is a step in the right direction.  The FDA admitted that a generic was not as good.  That opens some doors and perhaps they will look more closely at the quality of the generics from now on.  And maybe, just maybe – they will believe the people taking these medications when they complain that there is a problem!

Nerve Tonic

I bought this at Walmart.  It’s been in my desk drawer for quite a while.

Wellbutrin makes me shake.  I have trouble even cutting a straight line. My daughter asked me to paint her nails.  That did not work!  It has really been bugging me and becoming a real problem.

Usually an ativan helps but I don’t want to take any more of those than necessary so I tried this.

I am amazed.  It may be too good to be true.

It takes away my Wellbutrin shakes!

I have not noticed any side effects.   It says it is non-habit forming.  Seems to good to be true.  The box says ” Temporarily relieves the symptoms of simple nervous tension and stress.”  I don’t think my nervous tension is simple by any means!  lol  I have no idea if it would actually help with my anxiety but I am going to keep trying it because I am amazed at how it made my shaking stop!  Yay!


———-

When I first tried it I made some notes on my daily log just to keep track of it.

3/25 nerve tonic pill – took about  2:55 pm- now its 4:05 pm and I am definitely calmer and the shaking has slowed down!  Cool!

3/27 – nerve tonic at 11:53 am – visibly shaking – gonna check in an hour and see if my hand is still!
– definitely helped but didn’t completely stop, don’t feel as jittery though!
– Took a 2nd nerve tonic at 4:04 pm – we’ll see!
– no kidding! 7:33 pm-  I can hold my hand still !

Anxiety & Doctor Appointments

Doctor Appointments are hard for me.  Being trapped in the little room is something I hate!  The annual gyne exam is the worst.

– I had my regular checkup.  Ativan helped.  I had a new physician’s assistant and she was nice but very inquisitive.  Made me uncomfortable.  And now since I’m 40 I’m supposed to go have a mammogram.  Ummm – we’ll see.  It’s scheduled for some time in January.  And they gave me a form to go have my bloodwork done – checking blood sugar, cholesterol etc.  Actually forgot all about that until right now.  No idea when I’ll get to that.

– I also had an eye doctor appointment, then the next week Kids2 & 3 had one.  Two weeks in a row.  Great exposure therapy, don’t ya think?  And we will probably be going back next week to pick up contacts, glasses etc.  I want to say “It was fine!” so very badly, but it wasn’t.   It wasn’t too bad though.

– Kids had an appointment to get flu shots.  We went there directly after their eye appointment.  Another little room to sit in and wait.  Thankfully it was a quick visit!

Just another post about baseball games and panic attacks :)

We went to a 4th of July family picnic this weekend.  Hubby & Kid3 missed it because of a baseball tournament.  They had planned to come to the picnic and miss a game until they learned that the team would have 3 games that day.  Missing one game they could stand, 3 put them over their limit.  :)

Yes, 3 games in one day in 90 degree weather.  And these are 8 year olds.  That is just insane.  Turned out they played 5 games in 2 days and were out.  Thank heavens.

So on Saturday my girls & I went to the family picnic.  We went with my sister and her 2 kids.  It’s about a 3 hour drive.  We were in the car longer than we were there.  That’s always how it is.  Anyway, while I was in the shower this morning I thought of this and wanted to type it out…..

I did good at the picnic!

Usually I stress a lot about these events.  And I was still a bit nervous this time, but not nearly as bad.  So yea, this is another panic attack  defeating success story.  Usually, I would have taken an ativan before we left and then more ativan when we were almost there.  And perhaps even more if I was going to be driving in a lot of traffic on the way home.  Sorry, but that has been the only way I could deal with it in the past.

This time?  I did take an ativan that morning before we left.  But then that is the only one the whole stinking day!  And that is amazing.  I had it with me.  I made sure of that before we left the house that morning.  But then I forgot!   That is a wow.  Because before I depended on them so much, I planned my life around it so much!

I did drive part of the way home.  Honestly, when my sister asked me to drive, I thought about the fact that I hadn’t taken it, that I wasn’t prepared… but it wasn’t a horrifying thought like it used to be.  In the past I would have planned ahead and taken one just in case.   And if I had forgotten  or something, I would have been freaking out on the inside about driving in that traffic beside that wall!  You know what I am talking about – in construction zones on the big highways, they have the cement walls on the left side on a 2 lane highway.  And you drive in that lane so you don’t get run over in the right lane by the traffic merging onto the road.  I HATE that wall.  But I did it.  And it was OK.  (The air conditioning blasting in my face helped!  lol)

I know that I have been dealing with these events better because of wellbutrin.  I know I have said it before.

I am just so psyched about it!

I know that I am not cured.  I do still have my moments.  And my anxiety levels obviously still vary and depend on a lot of  factors.  But I feel like it has given back a part of me.  When I think about it, there are a lot of upcoming events that I am nervous about facing.  That hasn’t changed.  But I have not felt crippled by my anxiety for a while now.  Last time I posted about how confident I was feeling about beating the panic monster, I got knocked down quick.  I am not naive. I know I still have a fight ahead of me.  But I have found one more tool to use in that fight.  Thank you Lord!

Go Away Anxiety, I am Enjoying My Dinner!

We have been so busy lately with all sorts of summer fun – mainly baseball – but other things too.  Crossroads program, swimming, raspberry picking with my Dad, amusement park trips with friends, riding 4-wheelers….  great summer stuff.

And I have mentioned that I think Wellbutrin is really helping me to not obsess and worry about potential panic attack – inducing situations.

This past weekend we went to a retirement party for hubby’s uncle in a large  banquet room –  long tables covered in white paper, metal folding chairs all lined up, people, people everywhere….  We got there after the rest of hubby’s family because we were coming after a ball game.  They saved us seats.

We sat right in the middle of it all. 

Middle table, and our seats were in the middle of that middle table.  Yes, we were smack dab right in the middle of the whole crowded room.

There really was no choice.  I can tell you that before, I would not have been able to sit there.  And really, back up more… I would not have gone.  I would have faked sick or said I had to work or found some reason not to go.  But we went, and on the way there I was thinking about the fact that I had not freaked out about this upcoming event at all and here we go.  I wondered if I should start freaking out then.  lol  But I didn’t.  I smiled as we rode along in the car together.  Yes, that’s another thing – hubby and I have been going more places together lately – as in sharing the same vehicle instead of just meeting places.  It feels more like we are a family unit.  I like it.

And the long food line….  Ha.  Yes, we were called up by table to hit the buffet line.  Big long line of people gabbing, waiting their turn.  Again, it was OK.

I am proud of myself.  Ativan still helped me that day.  I took it as a precaution I guess.  That doesn’t matter to me.  This is progress baby!  Even with the ativan I usually have a LOT more trouble than I did that day.  Just a few “what if” moments.  Nothing big.  I am amazed at how much I was able to just relax and enjoy myself.  It was wonderful.  Truly wonderful.

Take that Panic Attacks!

Thank you Lord!

Wellbutrin Gets an A+ Today

Know what I did today?

I went to Wal-Mart without taking ativan first.  This is a big accomplishment in my life.  Yes, I know that sounds pretty sad.

I had a big list, it was crowded, and I had to stand in line for a while.  I did it.

I did not once get light-headed or weak-kneed. I thought about whether that was going to happen a few times.  And usually me just worrying about it triggers a little anxiety.  But today, I thought “No.  I am good.”  And I took the time to stop and look around the store at all the people rushing everywhere.

I know that there has never been a logical reason for me to panic in a store.  Panic attacks are not logical.  But today, I feel like I faced it head on, with no fear.  I could see it all objectively.  This is what I was praying that wellbutrin would help me with.  I wanted to stop obsessing about the panic attacks because that has become worse than the actual situations that cause the panic attacks!

Wellbutrin gets an A+ today.  Or maybe I get an A+.  Let’s just call it teamwork :)

I Think Wellbutrin Makes Me Grumpy

I think maybe Wellbutrin is making me grumpy.  I know there is an adjustment period with all these types of mediction.  I want this one to be over with.  Ugh.

I have only taken two per day twice so far.  Every time I do I feel so icky.  I feel jittery and kinda “on edge”.  I don’t know if Wellbutrin will work if I do not get up to that dosage.  I know that I am supposed to take it twice a day and its only supposed to work after getting built up in your system for a few weeks.
I think I am different.  (I know I am different.  LOL)  But I mean that I think it affects me much more quickly.  I am tempted to quit tryign to take 2/day and just be happy with the one a day dose but if it would be more helpful to me if I could get up to the 2/day dose, then I feel like I should try that.  Ugh.  Headaches, nerves…..  I know I am rambling here.  Just trying to figure this out.

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This blog is my personal journal. I am trying hard to save my marriage. No, I am trying to build a great marriage. In case you haven't heard, marriage is HARD!
I am fighting back against anxiety & panic attacks. This is year 5 of this adventure. I am also codependent. I am an ACOA. Fun, Fun. I am trying hard to become a better me.