The afterglow of having family at our home has faded, along with the strength of my Wellbutrin.
It was me that brought up reducing my daily dosage when I last met with my psychiatrist. I cited how warm and lighter the winter had been so far and that I had not needed to get out my daylight box. Plus, having gone to Africa, the winter had been broken into pre and post-trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro.
READ: Was Reducing My Wellbutrin a Good Idea? Part 1
So, I told my psychiatrist that I saw many signs that I was ready for a lower dosage.
And while my psychiatrist agreed I could reduce the dosage; she informed me that she was going to write prescriptions for both the 300 mg and the 150 mg Wellbutrin. She understood that this was my choice and that I may change my mind over time.
Because my medicine management is done at a teaching hospital, occasionally I must switch psychiatrists.
My doctor has worked it out so that I can remain under her care for another year. However, because the new assignments are done in late May, I cannot make my next appointment until after June 1st. To keep me from running out she wrote two prescriptions with two 90-day refills. This will get me through until I can see her again.
Yesterday, I got my weekly call from my Peer Advocate at On Our Own.
When she asked how I was doing, I told her I was concerned about having reduced my Wellbutrin from 450 to 300 mg. We had spoken about this the week it happened and at that point, I told her that everything was fine. The grandson and many family members were getting together over the next few days, and I was so very excited to be seeing them.
I pushed aside my thoughts about medication and lived in the moment with my wife, siblings, my children, my niece, her child, and my grandson.
Several weeks later, my mood has lost its luster. I am feeling dull and lack energy. And while I am getting to work and being a driving force, it comes at a price. When I get home, I am quick to head for bed, especially if I had just worked the 12 to 9 PM shift. I have a late dinner, review my email, and find a reason to go to bed.
My peer advocate had an interesting observation about my medication and myself.
I was reminded that I have a family history of depression and that I am pre-disposed towards it. It is a biological disease, not always triggered by an event. Returning to the higher dose of Wellbutrin.would not make me weak.
She said that I was amazing, that I had so much to give and I was special.
Then she reminded me that if I had a broken arm, I could take pain medication, and no one would question it. If I had broken a limb, I would garner sympathy from almost everyone. I wouldn’t be told to “snap out of it.”
Having depression leaves me ashamed and fearful of the stigma associated with mental health issues.
However, the fact that my peer advocate was so confident in me, gave me strength. She was right that I can switch my dosage without feeling like I have let myself down. My goal ever since 5 East, has been to lead a balanced life with my depression. Adjusting my medication is one way I can keep my life in balance.
One last thing, my peer advocate reminded me that Wellbutrin has a ½ life in the body.
When I first cut back to 300mg of Wellbutrin, my body was still in the 450mg space. Some 3 weeks later, my body is fully into the 300mg. This could explain why in the first week, I was saying to myself that nothing had changed even though I had lowered the dosage.
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