The Struggle Aginst My Job and My Genes

April 14, 2010

So, a few months ago, I started Wellbutrin and then never said another word about it here. So let’s wrap that up.

I started taking it after ten years of trying avoid psychotropics with sex, alcohol, love, exercise, marriage, religion, therapy, self help books, puppies and hobbies. In my twenties I had lots of great sex, drank Carlo Rossi better than anyone ever, had more stable loving LTRs than most people, excercised at gyms, and got married twice. I thought that what I was doing was fine, but that I just had to figure out how to do it better.

The end of that first marriage-type situation was a little devastating, though.  Out of desperation, or was it humility, I turned to spirituality and self-help books. And puppies. I started going to Quaker Meeting and Buddhist sangha, got my new fiancee a dog for our engagement and bought books about relationships and then grief, when my dad died. I went to two therapists — one for the relationship, one for the dad — and judged them harshly. I also started collecting magnets. Red ones. With the names of cities on them.

These were all great, big self-conscious steps for an independent, know-it-all Atheist raised by a Jewish woman. But, none of it worked the way I needed it to. And I refused to take drugs. I grew up with a father who, once he was in recovery, would give my mom shit if she had wine with dinner or if I took a pain reliever for headaches. Cold medicine was verboten. He even bullied my dentist out of giving me narcotics when I had my wisdom teeth taken out, but that’s another entry. Point is, I came to pride myself on my ability to tolerate pain. All kinds.

I caved after we moved South. Wifebian found a very nice GP who prescribes psychotropics without a referral to a mental health professional and, at my Wife’s insistence, I got a prescription. It’s not actually cool to be a mental health professional, like how I’m a mental health professional, and get your drugs from a general practitioner. It’s kind of like owning a charcuterie and sneaking off to the Safeway for your Oscar Meyer wieners. I’m supposed to get my meds from a psychiatrist and go to a therapist for therapy.

But I’m not gonna.

The good doctor, who we will call Glinda, said that Wellbutrin probably wouldnt work because it doesnt work for most people, but I insisted because it’s the safest anti-depressant for babies, in my barely-informed eyes. The first two days were ecstatic. Seriously. It was weird. I dont know why, but I was so happy I was giggling with some frequency. I had some ringing in the ears. Not too much and usually only if I drank coffee. Then I noticed that I didnt cry while listening to NPR. And I stopped crying in staff meetings, which was a big bonus. And then I noticed . . . nothing. That was it. Energy, mood, concentration, hopelessness, sex drive — all the same. So I stopped taking it about 2 weeks ago with no noticeable consequences.

So that’s where I’m at in the struggle against my genes and my job. I’ve stopped going to Meeting because I started working weekends, I’m still married and I still love my wife.  I’m still collecting magnets. I’m thinking about being a therapist instead of going to one. I drink more often than I have sex and I havent exercised, not one lick, since July of last year. And of course there is the slow and steady drip of water against rock that is the practice of social work. Oh, the dog threw up on the bed this morning.

I did read some book on the NYT bestseller list about making a project to be happier. I might tinker with that this weekend.

And maybe after I’m done with that, I’ll try a new drug.

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7 Responses to “The Struggle Aginst My Job and My Genes”

  1. maria said

    I collect magnets with place names, too. I give them to my friend at work. She collects them, too and we display each others in our offices. Interesting that yours are red.

  2. mrsbasement said

    this shit has to stop! im officially weird-ed out. why are we so much a like????!!!!

  3. maria said

    Because we are the same L-place name person.

  4. Sarah said

    Hmm. Very thoughtful entry love. There are plenty of people on Wellies that do really well on them. There are a few in our blog reaches that would be insightful and a few in my family that are only off the ugly alternatives because of that little drug. So yea Wellbutrin. But I hear you. As one who has done the merry-go-round or anti-everything in various sized pills, even when I know they were making a positive difference in my life, I figured out an alternative to distract my ails away and leave the drugs. I hate being on drugs, but when you think about it, all the food obsessive, ttc managed, always going forward but never here, head over heels, wedding planned and planned again, etc. is what takes the place. Sometimes. Sometimes I wish I was medicated and in therepy, but usually I prefer the weepy, romantic, over-googled, dreamer I am naturally. High strung, hard to handle, setting ridiculous standards for everyone, and busy. I think we all have to find a way to manage our minds. For those of us that live loudly, demand a history of ourselves, we have to manage that life carefully. However you do it, I applaud you. Because it’s in the act of trying that keeps us going. The alternative is silenced, numb, apathetic, and boring. Which of course you could never be. Sorry the dog puked on the bed.

  5. Ms. Loaf said

    There is something really awful about cleaning up someone else’s bodily fluids when you’re already depressed. My cat took a shit on my bed a few weeks ago. (Is shit a bodily fluid?)

    I was on Effexor for awhile in college and I also got it from my GP, even though I had a therapist, because my therapist wouldn’t give it to me. And then, six months after starting, I stopped, for Goddess knows what reason. It feels like there’s so much wrapped up in taking or not taking medicine that sometimes we forget that the medicine might help.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do next.

  6. mary alice said

    i’m in the middle of ‘the happiness project’ right now. i can send it you you (along with your wife’s coat) when i’m done this weekend. if you want. also i heart you.

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