THIS SHOULD BE AN ADVENTURE

For the last three weeks I’ve been at half the dose of the two antidepressants I take, Welllbutrin and Lexapro. This is part of my neurofeedback therapy; at a certain point the drugs are more of an obstruction than a help for technical reasons, so it’s a good idea to reduce them.

So far, so good. I had some crummy withdrawal effects but nothing out of the ordinary psychologically. Not better, not worse.

As of today I’m off both meds completely. After another three weeks of NFB I stop NFB, and then over the next few weeks I’m supposed to get some idea of how much this whole thing has helped. My practitioner says that in her experience people don’t really feel the useful effects of neurofeedback until after it’s stopped and some of its side effects are reduced. We’ll see.

This is the first time in nearly 20 years that I’ve not been on some type of SSRI antidepressant and the first time in at least two that I’ve not been on a dopaminergic medication. I wonder what Mr. Brain’s gonna do this week?

If you see me up in a tree wearing a Russian admiral’s uniform and singing the Laughing Song from Faust, etc., notify a physician.

14 thoughts on “THIS SHOULD BE AN ADVENTURE

  1. Aiee! I hope changing things all at once doesn’t do anything weird. I hope it’s not a very anxiety-ridden change.
    As long as you’re not singing Jerry Lewis novelty tunes, we’re all okay…

  2. I am very interested in how you feel through this so keep reporting on it plz! This is because I had only bad experiences on SSRIs. I was put on them because my parents felt I was depressed, but I wasnt chemically depressed, it was because of some things I was dealing with and some stuff about my medical condition that was making me feel miserable physically. My normal temperment is completely stable and happy. I am probably the worlds biggest optimist which is strange because I am also extremely cynical. But anyway I am curious to how you are feeling since you are pretty aware of remembering how you feel and you remember being off the meds before. I am also really curious about the outcome of your NFB. You have done a really good job reporting on it this whole time.

  3. If you see me up in a tree wearing a Russian admiral’s uniform and singing the Laughing Song from Faust, etc., notify a physician.

    Either that, or your agent.
    Seriously, though, best of luck. I found antidepressants harder to come down from than alcohol. IME, only tobacco is worse.

    1. This hasn’t been so bad except for the sweating and some dizziness and minor sleep problems. Some of them are worse. Paxil is a motherfucker to come off of.

  4. at a certain point the drugs are more of an obstruction than a help for technical reasons
    Do you think there’s adequate evidence to back a statement like that up, or do you think it’s a claim that has little going for it aside from having, at best, a hypothetical electro-chemical logic to it?

    1. Your question is a challenge and not a question, and I’m not the one to answer it. We’ve been through this. NFB is not proven safe and effective itself, nor have sufficient studies been done of its effect and efficacy. There’s no way that my practitioner’s advice can currently meet those standards.
      Neither psychodynamic therapeutic theory nor the “chemical imbalance” fudge from the pharma companies meets such standards either.
      The “claim” that reducing meds is helpful comes from observation by one careful professional who has found that this gets a better result in patients who can tolerate it. No “anti drug” dogma is involved.
      It’s difficult for me to be put in the position of defending my practitioner’s methods, especially when we’ve already established that nothing like longitudinal study, double blind tests, or correlation with imaging has been done.
      Considering the amount of thought, analysis, worry, and plain fear I go through in this process, I would like to have more choices in the conversation than “mush brained New Age dupe” and “hard-minded, skeptical denier of all things not yet as proven as Newtonian Mechanics.”

      1. After I wrote the question, I realized that it sounded like a challenge and could provoke a defensive response. I even started writing (and not just thinking about) a note afterwards along these lines: “I know this question sounds like a simplistic challenge, but I really do mean it as a good-faith question.” I’m not sure why I decided against including that line.
        I was genuinely surprised by the apparent certainty with which you made the statement, as opposed to something like: “brain lady believes that x,” or even: “in brain lady’s considerable experience, she’s found that x.” I should have known better; I know you think critically about these things and that it’s probably for the sake of brevity that that you don’t painstakingly qualify every statement you make about NFB (or talk therapy, or meds).
        FWIW, I don’t chalk this up to you being hyper-defensive, but to me not being careful in conveying tone.

  5. I’ve been meaning to…
    comment about the meds you’ve been taking. I’m not sure what NFB is (I’ll have to research on that), but I wish you honestly the bestest of luck here. The first time I was on any anti-depress meds (early 90’s), it scared the living daylights out of me. I refused to take meds for the longest time and I took some again a few years back and I had just as bad of a reaction as the first time. But I can’t say I’m doing any better *without* the drugs either. 🙁 Anyways, that was probably a blanket response. I’m probably more proned to drinking at this point to deal with issues; again, probably not a good thing to say, but if I’m going to have anything “manmade” be put through my body, I say beer (hard liquor is out of the question for me now that I’ve a 1-yr old) would do just fine–it tastes better anyways. (and the side effects are alot more fun than meds)
    Well, again, good luck in this and I’m certain I’ll be checking out your progress. In my “misery”, I’d like to know that one of my friends are doing well.

  6. other than antibiotics twice and vicodin once for a messy back, i’ve never been on meds in my whole life. i am thinking that i want to try to take wellbutrin, but i’m not sure if i should or if it is recommended. i don’t really trust doctors, so i’m interested in your opinion.

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