Sunday, August 8, 2010

Losing My MoJo

I have been doing some heavy thinking these last few weeks and want to start this post about some of the drugs we use to control or cure problems in our bodies, like:

   Insulin for Diabetes
   Antibiotics for Infections
   Thyroid hormone for Hypothyroidism
   Anti-depressants for Depression

Why do I bring these up? Because tonight I start to take Wellbutrin again for depression.

Yup. Me. On Drugs. Again.

Please don't tell Tom Cruise! I’m not sure if I ever posted about my life with depression but here goes. In the early 90’s my life was ok but something was missing. One day as I drove along a highway there was a big curve ahead. I remember thinking, if I kept the wheel straight, I would plunge into the gully and die. I can see it now, such a clear picture in my head. At the last second, I turned the steering wheel. I can’t tell you why but something made me stay on the highway. When I got home that morning, I immediately called my doctor and by afternoon had started taking that lovely Prozac happy pill. A month later I had gained 10 pounds and then the next month another 10 pounds. But my brain was healing. It was winter here in Ottawa so we put it down to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). By May I was feeling pretty good, although now 25 pounds heavier and I decided I could stop my happy pills.

When I stopped, I'd lose about 20 pounds and then by Hallowe’en I was the bitchiest witch you could ever imagine, so back on the pills. And another 25 pound gain. This went on for years until I saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder), a severe form of Premenstrual syndrome. A bit funny now since I am in menopause and still have some of the symptoms. My main concern was the horrible yelling and screaming I would inflict on any and all who came near me, including my kids, my DH, my MIL, my friends… Everyone was an idiot. The doc told me to give up caffeine (which I did, but now drink coffee again), take huge doses of Vitamin B6 (which I still take) and prescribed another anti-depressant. My mood stabilized but the pounds piled on. Of course everyone told me that the drug didn’t make me gain weight, it was just that I had out of control eating. This entire on again off again with the anti-depressants went on for years until it was decided I should stay on them all year round. Which scared the crap out of me since all I could see was gaining 10-20 pounds each year. It was then that we discovered Wellbutrin which is a weight neutral drug for me. Some lose a bit of weight, others gain, but for me it at least kept my fat body at the same weight. The other good thing that happened was it controlled my OCD. My sisters have a hoarding/collecting problem but I am now the opposite and throw out tons of stuff. It was interesting to read a couple of weeks ago that de-cluttering can actually be good for weight loss.

I think I was on Wellbutrin for 10 years until September 2007 when my mom died. For many, losing a mother would be a tragedy but for me it was a relief. My mom had MS from her early forties and was wheelchair bound in a nursing home for 21 years before she died. I saw it as a blessing that my entire family could move on with life. Two weeks after her funeral, I needed a refill of Wellbutrin but decided to stop taking it. It’s been almost 3 years without drugs. Until a few months ago when I started to see the apathy again. I’m not sad or crying or thinking about dying. But I can’t get my ass off the couch and work is beginning to wear me down.

I seem to be losing my MoJo.

For the past few months, I have been losing weight with the band and was happy, but my motivation seemed to be draining out of me. I could feel the witchiness appearing again so in early July asked for a new prescription from my doctor. I told him that I wasn’t quite sure if I needed to start taking the anti-depressants again but would "know" if I needed them.

It is a bit funny, but this last week making the decision has been one of my strangest. I had just come off a lovely vacation with my BFF and probably with all the talking, it helped me cement my decision. What I wasn’t prepared for is the eating binge which happened. Here is one day with my band. Breakfast—WW Egg Quesadilla, 100g chocolate bar (about 3 oz) from IKEA (remember I work beside a big IKEA and their milk chocolate bars are only a dollar (or 97 cents US). Lunch was a KFC snacker, although I could only eat the chicken leg and half the fries. I took the chicken strip wrap home and ate it for supper. Then I whipped up a batch of Peanut Butter cookies and ate 10 of them (two were burnt so I threw them out). Before bed, I had a bowl of Goldfish crackers. And stuck and hurt! OMG. I felt like my mind was possessed. The next day I filled the prescription and will start taking them tonight (I can’t swallow pills in the morning so have decided to take it before bed). And don't hate me, but even with all this out of control eating I am down a bit this week to 174.6. The band is still doing its job.

So that is my story and confession. I know a bunch of you have or do take anti-depressants and I applaud you. Depression isn’t something to ignore. It is there and has to be dealt with. I am missing a chemical—my MoJo chemical—and I want it back.


kagead said...

How brave of you to share this with us. Thank G-d you recognized the signs and are taking steps to "get your MoJo back" before you slid further away.

The food situation will come back under control but a few pounds gained or lost is NOTHING compared to your health and happiness.

I'm not sure this is much help, but I'm here for you. Whenever and however you need me.

Andrew said...

Sorry to hear that you currently feel like this Sandy - Heres to getting your MoJo back.

Maria said...

Brave, brave woman! I'm so glad you were able to see it coming and make the decision to take the meds again. We need you healthy AND happy! ((HUGS))

Drazil said...

Oh baby doll....I'm so proud of you. Once having been through it...your mind knows when it's time to take them again...thank God. It is serious. It isn't shameful. This is one of those times when I can literally say I feel your pain...and I'm sorry. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. You are not alone...and I pray your mojo returns. Did you see the BOOBS feature today? What time huh? I love you.

-Grace- said...

I am proud of you, hun. It's not easy to admit that we need the pills, but they make life so much better. I went through something similar just before being banded. I know you can get through this!

Don't fret the food. Sh!t happens. Love you, Sandy!

Amaris said...

I'm so glad that you recognized that it was time to get back on your meds. For me, taking them is a lifetime commitment. Actually, I suffer from bipolar disorder, but the emphasis is on depression. I know where you're coming from.

Take care of yourself and remember that kagead said it best, "The food situation will come back under control but a few pounds gained or lost is NOTHING compared to your health and happiness." I totally agree!

workinprogress said...

Good for you for taking control of your Mojo!!!

Lots of us feel like this at different times of our lives and the more we talk about it - the more people we can help.

Jocelyn's Journey said...

there is nothing wrong with taking something! we will not tell tom cruise! He is a douche
I have really enjoyed reading your look amazing! Thanks so much for defining all the lapband terms..I am still three months till surgery..and have been wondering! nice to meet you!

Miss Vickie "The Queen Bee" said...

Sandy, I started taking Wellbutrin almost 8 years ago when my mom died. If I didn't take it, I would cry everyday at the drop of a hat! I have been seeing a doctor and she has been slowly decreasing my dosage. I should be all finished with the pills in about 2 weeks. I would really like to not have to take them anymore. But, if I experience problems, I can always go back. Hope you start feeling better very soon!

Barbara said...

OK Chicka.. move your broom over, so I can plant mine next to yours.. because now I KNOW we are twins separated at birth!!!.. I too ( am in WOMANPAUSE) and can be the same delightful B*tch to be around.. I too came off my anti-D's and am also thinking about going back on.. So, I think you have made a good choice in your thinking this through.. as for the food stuff.. stress is the thing that spins me out of control.. someday when I get up the courage I will post about this.. or maybe you and I can just have martini and share war stories while in CHI. Hang in their sweetie.. I am sending you hugs {{{{}}}}}.. and we are all counting the days to we get to meet you. (if I can figure out what to wear!)..

Lonicera said...

Truly a roller coaster, and how bravely you face it Sandy. You tell it how it is without flinching, and it must be so difficult to make proper self-assessmente of your condition when the medication, or lack of it, are making a difference to how you feel about yourself. It must take a superhuman effort to be able to recognise it for what it is.

But your photo is the proof that you're winning. You're chipping away at the weight, and the anti-depressants are helping you. So what if you need to take them the rest of your life? If they bring out the person you feel you are, than it's not that different from using a piece of plastic to stay slim.

I'm insulin dependent, and boy do I know it when I'm not controlling it properly - I have lead weights in my feet which feel like they're going to make me sink a foot underground, and then the right amount of insulin makes me bounce across the carpark with a spring in my step. I'm so grateful for the insulin.

You're not just brave, you're bloody brave, and I would so enjoy talking to you about these issues face to face. Maybe one day.

Cindylew said...

I'm so sorry you're in this place again but I am so proud of you for knowing what it is you must do.
I will say a prayer that your medicine starts working immediately so that you can get your MOJO back...with or without it, I still can't wait to see you in Chicago.
Love you.

Gilly said...

*~*~*~MOJO VIBES*~*~*~

There...that oughta work!

Marie said...

There is nothing wrong with taking care of your well being and if wellbuterin does it then so be it! I take it as well and I was thinking about going off it but I'm afraid to!!
As far as the eating goes - don't worry - it didn't sound that bad!!! You have to live!

Bonnie said...

Glad you found something to make you feel better.

Seeing in colour said...

Very interesting post Sandy.

I suffer from manic depression, i have been a depressant since i was 10 so 1995... so 15 yrs or so i have had a screw loose.

Funny reading the bit about how you just want to keep driving and have an accident i cant even count how many times i thought that.
Friends used to ask what depression meant to me and id say that for me depression was waking up every morning and not caring whether or not id die that day.... i still have those feelings but not anywhere near as bad as they used to be. I didnt care about death... i didnt see much point to me being here and didnt find much purpose.
My worst years were when i was about 19-23 they were troubling and sad. I would come home from going out where everyone thought i was happy and smack my head against a wall just to feel like i wasnt dead inside.
I have been on medication but took myself off them after about a year... for me i wanted to have the highs and lows, for me it was more so i wanted to start gaining control of my highs and lows.
I know for a fact that a healthy enviroment and structure can keep the demons away.
Now that i have created a healthy life for myself i dont suffer as much.
The past 2 years have been good and i havent hit anywalls, i have learnt to read my body and when stuff is getting bad i sit back and take a break, im one of the lucky ones who dont need drugs as i have gained some control of my own mind.

I really enjoyed this post and could certainly relate.

Its a scary thing to think we have for the rest of our lives but i also like to think we are a little bit more special then everyone else as we think a little differently :D
Ash xox
(sorry for such a long comment lol)

Sam said...

I am really proud that you can blog about your depression, it helps us all so much.

I am also glad you are working at getting your MOJO back. More power to you:)

DiZneDiVa said...

What a brave and thought provoking post! I have dealt with depression for a long time and I see it all around in my family. It is difficult to deal with the side effects of the meds and to keep changing until you find the one that most bearable for you. Thanx for your honesty. *Maria*-blogger from "This one time at BAND Camp..." Check out my blog at

Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing your story Sandy Lee - I'm sending you huge hugs and tons of mojo. Loves you!

tessierose said...

Thanks for sharing your struggle with us. I hope you're feeling better soon and covered with MOJO!

Darlin1 said...

Thanks for sharing---I am watching my son go through some of what you talk about and have just recently sought help for him----what a relief!

Hopefully your Mojo just needed a little vacation---You can't be on all the time---can you???


carla said...

I am glad you are sharing with us and hope getting it ou helps you feel better. Here is to getting the mojo back..sending happy vibes to you

Lily's Mommy said...

Sandy, You are in my thoughts! I hope you find your mojo soon!!!! Keep your chin up, sweetie! Love, DeeDee

Michelle said...

Here's to getting your Mojo back. Your in my thoughts hang in there were on your side!

Gen said...

Sandy - thanks for your comments on my blog, and thanks for going out on a limb to post this. I have never really done a big post about my own depression, but it sounds similar to your experience.

Here's the thing about the medication. I first was diagnosed about 2.5 years ago, and my doc put me on Wellbutrin. I proceeded to lose 30 pounds which was awesome, of course. It took away my appetite. Then the effect wore off, and I stopped losing. Next, my anxiety got worse on the WB, so my doc added Lexapro. Guess what, I gained 30 pounds! Now, after getting the band I tried to go off both meds but it quickly became clear that was not a good idea. However, a few months ago I ran out of WB and figured I would try going without it, just taking the Lexapro. Thinking maybe the band would override the weight gain effect of Lexapro. Surprise, surprise...I stopped losing, and even gained. Now I am back on the WB (a smaller dose) along with the Lexapro. I am way less hungry, once again. It is absolutely a brain chemical thing.

You are so right about my daughter, too. I am trying so hard to get her interested in sports and being active, and she a point. She has always been involved in sports, but it seems like each year she gets a little less interested, a little less willing to push herself. Not much more to do but set a good example. I have been taking her to the gym with me, and sometimes she runs a little bit with me. But it is hard to see it happening all over again with her.

Glad you are back on the path to Mojo-hood. Can't wait to see you in Chicago.

Nella said...

You gotta do what you gotta do baby!

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