Medicated Goo : Three Weeks In
Color me amazed! Color me purple, pink, orange or any other shade you care to. I’m three weeks into being chemically altered, by this “Medicated Goo” called Wellbutrin; more correctly the generic Bupropion. This Medicated Goo is good for you; well … for me. It may not be a homegrown recipe, but I’ll take it — daily for as long as I need to. Amazing what three weeks of a mind altering substance can do to — and for — a being’s wellbeing.
After all the troubles I’ve had in the past with antidepressants, this is welcomed and joyous relief to a year and a half of lethargy an spirit sapping misery. It really is nothing short of miraculous. Even in the midsts of this miracle, part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m still looking over my shoulder. Admittedly, it’s not all sunshine and roses; but I will take what it is giving me — energy, happiness, and three weeks solid back at the gym.
That last statement alone is worth the price of admission. Three weeks back at the gym! And when I’m there it feels even better! Seeing a version of me that existed before the fall into the abyss of chronic fatigue, is joyous and exhilarating!
It was a struggle to come to terms with the fact my brain chemistry mysteriously changed somewhere early Spring of 2014. And changed again, for the worse, in December of 2014. It took a huge amount of doctors visits, data, faith, and courage for me to even look at the concept of “altered brain chemistry” as a cause of depression, chronic fatigue and my myriad other symptoms. Yes, I struggled with depression nearly my entire adult life, but this was far beyond what I could equate with emotional depression. This was like nothing I ever experienced. I was frightened and discouraged; but I’m still a fighter, and a researcher — especially when it comes to my health.
Sometimes one has to backtrack, reexamine personal history and deep-seated beliefs to recalibrate and find a new truth. That truth being: all other medical options had been examined and exhausted with countless specialists. Nothing could be found to explain my symptoms of lethargy, confusion, memory issues, and “brain fog”. The other truth: as of now, the gym alone no longer was my cure as it had been in the past. That was a huge one! It took my neurologist, Dr Hillen planting this seed deep in my soiled brain: “I believe your problem is just under-treated depression.” And how right she was!
After a year and a half of nothingness; I had a choice: either stay this way and accept it, or try Wellbutrin. I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain. It was no different than going to another doctor, looking for more data and clues. So I started with the lowest, daily, morning dose of 150mg of Bupropion XL, which is the time released version of Bupropion.
Call it placebo effect, or call it a miracle, within an hour of taking my first dose I was in the kitchen singing and dancing, making breakfast and coffee, talking crazy to the cats, and thinking: “Manic upswing? I don’t give a fuck! This feels great! I’ll take it!” Even the cats were giving me sideways glances. For the first time in a long time I had this overwhelming feeling of gratitude and hope wash over me. Was this really happening? Was I making it up? Whatever it was I was going to capitalize on it. I packed my gym bag. It had been over six months since I had the energy to even contemplate going. Was it too soon?
So with my gym stocked backpack hurled over my shoulder I set out for WoW. To my amazement I did the entirety of my normal chest/abs workout; which also includes jumping rope in-between sets to keep my hear rate up. I took it easy, using much lighter weights, careful of form, and an hour later I was still feeling good. I also burned over 1,000 calories! Did that just happen? Did I really just go from zero to sixty in just a few hours? And it continued that way for the remainder of the week.
It’s now three full gym weeks later, and I can’t wipe the smile off my face. Well … okay … the smile disappears when I’m panting, deep breathing and my heart rate is hovering between a 155-162 BPM for extended periods, but I’m smiling inside! And I’m pushing, pushing, and pushing even more. I’m amazed at the how fast I’ve snapped back into the routine, and how much I’ve missed it. I’m back baby!
Now I have to figure out how to reinsert myself back into the world, gently, cautiously. I’ve had to stop doing so many things, and cut off so many people because I didn’t have the energy, or it was hard to focus or carry on a simple conversation. Now things are flipping back. I’m in the gym working out five days a week again. Feeling good about myself. I’m also allowing myself to do some “cautious dreaming”. I need to find ways to bring joy — which has been severely lacking — back into my life. And yes, the gym is really a great start. With spring coming, working back up to forty mile bike rides may be an option again, where last summer it wasn’t. But before pleasure, I also need to find more work. That seems a bit overwhelming, but one thing at a time, one day at a time.
All of this in three weeks! I’m still amazed, amused and hopeful! Give me more of that Medicated Goo!