Wellbutrin, an update.

Today marks day 5 of 90ish days on Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin, a very powerful antidepressant medication, doubles as a helper in smoking cessation. The major side effects: suicidal effects.

Up to this point, Wellbutrin has merely been making its way through my veins. Learning every crevice and direction and getting familiar with my brain. I have insistent leg twitching, tapping. And sporadic bouts of energy that leads me to want to jump–really quite funny.

Today, though, marked something worth mentioning. I was on campus and decided to sit on a concrete bench and have a cigarette (you smoke for the first two weeks on the drug). My cigarettes were not in my bag–I NEVER leave my cigarettes behind and ALWAYS have an extra pack ready to go (ask any of my smoker friends who always has smokes and a lighter). This was odd–I could not recall where I had left them (later to find them sitting my cup dispenser in my car). It may seem minor, but it is quite telling of where I am with the drug.

I purchases some smokes, sat on the bench, lit up and inhaled. I sat and looked at the ground and a giant wave of depression set in out of nowhere. I exhaled the smoke and the depression deepened as the sounds of passers by muted. I was with myself for a moment and began to philosophically debate the necessity of cigarettes in my life and whether or not I was even a smoker at all. That lasted about 3 minutes in total.

After class I headed home to see my roommate enjoying a film. We decide to go out for a smoke. We sit and chit chat–she notes that I seem irritable (or something along those lines). I felt fine, but only now understand that I am completely with myself, internally. I have found myself happy on the inside, but looking odd on the outside as my happiness remains contained. And no doubt, my irritability is beginning to climb.

Finally, this evening driving home from coffee with some friends, I light up a smoke. I take 1, 2, 3 puffs and on the 4th I put the cigarette to my mouth and inhale and pause and for a split second I question why I’m smoking a cigarette, how did it get in my hand and convinced myself that I was not even a smoker–it was a split second, but a tell-tale sign that the drug is beginning to work.

I decided to go to Wellbutrin for  a number of reasons and only after extensive discussions with therapists, doctors and my own research. Like many smokers, I’ve been trying to quit smoking for about as long as I’ve been a smoker (and I’ve been a smoker for 15 years now). In the past I tried Zyban, with success. Until I found some reason to light up. I did Chantix, to no avail at all when migraines increased. And I’ve had more patches on me than I care to imagine.

Wellbutrin acts as a next step in my own development as a nonsmoker, amidst my many other life shifts as of late. I note also that I am a person living with type 1 bipolar disorder (clinically diagnosed for you skeptics). I was first diagnosed in 2nd grade as manic depressive but in keeping with the times, I am now bipolar. I have never been on meds and have avoided most drugs because of how they push my cycles out of whack. As with many bipolar people, with or without meds, I experience suicidal thoughts roughly 2 days out of every month–no worries, I’ve been working with this for years now–I have no fear that I will commit suicide. Anyhow, this drug is what worries me–I fear an increase in suicidal thoughts.

That said, I will be updating my friends on my Wellbutrin trip and being as open and honest as I can with the stuff because I want to make my experience public and to let people know how I am feeling in the event that I need help and fail to see it.

Peace be to you all. Time for bed.



About Benny

My name is Benny LeMaster. I am an academic, activist, and artist. I research questions of identity, culture, and representation. I am interested in exploring ways to relate to one another in critically affirming ways. In terms of identity, I identify as queer, trans, mixed-race Asian/white, fat, and, frankly, fabulous. Let's talk!
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2 Responses to Wellbutrin, an update.

  1. mrred says:

    Love this blog I’ll be back when I have more time.

  2. christine says:

    I hope the Wellbutrin works out for you… I’m interested to hear your experience on it. I started taking Chantix on Saturday, and other than a mild panic attack Sunday, have been doing okay. My boyfriend had some bad side effects, though, and is now thinking about trying Wellbutrin. Good luck!

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