Hi - I have a pretty extensive background, but will try to make this as short & easy to comprehend as possible. I'm a 33 year old single mom who has struggled with "mental issues" for many years. At the age of 15 I was placed on Prozac for depression. Over the next 15 years I tried Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and several others. I always quit taking my meds because I never could feel as though they were doing anything, even though others around me said they could notice a difference..?
Honestly, I don't feel "sad or blue" but I do have some s/s of depression. I'm more angry than "sad" and I have great anxiety and lots of stress. I have been taking xanax for about 3 years, and it seems like it's only thing that helps me. Currently I'm on 2 mgs per day.
Last April I was evaluated by a Psychiatrist and diagnosed with Bipolar II. She tried to get me off my xanax and prescribed propranolol, which I didn't feel was effective, but propbably just didn't wait long enough so I stopped taking it . She also prescribed Lamictal on the first visit & for the first time in my life I felt normal! I was HAPPY! I had energy! I had an interest in sex! I wasn't irritable or snapping at everyone! AND it was helping me to lose weight! It was the wonder drug that I had been needing for a very long time.
6 weeks later I ended up in the hospital & was diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS), a very horrible, extremely bad reaction to the Lamictal. I did not present to the hospital with the rash that I was told I could get as a result of the med, but went in due to extruciating pain in my left arm and neck (to the point I could not move my arm at all). I developed the rash in the hospital, which was a burn from the inside of my body, out. I was there a week and once discharged lost all my fingernails & toenails, and all the skin from my hands & feet. I had significant hair-loss as well, and was extremely fatigued & depressed. It took a tremendous toll on my body for months, but I am ever so thankful to be alive and not disfigured in any way, which are the two common results of SJS: Death and/or Horrible Disfigurement.
After immediately discontinuing the Lamictal, I was a guinea pig for Seraquel, Cymbiax, Cymbalta, Depakote, etc. I gained over 20 lbs, I was SO tired ALL THE TIME, a ZOMBIE! Again, I am single mother of an adorable, delightfully wonderful, 6 year old little boy. I run an Outpatient Physical Therapy clinic for the largest hospital in the city. My role at home & at work is crucial. Being "unavailable" (mentally and physically) is not an option at either place. So for the last 6 months I have been "crazy-med" free, aside from my xanax, which you could say I'm probably dependant on.
My PCP who has prescibed these meds is semi-retiring (he's been my family doc for almost 17 yrs). I saw a new MD his office who basically told me he wasn't comfortable prescribing these meds to me anymore and that I needed to go back to a psychitrist. I agree & have been looking for one, but while I have great benefits thru my work, psychiatrists don't seem to take insurance & I just cant afford the $200 per visit/weekly costs.
I saw another MD I know last week, who didn't seem to have much time to spend w/ me but suggested I get back on Lexapro to help w/ the anxiety. I told him I wasn't going to take anything that was going to make me gain weight & he mentioned Wellbutrin. I've done my research online and feel as though the wellbutrin may help, but can be bad coming off xanax. I have 3 refills left and that in itself gives me great anxiety. I have scripts for both the Wellbutrin XL 150 mgs & 10mg Lexapro & am wondering if I can take them both together? It seems as though many docs don't combine meds, but from what I've read online, I think it could be helpful to me. I'm at a loss but still have hope. I'm not ready to give up on meds entirely & any advise/suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated