I started sertraline (Zoloft) as a complement to bupropion (Wellbutrin XL) a while back, trying to reduce the PMDD-level depression that was arriving on a monthly cycle. It seems to have worked well for that issue, and had the temporary benefit/side effect of suppressing appetite (wish that had lasted longer than a few weeks, but no. Alas.)
But there’s something else it does that I hadn’t admitted to anyone, even Mr. Chickadee, until this week. It kills my libido. I just don’t care about sex anymore. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the intimacy, I just don’t have much interest. I imagine this is what asexuality is like – if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather have a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Or an extra hour of sleep.
As if that weren’t enough, the drugs also make it harder to get off. Poor Mr. Chickadee has to work his magic that much better/bigger/faster/more to produce the release that is indeed possible, but is now so challenging to generate that it seems a waste of time. I play along anyway but it feels dishonest to be (generally) disinterested, and that makes for all kinds of bad feelings.
So there you go: the dirty truth about sertraline and me. Sertraline is the only drug I take that’s known to have “sexual side effects” but I guess you only need one, right? It’s a pretty common side effect for SSRI’s, but damn disappointing. So the tradeoff is libido versus acute monthly depressive episodes. And sadly, losing my libido is better than crying all day and obsessing over self-injury.
I keep hoping that things will stabilize enough to reduce or eliminate some of the meds. The antidepressants are at the top of my list, as their side effects are most notable. But instead of decreasing dosages, I’m increasing sertraline this week, and trying out a switch from generic bupropion to brand-name Wellbutrin XL. ‘Tis the season, so to speak. I still try to hold out hope for “someday” but that’s rapidly fading. I’m always going to be a walking pillbox, it seems.
P.S. This is my 200th blog post! Woohoo!