Am on Day 11 post-cymbalta. Isn't it weird how this withdrawal is so bad we count the days like alcoholics? I am starting to feel like perhaps there may be life after this drug. I texted the pdoc yesterday to let her know that I was struggling (I figured if my year end break was ruined at least let her vacation have a bit of inconvenience too). I asked about the prozac route or antihistamines or omega 3 supplements. Her response was that I should double the dose of the new anti-depressant to 'lift my mood'. How out of touch is that?! Yes I have alternated between crying and rage for a week now but with everything else that has come with the withdrawal my 'mood' is the least of it. I have not increased the new anti-depressant and will be stopping it as soon as I feel strong enough - this entire process has taken away any confidence that I have in doctors and I shall not be wasting any more money on a bunch of pill pushers. I recall the day 6 weeks ago when I saw her and she yawned while saying that we should switch to another anti-depressant if Cymbalta isn't working any more. She was so blase saying one week of 60mg, one week of 30mg and then stop it completely. She never warned me to expect anything like this. I would like to see her again to give her a serious piece of my mind and this has been anything but 'informed consent'but then I doubt it would have any impact. Can a doctor really understand if they haven't had to go through anything similar? Were I a doctor and someone were showing such bad symptoms I would have had them hospitalised and sleep therapy for two weeks.
And of course I can't help but wonder if there has been any permanent damage to my brain if it screwed up the chemistry so badly that stopping has caused all this.
Right now moving just my eyes causes brain zapping and I have no energy - its like I have a bad case of flu and am all aches and pains, even turning my neck hurts. I am having trouble putting a proper sentence together, especially speaking, so have kind of just shut down. I feel like it would help a lot to get out of the house for a little bit but can't seem to get myself moving. The skin itching, shakes, and pins and needs in my arms and hands are still there. But overall everything isn't as bad as it was a couple of days ago. My low point was day 7 and it felt like there was no hope in sight. I have no idea how people still work while going through this - being able to just lie down every couple of hours and shut off from any external stimulus has been a life saver. And flat cola has helped my stomach. I don't think I have eaten a proper meal in the six weeks since I started lowering the dosage and my stomach went crazy.
So my advice is to rest as much as you can. Even though you can't sleep just try shut everything out and give your brain some time to fix itself.
I'm on day 10, and the brain zaps are almost constant, and they're radiating out to my fingertips now. Not sure what that's about. Things have gotten worse since I went back to work - I'm assuming from the stress. (I was on vacation the first 8 days...so very very glad about that!)
I've been going to a place called Maximized Living. It's a chiropractic center that focuses on healing through chiropractic, nutrition, etc. They've told me - and I believe it - that the nerves in certain parts of my neck have been pinched for decades, even though I haven't had any pain symptoms. Pain is just one of the last symptoms. These folks have offices all over the world, and they all treat their clients/patients with the same philosophy. They start by defining health - it's not what you think. Your body can heal itself, if you remove the obstacles to healing. Instead of wondering if you've had any damage from the medication, find a Maximized Living Center near you, and ask them to check the curve in your neck, the "arc of life."
The withdrawal symptoms have been horrible, but Dr. Livingood and his staff at Maximized Living have been with me every step of the way. One of their employees has also experienced Cymbalta withdrawal, so you can imagine the help she is! They promise me that the symptoms will pass, and things will get better. I believe them!
My best friend has been seeing Maximized Living for about 10 weeks. She's reduced her medications from six to two. The four she's eliminated were for pain and bipolar disorder. She's working on coming off the last two - Cymbalta and Metformin (for diabetes). She's also lost just over 20 pounds, she's sleeping better and feeling better. Her mother has also been going for about 10 weeks. When she started, she had to use a cane just to move around her house - for back pain, balance, and her legs just "giving out." She was afraid to go out for fear of falling again. In just 10 weeks, she's stopped using her cane, and she's almost pain free. I've known this woman for years, and I've never seen her look so happy!
I've written it in other posts, but the logic of their philosophy is there. Think about what happens if you pinch a nerve in your hand. First it gets a little tingly and numb, and then it really starts to hurt, and then it gets totally numb, and then the damage really starts. That's an obvious sequence with a nerve that transmits pain. Apply the same series of events to the nerve that controls mood, hormones, brain function, digestion...pick a system! Once we're through detox hell, we're going to have to confront the underlying causes of our depression, anxiety, etc, or they're going to come back. I've never had any luck with psychiatrists or talk therapy. I recognize the validity of the process, but it always felt like self-indulgent whining to me. Maximized Living is helping me and many others to correct the underlying physical problem of our mood and other health problems.
The brain zaps are incredibly annoying and uncomfortable, but my focus and concentration is still off. I apologize if my post seems to be going all over the place.
You sound like you're being incredibly logical and reasonable about your reactions to this nightmare process - I'm so glad you're able to do that! You're helping others to see that we don't have to give in to the detox. We don't have to give up. And we're NEVER going to give another medication this kind of control over our bodies again!
Please check out the Maximized Living website. I've met so many people there with stories just like the ones I've told here, and I hope to be telling my own success stories soon. In the meantime, I'll just keep detoxing and following the five essentials of the Maximized Living program.
Good luck, and stay strong!