my experience with anti-depressants, cymbalta and my eventual withdrawal and current discontinuation status is unique to me. my experience is not indicitive of what you may have experienced or may experience in the future.
i know this is long, but the background is important in understanding the decision i face. a major complicating factor is that i am about to leave the state for a month - without my mental health support system.
its been 17 weeks and 2 days since i last took cymbalta. i did a modified taper that was really just a variant of cold turkey. for the majority of the past 17 weeks life has been rough compared to what life was like on cymbalta.
with the help of my therapist i have come to the conclusion that the anxiety that developed after i quit the C stems from the same source as my original depression diagnosed in 1996. i had come a long way in managing my depression while on meds. i had been on doses as high as 90 mg but was on only 30 mg of the C for the year prior to quitting. at the beginnng of the year i felt fine, i had a great attitude toward my life and my relationships. i had a lot of respect from colleagues, friends and family for my upbeat and grounded point of view towards life.
i think i may have been overconfident in my decision to quit the C. my therapist supports me in whatever i decide for myself. i am thrilled with the improvement to my physical health. on the other hand, my mental health has deteriorated significantly. here and there i have had multiple days in a row of relative normalcy but the majority of my days off the drug are filled wth a cycle of mild to moderate anxiety with ocassional severe spikes.
i've come to the point where i am not sure whether to continue to fight the good fight to recover exclusively through focusing on cognitive skills or add some kind of med back into the mix. i have been on the mood stabilizer lamictal all along and that is not going to change. i have an excellent therapist. i will say that in social situations, while in public or while engaged in certain activities the anxiety drops to almost nothing. its at its worst when i am home which is most of the time these days. part of the reason is that my husband and i are around each other for most of the day. we love each other very much and are the best of friends - but we can't be around each other all day long. fortunately he is gone at work right now.
i quit for a variety of reasons. i had side effects that included high blood pressure, weight gain and high cholesterol. since stopping i dropped 20 lbs in about 6 weeks. i am 5'4" and barely 120 lbs. my cholesterol dropped to 195 and my BP is stable on a much lower dose of a much weaker bp med. the other side effects were inconvenient and annoying but not a disruption to my day to day experience. certainly nothing nearly as bad as how i have felt since i began my taper at the end of march.
the more practical reason for quitting was that my insurance would no longer cover the C or any brand name. i had the time and opportunity to quit. i left my job by choice at the end of february
since coming off cymbalta its all about anxiety. all other side effects i have experienced are symptoms of anxiety. i never really dealt with anxiety before the withdrawal. in 1996 i was put on anti-d's. while anxiety is a symptom of depression, it was never a biggie for me. i worked in a very stressful and competitive industry and continued to excel professionally but at home i was falling apart... the classic crying, irritablity, rages, excessive sleeping and the ever present sensation of walking through water. i was living a double life
i know i need to consult a psychiatrist. i "fired" the one i had and haven't gotten a new one. it takes 2-4 weeks to get into see one. not gonna happen. in less than three days my husband and i are leaving for out of state
i would prefer not to go back on another anti-d. i've taken zoloft which pooped out after 6 months. that was in 1996, maybe sertraline would be a good choice today? i don't know. wellbutrin almost destroyed my memory and my ability to to think clearly and communicate. i took effexor for awhile but in 2004 my psych decided that he thought the C would be a better choice. i was on cymbalta for 10 years before i quit this spring. my insurance does not pay for any brand name drug and minimally covers many generics. i've thought about buspar but don't know anyone who's taken it. and no, i will not take benzos. addiction = anxiety.
i am facing a month away from my established home in just a few days and am not sure where to turn. its a little scary.