I feel that it is my duty as a human being to tell you my story, because I'm suffering and you probably are too.
I am a 29 year old female with a loving husband and a wonderful daughter who is turning 5 tomorrow! YAY!! I am here to share with you my experience with Cymbalta/Duloxetine and some suggestions that I have for anyone suffering from this horrible withdrawal nightmare. I feel like it is my duty as a human being to share with others what the f*** I've been going through in order to hopefully help others along because I am suffering, you are suffering, your son, daughter, cousin, aunt, uncle, mom, dad is suffering. Everyone suffers from this sickening withdrawal syndrome, which makes the original reason why you started taking this medication seem like a fun walk through the park.
I've had a pretty horrible few years: my mom died, I had a terrible miscarriage, I had a weird freak incident with my heart, I was rear-ended at a stoplight and have a bulging disc and nerve damage, my husband was hit by a car on his motorcycle, etc., etc., etc. There are more bad things, but you get the idea.
I've been on and off SSRI's here and there, but the panic attacks started to get debilitating so I was prescribed Clonazepam to take as needed and 30mg capsule of Cymbalta, which I got the generic Duloxetine because it was cheaper through my insurance. Anyways, I ABSOLUTELY should have done more research about Cymbalta but there is a history with me about taking medications and one thing I fear is adverse side effects from medications.
I can go on for hours about that, let's get down to business. After about 6 months of taking 30mg of duloxetine, it just kind of stopped working. I felt strange and my panic attacks started coming back full force. I talked to my doctor and he upped the dosage to 60mg and switched me to Valium instead of Clonazepam. BAD F****** IDEA.
The change in medication and the up of dosage made me INSANE. I have never been a self-harmer and let me tell you, I still have scars on my arm. I went crazy and I had to stop. I went back down to 30mg of duloxetine and clonazepam. I started feeling less crazy but not completely back to normal so I decided to stop taking it. Another bad idea.
Every withdrawal symptom you can muster up attacked me by day 3. I had to take the duloxetine again just to stop myself from falling down the stairs (either by accident or on purpose). Since November I've been trying to wean off and right now as of January 27th, 2016, I am 5 days without it.
The brain zaps are the equivalent of satan poking me in the eye. No, I take that back, it's like the following scenarios:
1) Stepping on a George Forman grill continuously every second for 5 days
2) Sticking a butter knife in an electrical outlet every other minute for no reason
3) Fighting Connor McGregor everyday
4) Spinning while too drunk and then when you're done being dizzy, someone punches you in the head continuously but you never pass out even though you wish you would.
Please laugh at these things, they are funny, but they are true. Humor has gotten me through a lot, it's something to think about.
Here are some suggestions that I have found to help cope. Please keep in mind that nothing I have done has STOPPED the brain zaps, but these things have helped me cope a bit better:
1) Shots of whiskey occasionally. Just a big nasty shot of Buffalo Trace. Make sure you are OK to drink alcohol before doing this. You know your limits and your body.
2) Take Fish Oil supplements. My husband ran out yesterday for me and got me the Sundown brand at CVS. It's called Fish Oil 1290 mg per serving, 900 mg of omega-3. Apparently this helps with the brain zaps (I call them "the dizzies"). I've been taking them and even though the zaps are still here, I FEEL better.
3) DO THINGS! I've been concentrating on specific tasks and I've noticed that the zaps lighten up when I am really concentrating on someone and of course not moving my eyes a lot. Moving my eyes a lot makes the zaps intensify. For example, I am getting my real estate license and I have a study guide. I've literally been copying terminology from the book on regular paper with an actual pen (no Typing!!) And it's been helping! Typing this post by the way is definitely helping as well.
4) Although my clonazepam is available to me for panic attacks, I find that it is not helping with the withdrawal symptoms, so don't hurt yourself taking too many benzos thinking that they'll help, they don't seem to do anything.5) Watch some stand up comedy or a funny show like The Office. Believe me, it helps to laugh. Some good stand up comedies for those of you who do not mind curse words, try Bill Burr or Louis CK. Cleaner comedians include Brian Regan and Jim Gaffigan.
5) Download a fun game on your phone to play while you are trying to fall asleep and play it until you actually drop it on your face. It will keep your mind off of the way you feel, it will keep you from thinking about your sh**** life, and you will fall asleep better.
6) Avoid stairs
7) DO NOT be afraid to tell your significant other, boss, or even co-workers what you are experiencing. Like getting a surgery, getting off of this medication takes time and patience from every significant person in your life. You NEED them to be understanding. And remember, your job CANNOT discriminate against you for this, get a note from your doctor if you have to take a few days off. STOP BEING AFRAID OF BEING AFRAID. STOP IT. WHO GIVES A F*** WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK ABOUT YOU?!
That's all I can think of for now. I've heard that the withdrawal syndrome, side effects, brain zaps, mood swings, mind farts, spacing out, gross feelings, pain, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, crying spells, etc. etc. etc., can last for a long time. That may be so but I'm not going to let it get me all the way down. So far, we are at the end of day 5 and I feel like ASS. But at least I've found some things to make me feel better. I'll keep you all updated. Please let me know if you have anything that's been making you feel better. Coloring books? Decorating? A cigarette? Chocolate candies? By the way, my husband brought me home Snickers Ice Cream Bars, and let me tell you something.....you need to get those immediately. I also want to make friends so please feel free to contact me anytime. My name is Suni (sunny), I live in Pennsylvania, I'll be 30 in March and I am a fun, caring, loving person who just wants the bad stuff to go away. Thank you all for reading, and please let me know if I can ever help you with anything. I'm not a doctor, I'm not a social worker, or anything like that. I have a Master's degree in Teaching but I've never formally taught, I'm working on my real estate license because I want to invest in real estate. I have terrible panic attacks, OCD, and anxiety but you wouldn't know it just talking to me. I have an irrational fear of dying of any ailment and I'm scared of almost everything.
Talk to you soon!!