I read your post and wonder why you were put on Cymbalta. You say that there was no depression. Was it for pain at such an young age?
Hi Gail! Thank you so much for your kind words and support! I can tell you a bit of my story if you’d like to hear, because it’s probably not typical. I have ADHD. It’s very real part of who I am and how my brain works that I still face every day. When I was young, I always struggled in school even though I was a “bright kid”, until I was put in Adderall at age 11, after which I struggled slightly less (ha ha). I was honestly lucky to get a diagnosis, because most girls with ADHD, whose symptoms usually present differently, are never diagnosed, or only realize when they are adults (sorry to go on a tangent, but I find myself defending the reality of my ADHD to people often).
Within a year of starting Adderall, I was put on Zoloft for anxiety that the psychiatrists (and my parents) decided was a side effect of the Adderall. Anxiety is definitely a side effect of stimulant medications, but looking back, I also believe that the very unstable household I was living in was a major source of my anxiety. I still take ADHD medication (Concerta), although I stopped being able to take Adderall and most other stimulants without extreme anxiety when I was about 17. Things had been going really well for me for several years, with absolutely no anxiety issues, when I decided to taper off Cymbalta in October. Growing up, doctors never told me about the side effects of any of the psychiatric medications I took, and I felt like it was never my choice to be on Cymbalta. When a new (non-psych) doctor would ask me why I was taking it, I would say “I don’t know”, because I truly didn’t. I needed to know for myself whether I need something to treat the anxiety effects of stimulants. I realize that there is a possibility that I may experience too much anxiety as a result of my ADHD medication and I may have to go back on an additional medication, but I can tell you it sure won’t be Cymbalta!
I also have a (maybe) interesting extra, which your question about having pain at such a young age reminded me of. I have a bone disease, which meant that a mistake in some of my DNA caused the proper bone material in one of the long bones in my arm to be warped and replaced by a weaker tissue (a non-cancerous tumor) as I grew up. This was totally unbeknownst to me, until the point when I leaned against a wall as a teen and my arm broke without warning. I had to have surgery, and I’m still dealing with the repercussions of the disease and the procedure. The doctors were extremely surprised that my arm had never hurt me, considering how large the tumor got. Usually people have pain before they get to the point where their bone is as weak as mine was. I know that Cymbalta is now approved to treat musculoskeletal pain, and I was on it for years before my arm broke. My hypothesis is that Cymbalta masked the pain of the disease, which is why it came as such a surprise to everyone when my secret bone disease caused my arm to break spontaneously!
(Sorry if TMI!)