I've been a regular visitor to this site for several months and I can't thank you enough for your intelligent, thoughtful advice and the staggering amount of research you've done to assist those of us struggling through this arduous process. This is my first time posting and I'd be so grateful for your thoughts on my situation - I'll try to be brief!
I started taking Zoloft (75 mg) about 15 years ago for clinical depression and it worked reasonably well until the summer of 2015 when my depression increased substantially and a dose increase to 100 mg caused extreme anxiety. I have severe kyphoscoliosis, osteoarthritis and neuropathy and my psychiatrist at the time suggested we "kill two birds with one stone" and switch to Cymbalta to hopefully also offer some pain relief. I tapered off Zoloft fairly easily and started 30 mg of Cymbalta in August 2015. Essentially, I've been trying to get off it ever since - I had a brief period of relief (brightening of mood, slight arthritis relief) and then multiple side effects started including vision and cognition issues. I did have some slight pain relief, but my concern was the sense that Cymbalta was masking or "clouding" my pain and emotions, and with a major back surgery now pending, I wanted to have a greater awareness of what I was physically feeling, if that makes any sense.
I did a very slow, deliberate bead counting taper off and got down to 40 beads (about 5 mg) eleven weeks ago and in frustration and sick of the entire process, stopped taking it altogether. For the first two or three weeks I felt much better - proud of myself for getting off this horrendous drug and thinking I could for the first time in almost 20 years potentially be antidepressant-free. Then all hell broke loose - suicidal thoughts like never before, crying uncontrollably, completely anxiety-ridden, and my pain level has skyrocketed to a degree I've never experienced. I'm terrified about what's happening to me and I'm barely functioning.
About six weeks ago I did a pharmacogenetic DNA test which indicated that I have a high risk of poor response or intolerance to all SSRIs (after 15 years on Zoloft!), and that SNRIs, non-SSRI antidepressants or dopaminergic stimulants could be considered. I briefly tried Wellbutrin SR 100mg once a day and it caused anxiety, nervousness and palpitations. I've tried Tramadol for the pain which does help, but the effect on my mood is terrible - while I definitely notice a positive change in mood on the day I take it (likely the opiate and weak SNRI effect), the next day I can feel myself plummeting back into severe depression. I've also taken Ativan 0.25 mg every other day or so in the last few weeks when the depression and anxiety have become too overwhelming. Which leads me back to Cymbalta...
I desperation, I started taking the dose I was at when I quit, 40 beads or 5 mg, three nights ago and I feel somewhat calmer, but very scared, certainly not myself and really defeated. I don't really even know what "stabilized" would feel like if reinstating at this small dose is effective, and I'm very unsure if this is even the correct approach to take...
Again, many thanks for any advice you or other members may have, I sincerely appreciate it!