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My Wife, Cold Turkey


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#1 Cp23

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 07:26 PM

Hi all,
Just figured I'd introduce myself and see if anyone has any advice or ideas or suggestions.
29 days ago my wife decided to stop taking cymbalta after using 60mg for the past 2.5 years for pnd. She has quit effexor and lexapro previously via cold turkey with minimal side effects. Her reasons for stopping are:
1. Weight gain. Over the past 12 months or so she has put on about 10kg, irrespective of the exercise or diet she couldn't stop or reverse the weight gain.
2. She wants to start feeling feelings again. Now I've never been on an antidepressant before so I can't empathise with her. But I trust what she says.

So this is where we're at:
Week 1 - tired, foggy, suffering from insomnia and having flu like symptoms.
Week 2 - very snappy and irritable, more so at the kids than at me. She managed during this time to organise and host my eldest sons birthday party. The fun thing was that this week was the start of the suicidal ideation as well.
Week 3 - best described as rage filled and suicidal. She went away for three nights with her best friend and did some trekking.
Week 4 - more of the same for the first half of the week, and then something clicked and she was more normal. Ie she would reply to messages, and a little more chilled.
Yesterday we spent the entire day with her sister, husband and kids, by the end of it she was done, and needing a break but she held up really well.

She is raking a few supplements :
* Good quality omega 3.
* 5-htp
* diindolylmethane for potential hormonal acne (which helps balance out estrogen dominance (not sure if this is a medical thing but it does help with her face))
* good quality multivitamin.

Regarding the 5-htp, she is taking 300mg a day however she's now spreading it out over the day. She seems to see a correlation between taking it all at once and the rage / mania that we experienced in weeks 2-now.

We're starting week 5 now and I'd love to hear from other people who have supported their partners, but also others who have been through the cold turkey process and their rough time line of events. I keep hoping that we're about half way through the Withdrawl, but then I read posts here and on reddit and think otherwise. I really just want my wife to come 'good' to be able to smell the roses and drop the weight she's gained (for her own peace of mind).

Thank you for reading this far and I look forward to any replies.

#2 invalidusername

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 08:20 PM

Hi CP23 and welcome to the site.
 
First up I am going to take this opportunity to first congratulate you on your supportive efforts for your partner. It won't be easy on either of you, so your understanding of her situation needs to be paramount during her withdrawal. I live with my partner who has social anxiety and chronic OCD, but I also am going through my own issues, but I am more the supporter rather than the supportee!
 
Cold turkey, as you have probably read, is never a good idea and a successful quitting of previous meds will not guarantee the same further down the line - if anything, they usually get tougher. That said, if you have seen a month through already, then that is an amazing feat! From here, it is not easy to say what will happen and usually it is suggested to reinstate part of the original dose and wean slowly. However, as you have already gone 30 days, reinstating might not be as successful as it would be earlier in the withdrawal.
 
Everything you have described is textbook withdrawal. Nothing out of the ordinary and Omega 3 and multi-vits will have helped - but make sure that the Omega 3 daily dose covers her for a combined EPA/DHA of around 2000mg, otherwise it will not be doing much at all.
 
Moving on to the 5HTP - this should always be taken in divided doses. It is short-lived in the system and levels will drop within 3-4 hours (or possibly less) and the effects will be like a roller-coaster which compound withdrawal problems. 300mg is the suggested dose (100mg three times daily), but can increase to twice that if required.
 
I noticed that of the reasons she has quit, it is not mentioned that she is less depressed - so can I assume that she still had comparable levels of depression as she did when she started the Cymbalta? Is she therefore planning to remain on the 5HTP to maintain the serotonin balance?
 
She will start getting her feelings back, and from those who have reported previously, I would imagine she would start to see the weight returning to normal in due course. However, a word of caution that Cymbalta does have a tendency to come on quite stong with the withdrawal at around the 30 day mark after a cold turkey, so the next week or so will be the proving ground. Hopefully the 5HTP will hold her through it, but if she finds that things get too much, then a reinstating of a reduced dose may be required - but she should NOT go directly back to the 60mg. I would suggest 10mg and work up from there if needed. An alternative would be to bridge over to Prozac or and AD will a similarly longer half life to get her through; the withdrawal from the Prozac will be significantly easier, but we need not concern ourselves unless it comes to it.
 
So for now, stay extra vigilant for the next couple of weeks, and if you get through them, then I would say you are good to remain on course. Meanwhile, if you have any further questions, please ask - and please let us know how you get on.
 
The site is full of great information, so have a look round and learn what you can.
 
IUN

#3 Cp23

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 12:58 AM

Thanks iun. Yes I'm fearful of the next few weeks, however she is a tough nut and if anyone can get through it, she can.
I am so proud, amazed and astounded at how well she is coping, she doesn't believe me when I tell her, but yes.

Regarding 5-htp she does have a history of depression even prior to children. So I'm hoping that taking it as a supplement will help minimise the depression when it does take hold. I've read that there are additional supplements to take with 5htp but there names currently escape me.

Regarding reinstating the dose, time will tell. I hope that this is not needed - - I hope that we're past the hardest parts, yet everything I read points to month two being the pits.

#4 fishinghat

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 07:52 AM

I can't really think of anything to add to IUN's post. There are a couple of things I might suggest. First of all in the Medical Support section there is a thread called Cymbalta Aide Search. It is extensive but it lists all the things people have tried, what helped and what didn't. It also contains a lot of medical research as well as do and don'ts. The second thing is for her to go easy on herself. Don't over do things. Try and minimize stressful and stimulating circumstances. Hang in there. We are always here to help. You are not in this alone.

We look forward to your next post.


#5 invalidusername

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 06:02 PM

If it is uncharted territory, she may or may not find the 5HTP helpful. It doesn't work for all - it is often put down to the way the blood brain barrier handles the means of letting it cross, so if it does not good, forget tryptophan too as this is the precursor so will certainly not work either. St John's Wort is the other alternative of course - and potentially some Valerian. All of these are regarded as being safe, so there will be no harm if trying. Kava can also be used to balance out serotonin during withdrawal, but this is a shady area and although I am schooled in its use, I would not suggest it over the other options.

 

Hat also makes probably the best point of all. She really does need to take it slow... and then even slower. Stress has so much of an effect during withdrawal - we cannot keep up our usual pace during these times. This might mean more demands on you however!! But it will pay its dividends by having a much calmer wife! And you know what they say.. happy wife.. happy life :)


#6 Cp23

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 06:32 PM

Thank you to the pair of you for your considered replies. We have just finished what I can only term an excellent weekend. There were moments of sadness but overall it was one of calmness. I completely understand the issues around stress, and my plan is to do as much of the heavy lifting as I possibly can. Understandably I don't wish to step on her toes, or feel like I'm controlling the situation either. As this has been a recurrent theme over the past month or so -- my efforts to help (be it decorating, cooking, cleaning etc) are seen as me taking over, or conotrolling. This isn't the case, it's how I express my love - if I see her struggling, I do my best to help and remove the stress. Doesn't always help though :-)

 

I was looking at the GABA range of amino acids and L-Theanine in combination with the 5-HTP. As a side note, 4 years ago we completely cut out grains and ate primarily organic meat and vegatables. This seemed to help our moods and what not, I vividly recall a good 6-12 month period of next to no stress. I intend to revisit this once the withdrawl is complete. There is a book called the 'Grain Brain' by Dr David Perlmutter which defines the link between gut health and menta health, espcially around our bodies inability to cope with refined grains. 

Another book I read about 10 years ago, and am re-reading is 'Dying For A Cure' by Rebekah Beddoe, where she chronicles her experience with antidepressants and the side effects of a questionable diagnosis and her withdrawls. 

 

From my reading of this forum, FH, you went cold turkey correct? What was the 2nd month like? We hit that point today, and I know that everyones experience is going to be different, but looking back, at what point were you through the worst of it? 


#7 fishinghat

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 09:01 AM

Hi Cp 23.

 

No actually I did a 3 month wean myself. There are others on here that did go cold turkey that will probably jump in and answer that question later today.


#8 invalidusername

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 04:18 PM

Glad to hear you had a good weekend - very happy for you both. These moments are important. I can understand there will be a delicate operation to undertake in not stepping on your wife's toes, whilst wanting to help out. Just use your best judgement!!
 
In depression circles, GABA is often given a misnomer as the "depression" amino, whereas it is closer to the DOPA or the "reward" amino. A depletion can make one depressed, but it is a different depressed to a serotonin depletion. If she gives herself a hard time, has zero motivation and just cannot see pleasure in anything, that is a good sign she would benefit from GABA, whereas, if she is crying, moody and angry this might suggest otherwise. However, low in either CAN show signs of anxiety, but with serotonin, this is during withdrawal. When on a steady dose, anxiety often signifies a dose being too high.
 
L-Theanine has helped a few members here with anxiety - some swear by it, others (like Hat and myself) it does nothing. However, our rule here is that if you are going to try it, go for the better option. If it doesn't work, you want to know you gave it the best shot, and this often means spending a few extra quid/bucks on a supplement. To this end, make sure you try Suntheanine as this is far superior. There are a lot of discussions about this on the forum.
 
Hat did his 3 months, but he would be the first to tell you that even that was way too fast for what ensued - God bless you Hat...

#9 Cp23

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 05:35 PM

Thank you again for the wonderful replies. We had an exceptionally good day yesterday, where things felt normal*. I hold onto these moments, enjoy them and will try to remember them when things inevitably go to poop. 

I am in two minds about cymbalata, for what it is worth it did a tremendous job in getting us through a really really rough time. Having said that, the weight gain has caused my wife more stress in the past 12 months. The first 12 months for me as a supporting partner were some of the most peaceful and love filled we've experienced in our 18 years together.

So for me, I am sad to be ending the journey for the peace it bought our family, but also excited for my wife to rejoin the life of the living and hopefully be able to build on from the good of the past 30 months. 


#10 invalidusername

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 05:56 PM

We see so many relationships go wrong as a result of these drugs. It is so nice to see a couple pull together and see the fruits of their vows.

 

You're a good man CP - keep it up...


#11 Cp23

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 07:57 PM

It would be remiss of me to fail my partner given that I knew what I was getting into the day I married her. For better or worse, and I don't want to spend my life with anyone else. 

I am accutely aware of her pain, she's sacraficed an awful lot, and finds life at times too much to bare. Other times, she has a smile that will light up a room. 

 

I'm not a religious man in anyway shape or form, but the vows we made mean the world to me. 

 

As always, father time always wins, so I know that this too shall soon pass. 


#12 invalidusername

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 04:37 PM

That is how to think at these times - it will pass. 

 

How you view wedding vows is very much a personal thing. I am a Spiritualist, but your commitment is how you see it, and doing what we can, as you are, for our respective better halves will pay its dividends whether your eyes are turned to this world or the next.

 

Wishing you well for the week CP... keep us posted.


#13 Cp23

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 10:23 PM

Thank you IUN. 

Brief update of where my wife is at present. Past 4-5 days have been excellent in terms of mood. Obviously there are times where I have to be careful where I tread, but overall it has been brilliant. 

I am getting at determining when to pick up the load and when to step away. I am finding it difficult to discuss how she's feeling, as she doesn't like talking about feelings (never has) and doesn't like to use withdrawl as an excuse for being sad or tired. 

Currently her symptoms include:

* Difficulty getting to sleep prior to 10pm. Most nights she falls asleep between 10 & 12. 

* Her body is fatigued but her mind is not. 

* When things get a little stressful -- ie kids are not behaving and she has to make a decision, she will struggle. I think her capacity to multi task at present is degraded. 

 

Other than that, no real issues. She is going for walks with the dog, and becoming more and more engaged. 

Where a few days from her premenstural week, so that is going to be the real test to see where we are at. 

 

*edit

I will say this, I am offering my comments here and ideally looking for time line support. I know that you guys here are going throughh the withdrawl, In no way do I want to take away from the intention of this board, or make my wifes experience any more important than anyone elses. 

I genuinely appreciate the support. 


#14 fishinghat

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 07:40 AM

Well Cp, that sounds very good for this stage of the withdrawal. This is much better than most so count your blessings. Stay the course and remember that the rest of the recovery may be real slow.


#15 invalidusername

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 03:00 PM

Again - I'm with Hat - this is a very good place to be at present timeline. 

 

You are more than welcome to run the duration with us here and keep firing questions - that is what we are here for. The part of her not making decisions and multi-tasking is simple and pure as a result of the withdrawal reducing her ability to contend with stress. Happens to most, which is why Hat said avoid at all costs. It can be the smallest thing (much smaller than kids misbehaving), so it might call for a bit of understanding on your part. 

 

Her body will no doubt be a pumping station for cortisol and adrenaline at the moment which will explain not being able to sleep and her body being tired, whilst the mind is going 19 to the dozen. Essentially, the Cym was regulating norepinephrine, which is the brain chemical which controls the release of the above two chemicals. When the Cym stops, the brain has to go through a number of different levels and catalog the emotions that the body responds with until it find the right level again. This may take time and she may get weaker as a result, but again, this is very common and it will pass....


#16 Cp23

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 07:24 PM

Thank you very much team. It takes a village after all, and to have a better understanding of what's going on internally is really helpful. We're at day 34 today, and the past week has been brilliant. On Wednesday we went out to a homesware shop to look at some decorations for our master bedroom. We came away with a print that will be going up on the wall. Yesterday she went out and bought some paint to paint a feature wall in the room.

I came home yesterday from work to a really well painted wall, and a delightful colour to boot. 

I mention this because she was capable of making a series of decisions without spinning out of control and getting anxious. I am very proud of her for this. The upcoming week will be a good indicator of where she is at, as it's her premenstrual week and this usually causes some anxiety and sadness. On that note, I'm hoping the 5-HTP will help even some of this out. She has been supplementing with diindolylmethane for the past 4-5 months as well, which has helped with her moods when her estrogen inevitably drops 

 

Now, if you're happy, I'm more than happy to provide an update every now and then - again I don't want to be seen to be making light of anyones struggles, or speaking on behalf of my wife. I fully understand that everyones experience is different, and from what I can see my wife has had it relatively easy (a term I use very loosely). The reason I want to tell her story is because there are a lot of horror stories online. When she decided to stop taking the medication, I jumped online and tried to find what I could, and the news was not good. To be honest, I was absolutely terrified, for her and for us as a family. There were a lot of posts about it being a long journey with no end in sight. Unfortunately the rate of follow up on any of these stories were typically low (not here, but on reddit and other forums), which meant either one of two things:

1. People struggled with the side effects and understandbly went back on.

2. People got off, and didn't feel the need to update their progress as it was no longer an issue for them. 

 

I want to journal our experience and answer any questions where possible, and if I can offer support to other spouses who are doing the same thing as I. 


#17 fishinghat

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 09:09 AM

It is soooo refreshing to hear of such a positive outcome in such a short-term withdrawal period. Your posts can hive comfort to new members that this horrible experience doesn't always last months and months.

 

Thanks so much for the update.


#18 invalidusername

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 06:23 PM

Absolutely. It really does sound like you have it made with this. 

 

She is doing the right thing by keeping occupied and going about her life as she deems fit, but again, just watch the stress levels - they sneak up on you. I know you don't want to tread on toes, but just watch she doesn't get too complacent with the progress - said in the nicest means possible!


#19 gail

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 05:16 AM

CP23,

Great post. We always appreciate updates. Thank you!

#20 Cp23

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Posted 28 July 2019 - 05:44 PM

Hi All, 

A brief update.

We're now at day 37 and the 3rd day into her premenstrul week. This time last cycle, we were ~10-12 days into her cold turkey and things were _bad_. 

This time round she's doing pretty well. We've just had a weekend in which I'd suggest everything was good. No arguments, no bouts of sadness or depression, she did have some moments of flatness, and bordering on sadness when our local sports team got beaten badly.... Then again, I felt depressed after the loss too. 

On Saturday morning, I did tell her that one of the big reasons for feeling flat was due to her cycle, I read out some notes from an app I use to help track her cycle (it offers me tips on what to expect) and how she will be feeling and how it's perfectly normal to feel flat at this stage. She's never been able to rationalise away feelings, as she's never talked about them. This time round I'm going to do the talking for her and help her confront how she feels. 

 

Overall though, it was a good weekend. If there are no major flare ups in the next 2-3 weeks (this week is ok given stage of cycle), I'm going to be fairly confident in saying that she got through this withdrawl with relative ease. 

 

To say I am proud of her would be an understatement of epic proportions. 


#21 invalidusername

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Posted 29 July 2019 - 08:29 AM

It certainly sounds like she is going through this very well. Again - very happy for you both.

 

Having a neutral outlook on things is also normal due to the brain readjusting itself, but given the favourable way in which is has presented itself thus far, I would say that this too will not last much longer.

 

Great news - and thanks for the update!


#22 Cp23

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 09:43 PM

We're at day 39, PMS is kicking in quite well -- the associated sadness is there, but the moods are under control. So this in and of itself is great. Given that this time last cycle she was not good, this is a marked improvement. 

We're trying to make plans for future adventures, both big and small. As i'm writing this she's on her treadmill doing a run / walk. 

 

Overall, good. And again I define good as no bouts of rage/anger/irationality (mania???).


#23 invalidusername

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 03:23 PM

This is sounding really positive! I can't believe we are talking about Cymbalta :D


#24 gail

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 10:49 AM

Same thoughts as IUN. Incredible! May it continue!

#25 Cp23

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 07:15 PM

Day 41 now and still going well. Her period started a few days earlier than usual and the attributed negativity was there, but overall it was good. She said to me the other day she is 'sad'. Where as usually it would be a 'I'm so depressed, I just want to die'. I treat the change in language as a sign of PMS rather than withdrawl. 

As it stands at the moment, the next week will be a good test to determine where she is at overall. If she's happier, more out going I think we can say that we're through it. 

 

On a side note, she suffers from confidence issues - she doesn't feel that anyone likes her, or cares for her. I am going to try to find a way to help her change that viewpoint, I don't know how to go about this though. 

 

So yes, from my readings of forums, facebook and reddit,  this cold turkey has been Atypical. 


#26 invalidusername

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 08:55 AM

You would best know of her behaviour and moods during this time, just simply gauge it on this knowledge. Better that her mood see improved overall.

 

Confidence issues are to be expected as a result of all she has been through and these should improve as the symptoms abate. I suffer significantly from confidence as a result of so many medicinal changes... and with a wife who also suffers mental health, I am on the route of finding the appropriate therapy, but I feel in the case of your wife that she would do best to let the proverbial dust settle and see how she feels...


#27 Cp23

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 05:29 PM

Hi All,

Brief update, we're currently at day 44 and all seems well. She's battling a cold at the moment, but overall her mood is pretty good. 

We went for a hike on Saturday morning with the kids. That was good, and a lovely way to start the day. Then we headed off to a beach cafe, where we had fears that my daughter had broken her arm. A quick trip to the ER confirmed that she was ok.

Rest of the weekend was pretty cruisy but still good. 

 

I am a little concerned about withdrawl symptoms kicking in now (ie PAWS), as through my reading i've seen people who have CT'd and then a few months later been hit with some awful symptoms. I'm wondering how common this is (everyones different i know). 

:)

 

Thanks again everyone. 


#28 fishinghat

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 05:32 PM

True but it is unusual to have a delayed withdrawal except for a few days. I can only remember 2 people who had an issue with that on this site. Not probable.


#29 Cp23

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 05:44 PM

Brilliant. Thank you.

So given we're at day 44 CT, should we assume we're 'good'?


#30 invalidusername

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 05:52 PM

Given the subjectivity factor it is impossible to say for sure, but after 44 days, I would say that you can begin quiet confidence.

 

I know there are stories of PAWS occurring as late as 3 months, but as Hat said, these are rarities, and I am sure if analysed, there would be pointers along the way leading up to this point. Given your stringency with noting all symptoms, this is unlikely your fate.





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