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9 Weeks Off. Hoping For Some Input.


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#31 Driven

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 09:18 AM

FH and IUN,

 

Thank you.  I've been taking 5mg of melatonin (dissolvable tablet under tongue) with no help. Yes, also tried Benadryl a handful of separate times with no success.  IUN, I am not opposed to the Kratom as i do not have an addictive personality at all. I will look into it. 

 

That said, I'm wearing down mentally.  Sleep is completely impossible.  I slept 30 minutes last night and on the verge of collapsing.  That is after 1-2 hours/night in the last week.  I have a huge headache with the worst brain fog since being off and my anxiety is through the roof.  Not to mention the ear pressure along with depth perception issues with my vision.  The lack of sleep seems to putting me in a form of mania.  I am not thinking very clearly.  I tried CBD oil as a desperate measure the last two nights and it did nothing.  

 

At this point, I'm not sure how long to keep pushing myself with this withdrawal.  .  At just over 3 months, I'm seriously starting to consider reinstating on something to give relief.  I understand there are risks but I'm concerned that the risk is higher if I continue this current path of what feels like self/life destruction.  I don't see a way out right now and that is scary.  I would prefer not to go back to a low dose Cymbalta but i am scared and the fact that I'm even considering that is crazy.  I read a thread from Cathy123 where she reinstated on Celexa after being off Cymbalta for 6 months and it helped.  Or maybe Lexapro, Zoloft, Wellbutrin?  The fear of "kindling" with reinstating is worrisome but I don't know what to do.  I've had zero other experience with any AD drugs prior to this and maybe that is a good sign that i could find relief with something else without having try multiple drugs?  If so, I would want to balance for months+ before starting a ridiculously slow taper.  

 

I'm going to try the Hydroxyzine as long as i can get the prescription from my functional med doctor tomorrow. The insomnia/mania feels way too high at moment for that to help but I will definitely try.  I just need help with sleep ASAP.  I don't want to take a benzo but I am struggling here.  I ran out of my old prescription of Ativan after using my last 5 pills this week.  The 1mg basically helped me fall asleep but I woke up rather quickly every night. I used Klonopin early on for a few weeks when I first started Cymbalta.  It worked but I had a plan and was able to back off as soon as Cymbalta started kicking in.

 

I'm sorry to lean on you so much but do you have any more suggestions since things are getting worse?

 

Driven


#32 fishinghat

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 10:59 AM

Don't forget to ask about the clonidine too. If the hydroxyzine/clonidine and/or sublingual melatonin don't work then do what you have to do. We normally suggest trying Zoloft, Lexapro or Prozac as replacements as they have a longer half life and are usually easier to wean off of later.

#33 Driven

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 11:32 AM

FH,

 

Thank you.  Based on your experience, does reinstating this far out (13 weeks) to a new low dose of SSRI work more often that not or is it just playing roulette?  I just need some level of relief. I REALLY need help with the sleep asap I can't imagine moving to Ativan and/or Klonopin to help with my sleep without reinstating to an SSRI or something.  Can i do that without an SSRI?  My brain is on overdrive and I'm flat panicked about sleep.  My head feels like it is going to explode.  Perhaps I should also stop the SAM-e and 5-HTP for a few days since it is clearly not helping.  What do you think?

 

I have not consulted with the psychologist that put me on Cymbalta since I went off.  I had no understanding of this world and I put too much faith in him helping me.  I got 8 different opinions on my taper schedule from doctors and pharmacists and all said that 8 weeks was really slow, especially since i had been on it 9 weeks.  At this point, i feel like i'm heading down the road of several more months of mostly waves and will never fully recover.  

Driven


#34 invalidusername

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 11:46 AM

Driven,

 

Good to hear from you - and do not worry to lean on us when things are like this. It is what we are here for, and we have all been through it... at least once. The level to which you are feeling the withdrawal, believe it or not, has been felt by others... and dare I say it... worse - and they do recover. Of all the members I have known in the last year, there is only one I can think of who is still suffering. That is a very small percentage. Don't lose hope.

 

Going on an SSRI from this point will be OK - there will be no harm in it, but whether it works or not is always a game of roulette. Given that the pharma's don't fully understand how their drugs work, it is simply not possible to say what will and will not work. If you were to go that route, I would suggest something with a long half-life like Fluoxetine. It's an old drug, but nothing much has changed in the last 30 years, and if it doesn't work, it is an easy withdrawal... easy compared to Cymbalta.

 

Regarding the Kratom, you need to try a Red Vein Bourneo or Riau - probably in that order. A typical dose for sleep is around 5gm, and best to mix with around 200ml of fruit juice as it is quite bitter. Effects can take between 30-60 minutes to set in. Start with 2gm before anything to make sure you do not have any reactions to it, which is highly unlikely. After 60 minutes of that dose, if effects are week, then take another 1 gm. If this is not enough, start the next evening with 3gm and take another 1gm after 60 minutes if needed. Continue this until you find your dose. I am fine with 5gm, but the wife takes around 6.5gm for the same effect.

 

IUN


#35 Driven

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 11:51 AM

IUN,

 

Thank you.  What sensation does the Kratom give you?  Do you take it for sleep?

Driven


#36 invalidusername

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 12:03 PM

Different strains give different sensations. Riau gives a really nice relaxed feeling - not out of it - just that you feel very chilled out I suppose. I take this when I am stressed or very anxious and cannot calm my thoughts. Only once, when I entrusted to wife to measure my dose, did she use the wrong end of the measuring spoon and gave me 6.5gm, the same as her, and that was when I felt the euphoric effects. Very nice, but my body felt like a dead weight!! And I slept very soon after - didn't have a choice!

 

Bourneo is used when I need help to sleep. It takes a little longer for onset, but generally the sensation starts around 60 minutes in where you feel a little sedated, and then by around 90 minutes, my eyes start to get heavy. I grab a book and then it is not long before I'm out. Obviously, the larger the dose, the greater the effect. But go careful to begin with.


#37 fishinghat

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 01:25 PM

IUN is correct.

The hydroxyzine is an FDA approved drug for sleep as well as anxiety. No less than 50 mg at bedtime. And it works better if you take 25 mg two or three times during the day and then 50 at bedtime. It takes 30 minutes to one hour to kick in.

Not only roulette on the ssri but it takes 4 to 8 weeks to kick in.

#38 lady2882Nancy

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 07:07 PM

Hello I am the silent member who reads all the new stuff but only replies when inspired. 

This is one of those times.

Reinstating Cymbalta at this point would just make things worse at least according to my Psychiatrist when I first met her,

What She suggested was a short course of Zoloft. Of course I did not want to take anything and figured that it would take forever to work. So at 12 weeks and 4 days off I tried the lowest dose of Zoloft and within days I was feeling better. 

Now this does not really make sense as it should have taken at least 2 weeks to start to notice any improvement but the way it was explained to me was that my system was looking for something to balance the anxiety and serotonin.  I was thrilled and stayed on about a month and a half at which time I weaned slowly off with no problems due to Zoloft having a much longer half life. Only a few of my problems came back and they were much milder and as time went on some went away and some I had to give in and treat. I am pretty much off meds now.

I am not saying that this will work for everyone but it cannot hurt to try even for a week or so. It is better than suffering when a solution might be so near.

If you try it please post on here if it helped or not as I would love to know.  I have suggested this a time or two but never found out if it helped or not.

 

Nancy


#39 fishinghat

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 09:17 AM

Hello angel. You made my day.

#40 Driven

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 11:00 AM

Nancy,

 

I can't tell you how appreciative I am of your input.  It is very timely based on the last couple of days.  I'm feel like I'm trying to claw my way out of a hole and I'm falling deeper week by week.  I'm about 13-1/2 weeks off.  Let's just say that yesterday was a trip to the ER after I enlisted help from some of my family members that were not aware how badly I was struggling.  If anything, I've gotten worse as time has gone on.  The ER visit didn't accomplish anything other than the pharmacist that came in to discuss with me was the most knowledgeable about Cymbalta that I've talked to face to face.  She was all over the situation and stated that she used to work at a compounding pharmacy and the details about how long patients needed to taper off Cymbalta.  She was very informative and understood discontinuation syndrome from this drug.  It was the first time my wife heard this from anyone other than myself and she was awestruck.  I did get a prescription of Hydroxyzine which has seemed to help the severe anxiety but my brain is still in a state of overdrive / mass confusion.

 

Current symptoms:

-all day brain fog ('m sure extreme lack of sleep is not helping)

-blurred vision / focus issues (probably lack of sleep but this has been with me about 98% of the time since going off).

-waves of heavy anxiety

-waves of heavy depression.  This has gotten worse over last couple of weeks.

-heavy insomnia.  I have slept on average about 2 hours each night in last 10 days.

-derealization.  I feel completely detached from reality and my old self.  

 

At this point, I'm impacting my family so badly with the lack of sleep and daily turmoil that I believe I need immediate help.  I'm not sure how this is going to improve anytime soon if I continue to go down this same road.

 

All said, I leaning toward starting a SSRI to try and get some sort of positive response.  I am VERY apprehensive about doing so but I don't know what else to do.  On the Zoloft, do you recall what dosage you started?  Did you change dosage at all or just stay at that dose for the month and a half?  Anything you can share on the exact dosage would be appreciated.  Thank you!

 

Fishinghat and IUN,

I know you both stated starting an SSRI would be risky but I'm at a loss.  Do you think that there is a chance that starting one could ease the brain fog and vision stuff in addition to easing the anxiety and depression?  Also, calm me down enough to get better sleep?  I guess I'd just need to pick one of the three (Zoloft, Lexapro, or Prozac) but I will take any informative suggestions you have.  I'm in a position where i need to find a new psychologist or go through this SSRI plan with my functional medicine doctor.  She can help me but it isn't her expertise.

 

Thanks,

Driven


#41 invalidusername

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 11:28 AM

"It was the first time my wife heard this from anyone other than myself and she was awestruck."

 

That is just what you needed. Silver lining to the ER trip there.

 

Regarding the SSRI route, there is no knowing. I only suggested for the Prozac due to the impact this withdrawal has had on you, and there fore as zoloft and lex are quite as short as Cymbalta, they are still 50% of the prozac. But neither Hat, nor myself can tell you which would work better. Damn.. if we could, we would be seriously well off by now!

 

P.S.Great to see you again Nancy!


#42 lady2882Nancy

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 10:19 PM

I am so glad that your wife got to hear what the pharmacist had to say. That should help with her understanding. 

So I took 25 mg Zoloft and it has a half life of 24 to 26 hours so double what Cymbalta has,  Compared to Cymbalta it was a walk in a park to stop it as well.

My only bad withdrawals was the cymbalta (the drug from hell) and the benzo my doctor put me on, it worked, but he let me stay on it too long.


#43 Driven

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 09:13 AM

All,

 

Quick update and thank you again for the input thus far.  I'm still in a world of hurt and trying to determine best plan forward.  This is starting to affect my family pretty severely and it is also starting to affect my job.

 

Current symptoms:
Insomnia - 2-4 hours sleep for last 3 weeks.  Many nights of just a couple hours of sleep.

Anxiety - On and off all day.  Slightly better at night and Hydroxyzine is helping.
Depression - By far the worst I've experienced so far.  I am struggling to see a way out of all of this and concerned this will be several months (year+) before any real progress.  It is frustrating to not even have an hour window here or there since 3-4 weeks ago.  

Brain fog - Pretty much all day, every day. Slightly more intense now than it was weeks ago.  Pain sensations also move around to different parts of brain throughout the day.  

Vision - I just can't explain this one.  It feels maybe like vertigo.  Just a very odd sensation of looking at life through a collage of still photos / tunnel vision.  This is with me in varying degrees of intensity 99% of time. 

 

I don't even have a doctor (phsychiatrist, etc) that I'm engaged with since got off.  Trying to get traction here but it's been slow.

 

I know I'm beating a dead horse but I'm struggling badly about what to do.  I've always been a such a problem solver for my family but this one is tough.

1.  Try a small dose of SSRI as discussed above to combat the withdrawal.  Pray it works enough to give some relief then do EXTREMELY long taper to get off?

2.  Can't believe I'm saying this at 14 weeks off but consider reinstating to Cymbalta at a VERY small dosage to possibly stabilize and then do an EXTREMELY long taper to get out of this mess?
3.  Hold my ground and pray for improvement soon.  The stress on my family/marriage is very tough right now and I'm concerned about not seeing any improvements and me being able to keep it together.  I am very stressed and I know I'm not healing much.

FH, I read in a few instances where people have reinstated Cymbalta with a very small dose (even as low as 10 beads and held) to try and get some relief.  Have you ever heard of anyone trying this at 14 weeks out or later?  I am so frustrated that I am not opposed to a 10 or 20mg reinstatement but also VERY fearful that it could go wrong too.

 

Driven


#44 fishinghat

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 10:23 AM

Insomnia - there is a document in the ebook called "How to sleep better." It may help. Also. 0.3 grams of sublingual melatonin had been very successful for many. Normally I also recommend it during the day for anxiety but it can make depression worse so not to be taken in your case.
 
Depression - Not unusual. The first thing that jumps into my mind is low testosterone. Any issues with libido, erections, muscle loss, etc? IUN will be along later and he had a lot more depression during his withdrawal so he may be able to help there.
 
Brain fog - Omega 3, high in epa and dha at around 3000 mg/day. If this doesn't help there are several other options.
 
Weird vertigo - One of the weirdest symptoms and also one of the most common. It will fade or the next month.
 
1. small dose of SSRI - My opinion, last resort. It takes them weeks to kick in completely and can really confuse the issue.
 
2.reinstating to Cymbalta - A very good option. Many many have done that here.  How many beads in a capsule for you? From that info I can make a recommendation.

3. Hold my ground and pray for improvement soon - That is an option but a tough one. Only you can tell what you can handle. Your at 14 weeks so it may be around 2 or 3 months to start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are also a few supplements you can try to see if you can get some relief. The ebook has information on dozens of supplements that members have tried and how they worked out. The one that first jumps into my head is Suntheanine.

Hang in there.

#45 Driven

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 10:58 AM

FH,

 

Thank you so much for your continued input. Your selflessness in helping people on this site is commendable.  

"Depression - Not unusual. The first thing that jumps into my mind is low testosterone. Any issues with libido, erections, muscle loss, etc? IUN will be along later and he had a lot more depression during his withdrawal so he may be able to help there."

 

Yes, I am staying diligent with my testosterone injections but I'm sure that stress and lack of sleep are flat-lining any natural production I still have.  I have had some slight libido/erection issues for sure and ties directly to the depression window.  I may try a very slight dose increase on my testosterone.

 

"2.reinstating to Cymbalta - A very good option. Many many have done that here.  How many beads in a capsule for you? From that info I can make a recommendation."

 

To clarify, you've experienced folks having positive results after reinstating longer than just 2-3 week window after going off?  The Cymbalta facebook page is adament about it being very dangerous to do so after 2-3 weeks (the brain being synthesized and will fight the input of a drug again)?   The thought of reinstating seems awful but the thought of stabilizing at a low dose and committing to a very slow taper to get off is now part of my thought process.  Even if it took excruciatingly long time to taper.   I am not sure exactly what you mean by how many beads in my capsules. I was on generic Duloxetine and the last prescription I has was 20mg capsules that I bead counted on the last 2-3 weeks of my taper.  I disposed of the last bit of beads i had, so I would need to start over with a new prescription if I go this route.  Hope you don't mind me asking, but when you tapered off Cymbalta, was there a thought about reinstating back to it instead of the SSRIs at your 3.5 month mark or was that not in discussion?

 

Thank you.  I've been reading a lot about the sleep recommendations and ebook info on this site.  


#46 fishinghat

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 11:53 AM

"Yes, I am staying diligent with my testosterone injections but I'm sure that stress and lack of sleep are flat-lining any natural production I still have. I have had some slight libido/erection issues for sure and ties directly to the depression window. I may try a very slight dose increase on my testosterone."

I think this is a very good idea.

reinstating to Cymbalta - It was not a common occurrence when I withdrew in 2013. A research paper came out in around 2015 or 16 where some dr had tried this with success. For sure it is usually more effective when it is done early in the process but some have had luck several weeks/months after being off the Cymbalta. The key seems to be NOT to go back up a large amount (like 5 or 10 grams). The body usually reacts strongly to that. Most go up about 1 bead a day (depending on how many in your capsule) until they obtain SOME relief.

#47 invalidusername

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 12:28 PM

Hi Driven...

 

Regarding the reinstatement of the Cymbalta - it is no less "dangerous" than throwing another SSRI into the mix - safer in my opinion as you are already aware that your system configured itself for it. Hat has more expertise in this area, so with his near 7 years on this site, this is what it tells him, then you are good to follow this path.

 

The depression - goodness me. Yes. For sure the testosterone will have a consideration for sure, but just take a step back from where you are and look at what you are putting up with here - you mention all the physical effects, the impact on the family... who WOULDN'T be depressed. The key here is a tough one, and it is acceptance. What has happened isn't your fault so start turning your self-pity into self-compassion. What would you tell a friend going through this? I know this is typical CBT approach, but we often forget. 

 

My depression has improved with my physical symptoms abating. I am still left with some struggle though. Today is a bad day - but there is a reason for this and so I am doing my best to tell myself that I do not need to get caught up in it. The reaction I am having if perfectly justified and it may take some time to get better. If I wallow in it, it will get the better of me, then I start blaming myself for lack of strength, my work suffers, my marriage etc. It is a tough road to hoe and there can be so many days that all you do is feel like you are treading water, but this is how it goes. It is sink or swim, but you need to learn to swim against the tide first, and until that strength arrives, you need to accept that you will be treading water for some time until the triggers pass.

 

I understand that this is so much easier to say than to be done. Goodness, I am thinking that to myself as I write this as I am in a down phase at the moment. I have had a cracking couple of weeks, and just one day can really be a wall falling down on you... but only if you let it. 

 

To quote Aza Holmes.. "Your now is not your forever".


#48 Driven

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 10:26 AM

I'm at a loss.  I just made an emergency appointment with my psychiatrist who I haven't seen since I went off Cymbalta.  He can fit me in this afternoon.  It was that or I'm headed to the ER again.  I'm struggled badly with insomnia, massive anxiety, depression, head fog, and vertigo crap.  During our phone conversation he stated I should go back on it.  I'm terrified that he is going to suggest a large dose for me to re-instate.  I realize I can decide my own dose but I am scared to death that I'm walking right into the eyes of death that started this whole ordeal.  I will discuss several options with him but I'm fearful how it will go.

 

FH,

I won't hold you to anything but what would you consider in my shoes in terms of a reinstatement dosage?  At 3.5 months off, this seems pretty risky.  I am very scared about making things worse than they already are by reinstating.  Again, I was on it 9 weeks before doing an 8 week taper.  Was on 60mg most of the time but bumped to 90mg for 3 weeks.  Then tapered 8 weeks down and bead counted the last 2 weeks.

 

Having zero background with this line of medicine, I am in awe regarding the lack of awareness regarding the danger of this drug and tapering protocol.

 

Driven


#49 fishinghat

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 11:49 AM

All I can say is you are right in the middle of the worst part of withdrawal but knowing that doesn't make the symptoms go away. Here is my perspective.

Stay where you are at and suffer for a couple more months until things start to turn but that does not seem to be a good idea the way you are.

First I would press for some meds without withdrawal like clonidine or hydroxyzine. They go into effect in an hour to 2 hours.

Second, use a benzo. Yes it is addictive and has a nasty withdrawal but not as bad as Cymbalta. If you wean very slow you can avoid mist of the withdrawal.

Lastly a weaker ssri like Zoloft, Lexapro or Prozac. They take 4 to 8 weeks to kick in if they even work.

If he presses for reinstatement of Cymbalta I would do that and when you get home with the prescription I would start by taking 1 bead the first day, 2 beads the second day etc until I find the minimum level of suffering that I can tolerate. Stay at that dose until feeling like you can start tapering again.
There is no shame in going on another med to deal with things. We are all here to help you through this.

#50 Driven

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 01:53 PM

FH,

 

As always, I appreciate your continued input.  

 

"Stay where you are at and suffer for a couple more months until things start to turn but that does not seem to be a good idea the way you are."

I would love to do this but the lack of sleep and cognitive issues are at a breaking point with my job and family.  I've put my wife through the ringer in the last several months.  I feel like my best option is to probably get on something that is going to improve this situation much sooner than later.

 

I've been taking Hydroxyzine since last Monday with limited success.  Seems to help me get to sleep but I can't get more than 2-3 hours then I'm up and it's nearly impossible to get back to sleep.

 

As for a benzo.  I will probably need to go this route for sleep.  As frustrating as that is...I need sleep.  I will review that with doctor today.

 

I am SO TORN between reinstating Cymbalta vs a weaker SSRI.  Earlier in my thread I felt like you were thinking Cymbalta may be a safer bet (at very low dose) than an SSRI.  Any thoughts on that now?

Thanks,

Driven


#51 fishinghat

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 02:21 PM

What dose hydroxyzine are you on?

The benzo withdrawal we can deal with later if need be.

I think the very low dose Cymbalta is a better idea than the ssri because a ssri would take 4 to 6 weeks to kick in and that is if it even worked for you.

#52 Driven

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 02:44 PM

FH,

 

Understood and thank you.

My hydroxyzine intake is as follows:

25mg 7am

25mg 12pm

50mg 9-10pm

 

Thanks,
Driven


#53 invalidusername

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 03:06 PM

When you say "weaker" SSRI, this may not be the case until proven. We can never know of the impact that any one SSRI will have, so to say it will be weaker cannot be said with any sincerity - particularly after the paper that Hat found yesterday. There is so much subjectivity to take into consideration with this medication.

 

I read Hat's response and said to myself "he won't be opting to hang in there for 2-3 more months!", BUT with other supplements it could pull you through. 

 

That said, Hat make a point in so much that you would have to "hang in there" even if you go for another SSRI - you are looking at a few weeks before any of this kicks in. I know you don't want to hear that, but you need to know the score. So a few beads would be my first choice as this is going to tackle the symptoms head on. Coming off caused them, so going back on will alleviate them... hopefully, but you REALLY do not want to be going back to a "non-beaded" dose of 30mg+. No way. Get stable and stop.

 

I really think you should consider this route. It has your better rate of success and we can work with the withdrawal VERY slowly when ready. We know only too well that people can have this level of hardship when coming off...

 

Find some posts by VinPin and you will see what he has done to level things out. Nothing is impossible once you find the right route.


#54 fishinghat

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 04:57 PM

"When you say "weaker" SSRI, this may not be the case until proven."

When I say weaker I am referring to an ssri with a weaker affinity for the transporter.

#55 Driven

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 12:38 PM

Hello everyone,

A quick update since a few weeks back.  I'm 4 months off Cymbalta after that rapid taper and taking every day as it comes.  I have not pursued any reinstatement of any SSRI/SNRI.  I'm so anxious about that causing more issues so I'm determined to keep trying to manage through this hell in hopes that I can start to experience a few windows here and there as I get more weeks/months behind me.  Some days I'm driven and some days it is a complete cluster.

 

Symptoms @ 4 months off:

1. Brain fog - Still having pretty severe brain fog.  Cognitive thinking is a struggle and the fact that it hasn't improved is not helping my anxiety!  Most days, my brain has dull pain which moves to various locations.  Sometimes front, back, top, side, etc.  it is a very odd feeling how it moves around.  I've not had the zaps that folks describe.  Mine are just a constant ache (almost light burning feeling).  I definitely feel more impaired cognitively when the pain is more intense.  I tell myself this is a sign of neuroplasticity healing taking place and trying to think positively about it.  I'm still working my job full time but it is a struggle.  I have to work much harder to do simple tasks and think through my day strategically.  I often feel very disassociated through most of the day and there is a feeling of paranoia or fear most of the time.  I sure hope this isn't permanent?

 

2. Insomnia - This has been very tough.  I had a few weeks were 2-3 hours were typical.  I've been managing 3-5 (occasional 6 hrs)  in recent weeks but it is usually followed up with a few bad days in a row.  This is definitely related to withdrawal as I don't even really feel tired during the day.  I've got klonopin and trazadone and taken 1-2 each in the last month.  I really don't want to depend on them and I see it as an emergency button if things get completely out of control.  Hydroxyzine seems to work slightly so I'm focusing on that.  

3.  Anxiety - This can be extremely intense at times.  It is definitely the worst in the morning and seems to dissipate in the evenings (in most cases).  I do get these random waves in the evenings and that is very hard for me as I then start trying to put pressure on myself that I can't be in this state before bed.  I've been experiencing bad anxiety pretty much every day but it varies greatly on the length of the wave. Some days are very light which is so helpful.  I do have many moments with no anxiety so i'm praying this is a sign that I won't battle with this new symptom forever as my brain continues to find homeostatis.  

 

4. Depression - This has been TOUGH.  I've never felt a feeling of depression until withdrawal.  This has cranked up in the last month and it has been difficult.  I'm definitely struggling with a very low mood most every day but i do get these waves that last anywhere from 2 hours to 12 hours that are complete, utter hopelessness.  It feels very chemical/withdrawal related and I can't even force a smile on my face.  I sure hope this fades over time!  Considering what I am going through, I'm giving myself some 

 

5.  Fear - One of the things I'm trying to control the most is my fear.  I am so scared of this timeline and how long it will last.  Online research has been a double-edged sword for me.  It is so refreshing to understand that others have gone/are going through a similar experience.  This site has been incredibly helpful to me and I'm so grateful.  That said, I have researched hard and long and I do find stories about the impact that this drug has had on people that have lasted years (or permanent?).  It has gotten so bad that my wife takes my phone at night so I won't research protracted withdrawal symptoms/timelines!  I pray everyday for those affected as well as continued healing for me.  

 

6. Derealization - I'm not sure if this is the best term to describe it but I'm definitely living in a new state of EVERYTHING feels very different.  My head still feels a bit like it is floating around the room and I'm not completely present with my surroundings.  I often have to think about where I'm driving, walking into a grocery store, etc.  Simple tasks around the house are not as easy as normal.  It takes work and that alone is very depressing.  This might be one of the harder symtoms that I'm dealing with currently.  There are moments when it passes and that is usually through intense conversation or distracting moments that I get my mind off withdrawal.  

 

7. Vision - This is also a scary one.  So hard to explain to people.  I don't really have blurred vision, just that eyes are seeming to track correctly and depth perception is off.  I'm praying this is not a permanent issue as the good ol' internet has some pretty scary stories about vision issues from SSRI/SNRIs.  A family member of mine is a physical therapist and she did some eye tracking tests and confirmed that my eyes are jumping (instead of moving fluidly) when tracking an object.  She sees this with patients and there are exercises to correct this but I'm fearful about nerve damage or something from Cymbalta.  I do know i have WAY more vitreal floaters.  Doc said he can laser those if/when i want.  I do believe that the derealization and just overall MASSIVE amount of stress i am under is causing some of the vision feeling so odd.  Again, it is so hard to explain.  it just feels off.

 

Self-Care:
I've had to open up to family about what I am experiencing and that I need some help.  It has been helpful for sure.  However, unless one has experienced this type of withdrawal, it is completely impossible to relate to the feeling.  I've also been attending a group out-patient program which started last week (day sessions for withdrawal, illness, substance abuse, etc).  It is helping to talk to people struggling with issues/illnesses but also very humbling as well.  I made this decision with my family in order to help get some coping techniques and not wear them out as I work through recovery.  I'm so concerned about not being the husband and father that I can be...and that is causing more stress.  

In summary, I'm taking one day at a time....heck, one hour at a time.  I believe healing is happening although not as fast as I'd like.  I had a few 2-3 hour windows in the last couple weeks that felt manageable but those are quickly forgotten when in the midst of big waves.  Truthfully, i don't want to say I haven't had any progress up to this 4 month point, but it has been very minimal.  I keep thinking about the comments about 5,6-8 months of complete hell before improvement happens. I believe I can actually deal with that.  I've come so far.  I just don't want years of this feeling.  Even if i get some improvement to where i can get more windows then managing this would be so much easier.

Thank you for letting me ramble. It just feels relieving to put words into context of how I'm feeling with people that can understand to some degree. :)


#56 fishinghat

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 12:57 PM

1. Not permanent, have you tried Omega 3, 3000 mg per day and high in epa and dhe. Might help.

2. Insomnia - What is your current dose on hydroxyzine? Have you tried melatonin? The ebook has an article in it on how to improve your sleep. You might look at that.

3. Anxiety - Try low dose of melatonin, Suntheanine or water extract Lion's Mane Mushroom.

4. Depression - I wish I new something that can help. IUN may come along in a while and help you with that.

5. Fear - I had horrible fear for nearly 9 months with my withdrawal. Most members only experience a brief period of fear (1 month or so). It is temporary.

6. Derealization - Temporary and will improve with time.

7. Vision - One of the most common withdrawal symptoms and usually one of the first to fade as well. The Omega 3 sometimes helps with that as well.

Self-care - Good idea on the group but a good therapist can really help with stress coping skills.

"I had a few 2-3 hour windows in the last couple weeks that felt manageable"
That is very good news. Each week the good periods will be a little longer and the bad periods a little less.

"Thank you for letting me ramble"

Anytime. Trust me we know how you feel. This is a great place to let it out. We are always here for you.

#57 invalidusername

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Posted 30 October 2019 - 04:18 PM

Right you are - so here's my input on the above...

 

1. Absolutely as Hat said - this is textbook for withdrawal and Omega 3 should help.

 

2. This is an improvement on last report - so focus on that. Once improving, better things will follow.

 

3. Mornings will be your worst as this is peak cortisol time for us all. The evening is getting yourself worked up about the morning coming up. Anxious about being anxious. Vicious circle. Look up David Daish on YouTube and see how this amazing guy went about his life with anxiety. His videos will always lift you up - you can't not like him... or his cat!

 

4. Er... thanks Hat!! Yes - I am the proverbial sad sack of the forum!! LOL. But yes, I can tell you a lot about depression. The best thing is to distance yourself as best you can from it. It IS a chemical thing. "Fake it 'til you make it". It sucks, but it will pass. Here if you need support on this. If things get too bad for me, I can always fall back on my Kratom.

 

5. My goodness, fear. I don't think "horrible" sums up Hat's experience, but this chap is living proof that you can walk through hell and come out the other side.

 

6. Yes, this will pass. I had this too. Feels like I am a character and living in a computer game world. Too weird. There is some theory about this being neurons firing to dead ends - what on earth that is supposed to mean I have no idea as I have never heard of such a thing in my research... but something to ponder all the same!

 

7. I can't say much on vision as I wear coke-bottle lens glasses as it is. Always had weird stuff with my eyes, so it gets written off quite easily!

 

One hour at a time is the way forward here. Absolutely. Just do what you have to do for that hour and nothing else. Don't go beyond or behind that. Stay in the present and keep your stress levels to an absolute minimum.


#58 Driven

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 11:17 AM

FH,

 

Thank you again for the input.  A couple clarifications that may be playing into this are:

 

-I stopped taking my SAM-e and 5-HTP daily doses about 3 weeks ago.  That was in the middle of complete chaos on the anxiety and depression side so i had to try something different. I had some very low depression days unlike anything I've experienced which was about a week after going off.  I got nervous and went back on the SAM-e again about 5 days ago.  I'm not sure what to do at this point as it's very hard to identify any correlations.  I have not since reinstated the 5-HTP and I'm back on the SAM-e.

 

-I saw a new psychiatrist today as part of my outpatient program.  He said he's never heard of anyone having extended withdrawal issues 4 months later such as this for someone coming off Cymbalta.  Studied at Harvard and has never run across this...Grrr... He didn't dismiss it completely but wasn't seeing the connection.  He is leaning more toward some hormone imbalance with my testosterone supplementation and would like me to "wash out" all supplements and SAM-e with exception of to keep taking magnesium and fish oil.  I'm also getting my testosterone and estrogen checked to see if any red flags.  He said finding the right balance of testosterone can be very difficult and could be exacerbating any possible withdrawal issues. That does make sense but I know this is likely 98% Cymbalta w/d.

 

Some answers to your comments:

 

1. Not permanent, have you tried Omega 3, 3000 mg per day and high in epa and dhe. Might help.
Yes, been taking approx 3000mg per day starting the day I went off 4 months ago.  it ma be helping not with official zaps but the headaches have been pretty excruciating...even lately.


2. Insomnia - What is your current dose on hydroxyzine? Have you tried melatonin? The ebook has an article in it on how to improve your sleep. You might look at that.
I'm taking hydroxyzine inconsistently but 25mg 1-2x per day and 50mg for bedtime.  Yes, taking sublingual melatonin.  Have had some very sketchy dreams at times so i've been off and on with it.  


3. Anxiety - Try low dose of melatonin, Suntheanine or water extract Lion's Mane Mushroom.
Have been doing all except the Lion's Mane.  I may try that in water extract.


7. Vision - One of the most common withdrawal symptoms and usually one of the first to fade as well. The Omega 3 sometimes helps with that as well.

I sure hope so but it's been consistent for 4 months.  This is scaring the hell out of me.  depth perception issues and eyes not tracking correctly.  I'm hoping there may be a correlation with the derealization and brain fog and it will improve over time.  It is a pretty eerie feeling and I now have WAY more floaters in my eyes than ever before.  As in...very distracting to be in front of a computer.  Not a good symptom for a 41 year old who spends much of his daily work in front of computer.

Self-care - Good idea on the group but a good therapist can really help with stress coping skills.

Yes, I have started 1-1 therapy about 4 weeks ago. it has been decent and getting better each session.

"I had a few 2-3 hour windows in the last couple weeks that felt manageable"
That is very good news. Each week the good periods will be a little longer and the bad periods a little less.

I sure hope so.  The anxiety and depression has been very slightly improving but the headfog and low throbbing throughout the brain has been a bit worse. I'm struggling to understand that...but it may be a result of stopping the SAM-e and 5-HTP.  that said, so far today is starting out VERY difficult with heavy brain fog and feeling of doom.


#59 Driven

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 11:28 AM

IUN,

Thank you as well for your input.  

 

2. This is an improvement on last report - so focus on that. Once improving, better things will follow.

Yes, slightly better but last night was very tough. I broke down and took a klonopin and got around 4-5 hours.  Was hoping for more.

 

3. Mornings will be your worst as this is peak cortisol time for us all. The evening is getting yourself worked up about the morning coming up. Anxious about being anxious. Vicious circle. Look up David Daish on YouTube and see how this amazing guy went about his life with anxiety. His videos will always lift you up - you can't not like him... or his cat!

Thank you...I agree with everything on the cortisol levels in am and what is happening.  

 

4. Er... thanks Hat!! Yes - I am the proverbial sad sack of the forum!! LOL. But yes, I can tell you a lot about depression. The best thing is to distance yourself as best you can from it. It IS a chemical thing. "Fake it 'til you make it". It sucks, but it will pass. Here if you need support on this. If things get too bad for me, I can always fall back on my Kratom.
Thank you.  I just pray this isn't a new lifelong after-effect of this rapid taper.

 

6. Yes, this will pass. I had this too. Feels like I am a character and living in a computer game world. Too weird. There is some theory about this being neurons firing to dead ends - what on earth that is supposed to mean I have no idea as I have never heard of such a thing in my research... but something to ponder all the same!
That is a great explanation. I walk around my own house, work, anything that should be my safe zone and it all feels a bit foreign.  I'll add a bit of disorientation in there too.  I can get turned around very easily.  This is the polar opposite from someone that takes great pride in our house, landscaping, etc.  I'm so frustrated.

 

One hour at a time is the way forward here. Absolutely. Just do what you have to do for that hour and nothing else. Don't go beyond or behind that. Stay in the present and keep your stress levels to an absolute minimum.

Thank you.  This is so tough. 


#60 fishinghat

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 11:45 AM

These are two great and interesting posts. Yes the coming off of the sam-E or 5htp can cause headaches from what I have been told by others.

I will be very interested to see if the Lion's Mane works well for you.

Vision - One thing I noted was the increase in floaters and the headaches. Both maybe signs of dehydration which is very common with Cymbalta. You might try loading up on water for about 24 hours and see if that helps.



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