I'M FINALLY FREE OF THIS HORRIBLE MEDICATION. I took my last dose two weeks ago. This is a huge accomplishment for me!
I'm a girl in my late twenties who has been on/off Cymbalta since high school. I went on it again three years ago after I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, thinking I should try harder to cope with stress and hearing that it helped with pain. I've been wanting to go off it for TWO YEARS after coming to terms with the fact that meds aren't the solution for me and learning that it has not been researched for long-tem use, but each attempt ended in failure because I couldn't afford to take a break from work and the withdrawal rendered me nonfunctional.
Last year I got a job in mental health and saw clients with serotonin syndrome, clients reduced to husks after being on meds for decades. It felt like I was being mugged every time I paid Eli Lily at the pharmacy counter. Of course none of my prescribing doctors had ever mentioned how addictive it is. I felt incredibly demoralized, angry, and helpless that I had to keep paying to take a damaging drug I didn't want to be on and didn't need because I couldn't afford to come off of it.
I started bead-counting March 1st, less than a percentage decrease a day. My withdrawal timeline was over a year. Then COVID-19 happened and I got laid off. Without having to work, I was able to increase my daily decreases to a rapid month-long taper. 14 days off, the brain zaps/vertigo are 90% gone, insomnia 75% gone. I still have low emotional regulation, but that's okay because I'm not expected to hold up in a workplace.
Cymbalta gave me constant brainfog and hurt my self-control. I relied on stimulants (Adderall, caffiene) to wake up my brain which made me more anxious than I was before Cymbalta. I'm incredibly excited and grateful to be off it. But I also recognize that there's no way I would have been able to stop taking it in any reasonable timeline if I was working. The withdrawal is disabling and like most Americans, I could never have gotten the two months off work that turned out to be necessary if this global crisis hadn't happened. So while I'm happy, that's also pretty sad.
I will never stop being angry with the psychiatric industry. They should be forced to pay for time off and job security for everyone who is unable to come off SNRIs and SSRIs due to employment. I really think that mass-prescribing psychiatric medications that haven't been properly researched (don't even get me started on amphetamines) will eventually be seen as a public health crisis on the same scale as opioids.
I know I won't be 100% for a while yet, but I'm so excited to start getting to know myself and my capabilities again, to experience life out from under the fog and the burden of worrying how to get my meds when heath insurance invariably drops the ball (don't get me started on that either.) Braving a scary risk and having it pay off feels like the first step to repairing my self-confidence.
I remember lurking on this sub and crying at the thought of losing a whole year to withdrawal, so I wanted to share. My circumstances aligned to allow me to get off, and I hope the same happens for all of you.