I am an addict (sort of, but not really)

21 Jan

I hated yesterday. It was the sorriest excuse for a “day” I have ever experienced. In the morning when I slung my left leg over the edge of the bed onto the floor I knew already that something was “off” in my head. But I knew what was causing it: Cymbalta withdrawal.

I’ve been taking this drug for–I don’t know–two or three years. I have tried several of the SSRIs, beginning with Paxil in the late 90s. I’m not depressed and I don’t know if I ever have been. I tried these meds to ease this social anxiety bullshit that’s been my curse for most of my life. I’m still not sure that any pill has ever helped me fight the urge to run for cover from people I know.

In May of last year I tried to quit taking Cymbalta by following the doctor’s suggestion of stepping down to the 30 mg dose, taking that for a couple of weeks and then taking it every other day for two weeks and then stopping altogether.

It didn’t work. Any time I turned my head, which, if you’ll notice is something people do all goddamn day, I would experience these crazy, hard-as-hell-to-explain brain zaps. It felt like electrical pulses of energy, usually in threes–zap, zap, zap. Besides that, I just felt horrible, in general. Together, it was too much, so I gave up.

In November I noticed my refills were all used up, so I started opening up the capsules and divvying the tiny white balls into several doses. Last week I was taking ten tiny white balls a day, which seemed to be about 1/10 of a full dose. That would be a scrawny 6 mg per day. Then I cut down to 5 tiny white balls a day. A regular dose is 60 mg and I was taking just 3 mg a day. That’s like NOTHING! I was confident that I had pretty much kicked the Cymbalta habit.

That is, until I stopped taking even the tiny dose this week.

The brain zaps returned and then we get back around to yesterday, the worst day ever. I dreamed about waking up this morning feeling normal, but woke with a headache and the same overall icky feeling. I swallowed four tiny white Cymbalta balls and two Advil.

Here I sit now six hours later and feeling better, but, unfortunately, still hooked on counting out tiny white balls of Cymbalta.

5 Responses to “I am an addict (sort of, but not really)”

  1. 4eternalsunshine January 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    wow, i almost posted my first blog entry on a similar matter this morning. i too had one of those strange days yesterday which lasted till i had a good cry this morning. started with K wanting her own fb page and then J, because K wanted one. reluctantly i made them each a page, i can’t even explain exactly what my problem was. i just know it had to do with them wanting to “growing up” and me feeling anxious about it as usual. then the last statues post i read on fb was Aimee’s “WHO ARE YOU?????? Really?”, right before we headed out the door to J hockey game in Chesterfield. for some reason it was stuck in my head for the rest of the evening…..
    Of course every time we go to St. Louis there is an argument, because i am so anxiety ridden from the traffic. Yes L always drives and i tell him to slow down every 10 seconds. Needless to say I drive him f*cking crazy. we made it to the ice rink alive, even though i saw many who slid their vehicles in a ditch.then when we got there and i am faced with having to talk and mingle with the other parents of the team.sounds easy enough?right? NO!! NOT FOR ME. L is the coach i am supposed to be friendly, and why would i not want to be, everyone likes L, he talks to everyone,likes everyone,wants to go out to eat and to all kinds of things with other people.the kids are lucky they have L to show them how to be around people. because i feel like a total F*ck up in the worst way beacause I cannot show them how to do that… Oh and then to top it off a fb book friend wants to meet me for coffee( i can only imagine the HELL i will put myself through that day) I often think about quitting the meds, it is a very low dose, why do i even need it? i am to chicken to quit.afraid i might not ever leave the house again. i have experienced the zapping felling in my head also, wonder if it could be associated with the meds? who knows since i forget to take it for days at a time. Of course i did not post anything on my blog,(chicken again)i thought if i posted something, someone could tell me how to fix my anxiety problems that are F*cking up my life…but i have a feeling i am stuck in it till “I” find a way to fix it. till then i will just keep faking it~ my sister says i am getting really good at it 🙂 have fun counting out your tiny white balls of Cymbalta ;))

    • fightn4it January 22, 2011 at 12:12 am #

      I’m becoming more and more convinced that the anxious greatly outnumber the non, and, strangely, that helps a little. Jennifer is like Lee and I have thought about that same issue since Chloe was born–what I’m teaching the girls about how to relate to others.
      Mingling with the other parents, easy? I wish. It seems easy to everyone else, but I guess we’re proof that you never really know.
      I guess my plan with the meds is to closely monitor myself as best I can and at the first (2nd?) sign of turmoil I’ll probably go right back to the doctor. Maybe you should ease off and see what happens, maybe switch to something else?
      An easy fix doesn’t exist, but I keep reading that therapy is the best long-term fight against anxiety. So what kind of sense does it make that I’m not in therapy right now? Because the process to get better is so freakin’ scary! I’m a chicken.
      I don’t know if it helps, but from the outside, you DO appear to be the epitome of a former Homecoming Queen. That’s the best way I can say it without feeling very embarrassed. Ha.

  2. Me January 22, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    Ha! But more like Drama Queen and sometimes even Drag Queen when I wear to much make-up. Somedays I feel really trapped and suffocated by this weird thing I have going on. The other day was like that and I am already feeling embarrassed for posting all my garbage here on your blog page, feel free to delete my crazy rampage of thoughts, I will not be offended at all :/ Therapy may just be what I need to explore next. Wish a Tony Robbins Therapy session didn’t cost so frickin much Lol …On a lighter note, I am really liking your blog, who knew you were so darn talented. 😉

    • fightn4it January 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

      Ha, Drag Queen, I love that. That’s why you need a public blog I can read, you’re a natural. I’ll only delete it if you want me to, but there was nothing “crazy” about it.


  1. An Uncommonly Fine State of Mind « plum bananas - January 24, 2011

    […] dealt with some weird, distressing moods lately. Like I wrote before, I can blame some of that on fighting away the medication (I’m still taking five tiny […]

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