Remember when I wrote about weaning off of the Cymbalta I was taking for fibromyalgia? Everything seemed fine, and I was kind of wondering what all the internet fuss was about coming off the stuff. I completed the second week of my transition dose without much to complain about. But it turns out weaning is the easy part. Stopping it (even after weaning) is a special kind of hell. I don’t have a lot of energy, so I’m just going to copy and paste some of the things I shared with a select group on Facebook. This stuff needs to be searchable.
And yes, that’s really me. Today. Rocking the ashen-faced, chapped-lip, Cymbalta-chic look. (I think they got the before and afters out of order on those dumbass drug commercials!)
Three days after my last pill.
Silly me. Thought I’d managed to avoid the terrible Cymbalta withdrawal. But, blammo! Here it is. Brain zaps pretty much non-stop, nausea, and the mother of all migraines all at once and without warning. It did seem a little too easy.
Four days after my last pill.
Sometimes things just work out. Sitting on the couch, still in my pajamas, thinking I need to check the details on that meeting with my boss in a couple of hours. Accidentally hit “send” instead of “close” on the calendar event because my brain is just broken today, which emails her a reminder. I’m thinking “crap, but oh well” when I get a reply that she needs to reschedule for tomorrow or Wednesday instead. I’m sooo thankful because I still couldn’t pass a field sobriety test if I tried today, and the brain zaps are back. I am so thankful for this job.
Four days, six hours after my last pill.
So, um, I used to be like “Cymbalta doesn’t work for some people, know what you’re getting into.” After today, I’m more like, “OMG, Cymbalta is poison. Never, under any circumstances, let your doctor convince you it’s worth trying.” From what I’ve heard, people have an easier time coming off opiates. Today has been horrible. If you need me, I’ma be over here hugging a trash can and willing the room to stop spinning.
Five days after my last pill.
Feeling better this morning. Still got the brain zaps and a slight headache, but my stomach has chilled out. I’ve got that feeling like I could sleep for weeks. Glad the worst is over. I should’ve listened to Nancy Reagan.
Five days, twelve hours after my last pill.
Trying a Zofran and some ginger ale. I did feel better this morning, but after about 4 p.m. I started the downward spiral again. Brain zaps got intense, and well… if you know what Zofran is for, there’s no need to get into details.
4:30 used to be my usual dose time, so I’m guessing this my body being all “where the FUCK is my Cymbalta you stingy whore?!?”
Looks like another night curling up on the couch with Panic Binkey. (Panic Binkey, nicknamed by Dan of course, is the greatest family heirloom of all time — one of two twin flannel sheets that my mom used to comfort me when I got sick as a wee tot. Seriously, this thing is like 35-40 years old.)
Ahhh…. Zofran. I think I love you.
Five days, eighteen hours after my last pill.
Y’all want to hear a joke? Pot isn’t approved for medical use in all states, but this shit is! Even funnier? When you ask some doctors about the potential for side effects and symptoms of withdrawal, they’ll look at you like you’re a nutjob.
There are people out there (myself included) that would rather suffer chronic, unexplained pain than stay on this stuff. Think about that if you or someone you know is ever prescribed Cymbalta — especially if the doctor recommends it with the same levity he’d tell you to gargle a saltwater rinse for your sore throat.
Yes, feeling this miserable for the third day in a row while having my sleep patterns disrupted is making me angry and bitter. Why do you ask?
Six days after my last pill.
*WARNING* I might not be mentally stable.
I’m at work for the first time this week. And by that I mean physically at work. I’ve been doing the remote thing, because my employer is just cool like that.
Dan had to drive me here today, even though it’s about a block away from our apartment. When I walked to the company library for my first meeting this morning, I had to grab walls to stay upright. The brain zaps are extra rough this morning.
I whined the whole morning about getting ready because I wanted to stay in bed and sleep. Washing my hair was too hard. Pulling up my jeans was too hard. Standing up was too hard.
I’m lucky enough to have ample PTO, but silly me—I’m trying desperately to hang on to it so I can fucking enjoy moving into my new house at the end of next month. So I’m working through this withdrawal the best I can.
I also have $400 in medical bills (that’s after insurance) to pay because everyone (even the good doctors) thought it was absurd that Cymbalta could be doing this to me. So, after ordering all the freakin’ tests and every last fucking one of those things coming back normal (even my cholesterol was okay this time around!!!!!!!) I’ve got nothing left but anger.
Fuck Eli Lilly. Fuck the FDA. Fuck them in their fucking fuck holes.
Things that Help
This is a personal list of things that continue to help me get through this hell:
- Dinner rolls. Quite literally dinner rolls. I don’t mean I have them with dinner, I mean they are dinner. For the past three nights me and Sister Schubert have been great buds.
- Ginger ale and ginger tea.
- Scrambled eggs with plain bagels or toast.
- Zofran. On principle, I am against taking a different drug to try and solve a problem caused by a first drug. So believe me when I tell you this is absolutely necessary for me. I’ve only needed one a day so far, taken about the time I would have normally swallowed
Satan’s Curse a Cymbalta.
- Multivitamin. I don’t know that this actually helps, but I feel better about taking one considering my nausea prevention diet isn’t exactly nutrient-rich.
- Daniel. I loves him.
Hopefully next week this time I’ll be all smiles saying, “Hey, remember that time I stopped taking Cymbalta? I was such a baby. Hahahaha.”
I’ll keep you posted.