In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I have fallen into a really dark place and am trying to make sense of what is going on inside me. If I don’t make sense at some point it is because my brain is not functioning very well.

About a month ago, while on a menopause support board, I read someone's comment about being on the same anti depressant that I’ve been on and how it had negatively affected them, besides major weight gain even though they hadn’t been eating more. It described me totally. So I followed over to this other board and was blown away by all the information. I read this to my husband and he said it described me to a T.

I read about side affects that I had been experiencing but doctors and pharmaceutical company’s don’t tell you about. I found out that I am not the only one that experienced feeling this way.

In reality this drug did nothing positive for me. I had to get off of it. 

After talking with my husband, I decided to go off this drug. I called my doctor and his nurse told me that I shouldn’t go off of it and that maybe I needed a higher dose or an additional medication. Oh hell no.The thing is I wasn’t even depressed when I was put on this by my doctor. He was concerned that living in pain was wearing on me. No shit. But, I surely didn’t need this.

I was warned that the withdrawals from this drug can be pretty bad and that it takes awhile to get through. I started the process of slowly weaning off of it right away and last Wednesday took my last pill. Holy crap.It’s been a trip through hell.

These are just some of the withdrawal symptoms they warned me about…

CYMBALTA Withdrawal Symptoms May Include:
aggression, anxiety, balance issues , blurred vision , brain zaps, concentration impairment, constipation, crying spells, depersonalization, diarrhea, dizziness. electric shock sensations, fatigue, flatulence, flu-like symptoms, hallucinations, hostility, highly emotional, indigestion, irritability, impaired speech, insomnia, jumpy nerves, lack of coordination, lethargy, migraine headaches / increased headaches, nausea, nervousness, over-reacting to situations, paranoia, repetitive thoughts or songs, sensory & sleep disturbances, severe internal restlessness, stomach cramps, tremors, tinnitus (ear ringing or buzzing), tingling sensations, troubling thoughts, visual hallucinations / illusions, vivid dreams, speech visual changes, worsened depression, thoughts of suicide

Ever so slowly, as I weaned off, I felt a little sick here and there. I took my last pill last Wednesday night. Last Thursday night I was up most of night with horrible nightmares, night sweats that were worse then the menopause kind, and it felt like I was starting to get the stomach flu. I woke up Friday morning and it was like I had taken a direct flight to hell.

 I’ve been experiencing all of those symptoms I listed above. I missed work on Friday and again today. This is like nothing I have ever experienced. I’ve been through drug treatment…doesn’t come close. I went through some pretty tough withdrawals when I was in the hospital going through a pain program and got off all the narcotics and other medicines the doctor had me on…and yet doesn’t come close to this.

 Can I just say that I think Cymbalta is one of the most horrible drugs ever invented?

I am so angry that I was put on this. I am angry that so many other people have experienced this same living hell and yet it continues to be on the market. Why don’t doctors listen when we tell them how we are feeling?

I’m scared. I feel guilty. I’m scared about missing work and guilty about letting down my friend. I am scared that this will come between us. I am scared that I’m not going to get through this. I am scared because I don’t want to leave  my home feeling like this. I don’t want anyone seeing me this way.

And yet, I feel so flipping lonely.

I keep saying I am sorry and I don’t even really know what I’m all sorry for.

I talked with a nurse today and she told me it takes a week for it to be out of my system and that once it is out of my system it will get worse for awhile. Worse?  And that how I’m feeling is perfectly normal for coming off of Cymbalta. She also told me I could go back on it. No flipping way. This crap is evil and you couldn’t pay me to ever try another.

Trying to function as a mommy while going through this has been horrible. Thank God for a husband that has been %100 supportive and taking over.  The little’s just think I’m in a lot of pain which is true I guess.

This is my life interrupted by a little pill and it’s absence.

Black is back. I feel black. I see black. My world has gone dark and I keep hanging on to see the light of day.

Please God, don’t let this darkness swallow me up. 

I just want to feel like me again. I want to feel human. I want out of this black hole. This is my attempt to try not to drown in it.

I am going to try to record this journey the best I can so that when it is done, I plan on writing some letters to the pharmaceutical company that makes this crap.

I write here only because my husband has encouraged me to do so. I think he’s afraid too. Even though writing this has taken me all day, I hope I have the courage to push publish.

I am sorry for being such a downer. I am sorry that I haven’t been by to visit you.

I am sorry.



Jason, as himself said...

Oh, Lori. Be careful. This sounds really scary.

But I do know from firsthand experience with myself and many family/friends that there are medications out there that are good and truly do make people feel better. Sometimes it is hard to get it fine tuned. I'm not saying you should try another one.

I can't wait til you get past this.

Natalie said...

I too, weaned myself off an antidepressant in 2005, in order to fall pregnant. I did it properly- nice and slow, but I also went through 6 weeks of absolute hell.I was very physically sick and black and vowed to never go there again.

I haven't taken another anti -depressant since, even though my doctor repeatedly told me to. I won't lie, it has been really awful without them, but i just am too terrified to go on them again.

I have taken the road of vitamins, lots of rest,exercise and a fantastic diet to keep me stable. Fish oil tablets especially are great. Menopause also mucks your hormones around causing all sorts of havoc.
Like Jason said, it is scary and i am in no way telling you what to do. I am offering information for you to make an informed decision about your life. It has been an interesting ride, but now when I am down,I ask myself what is causing me pain right now? Ten out of ten times,there was a valid reason for it. I think as humans,we have forgotten how to access and release our emotions safely, and to respect them.

Maybe instead of the Dr's and Pharmaceutical companies pushing drugs, they should be pushing counseling and hugs.
I am so sorry you are hurting so much, Lori. Please get another doctors opinion.


The Incredible Woody said...

I am so sorry that you are going through this!!! Please, please, please lean on us to let the blackness out. We love you and are here to help.

Eternal Lizdom said...

I am so, so sorry that you are going through this.

But what I hear in your post... is your FIGHT. Your fight is still there! You've got anger on your side! Keep fighting and come through this stronger and mad and ready to fight the battle!

God is with you. God is carrying you when you cannot stand. He is closer than you can know. He cries with you. Turn to him over and over again.

Hilary said...

Oh Lori, I'm so sorry that you're going through all of this. I wish you some ease to your symptoms and some peace from this nightmare. I wish you light for the darkness. Hugs to you. You'll get through it.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Oh sweetie I wish I could help you in person. Know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers. I think you are very brave. Take care. {{{{{HUGS}}}}}

Midnitefyrfly said...

Oh DAMMIT MAN! I wish I had all of the words that made this easier! I have many harsh, strong, and real emotions about pharmaceuticals, Dr's, and supposed "medicines" that actually do more harm than good.

The research, effects, and plain outright PROOF, that you need to do your homework before you ever trust a Dr. or a drug, are heartbreaking and staggering to say the least!

I have so much anger about the addictions, drug abuse/withdrawals, depression, and anxiety that Dr's are leading us to, I could almost explode!

Take your time before taking an Rx quick fix. Your anger is very well founded and I can offer sympathy for what I call a medical injustice. So many ((((HUGS)))) Lori

Brian Miller said...

so sorry that you are going through this. i am glad you have someone to watch over you. feelings are tough enough without knowing where they are coming from. prayers.

otin said...

At least you know what is wrong, that is a start. It is not like you are down and have no idea why. There are way too many negative side effects to the drugs these days. I come here and I always smile when I see the picture of the kids in your header. It is one of the cutest pictures that I have ever seen. Concentrate on those good things until the after effects wear off. Hang in there!

Jeannie said...

My daughter went through hell coming off her anti-depressant too. And the doctor kept telling her that her symptoms weren't withdrawal. BS

Hang in there. It'll be tough but worth it in the end. Thank heavens your husband is there. Explain to your employer if it drags on.

Madison said...

If you are going through that and only reaching a nurse who tells you to live through it, when it's over - I'd find a different doctor. I'm outraged that drug companies are allowed to make money off this stuff and that doctors so carelessly prescribe them to so many people. It sounds like you're in the care of a doctor/nurse who don't have much to say about a condition they are responsible for creating.

SciFi Dad said...

You know, I think anti-depressant withdrawal is a reasonable excuse for not visiting blogs.

I'm sorry you're suffering. I hope it clears your system soon.

Jan said...

I had a doctor offer to put me on an anti-depressant to help me with my menopause and Seasonal Affective Disorder; I told her "NO THANK YOU" in no uncertain terms and found another doctor.

I'm so sorry you're having to go through this, my friend - thank goodness for your wonderful husband. Please, keep writing; it might help, like he said.

We're here for you, dear.

Buckeroomama said...

Oh, Lori, I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through this.

If only hugs could heal your pain somewhat... sending big {{{hugs}}} your way. Take care.

Bina said...

I have heard NOTHING but bad things about that drug and I'm so glad you are no longer on it. But holy shit, I'm sorry you have to go through all that just to be free from it!!!

Not sure it it will help, AT ALL, but try taking Vitamin D. Take 2,000 - 3,000 a day. Many people go through depression and other things due to a lack of it and my older sister started taking it and she no longer even needs her anti-depressent.

I wish I were there to help you. I wish I had magical words to help you. But do NOT be sorry. You are doing the best thing by going off of it and if going through hell for a few weeks is what it takes, I have no doubt you are strong enough to get through it.

I'll be thinking of you.

wolfie185 said...

Dear Lori, this sounds very much like withdrawls from opiates. I never had to go trough it, my drug of choice was alcohol but I have watched others go through this and I am very sympathetic for what you are going through. What I can tell you is, it will pass but it may take time. Writing about is a wonderful thing to do right now. You may also want to go to some NA meetings. I am not saying you are an addict but the people there may give you some added hope and strength you can't find else where. The people at the meetings have been where you are and can give you some added love and support. Just a suggestion.

Hang in there dear friend!!

Love and Hugs

Busy Bee Suz said...

Don't apologize. I thank you for sharing this. This is a huge warning for all of us. I think Dr's take the easy road sometimes and just give us an RX without knowing full well what it can do to us. If this pill is doing this to you COMING OFF of it...I can't imagine what it did to you while on it. Hang Tight Lori...rely on your husband, he is strong and can be helpful when you are so down.

hugs to you my friend...i hope you see the light at the end of the tunnel soon!!!!

TechnoBabe said...

I am so sorry you are going through this. It is horrible. I too have had bad experiences with meds in the past and it taught me a huge lesson. If a doctor tells me they want to give me a prescription I tell them I will take the prescription and study the med and the side effects and reviews of other people using it and decide for myself if I will take the med. I am sorta going through something like that now and have cut a new med in half dose to see if the side effects are something I can handle. If not, I just will not take it. I hope you feel so much better soon. Like really soon.

only a movie said...

Yikes. I am sorry to read this. Hang in there and stay connected to people.

None of this is easy.

I'm visiting from Pseudos place.

Anonymous said...

Lori, I got addicted to pain meds after I ruptured a disc in my neck. When I went to a second doctor, she put me on anti-depressants. By the time the third doctor got to me I was a basket case. He took me off all of at one time and I thought I would lose my mind. It was so very scary. Hang in there and find another doctor to help you through this. You are not along. If blogging helps then don't worry about what anyone else things of your words or feelings. I think you can see from the previous comments that you have a LOT of support. I'll be praying for you.

Jacquelyn said...

Lori I am so very sorry you hit this chuckhole. I had no idea these drugs caused these withdrawal problems even when you weaned off slowly. You have overcome so much and you will get through this. Your friends are here to encourage you. Let us. You give so much inspiration to us, now let us help. Know that many are holding you in the prayers, and God is going to see you through this. Just the fact that you were able to write about it right away is a really good thing. Do not believe any of the black lies -- you know you are loved. What an awesome husband you have. Your kids and grandkids love and need you. You are a strong lady. Hang in there. I'm praying!

Funny Girl said...

(((((HUGS)))) to you. It's not as dark as it seems. People are praying for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your experience with this drug, you may have saved others from its effects.

Take care

Garnetrose said...

Lori, this has to be real scary for you. I know they had my cousin on prozac after her husband died. She called me and was talking like she was planning on dying. I called her daughter told her that they had been warned that prozac can cause some to become suicidal. It was hard kicking it but she did and I know you can do this too.

I do think they push these drugs when they are not always needed. They should push counseling as the one blogger here said.

My daughter is on such drugs but she has a chemical imbalance and needs them. Most people do not. They just need someone to talk to til they can work things out. I hope things get better for you.

Shrinky said...

Oh Lori, I am so glad you did push the publish button (((x))). This is awful, I imagine you will have a hard time trusting any new medications for a long, long time. Several years ago I was told I was depressed and given Proziac. I wasn't, already having a horror of depression, I was very depressed about it. I finally found the correct diagnosis (under-active thyroid) and was able to flush the Proziac down the loo. I was lucky, the only withdrawal I experienced was a joy of life again. It seems so hit or miss, doesn't it? These pills of yours are obviously doing you no favour, I am so sorry you are having to go through all this, it's sounds like hell. But there WILL be light at the end of the tunnel, keep on keeping on, you know this won't last forever. As as for feeling guilty? Scream, shout, bang on the table and explode any time you want to - your hubby has you for better or for worse, he sounds strong enough to take it - he loves you!

Kit Kat said...

Lori, I know you can get through this! I know it's incredibly horrible. I know that coming off of that stuff can make you feel worse than you have ever felt before. But you are not going to feel this way forever. You will go back to feeling normal. Hang in there!

mommytoalot said...

I suppose I should have read this first.
I have never heard of that med...but i would suppose going off any med cold turkey would have withdrawal. I believe doctors are too quick to shove anti depressants at people.
I am on Luvox and have been for a long time and have no side effects. Just recently my does was lowered and that was an extremely difficult time.
I sure hope you feel better and get past this.
hugshugs and lots of prayers

Riahli said...

Oh my I'm sorry I missed this, I am sorry you are going through all this. I am angry also that we don't get more/better info before starting various meds. It shouldn't be legal, we should be better informed. Don't even get me started on this topic. I will pray for you. Even if you did or do need something to help you out because of all the pain there are more natural things to try also. Main stream doctors rarely tell you about that though. I took antidepressants as a teenager and for me it made everything WAY worse. I've not taken anything since and have found different natural ways to handle the harder times. It's so scary, no one should have to be in this place, and I am so sad for you and your pain and the darkness that you are feeling.

Amanda said...

I'm not sure how I came across your blog but I did!! I've been scanning through it & found this post. I was on Cymbalta for 6months & I agree it was TERRIBLE. and coming off it was even worse. The "brain zaps" were the worst. Thank you for sharing your story. (I am on a new combination of prescriptions that are working WONDERFULLY)