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Soul 1 Year Off Zoloft, Cymbalta


Soul

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I am a 40 years old woman, who used to be happy, confident and high achiever. I have 2 young daughters (7 and 5 years old) and a lovely husband.

 

In march 2009 I started having some daily migraines, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and anxiety. I have just started a full time job and my daughter has just started kindergarten. When I consulted my GP he did some blood test and everything came back normal. Nothing else was investigated so he reached the conclusion I was having depression. I was so desperate that I did believe him and accepted to start the antidepressant Zoloft (against my own believe). Zoloft did nothing for me but side effects - looking back I think I was having a bad reaction to it - but I continued taking it for 5 months, during that time I experienced terrible agitation, depersonalization, blood sugar problems, lost 5 kilos, headaches, muscle pains, nausea, numbness in my right leg and anorgasmia. When I consulted my GP again, he did some blood test again and because everything came back normal, he said: "Put your dose up and keep exercising". By the way when I first started the antidepressant I was never told about the side effects of it.

After loosing a couple of more kilos I requested to be referred to an specialist, so I went to an endocrinologist who sent me lots of test, ultrasounds, bone scans, etc and found nothing but a gluten intolerance - something that my GP should have tested from the beginning.

I started a gluten free diet and decided to stop Zoloft as I was not getting any benefit out from it but side effects. I tapered over 4 weeks and the lower the dose the better I felt, however when I finished it I began experiencing withdrawal symptoms straight away. At the beginning was the usual dizziness, flu like symptoms, nausea and after those subsided the depersonalization, anxiety, fatigue, adrenaline rushes, crying spells, among others started. "I must be really depressed and need something I thought". I didn't know anything about withdrawal and doctors don't accept it either.

6 weeks later I was in such a bad shape I was referred to a psychiatry and started taking Cymbalta. "It is a good drug and women tend to do good on it" I was told. Cymbalta did stop the withdrawal from the Zoloft and made me more functional, but no without side effects like anorgasmia, terrible neck pain, teeth grinding, agitation, night sweats and vivid dreams, among others. For the agitation I started another psychotropic drug Buspar.

I took Cymbalta for 8 months and spend 4 months tapering it (to fast but I did not know any better). Since stopping Cymbalta I have been in an unmittigable hell, with lots of symptoms.

 

It has been one year since I stopped taking Cymbalta. I wish I could say I am better, but things are still really difficult. My anxiety is very high and somehow the world has become a scary place to live in. I still feel sick on a daily basis, The symptoms I still have are:

- Aches and pains on the right side of my body

- Dizziness and light headed

- Burning sensation in my head

- Confusion (better)

- Concentration Loss (better)

- Depersonalization and derealization

- Vivid dreams(better)

- Right ear pain

- Right eye pain

- Right face pain

- Stomach problems: Nausea and diarrea

- Head sensations and pains

- Hearing sensitivity

- Joint and muscle pain

- Muscle twitches (24 hours)

- Profuse sweating at night (better)

- Skin rash (comes and goes)

- Lack of confidence.

 

I worry I will never recover and that I will be leaving in this stage of agitation forever.

 

 

I still have to push myself every day as my daughters need me, I exercise daily, try to do meditation and try to take it easy.

 

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It gets easier to handle the longer you stay drug free. Remember that withdrawal comes in waves, so if you're feeling particularly bad, you will come out of it with time. In my experience, I felt better when I came out of the wave than when I went in. Some waves are harder and longer than others. Healing is not linear. The important thing to know is that it does get easier with time. Be gentle with yourself and give it time.

1989 to 2008: Prozac then Paxil then Celexa.

Numerous attempts to quit.

Then I got off the SSRI poop-out merry-go-round.

11-12 week taper.

 

Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear

If you're going through hell, keep walking

The only way out is through

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  • Administrator

Soul, I'm so sorry you got caught in the antidepressant merry-go-round.

 

Yes, you have prolonged withdrawal syndrome. It probably started with the Zoloft withdrawal.

 

Recovery can be slow. The good news is some of your symptoms have improved. This is a promising sign.

 

I know it can be very frustrating not to see progressive change. As Patience said, we need to be patient, cope with symptoms, and take care of ourselves. Unfortunately, as you have found out, doctors know nothing about how to treat withdrawal syndrome and more psychiatric drugs usually make it worse.

 

Did you see this topic Researchers seek prolonged antidepressant withdrawal cases ? If you feel up to it, you might send your case in.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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That is so terrible that your GP upped your dose when, after FIVE MONTHS your were having those side effects! That just seems so irresponsible to me. In my experience, when an antidepressant is going to work for you, you know it within the first few days (it can stop working afterwards, but I've never heard of side effects resolving themselves if they didn't after the first couple of weeks). I'm so sorry you've had to go through this.

 

I guess it's probably complicated by the fact that you had some issues to begin with that the ADs never addressed... your fatigue and anxiety. Are you able to distinguish at all between the withdrawal symptoms and the original symptoms? Did your gluten-free diet help with the original symptoms?

 

As an aside, I'll mention that I know a lot of people with gluten intolerance and related problems... and sometimes eliminating gluten is not enough. Lots of grains can cause problems. Have you looked into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet?

 

Oh, and welcome to the forum!

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Thank you everyone for your replies.

 

Alto - I will send the information to the researchers.

Soso - Please hang in there, you need all the support you need and for what I read you are not getting it at the moment. I know how difficult it is with small children, but maybe being drug free and healthy it is the best present you can give to them

Nadia - I have read your posts, your are working so hard to get better and I am sure you will be

Patience - Thank you for your encouragement.

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Does anyone know why my phisical symptoms do flare up in the evening?

 

Lately I feel really sick from 5-6 pm? My heads feel empty, i feel super lightheaded, nauseas, etc.

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I don't know... but I have noticed that I have most of my more physical, tired symptoms in the afternoon as well. Like dizziness, headache, an overall frayed feeling, inability to think clearly, etc. For me I think it's that I'm in overdrive for so long I just get to a point where everything just wants to shut down.

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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  • Administrator

I think it's because our bodies get tired out. It's part of fatigue.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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So my sister in Colombia asked her psychiatrist about my twitches and involuntary movements. This is his answer:

 

"You developed a tardive dyskinesia. It is a neurological condition that is more frequent with antipsychotics, but not discarded after other medications. It is a condition difficult to treat and paradoxically the treatment is usually restart the medication (in this case Cymbalta) or find some medicine that can counter these effects, such as biperiden or clozapine. You should see a neurologist specialized in abnormal movements. At the moment even a benzodiazepines can help not only as anxiolytic but also as muscle relaxant or to help you with the pain and possibly slow down a little the "twitches."

 

At least He is recognizing the problem is caused by the drugs but it is only giving me another strong drug as an option. I don't think he believes it is because of withdrawal. He wants to report the condition to the Pharmaceutical Company.

 

The only good thing about his comment is that now my family (all in Colombia) believe me I have a problem because of Cymbalta, before they did not believe me.

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  • Administrator

Good idea to report your adverse event.

 

Other neurologically active drugs have similar risks.

 

Your symptom may look like but not actually be tardive dyskinesia. I know of a woman who had pseudo-Parkinson's from withdrawal and she recovered completely from the movement disorder.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Having a terrible day.

 

Can I really get this sick one year out or do I have something else?

 

It always starts at night, my feet started hurting, then my head got all heavy. I spent the night sweating and with twitches. Today I feel all this internal vibrations, my head feels heavy - like an inflammation, the anxiety is there of course, the nausea, the dizziness, the pain in my body. I can't concentrate.

 

I feel I have go back to the beginning of the withdrawal and I am very scared.

 

Help.....

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  • Administrator

Are the vibrations in the middle of your front ribcage?

 

Acupuncture might help.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Administrator

People report all kinds of "vibration" feelings in withdrawal.

 

I had a tingling pain in my arms for quite a while.

 

Still, have you tried acupuncture?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I tried it at the beginnig of the withdrawal and did not help. I guess I could try it again.

 

Alto, how about the head feelings and the other ones? Why do they come back?

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Hello soul

 

I just read your story and the symptoms!

 

I am one year off efexor and Remeron and we share absolutely the same symptoms!!!

Verry surprising for me is your pain in the head, ear, eye on the right side!

i do have this sensations daily. As well it seems as all my muskels on the head are like hard, crampi!!

It is a dull pain.....moveing arround in the head and face!!

 

Similar to yours??

Lovely greetings

 

Leon

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  • Administrator

Soul, there's really no definite answer about why these symptoms appear.

 

I talked to a chiro about my painful tingling and he said probably some nerves in the spine had gotten caught up in the hypersensitivity. (I also developed shoulder and back pain, which he treated.)

 

That seems as good an explanation as any. As I said, acupuncture eventually seemed to make the painful tingling stop.

 

If you don't feel good results from acupuncture, try a different acupuncturist. They vary widely in skill. A good acupuncture treatment should alleviate some symptoms, even if only for a little while. It can take repeated treatments before it sticks.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Leon,

 

I have read your posts too and I am sorry we are suffering so much. We have to keep strong and one day we will be much better. The problem is how much longer can we wait.

 

As other people say, one day at a time.

 

How is your anxiety level these days?

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

 

Not a very good update. Things have not improved and sometimes I wonder if they are getting worse. I am 13 and 1/2 months off.

 

I have an unrelenting anxiety/akathisia that does not let up. I get all this strange feelings in my head and body and some days I really feel sick. It makes me wonder if I have something else (we all ask the same question) or if I need to take and ad in order to be able to function.

 

Last week I decided to start the birth control pill, hoping it would help with some of my symptoms, well the first 4 days I felt good (probably the placebo) but after that all went back to bad or worse. So I will be stopping them today.

 

I was very close to see my psychiatris last week, but 2 days before I cancelled the appointment. I have to believe that I will get better and I will recover but at the moment I can't see it happening.

 

My family have accepted I do not want to take an ad but they keep telling me to take a benzo. My father took valium for 10 years and stopped cold turkey without problems and my sister takes klonopin every night. They say it is more important the quality of life.

 

I have been suffering for so long, since my reaction to Zoloft that now I don't know what is it to feel ok. My daughters are growing and I feel I am missing the best of their lives.

 

I hope I can give a better update soon.

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My daughters are growing and I feel I am missing the best of their lives.

 

 

Soul,

 

I'm sorry you're having a rough time. Just remember that it gets easier the longer your brain has to heal. While in withdrawal, I was asked a couple of times if I thought I should go back on something, and also given the speil about quality of life, too. Being dependent on drugs isn't a quality life, in my opinion. I'm glad I didn't go back on them and kept the faith that things would get better.

 

In regards to worrying about missing your daughters growing up, I wanted to relate my experience. My daughter was 13 when I finally got off Celexa. I remember feeling just like you, that I'm missing out on her growing up and can't be there for her while going through withdrawal. I've been off for 3 1/2 years now. I have only vague memories of her early years, and I feel that those years when I was on antidepressants were the years I missed out on her childhood. I'm far more aware and involved in my daughter's life now and can encourage her and support her in doing activities outside of school now. Even though I felt awful during withdrawal, I made myself go and talk with my daughter for awhile each night before she went to bed. I tried not to burden her with how I felt, but I did explain what I was going through. I look back on her younger years and wonder where the hell I was (mentally). She says I was a great mom, but there were things happening that I feel I missed while in my antidepressant haze. We're much closer now. I also feel good knowing that I can set an example for her by showing that you don't have to go through life drugged to survive it.

1989 to 2008: Prozac then Paxil then Celexa.

Numerous attempts to quit.

Then I got off the SSRI poop-out merry-go-round.

11-12 week taper.

 

Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear

If you're going through hell, keep walking

The only way out is through

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Oh Patience, Thank you very much for your kind words. It is what I needed today that I feel so bad. I am very scared I feel very lonely in this journey. I keep repeating myself I will heal and it doesn't matter how long it will take I will be drug free for life.

 

I do a lot of pretending at home because I do not want my daughters to be affected by the whole situation. I read to them every night, help them with homework, dinners, etc. but it is so difficult!! They are the reason I keep fighting every day.

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Hoi Soul! I am sorry to Read that you stay in this nightmare with both leg's! We Share the Same incredible Situation! My anxiety is with me Day and Night.during the Night there are thousands of Pictures goimg throuh my head and in the Morning I will Not get out of the bed, just to Fight another Day! I think the reason for my anxiety is the DR and DP witch is always with me! I try to get into reallity every Day! Walking through the town, goimg by Train but I can Not conect myselfe with the World around me! My Head is Full and empty at once. Always under pressure and so gar Away! I have a strange boatY Walk , I feel more like a robot As a human beeing!my face became a mask and I feel I have Lost a Part of my Soul! I do live in the past, remembering Howe I was and Howe my Life has been! Today bacame just a day I have to get through somehowe and the Future is just Black! In here we use to Day, in Time the Soul becomes the color

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Geta the color of your thoughts! Nearl 3 Years fighting colored me Black! Cymbalta and Efexor are verry similar.Killers of the human beeing! I am sorry, Not to give you a more positive update! Just a Little Look Inside my reallity! Hope you stay better and sending my verry Best wishes...... Tramond

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Hi Tramond,

 

Thank you for your reply. Yes it seems we have very similar symptoms and the anxiety can make them worse. My head feels full and empty at the same time too. We have to keep strong Tramond and better days will come.

 

My friend cold turkey of Remeron and Effexor one month ago and she is perfectly fine. I do not understand why it is so hard in some of us.

 

I promise we will be sharing a success story.

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Soul, I am so sorry about your suffering. I hope it will end soon, and that you will feel the wellness and happinees you deserve :)

 

I understand so much many things you are coping with. I had adverse reactions for monthes too(more than a year) with absolute no clue about what was going on. I know so well the akathisia/agitation, so well the lack of support of the family (even if it is different), thus the atrocious feeling of loneliness... It makes me sad to think of all you went and are going through. It will come to an end, that's for sure, but I hope it will come soon.

 

I am impressed by the firm positiveness you display. It is admirable.

 

And I want above all to tell you that you are a goddamn brave and wonderful mother. Nobody would do better than you are doing with your daughters, taking care of them the way you do even in your torment. I hope they will be very proud of you when they will know, because you deserve it so much.

 

Take care of yourself, I'll be praying for you :)

First AD -sertraline- in 2007at the age of 13 because of child abuse

2009-2013: intricate story of multiple wds, meds and cts, gradually became a living mess

Feb 2013: last CT from a cocktail of four drugs, symptoms are relenting but witness a constant sharpening of the brain

 

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I don't know if I am going to make it drug free. I am very scared of feeling so sick some days that I can't function.

 

My head symptoms are like this:

 

- Pressure in the center of my brain, like a balloon blowing up.

- Pressure in the ears area.

- A sensation of burning all around my head

- Strange feelings in my forehead

- It feels so raw.

- It feels full and empty

 

When someone talks to me and I feel a bit anxious, I get different sensations in my head.

 

Every time I am sick my anxiety gets worse.

 

I basically stopped cymbalta cold turkey (fast tapper and stopped at 20 mg). I don't know how much damage I have done and I don't know If I have the strength to keep going.

 

Every day I pray for some recovery, to be able to function and enjoy simple things, to be able to read as I used to, to dance with my daughters and laugh and go shopping and do all sort of things that people take for granted (I used to do it too).

 

I fear I won't recover and that I keep fighting and in 2 years I am still feeling the same. When is it enough?

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I fear I won't recover and that I keep fighting and in 2 years I am still feeling the same. When is it enough?

 

It's never enough, Soul! A while back we had a member who would tell people to, "just keep walking". That's what you have to do... just keep walking! Soon you will be able to play with your daughters and do all the things you wrote about. Sending positive thoughts to you.

 

 

Charter Member 2011

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Hoi Soul! There is a Person in switzerland who feels frOm the Bottom of the Heart,what you are goimg through!!! We Share the Same Symptoms, the Same suffer and the Same anxiety! Never getting out of this nightmare ! I think Efexor and Cymbalta are verry similar in the criminal Way they act!whyet/Pfizer destroied my Life! Howeever I survive it is traumatic ! wish you the verry Best and Yes.......... Keep On Walking! Hughs.... Tramond

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  • Administrator

Soul, look back and you can see in a year, you've had improvement.

 

Healing can be slow -- the nervous system is complicated and delicate, it rebuilds itself very gradually.

 

Do what you can to reduce the symptoms you have now. Are you light-sensitive? Are you taking fish oil? That can help the head symptoms.

 

(Please put your withdrawal history in your signature so we can better understand your situation.)

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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It has been one year since I stopped taking Cymbalta. I wish I could say I am better, but things are still really difficult. My anxiety is very high and somehow the world has become a scary place to live in. I still feel sick on a daily basis, The symptoms I still have are:

- Aches and pains on the right side of my body

- Dizziness and light headed

- Burning sensation in my head

- Confusion (better)

- Concentration Loss (better)

- Depersonalization and derealization

- Vivid dreams(better)

- Right ear pain

- Right eye pain

- Right face pain

- Stomach problems: Nausea and diarrea

- Head sensations and pains

- Hearing sensitivity

- Joint and muscle pain

- Muscle twitches (24 hours)

- Profuse sweating at night (better)

- Skin rash (comes and goes)

- Lack of confidence.

 

I worry I will never recover and that I will be leaving in this stage of agitation forever.

 

 

I still have to push myself every day as my daughters need me, I exercise daily, try to do meditation and try to take it easy.

 

 

 

I have nearly all of these withdrawal symptoms and I have stopped taking Zoloft 6 months ago :(

Dec 2004 - Put on Zoloft after having a panic attack from the Birth Control Ortho Evra Patch (the doctors thought I was completely insane when I told them I think the Birth Control Patch is giving me anxiety/panic. Funny how they tell you NOW that Birth Control can indeed cause anxiety) Started at 25mg, increased to 50 mg and 100 mg in 2007. They made me too sleepy so decreased back to 50mg until 2009. Reduced to 25 mg in 2010.

Oct 2010 - Decided to come off Zoloft to try and have children. Didn't know anything about tapering because apparently, my doctor didn't know about it either. WDs included heart palpitations, dizziness, tinnitus etc. Decided to go back on Zoloft within 2 weeks of stopping.

January 2011 - Knowing a little more about tapering, I decided to stop taking taking Zoloft with my doctors help again. She told me to hurry and taper in 4 weeks because the tinnitus could become permanent. I thought this was too fast so I took another month to taper.

March 30, 2011 - Last Zoloft pill.

Had a little dizziness & sadness, but felt fine until Aug 2011 after a relative died.

Since then symptoms include brain shivers, migraine headaches on right side of head, warm/hot sensations on right side of head and ears, internal vibrations, tremor, muscle twitches, strange sensations in right side of head, anxiety, nervousness, sadness, disconnected, depersonalization, numbness on left side of body at times, neck pain, muscle/rib cage pains,  just don't feel like myself :(

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  • 2 months later...

Soul... we are in the exact same boat.

We have every symptom alike.

 

I was on Cymbalta XR for four years... I have now been off of it for 14 months and it has been hell. The depersonalization and derealization is the worst. I feel like I've missed out on one of the most important years of my life! :(

 

Please let me know how you're doing and if anything in particular has helped. I've tried everything... literally every doctor and medicine known to man and can't shake this. I don't know how much more I can take.

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Barbarannamated

I agree that the DP/DR are terrible and feel like the root of many other symptoms because ~perceptualy~ everything feels 'off' and disconnected ~ causes me to feel anxious and uncertain of myself and how I appear to others (although nobody has said I seem weirder than my usual)

A very disturbing and disorienting feeling that colors everything and probably leads to isolation from usual supports IMHO

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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