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Firstly, I want to say how grateful I am to have found this forum and to get a feel for the way it is moderated.  Calm, practical and sensible advice from and to those who need it.


My 14-year marriage broke down five years ago.  I walked straight into a new relationship and the love hormones stopped me from feeling too bad.  But when they wore off about 3 years ago (I'm still in love with her without the wash of hormones), I realised that I had become a profoundly sad person with little capacity for joy or pleasure.  There were many things but perhaps the clearest example is that I stopped listening to music, once one of my deepest pleasures; there was simply nothing in it for me.  Music that once moved me to tears of joy just buzzed in my ears annoyingly.


So 25 months ago I started taking Cymbalta.  One day, about 2 weeks after starting medication, I caught myself cheerfully humming a tune walking down the street.  It actually worked... Wonder Drug!!


But life moved on, some of the circumstances that had pushed me into depression softened, and I decided I should be okay without drugs.  I was never really depressed before my marriage breakdown so I should be able to stop taking Cymbalta right?  Within a couple of days of stopping, (without medical advice), I was swamped with an indescribable sense of impending doom.  It was as if everything I trusted was going to fail me and everyone I loved would be lost to me.  Describing it now does not capture how utterly hopeless, empty and scared I felt without the drug.


I went straight back on Cymbalta and spoke to my psychiatrist who scolded me and said, "This is a long term thing.  Don't expect to come off Cymbalta for a long time."  That was about 9 months ago and I have decided that I disagree with her.  I want to come off it now.  I now associate Cymbalta with a bland kind of nothingness.  I don't "feel" like I once was able to "feel".  It has taken away something real.  Hard to define, but I want it back.  


Three weeks ago I started taking my capsule on alternate days.  I noticed the difference in my awareness and general mood, but that has stabilised and I seem to be coping with one dose every second day.  I know that this approach is discouraged on this site so I have some reading to do, but it does seem to be working for me so far.  For now I will stick to this dose and see how I go.  I do not expect to reduce again for some weeks or longer.  And, yes, I will tell my psychiatrist before I reduce again.


My name is Rip Van Winkle.  Sometimes feel as if I have suddenly woken up, at the age of 48, and have a lot of catching up to do.

A closed mouth gathers no feet

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi RipVW,


Welcome to SA.  Yes, it is good that you have found this place.  It sounds like you have been doing some reading around the place.  However, since we don't know what you have already read I'll give you some links for info that might be helpful.


Firstly, would you please put your drug history in your signature including dates, doses and how you increased/decreased.  How to put your Withdrawal History in Signature


You can use your Intro topic to ask questions and journal your progress.


You have already said that you know alternate days is not recommended.  For a start, it is reducing your dose by 50% and it is messing with your brain.  These might help you to understand how your brain has changed since taking the drug (Video: Healing from Antidepressants: Patterns of Recovery & Brain Remodelling) and why you need to Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable


10% tapering of the most recent dose it what is recommended here.  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Also, here is a link Tips for Tapering Cymbalta


It would be best if you started taking your cymbalta daily.  Because you have already been off your previous dose for 3 weeks, you probably won't need to go back to that dose.  One of the mods should be in soon who will suggest a daily dose that you could take.


Also, some of us here are not informing our doctors of our tapering and just using them to get the prescription.  Here are a couple of links that discuss doctors:  How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?  & What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?




MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Rip,

I'm glad you found us, we have a lot of collected wisdom here about how to come of psyche drugs safely. Chessie has given you a lot of good information and links, so I don't want to add more, but did want to suggest a dose for a return to daily dosing, but I can't because you haven't written what dose you are taking at the moment. I was actually going to suggest half of the capsule dose every day.


This link provides information about how to divide the contents of the capsule:  Tips for Tapering Cymbalta


Please feel free to write whenever you want, you will find a lot of friendly help and support here.



I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?

VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?

VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?

VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes




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  • 5 months later...

RVW are you able to give an update.

You havent gone back to sleep have you?

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.


Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017



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  • 9 months later...

Just updating...


I have had 5 days without Valdoxan, going from a full dose of 25mg to nothing overnight.  I noticed some changes in my general mood from the second day without Valdoxan, but I have not yet noticed anything that might be described as a discontinuation symptom.

A closed mouth gathers no feet

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Just updating...


I have had 5 days without Valdoxan, going from a full dose of 25mg to nothing overnight.  I noticed some changes in my general mood from the second day without Valdoxan, but I have not yet noticed anything that might be described as a discontinuation symptom.

Well, keep us posted! Hope you continue to do well. 

  • 2,5 years of slowly tapering down Cymbalta from 60 mg. Then tried going from 8,44 mg to 1 mg in 8 days. (April 1st 2015). That's when the real hell started. Reinstated. Didn't help. I was added Ativan (2 mg 2 times a day for relentless akathisia that started with jumping Cymbalta). For years had been taking Zopitin 7,5 mg and Stilnox 10 mg for I had not been able to sleep naturally since the 1st day I started Cymbalta). Used to take Xanax occasionally.
  • All of the above were stopped cold turkey when I was hospitalized in the beginning of May 2015.
  • Prior to that I have been on and off the whole spectrum of different AD-s for 15 years (since I was 17).

My introduction.



  • Olanzapine (starting point 2,1 mg): Jan 2016  /---/ April 2018 0 mg. (From 2,1 mg to 0 mg in 1y 3mo).
  • Diazepam (starting at 5 mg) : switching to liquid May 2018;  4,6 mg (June 2018) /---/ 0 mg (Feb 2020) (From 10 to 5 - nobody knows, from 5 to 0 in 1 y 10 mo)
  • Valdoxan (starting at 25 mg): switching to liquid (Feb 2019) /---/ 0 mg (July 2020)


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It is now 10 days since I ceased Valdoxan without tapering.  I have noticed depressive symptoms increasing in the form of invasive negative thoughts, feelings of doom, helplessness, racing mind.  I have also had some moments of happiness and optimism unlike anything I've felt while being on antidepressants (Cymbalta and then Valdoxan) for the last 3-4 years.


I went off Valdoxan because I feel ready to address my depression, having medicated my way through the worst of it.  My journey is mostly about undoing decades of feeling worthless, a deep sense of not being good enough, continued efforts at self-sabotage.  I'm using self-compassion exercises and mindfulness meditation.  I've significantly reduced my alcohol use and am exercising regularly. I have not followed my meditation regime as strictly as I want to, but have been reasonably good, meditating most days.  Based on my experience of when my meditation was regular and disciplined, I do believe that meditation is the most important part of my recovery.


Not sure what other members define as a discontinuance symptom.  I consider that these are depressive symptoms which were being treated by the Valdoxan.  In removing the drug I'm not surprised that they have returned.


From my perspective, I have not experienced any discontinuance symptoms. 


I will keep reporting back until I am at least a month "clean" of Valdoxan.

A closed mouth gathers no feet

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RVW are you able to give an update.

You havent gone back to sleep have you?


Hehe I did drift off a little there NZ... 


Not long after that intro post, I went to a new GP, who referred me to a new psychologist and suggested a new AD.  I was already tapering off Cymbalta and told my GP about this.  He was fascinated, as if he had not heard of this before, loved the idea, told me to continue tapering and immediately started me on Valdoxan.  He also said he would tell other GPs about tapering as if it would catch on.


I started Valdoxan immediately and was off Cymbalta in a few months.  Valdoxan seemed to work for me.  Whereas Cymbalta made everything bland, beige, blah, I was able to feel more on Valdoxan.  It's hard to describe the change - it was subtle - but I just felt better on Valdoxan.  LIbido and orgasms returned to normal.  My new psychologist was also bolder, more challenging, more probing.  He helped me get down to important stuff and taught me defusing techniques for taking the sting out of intrusive thoughts. 


A couple of months ago, after about 12 months on Valdoxan, I felt ready to drop it.  My GP told me to wait another year, but said there were no withdrawal symptoms associated with Valdoxan apart from the potential for relapse.  I didn't want to wait; I felt I was ready to face my depression.  So after considering it further I ceased Valdoxan 11 days ago without taper.


So far, I have noticed a return of depressive symptoms, occasionally quite confronting and difficult.  I am dealing with these through exercise, meditation and lifestyle changes.  


I know it is early days and that discontinuation symptoms can sometimes build gradually over months, but so far there are no such symptoms.  I'm remaining optimistic and grateful as those are the most healing attitudes for me.



A closed mouth gathers no feet

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  • 1 month later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi RVW,  how are you doing? You might find this interesting. Many people think they are relapsing when it is actually withdrawal. 




I am glad to see that you have been getting help with the things that cause your depression. Learning to cope makes a huge difference and helps us avoid drugs in the future. :)

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.



Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014


Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 


My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33


Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible



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  • 10 months later...

Just checking in a year later to report that I suffered no withdrawal symptoms at all by quitting Valdoxan cold turkey.  

A closed mouth gathers no feet

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  • Moderator

Interesting Rip,


Did Valdoxan ever make it to market or did you get it free as part of a study?


"melatoninergic agonist"

I am really happy that your study of n=1 worked out so well. 

Pretty amazing yet also pretty great after ?4-6 years of Cymbalta.  No W/D from Cymbalta either?! 


  Did the Valdoxan have any effect on your sleep and wakefulness?

  Do you think the Valdoxan helped with Cymbalta W/D? (is this what you are trying to get accross?!)

  How long were you on Cymbalta and at what doses?

  How did you taper the last time?



"It's best to go slowly to find out how you tolerate a reduction. Once you damage your nervous system with withdrawal symptoms, it can take a very long time to feel good again.


But -- many people do fine with a faster taper. Are you one of them? You can't tell. We advocate a harm reduction approach to tapering:


Initially, make a 10% reduction and hold there for a MONTH. It can take several weeks for withdrawal symptoms to emerge. Do that again the second month.

If you have very minor or no symptoms from these 2 reductions, you can try reducing by 10% every 3 weeks. Do that twice. If no problems, reduce by 10% every 2 weeks. Do that twice.

If no problems after 4.5 months of very gradual reduction, you may be able to reduce by 10% every week.

If significant withdrawal symptoms appear, make smaller cuts or go slower. Listen to your body."

(extracted partial post from the link below)


Also in the ^ link is a post on page one with some W/D symptoms listed.  Are you sure you had nary a one?


However, good is good........could it have had something to do with your own beliefs and perhaps staying away from negative forecasting?  You need not answer that one.  Believe me......... I am one who is all about being the exception as well. B)


You could do a signature if you'd like to as well, it might be useful sometime to someone.

And thank you so much for coming back and updating.  Happy making.


Love, peace, healing, and growth,



Would you summarize your history in a signature - ALL drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 



Edited by manymoretodays

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016.  And.....I quit smoking 11/2021. Lapsed.  Redo of quit smoking 9/28/2022.  Can you say Hallelujah?(took me long enough)💜

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider.  My success story:  Blue skies ahead, clear sailing


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  • Administrator

Yes, we need to know more about your experience with Valdoxan. What happened to the Cymbalta??

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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  • 7 months later...
  • Administrator

Hi, Rip, how are you doing?

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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