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JanCarol

Hey Gardenlady - I'm reading your benzo page now - and some of your questions there are more appropriate for your Cymbalta page, here.

 

You ask:

 

I've counted beads in 2 duloxetine capsules...one had 363 and one had 372.  Is that much of a difference common?  Also, I am able to pull apart only a few in the container.  The rest simply won't come apart...it's like they are glued together.  Do you know of a solution for that?

 

I recommend (later, when you are ready to taper) counting 10 capsules worth, to get an average # of beads per capsule.  It's a hassle, but will set you up for a better taper.

 

I have one supplement (I now split and weigh supplements instead of pharmaceuticals - taking 1/3 of one, 1/4 of another, 1/2 of some, too) that is hard to get out of its capsule.

 

So I take a very sharp knife - my favourite fruit knife (or you could use an X-acto craft blade or razor blade) and cut open the gelcap to get the insides out.  I carefully cut around the top of the capsule like I'm coring an apple, just cut the top off.  Then I can carefully empty the contents into my sorting tray.

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gardenlady

Hey Gardenlady - I'm reading your benzo page now - and some of your questions there are more appropriate for your Cymbalta page, here.

 

You ask:

 

I've counted beads in 2 duloxetine capsules...one had 363 and one had 372.  Is that much of a difference common?  Also, I am able to pull apart only a few in the container.  The rest simply won't come apart...it's like they are glued together.  Do you know of a solution for that?

 

I recommend (later, when you are ready to taper) counting 10 capsules worth, to get an average # of beads per capsule.  It's a hassle, but will set you up for a better taper.

 

I have one supplement (I now split and weigh supplements instead of pharmaceuticals - taking 1/3 of one, 1/4 of another, 1/2 of some, too) that is hard to get out of its capsule.

 

So I take a very sharp knife - my favourite fruit knife (or you could use an X-acto craft blade or razor blade) and cut open the gelcap to get the insides out.  I carefully cut around the top of the capsule like I'm coring an apple, just cut the top off.  Then I can carefully empty the contents into my sorting tray.

 

Thank you, JC.  Since I posted that question awhile back, I finally figured out a way to get the dang things open.  Mine are really hard...almost like they're glued together.  But I found if I slide my thumbnail around the underside of the overlapping half of the capsule edge and pull hard, it will open.  I do 2 weeks worth of capsules at a time and by the end, my fingers are sore from having to pull so hard to get them apart.  But doing it this way allows me to reuse the capsule which I like doing.  I have extra gel caps in case the original ones tear, which they do sometimes.  It's bizarre what we have to go through to get off this stuff!

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Madeleine

It doesn't sound safe to use vodka!!' Doesn't alcohol affect same receptors as benzodiazepines? I think it will heighten the potency of the Valium. What about using another liquid? The benzodiazepines section should provide suggestions on that

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gardenlady

It doesn't sound safe to use vodka!!' Doesn't alcohol affect same receptors as benzodiazepines? I think it will heighten the potency of the Valium. What about using another liquid? The benzodiazepines section should provide suggestions on that

 

I just deleted that part of my previous post so as not to alarm people who are not part of the benzo world.  But to answer your question, you take 10 mg of valium and mix with 20 ml of vodka which is 0.67628 of an ounce.  It's then diluted with 80 ml of water.  So you end up with 100 ml of very diluted suspension that will last a couple of weeks.  1 mg of valium in this form equals 10 ml.  So, you draw it out with a non-needle syringe and take 10 ml (.338 of an ounce) the first day and reduce by .33 ml each dose.  So, it's a miniscule amount of alcohol that the body doesn't detect....less than any fermented product you eat such as yogurt or cheese.  This is the standard way to dissolve valium for withdrawal as it doesn't dissolve completely in water.  Again, this is SOP (standard operating procedure) in the benzo world.  Just be glad you don't have to know about this stuff!!!  I wish I didn't!

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Shep

It doesn't sound safe to use vodka!!' Doesn't alcohol affect same receptors as benzodiazepines? I think it will heighten the potency of the Valium. What about using another liquid? The benzodiazepines section should provide suggestions on that

 

Hi, Madeleine.  Yes, you are correct that alcohol does effect the same receptors as benzos. However, the amount of alcohol used in a benzo taper is so small, it doesn't have an effect. Most people only use 2 ml of alcohol per 1 mg of benzo to make the solution and then add water to make up the rest of the liquid, since water by itself is not a good solvent for Valium. The alcohol is what creates a solvent, as opposed to a suspension. This amount of alcohol considered a safe method and is used quite often in the various benzo boards.  ;)

 

EDIT: Looks like I replied at the same time as Gardenlady, who already explained it perfectly. 

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Shep

Hi, Gardenlady.

 

I just wanted to make sure you saw JanCarol's post, since it ended up on the previous page:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/14216-gardenlady/?p=288763

 

She mentioned possibly updosing the Cymbalta or at least holding everything steady for a minimum of 3 - 6 months.

 

It's a very good post, so I just wanted to make sure you saw it.

 

Please let us know what you think and how you are feeling. 

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gardenlady

Hi, Gardenlady.

 

I just wanted to make sure you saw JanCarol's post, since it ended up on the previous page:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/14216-gardenlady/?p=288763

 

She mentioned possibly updosing the Cymbalta or at least holding everything steady for a minimum of 3 - 6 months.

 

It's a very good post, so I just wanted to make sure you saw it.

 

Please let us know what you think and how you are feeling. 

 

Yes, Shep, I did see the post.  I'm holding both Cymbalta and valium until I move into my new home in July.  I am listening to my body and will resume the valium taper when it tells me I can.  I'm not going to touch Cymbalta until I'm off of the valium and stable.  Thank you for following up with me!

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Shep

Thanks for your post, Gardenlady. Holding sounds like a great idea.

 

Good luck on your move and I hope you like your new home.  :)

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gardenlady

Hi Gardenlady!

 

We're all on at different times around the world, and are all volunteers - so - different moderators respond at different times. While each of us has a slightly different experience, we try to keep the protocols consistent.

 

So - Mamma told you it's not a good time to taper (moving), and she took the words right out of my mouth!

 

If you are having bad symptoms from the Cymbalta, you could increase to your last taper (54 mg) and hold there.  Or, if you feel the worst has passed, you can hold at the 48 mg Cymbalta.  We do recommend 4 weeks (sometimes more) in between tapers.  Holding is your best option now.

 

We have a debate here as to which is harder to withdraw from - benzos or antidepressants.  There is no conclusive answer, as everybody is different - but - I would give them equal weight, and suggest that there is no walk in the park with either of them.  Please respect these drugs and your body, you are at a good time to "catch" yourself from falling, and hold.

 

 I think that holding still will help you.  I haven't read the benzo side yet, but I'll bet Shep is telling you to hold over there, too.  If it had been me knowing what I know now, when I  "hit the wall" at 5 mg of diazepam, I would have stayed there for 3-6 months or more, until I felt better.  Then, I might have switched over to tapering the Cymbalta.

 

We've found that people who are destabilised from another taper - need to really slow down and be careful.  Our moderator Scallywag said it best when she said:

 

Changing dose, up OR down, can be destabilizing. Most often the lowest risk action is no action -- staying at the same dose.

 

Stable is the most important part.

 

It is important to hold, and not taper, when we have symptoms.  Symptoms are a sign that you are tapering too fast.

 

 

 

 I am anxious to be drug free mostly for spiritual reasons.  Faith and trust in God are difficult enough when at one's best, much less while tapering & withdrawing.  The longer it takes, the more alienated I feel from Him.  That's the worst part.  

 

This sounds like you might be experiencing anhedonia, or loss of feeling.  It's not the tapering and withdrawing which have cut you off from your faith and trust - but the drugs themselves.

 

As your doses get lower, your feeling and sense of connection will return.

 

So instead of rushing your taper and getting into trouble - "Be Still" - and hold.

 

What have you decided to do? 

 

I hope you see the Sun today.

 

Hi JC.  Thanks for your comments on my concerns.  I'm holding both the Valium and the Cymbalta at current levels until after I am moved which will probably be the end of July, so that's quite awhile.  When my body is stable enough, I think I'll complete the benzo taper and hold until I'm stable enough to try tapering the Cymbalta.  It may take awhile to determine whether or not I can do it.  I've heard from several people that they tried to start the AD taper after they thought they had stabilized enough from completion of the benzo taper only to find out they couldn't do it.  So, they had to wait awhile longer and try again and so on until they could finally do it.  

 

I think what I thought was akathisia, isn't.  During withdrawal, I have anxiety and a constant vibrating/movement of the foot or leg while sitting or standing...."normal" people do this when anxious, i.e., shaking the bottom leg very quickly while sitting with legs crossed at the knee.  I do this constantly, but without the inner restlessness & torture that people with akathisia describe.  I don't know what the name is for what I do, but it's very disturbing and makes other people very uncomfortable to that point that they avoid me.  I look like I have Parkinson's disease.  I was shaking my leg so violently one time that a friend looked at me in horror and told me that I needed to be "committed."  It was devastating.

 

I wish I knew what it was and how to control it.  I think the stress of moving and coordinating the renovations I'm having done on the condo are making it worse.  It's really hard working with my contractor, real estate agent, decorator, and the myriad of other people while doing this.  It's like I'm in the spotlight and making a complete fool of myself.  I'm afraid some of these people will decide that I'm crazy and don't want to work with me anymore.  

 

I'm praying and asking God to give me clarity of mind and calmness and to control the shaking so I can get all of this done.  He is faithful and I am completely dependent on His mercy and grace to get me through this.   

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gardenlady

I'm confused about where to post as I'm on both Cymbalta and Valium.  I'm holding both now until I move at the end of July.  I am doing some renovations on my new place, so am very busy with those details as well as preparing for packing up my home.  I'm single with no husband or children, so am on my own with this and am trusting God to get me through it.

 

I'm still having withdrawal symptoms from the benzo taper and my stupid attempt to also taper Cymbalta.  I'm having anxiety with rapid breathing and nervous shaking of my leg and foot.  It doesn't seem to be improving at all and am wondering how long it takes to stabilize from the kind of cuts I've made.  The move is making everything worse due to the internet stress associated with it.  I've read all the coping tips, but they don't seem to provide relief.  

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gardenlady

The next to last sentence in my above post should read, " The move is making everything worse due to the inherent stress associated with it."  How do I edit a post once I've posted it?

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gardenlady

I'm back after a long hiatus.  I moved in the summer and am still dealing with the stresses of a minor remodeling which is still going on.  I am currently down to 2.12 mg of valium.  I take 2 mg in dry tablet and the rest in liquid.  For the last two weeks, I have been reducing by .3 ml/.03 mg per day.  It's catching up with me and I don't know how much longer I can keep up this rate.  

 

The remodeling should be finished in a week or so....it was a huge mistake to undertake it at all, but I had to replace the bathtub as the old one was simply unusable.  The project snowballed and I've run into major problems along the way.  Last week, I found that I have roof rats in the attic, so that's another stressor.  How do you avoid stress when it comes on you uninvited?   All I can think about is getting off this drug and getting through withdrawal so I can begin the Cymbalta taper.  

 

Looking for any encouragement out there.  Thanks in advance!

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brassmonkey

Hi GL-- We did an entire new kitchen during the last year and a half of my taper.  It was quite the learning experience.  I found it to be a great distraction from my symptoms.  If it feels like your taper is catching up with you, it might be time to throw in a hold for a few weeks to let things settle out.  Especially if there are a lot of "life" issues cropping up too.  I hope things ease up once the remodel is complete.  Then you can have some nice Epsom Salt soaks in your new tub, which should help.

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gardenlady

Thanks, brass.  How much Epsom salt do you use in a tub of water?  And, where do you buy them?  Does it really help?  Thanks again!

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brassmonkey

A cup or two in a nice hot bath.  Almost any drug store will have them. Some people find them quite relaxing, they're a real favorite around here.  Careful not to over do them though, like a lot of salts every night can have the opposite effect.  I rather enjoy them, especially on a cold night.

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Shep

GiaK gave a really great recipe:

 

Epsom salts baths -- another way to relax with magnesium

 

She lists 5 cups of epsom salts, but like Brassmonkey mentioned, a cup or two is really the best way to start out to see how you do.

 

I like adding in lavender because it's calming and can help with sleep and anxiety.  

 

 

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gardenlady

I'm down to 1.22 mg of valium tonight.  I'm on a daily liquid micro taper which has been much better than dry cutting.  Once I'm off valium, how long does it usually take to stabilize enough to resume the Cymbalta taper?  I know we're all different, but would like to hear about others' experiences. 

 

I am so anxious to get off of Cymbalta since I've had high anxiety ever since starting it.  I tried to stop my valium taper and taper Cymbalta, but I couldn't do it, so just continued on with the valium taper.  I've been sick ever since I reinstated the benzo and then it got worse when my doctor switched me from Lexapro to Cymbalta.  Holding 4 months at 5 mg valium didn't help at all.  I'm currently at 48 mg Cymbalta.  I haven't felt well in almost two years. 

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Staz

I can't be much help on Cymbalta but like you holding a dose of Valium hasn't eased my symptoms at all. I have tapered other drugs while holding steady at 12mg for 18 months of V but stability even without cutting has eluded me unless you define a permanently black almost suicidal mood stability that is.

 

I think for some of us Valium causes the black mood and will stay with us until we are off the poison completely and then maybe enter the windows and waves phase.

Staz

xxx

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gardenlady

I completely understand, Staz.  I never have stabilized, but did see a bit of a lift from the black depression as I lowered my Valium dose.  But, it came back when I got down to about 1.5 mg.  This morning, I was more depressed than I can remember and started crying the moment I woke up.  I kept crying until I live-streamed my church's Sunday morning service and the sermon brought me back to reality.  I was able to see that the depression, while real and chemically caused, lies to my brain and tells it things that simply are not true.  Unless I had heard the real truth from my pastor, my brain would have continued to marinate in its swill of lies.  I'm not jumping for joy now, but at least have a bit more clarity of what is real vs what is perceived.  

 

Speaking of being deceived, I sold my beautiful home and moved to a condominium when I wasn't thinking clearly.  It was a mistake.  I've since read the accounts of several people on Benzo Buddies who warn against making any kind of major life decision while in withdrawal.  Too bad I didn't see those warnings before I foolishly sold my home.  I don't like living in this condo and the stress of moving and making decorating and structural changes has been much more than it would have been if I had simply stayed where I was.  I had no one to talk to or guide me on this or to urge me not to make such a huge decision while in a compromised mental state.  Oh well, what's done is done.  

 

We need to remind each other that the state we are in is temporary and that we WILL heal.  Will will NOT always feel this way.  Don't lose hope!  Just concentrate on getting from one hour to the next.  At this point, that's about all some of us can do!  I'm in this with you, Staz!  

 

 

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gardenlady

I am nearing the end of my valium taper and would like to stop taking 80 mg valsartan for high blood pressure due to risk factors.....it's a dangerous drug and has been linked with cancer.  I've been on it since June 2016.  I never had HBP till benzo withdrawal and my BP is normal now, actually quite low.  I'm 65 with no family history of it.  Does anyone have experience with tapering valsartan?  I have a BP monitor that I can use at home, although it seems to give fluctuating readings.    

 

My internist told me to cut the 80 mg valsartan dose in half and to come see him in 3 weeks.  Today is my 2nd day to drop to 40 mg and I've not felt anything.  

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Kristine

Hi GL...I accidentally posted this on your benzo thread 😳

 

Hi GL, Thank you for stopping by my thread the other day.  I have finally made it to you...it's been a tough few days but I have managed to read your thread.  I am so terribly sorry you are going through this.  Every time I read stories like yours I get a surge of anger and immense sadness that this is happening to so many people.  Then frustration kicks in because I can never find the right words to try and ease this suffering.  So I'm offering you a hug over cyberspace....I really big bear hug ☺️ I really admire your attitude, determination and insight.  Valium is a beast.  I have lost count how often I've been put on it over the past 10 years....both for anxiety and back pain.  You should be very proud of yourself.  I am so sorry you are isolated.  This seems to begin with those first labels that are placed on us for "mental illness".  I think it frightens some people.  Human beings tend to fear what they don't understand.  Most of my friends have slowly disappeared. I am lucky that I have a caring husband and fabulous 18 year old son.  However, I rarely leave the house. I am unable to drive due to the physical ailments of w/d. So glad I have met you. K

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gardenlady

Today I am 10 days post-jump from a benzo taper.  How will I know when I am stable enough to resume my Cymbalta taper?  I tapered 12 mg of Cymbalta in May 2017 but had to stop at 48 mg as I was already in benzo withdrawal and couldn't manage the AD taper at the same time. 

 

My benzo withdrawal sxs are mental, only, no physical sxs.  The worst mental sxs are fear and terror of death and hell 24/7, constant anxiety and depression and insomnia.   I don't think I can really heal until I'm off the AD, but realize that I can't taper it while still unstable.  Just looking for guidance and encouragement here. 

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Shep

Hi, GL. I moved your last post from the Tapering section to here in your intro thread since it's a question specific to your individual taper. 

 

Here are a couple of threads that may help:

 

Stabilizing - what does that mean?

 

Brassmonkey's description of Withdrawal Normal

 

I know you've mentioned side effects of Cymbalta being a problem, so you'll need to weigh the side effects versus the withdrawal effects. This can be a bit difficult, especially since withdrawing from ADs and benzos can be very, very similar, so your residual benzo waves may make it hard to tell where you're at with the AD. 

 

Ten days after coming off your benzo is likely far too soon to start the AD taper. I would give yourself a few more weeks and see if some of the mental symptoms you mention subside. 

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JohnnyBoy

I just want to chime in and say well done on the Valium taper, you should be proud of yourself. You will be one day. How have you been since 'jumping' off Valium? 

 

From what I've learned since I finished my Valium taper, is I was far to quick in begging my AD taper.

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gardenlady

Hi JB.  Thanks for your kind note.  I've been off of the benzo since Jan 11, 2018, so am only about 22 days into it.  I am having terrible insomnia, tinnitus, depersonalization/derealization, anxiety & depression.   The existential fear is by far the worst of all symptoms.  From what I can gather, no one else seems to have this to the degree I do, so it must be unique to me and my spiritual state.  I won't get into the details as it's too hard to communicate in writing.....I've just never read about anyone feeling like I do.

 

How long were you off benzos before starting your AD taper?  I am not nearly stable enough to start the Cymbalta taper, but really do want to know what I'm like without these drugs.  My age is a big concern....I'm 65.  

 

I wish you all the best in your taper and hope you can get some sleep.  Believe me, I know what it's like to stay awake all night over many nights in a row.  Unfortunately, I don't think there is a pill we can take to alleviate it.  We just have to plow through it knowing the we will heal as others have.  But, it's not easy.  

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gardenlady
1 hour ago, Gridley said:

Have you tried Melatonin for sleep?  It has helped me. I take 1 mg.  

Melatonin for sleep

I've tried larger doses without success.  I'll try the 1 mg dose as you suggest in hope it will help.  Thank you kindly for responding with advice!

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Gridley

Good luck.  The larger doses can turn paradoxical.

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gardenlady
23 hours ago, Gridley said:

Good luck.  The larger doses can turn paradoxical.

I couldn't find 1 mg Melatonin tablets, so I bought a bottle of 3 mg and took one last night.  It didn't help.  Do you have any other suggestions?

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Gridley

Three milligrams is way too much.  Can you get a pill cutter and divide it into three?  Or just use scissors--it doesn't have to be perfect.  I have 3 mg tablets and that's what I do.  Or, is there a Trader Joe's in Memphis?  Alto said they have 1/2 mg tablets.  And give the 1 mg 3-4 nights to work.

Edited by Gridley

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gardenlady
57 minutes ago, Gridley said:

Three milligrams is way too much.  Can you get a pill cutter and divide it into three?  Or just use scissors--it doesn't have to be perfect.  I have 3 mg tablets and that's what I do.  Or, is there a Trader Joe's in Memphis?  Alto said they have 1/2 mg tablets.  And give the 1 mg 3-4 nights to work.

Wow....I had no idea 3 mg Melatonin would be too much!  Thanks for letting me know.  Unfortunately, we don't have a Trader Joe's in Memphis.  Grrrrr!  We've been campaigning for one for years to no avail!!!  

 

I'll cut the tablets up as best I can with a pill cutter.  Will keep you posted.  

 

 

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gardenlady

I found 1 mg Melatonin at Walgreens.  Will try that as I can't cut the 3 mg into three pieces...only halves.  So far, it's not helping me with my sleep.  I've been taking it for 3 nights.  

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Gridley

Good work.  Give it a couple more nights.  It's possible it might not work for you. I take mine about 8:30 and go to bed a couple of hours later.  It help more in going to sleep than staying asleep but every little bit helps.  Good luck with it, garden lady.

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gardenlady

 

On 2/8/2018 at 5:15 PM, Gridley said:

Good work.  Give it a couple more nights.  It's possible it might not work for you. I take mine about 8:30 and go to bed a couple of hours later.  It help more in going to sleep than staying asleep but every little bit helps.  Good luck with it, garden lady.

Unfortunately, the melatonin isn't working.  Hydroxyzine seems to be the best help now, but I'm hesitant to take it very often as I'm concerned it will lose its effectiveness.  

 

Can Cymbalta cause one to feel agitated?  I have felt this way ever since my doc crossed me to it from Lexapro in Oct 2016.  I tapered from 60 mg to 48 mg in May 2017, but had to halt because of my benzo taper.  I'm in benzo withdrawal now having completed that taper a month ago.  I'm wondering if I won't improve until I get off the Cymbalta, but can't do so because I'm still unstable.  It's a bit of a conundrum.  I'm sick on it, but too sick to get off of it.  What does one do?

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Gridley

I have read on this site of another member experiencing agitation from Cymbalta.  The fact that this symptom appeared when you made the cross from Lexapro points in that direction.  It could be exacerbated by the benzo withdrawal.  We usually advise that after you have tapered one drug that you wait several  months before starting a taper of another drug.  

 

Yes, it is ideal to be stable before beginning a taper.  It depends on how bad the agitation is.  Can you hold out for a while and let your body adjust to the benzo taper, then begin a slow taper of the Cymbalta?  On the other hand, if the Cymbalta is causing an adverse reaction, there is an argument to be made to taper it now  It's a tough call with so many unknowns.

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Gridley

I asked the other mods for their thoughts.  The advice was either to hold, since it's so soon after the benzo taper--or to do a micro-taper of the Cymbalta,   It's very possible that the AD is stimulating and perhaps a slight reduction might help.  

 

 

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