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fierceturtle: Cymbalta 60mg to 0mg in 4 months, ongoing WD 5 months later

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fierceturtle

Hi everyone,

 

I tapered completely off Cymbalta over the course of just 4 months this past spring and summer, after spending the past almost 30 years parked on one SSRI/SNRI or another. Details are in my signature. I didn't find the 10% recommendation (on another website) until August, when I'd already been at 0mg for over a month. And I didn't see this website's reinstatement discussions until now, when I'm already 5 months out. 

The flu-like symptoms of acute withdrawal were brutal, but I seem to be past those: nausea, headaches, intense fatigue, dropping elevator head (never had the zaps people talk about)...oh and complete overwhelm, incessant weeping, and others I'm probably forgetting.

 

Now I'm dealing with the ongoing "looks like relapse" stuff: adrenaline surges, akathisia, anhedonia, anxiety, burning or fluttering sensations in chest and solar plexus, concentration problems, crying spells,  defensiveness, hostility, insomnia, irritability, muscle spasms, rage, rumination, self-doubt, sensory intolerance/overload.

 

If I had gone the 10% rate, I'd still be on a third of my original dose now and wouldn't be approaching zero until early 2020. Taking that as validation that I'm not relapsing, I've lowered my expectations on how quickly the symptoms will pass, rallied all the support I can find, and am putting every ounce of my being into tolerating the discomfort and riding out this storm.
 

But I would love to hear that validation directly from others who've gone through it. And though I really hate the thought of reinstating, if that's what has brought people better success in the long run after tapering too quickly, I'm open to hearing that feedback.

Many thanks to all of the people who've made this incredible resource available. I look forward to hearing from folks and hopefully telling more of my story.

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Altostrata

Welcome, fierceturtle. 

 

It sounds like you have post-acute withdrawal syndrome from Cymbalta. If you find these symptoms intolerable, you might consider reinstatement of a very small amount of Cymbalta, such as 10 beads. You'd stabilize on this for a while, then taper off later.

 

This seems like an absurd amount but what we've seen is that after a history of going on and off drugs, people usually become hypersensitive to them. A little goes a long way.

 

I see you are taking thyroid hormone. It's possible since you went off Cymbalta, your need for thyroid hormone has changed. Too high a dose can cause adrenaline surges, insomnia, etc.

 

Why are you taking thyroid hormone? Why did you take lamotrigine? What effect did it have on you?

 

What was your reaction to Prozac?

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fierceturtle

Hi Altostrata. Great to hear from you. Thanks for the welcome, suggestions, and questions.

 

It's very reassuring that you didn't say "Turn back, you'll never make it, go back up to [whatever number] mg or you'll do irreparable damage." I'll keep the 10-bead idea in mind if things get too unbearable.

 

I'll answer your questions in reverse order, to match my chronology.

 

Quote

What was your reaction to Prozac?

 

I don't remember if Prozac had much effect on me, honestly. I had it prescribed to me in 1989 while I was living with relatives in a new city for the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I was 19 and had never not been in some kind of mental anguish in my young life. I was just barely beginning to peel back the layers of trauma and chaos that had put me in that state. I think my initial diagnosis was Major Depression. I wanted desperately to feel better. I tried really hard to convince myself I did and told that doctor I did. But Prozac turned out to be just the first in a long series of different medications and combinations, so it obviously wasn't that successful of a treatment. Once I got back to school in the fall, I think I switched to Paxil, and so on and so on.

 

Quote

Why did you take lamotrigine? What effect did it have on you?

 

I don't remember specifically what Lamictal's effect on me was either. I had a short psychiatric hospital stay in 1996, by which time I think my Depression diagnosis had been shifted to Bipolar II with PTSD. I think that's when Lithium was added to my repertoire, which gave me terrible acne. Depakote was also tried but also had some other drawback. Lamictal was the mood stabilizer that stuck I guess. I at least was able to cut my dose of it from 200mg to 100mg somewhere along the line. I haven't tried to cut it more yet because the worse offender in terms of side effects has always been whatever SSRI or SNRI I'm on, so I focus on that first. I also understand that Lamictal can have some bad withdrawal effects of its own. But I do hope to eventually get off it, as well as the Wellbutrin.

 

Quote

Why are you taking thyroid hormone?

 

I've taken thyroid hormone for hypothyroidism since 2007 or 2008. I wondered about the Cymbalta drop affecting my levels too so I had them tested in September, two months after dropping to 0mg. At that point the doctor said everything was holding steady, but I'll be getting another follow-up soon. (I might also try for a second opinion at some point. This doctor is supposedly a highly regarded specialist/leader in the field, but I'm probably overdue to verify that this emperor is really wearing clothes.)

 

So much more to say, but I need to step away from the computer before the screentime keeps me awake tonight. Until next time...

 

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fierceturtle

Well, this week has been hell. Winters in New England are dark and depressing, but getting away to a tropical island for Christmas with family while in withdrawal has not been anything like a reprieve. I just feel completely off balance and terrified and alone. I'm sitting in beautiful sunshine with all sorts of birds singing, colorful flowers in bloom, and friendly lizards skittering around the ground, but I can't wait to get back to my cold, dark, dreary home. There at least I have my routine and my cats and my neighborhood gym and yoga studio and my hiking trails and my gentle, soothing Asian bodywork therapist and my punching bag in the basement that I wack with a baseball bat to the point of exhaustion.

 

Under even the best of circumstances, I have a really hard time with each of these things on its own: 1) winter holiday season, 2) being with family, 3) traveling. Doing them all now while I'm so impaired and compromised has made each moment feel more intolerable than the last. My mind is a constant chorus of voices screaming everything that's wrong with me and all the bad things everyone thinks about me and how doomed I am to suffer forever and how selfish I am to be so concerned about my own doom. 

 

To make matters worse, I came down with a dreaded vacation cold on day 3 of the 8 we're here, so I've been feeling extra bad physically and I can't do the vigorous level of exercise that normally keeps the hell hounds nipping just a little further away from my heels. I desperately need the movement and endorphins and cardio and deep breathing and weight bearing. I wouldn't have made it this far after my ill-advised fast taper without a lot of exercise. It's been good for my body and mind physiologically as well as on the self-esteem front. And when I'm feeling helpless and like I'm being held in a dark bag with the drawstring pulled tight, sustained movement reminds me I'm free and alive and breathing right here in this body in this moment. I wish I could've been handed this awareness and coping strategy 30 years ago instead of pills. There was always the "exercise is important" idea from the various professionals in my life, but it was always this abstract concept they'd mention in passing as if they just had to check that box. So compartmentalized.

 

The one semi-bright side of getting sick is it has given me an "excuse" to hang back alone at the rented condo while everyone else goes out into the noise and unpredictability and crowds of a prime vacation area that's bursting at the seams. It breaks my heart not to be spending this time with my stepson and his girlfriend, who live far away. My husband and I planned this trip many months ago and were so looking forward to the opportunity to be with the two of them and get to know the girlfriend a little. But everything feels like an assault on my senses and I'm constantly talking myself down from snapping at everyone. I'm not feeling super likable. So the "opportunity" is kind of shot anyway. At this point I'm more concerned with not throwing some kind of fit and alienating myself from them. They really bring out my social insecurity too. They're outgoing and young and already professionally successful and seem to have the answer to everything. I'm friendly and interested in people but also very introverted and sensitive and unsure of many of the choices I've made in my life. I also don't drink alcohol, in general but especially now during withdrawal, so I haven't been able to "loosen up" at dinner with everyone and have fun (or "be" fun) in that way.

 

I am who I am, and I'm doing my best. It's a little hard to trust I'm in a withdrawal process that will get better because a lot of what I'm going through is exactly what led me to take medication in the first place. I don't expect to be "healed" and "happy" after medication. Sometimes I'm really confused by how people talk as if the medication is THE problem. I'm sure I'm not the only one in this boat. I'm in great pain for reasons that came long before medication, it's just not a chemical imbalance and it hasn't been helped by medication (and I'm no longer willing to tolerate Cymbalta's numbness or zombielike sleepiness or destruction of my sexuality). I'm going to try to get more of those details out here in this forum so I can get support and feedback. It just takes so long to compose my thoughts. I've been at this post for hours now. I want to be very thoughtful about what I say here, to make sure I'm clear so hopefully people don't misunderstand me and I don't have to spend even more time going back and clarifying.

To end on a positive note, I will say that I have in fact had a great reprieve from the sexual dysfunction. The first few days of this vacation, before the kids arrived and I caught this cold, were like a honeymoon with my husband. It doesn't make up for the other ways I feel so horrible, but it's extremely important given that being "neutered" was one of my chief complaints with Cymbalta.

P.S. @Altostrata, curious whether you have any follow-up thoughts to the questions I answered (or anything else). Thanks!

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Altostrata

Sorry you're having such a rough time, ft. Is there nothing on this tropical island that you find soothing? How about shade and a hammock?

 

On 12/6/2018 at 11:35 PM, Altostrata said:

I see you are taking thyroid hormone. It's possible since you went off Cymbalta, your need for thyroid hormone has changed. Too high a dose can cause adrenaline surges, insomnia, etc.

 

Why are you taking thyroid hormone? Why did you take lamotrigine? What effect did it have on you?

 

What was your reaction to Prozac?

 

It's possible you're taking a little too much thyroid hormone, too much can be activating and cause some of the same symptoms as Cymbalta withdrawal. 

 

Technically, lamotrigine may help keep your nervous system stabilized while tapering. 

 

If you find tapering Cymbalta intolerable, The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac might be feasible.

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fierceturtle

Already I see something I probably need to clarify:

 

Quote

I'm in great pain for reasons that came long before medication... I'm going to try to get more of those details out here in this forum so I can get support and feedback.

 

I don’t expect support for specific issues related to my trauma history. I know that’s not what this forum is here to address. I just mean support with withdrawal in the context of my own individual history. There’s a lot to tease out as far as what’s an “original” condition/symptom vs. what’s withdrawal. Then again, in some ways it doesn’t matter because the bottom line is I’ve chosen to find a medication-free way through whatever conditions I have—period.

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fierceturtle

Hi @Altostrata, nice to hear from you again. I replied to those questions above on December 11. 

 

Yes, thanks for the shade and hammock idea! Today turned out to be reasonably soothing despite being home fighting a cold. I also went for a nice sunset walk on a lovely beach after most of the throngs had headed elsewhere. Now I’m cleaning and eating some healthy veggie snacks while I wait for “the cool kids” to bring me home a delicious fish taco. ☺️

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fierceturtle

Oh, and thanks for the Prozac bridge idea. Will investigate. Do you think it applies to a case like mine where I’m already 5.5 months out from Cymbalta?

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fierceturtle
23 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

If you find tapering Cymbalta intolerable...

 

I can tolerate a lot if I know it’s not going to last forever. I know there’s no way for anyone to predict how long it will take, but I can soldier on like this if there’s no outright recommendation to reinstate or bridge for someone at my stage in the process. It seems like either of those strategies might be just as likely to get me all mixed up and bring on new anxiety about whether I’m taking the right approach. 

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Altostrata
36 minutes ago, fierceturtle said:

Oh, and thanks for the Prozac bridge idea. Will investigate. Do you think it applies to a case like mine where I’m already 5.5 months out from Cymbalta?

 

Generally, we suggest reinstating the drug you went off, which would be Cymbalta, but sometimes Prozac can substitute and you can titrate it a lot more effectively than Cymbalta.

 

There are risks, your nervous system might be sensitized and react badly to reinstatement of any antidepressant. 

 

Your choice, if you haven't seen any improvement in 5.5 months, reinstatement might be a good idea. If Cymbalta, I might try just 1 bead to see what happens. If Prozac, maybe 0.25mg of the liquid. Taking a very small amount limits the risk.

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Carmie

Hi fierceturtle, 

 

I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling so much. It’s hard sometimes making decisions, isn’t it? We never know how our bodies will react. 

 

I’ve been on and off so many things in the past before I knew anything about these meds or withdrawals, and I’ve certainly been through the ringer. It all started because of chronic pain. I don’t even remember all the stuff I was on. Doctors used me as a guinea pig with all the things they did to me. I was cold turkeyed off many meds and put on other ones etc. It’s all a blur to me.

 

I’m tapering really slowly now. I have been tapering for many, many years and have many more to go. 

 

What I can say, though, is that we will all heal in the end, it might take a long time but we will get there. This rollercoaster ride will come to an end one day.

 

I wish you all all the best in your recovery💚

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JackieDecides
11 hours ago, fierceturtle said:

getting away to a tropical island for Christmas with family while in withdrawal has not been anything like a reprieve. I just feel completely off balance and terrified and alone. I'm sitting in beautiful sunshine with all sorts of birds singing, colorful flowers in bloom, and friendly lizards skittering around the ground, but I can't wait to get back to my cold, dark, dreary home. There at least I have my routine and my cats and my neighborhood gym and yoga studio and my hiking trails and my gentle, soothing Asian bodywork therapist and my punching bag in the basement that I wack with a baseball bat to the point of exhaustion.

 

 

Hi Fierceturtle

 

welcome to the forum - I think it's great you have your home, cats, routine, and all the exercise you have been doing: they all sound like excellent things to build your recovery on. and a bodywork therapist, OMG, that sounds like something we all need, at least those of more mature years. 

 

it's awful that you feel like this tropical paradise is kind of wasted - although maybe it's been getting better going by your last post? - but things happen when they happen. 

 

you have all this withdrawal to get through and there is no putting it on hold.  I am wishing you all the best with where you are at right now! also, I notice you write very well and that's a great sign. last summer when I was in WD I could barely put a sentence together and it's still not as easy as it should be.

 

6 hours ago, fierceturtle said:

I can soldier on like this if there’s no outright recommendation to reinstate or bridge for someone at my stage in the process. It seems like either of those strategies might be just as likely to get me all mixed up and bring on new anxiety about whether I’m taking the right approach. 

 

sending good vibes for whatever you decide to do. if only we could fast forward to the good times! 

7 hours ago, fierceturtle said:

Today turned out to be reasonably soothing despite being home fighting a cold. I also went for a nice sunset walk on a lovely beach after most of the throngs had headed elsewhere.

 

and look there, a bit of good times already. 😉

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fierceturtle

@Carmie and @JackieDecides, thank you both so much for your kind words of encouragement last week. I'm sorry I haven't been able to reply to each of you yet like I'd hoped. I'm now back home since Sunday, getting readjusted after the 5-hour time zone difference and facing the return to work tomorrow. I hope to post more again over the weekend if not sooner. Take care!

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fierceturtle
On 12/28/2018 at 1:50 AM, Altostrata said:

 

Generally, we suggest reinstating the drug you went off, which would be Cymbalta, but sometimes Prozac can substitute and you can titrate it a lot more effectively than Cymbalta.

 

There are risks, your nervous system might be sensitized and react badly to reinstatement of any antidepressant. 

 

Your choice, if you haven't seen any improvement in 5.5 months, reinstatement might be a good idea. If Cymbalta, I might try just 1 bead to see what happens. If Prozac, maybe 0.25mg of the liquid. Taking a very small amount limits the risk.

 

Thank you, @Altostrata. I'll try to make it a couple more weeks and reassess, now that I'm back in my own time zone recovering from the stress of my "vacation."

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fierceturtle

I got out my old bottle of remaining Cymbalta over the weekend -- a few capsules plus a bunch of loose beads from last summer's taper. The expiration date is still a month or two from now. I thought I was going to take a bead but then couldn't bring myself to do it. The bottle's now just sitting on my desk, where I look at it every day. 

 

I'm feeling really bad and have a lot of situational stress both at home and at work. Just getting through each day. Not keeping my job is not an option right now, as much as I would like it to be. And there have been times throughout the past 10 months, since I started this Cymbalta withdrawal process, that my job has felt like a good stable structure in spite of its stresses. So I'm trying to trust that feeling will come again.

 

A lot of insomnia. Five scattered hours of sleep a night is not enough. Last week when I was dealing with post-vacation jet lag I took a 1mg melatonin tablet in desperation. Really left me groggy and out of sorts the next day or two, which scared me. I've avoided it since then but now that I'm back to work and not sleeping well, I might try to cut it into quarters. 

Tons of anxiety and super negative projections of what other people are thinking of me, which sometimes feels crippling. I try to accept that the thoughts are there and just keep on trucking. As much as I feel naked and unsafe and like everyone knows what a mess I am inside, I know objectively it's not true. It takes me forever to write emails and other things that "should" be quick because I go in mental circles about how I'll be perceived, and I don't feel super productive. But nobody's standing over my shoulder watching me and haranguing me and threatening to fire me. It's all an internal struggle. 

The concept of "neuro-emotions" has been really helpful. Also helpful seeing that others have what one member called "dystalgia" -- this relentless rumination on everything I've done wrong and singlehandedly ruined, replaying of past humiliations, sense that my life has been futile, being frightened by things that have already happened.

The nonstop clenching and fluttering feeling in my solar plexus has been horrendous and a clear differentiator between withdrawal and my original PTSD/depression/anxiety. 
Just trying to think ahead about mundane or at least non-herculean tasks and events gives me little flits of terror and that queasy swooping/dropping feeling in my stomach as if I'm running from an attacker or about to give a speech in front of a million people. Again, not something I ever had every moment of the day before medication so a clear signal of withdrawal that I have to trust will eventually pass.

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fierceturtle
On 5/24/2011 at 10:59 PM, Altostrata said:

Noradrenergics -- buproprion or Wellbutrin; mirtazapine or Remeron; SNRIs such as Cymbalta, Serzone, Effexor; and St. John's Wort, rhodiola -- stimulate "fight or flight" activation, as will most SSRIs. Drugs and substances that are stimulating should be avoided.

 

Hi @Altostrata, given my current situation of being in Cymbalta withdrawal while maintaining my long-term Wellbutrin and Lamictal doses, I'm wondering when to start looking at Wellbutrin as possibly exacerbating the Cymbalta withdrawal. I'd figured I should leave everything else alone for now, but sometimes I look at Wellbutrin's reported side effects and wonder if they've begun expressing themselves more -- similar to your suggestion that I might need less thyroid hormone supplementation off Cymbalta. Do you have any thoughts, or pointers to other discussions on the topic? Thanks!

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Altostrata

Could be Wellbutrin is too stimulating now. When did these symptoms start? What effect does Lamictal have on you?

 

What times of day do you take your drugs, and their dosages? Do your symptoms follow any daily pattern?  Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

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ChessieCat
9 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

Example:

 

6 a.m. Woke with anxiety
8 a.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
10 a.m. Stomach is upset
10:30 a.m. Ate breakfast
11:35 a.m. Got a headache, lasted one hour
12:35 p.m. Ate lunch
4 p.m. Feel a bit better
5 p.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
6 p.m. Ate dinner
9:20 p.m. Headache
10:00 p.m. Took 50mg Seroquel
10:20 p.m. Feeling dizzy
10:30 p.m. Fell asleep
2:30 a.m. Woke, took 3mg Ambien (NOT "took 1/2 tablet Ambien")
2:45 a.m. Fell asleep
4:30 a.m. Woke but got back to sleep

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fierceturtle
2 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

Here goes. Apologies in advance, I tend to be long-winded so this isn't nearly as easy to read as your nice example, @ChessieCat. :) 
 

4:50 AM  Woke with anxiety

5:00 AM  Took 150 mg Wellbutrin SR, 100 mcg Levothyroxine, 25 mcg T3 (triiodothyronine)

5:15 AM  Drank 16 oz. coffee over ~45 minutes

5:30 AM  Did SAD light box therapy ~40 minutes while on computer

7:00 AM  Applied hormone cream*

7:45 AM  Took morning supplements with breakfast**

8:00 AM  Fairly calm during commute, kept music off, deep-breathed and focused on being present

10:00 AM  Panicked in class and wanted to flee from break-out group session but stayed and felt relieved/proud afterward

12:45 PM  Ate lunch at office, reasonably calm afternoon

3:00 PM  Good meeting with boss

5:00 PM  Anxiety and exhaustion crept in during commute and sundown

6:30 PM  Ate dinner, took 150 mg Wellbutrin SR, 100 mg Lamictal, and evening supplements***

7:30 PM  Applied hormone cream*

8:00 PM  Browsed SA.org, read articles and reserved library books on psychiatry BS, withdrawal, etc.

9:45 PM  Overdue to get off computer, dreading another bad night's sleep

 

* "bioidentical" compounded progesterone, estradiol, and testosterone

** vitamin B + herb complex ("PurVitality"), curcumin, vitamin D, folate, magnesium, multivitamin ("Ultra Preventive X"), zinc + C

*** curcumin, DHEA, fish oil EPA/DHA, iodine, lithium orotate, magnesium, multivitamin ("Ultra Preventive X"), zinc + C

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fierceturtle
2 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Could be Wellbutrin is too stimulating now. When did these symptoms start? What effect does Lamictal have on you?

 

The panicky dread and insomnia started maybe last summer? I definitely remember it starting to be really bad by late October.

I don't really know how Lamictal affects me. Here's my previous long-winded quote about that: 
 

On 12/11/2018 at 10:14 PM, fierceturtle said:
Quote

Why did you take lamotrigine? What effect did it have on you?

 

I don't remember specifically what Lamictal's effect on me was either. I had a short psychiatric hospital stay in 1996, by which time I think my Depression diagnosis had been shifted to Bipolar II with PTSD. I think that's when Lithium was added to my repertoire, which gave me terrible acne. Depakote was also tried but also had some other drawback. Lamictal was the mood stabilizer that stuck I guess. I at least was able to cut my dose of it from 200mg to 100mg somewhere along the line. I haven't tried to cut it more yet because the worse offender in terms of side effects has always been whatever SSRI or SNRI I'm on, so I focus on that first. I also understand that Lamictal can have some bad withdrawal effects of its own. But I do hope to eventually get off it, as well as the Wellbutrin.

 

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fierceturtle

I know there's also a fair amount to untangle as far as the hormone replacement therapy, thyroid, and supplements -- especially since both the B complex and the multivitamin also contain herbal concoctions, for example:

PurVitality

  • Eleuthero (Standardized to 0.8% eleutherosides) (root)    125 mg
  • Sensoril® Ashwagandha (10% withanolides) (root and leaf extract)    125 mg
  • Rhodiola Rosea Extract (std. to 3% salidrosides, 1% rosavins) (root)    75 mg

UltraPreventiveX

  • Zeaxanthin isomers (from marigold flower extract)
  • Rutin (from Sophora japonica flower)

I still need to schedule my second "post-Cymbalta" checkup with the hormone specialist who recommended most of this supplement regimen (mentioned in previous post):

 

On 12/11/2018 at 10:14 PM, fierceturtle said:
Quote

Why are you taking thyroid hormone?

 

I've taken thyroid hormone for hypothyroidism since 2007 or 2008. I wondered about the Cymbalta drop affecting my levels too so I had them tested in September, two months after dropping to 0mg. At that point the doctor said everything was holding steady, but I'll be getting another follow-up soon. (I might also try for a second opinion at some point. This doctor is supposedly a highly regarded specialist/leader in the field, but I'm probably overdue to verify that this emperor is really wearing clothes.)

 

Thank you so much for your time reviewing and responding to me!

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Altostrata

You may be taking too much thyroid hormone. When was the last time your dosage was adjusted?

 

How was it determined you needed thyroid hormone?

 

2 hours ago, fierceturtle said:

 

* "bioidentical" compounded progesterone, estradiol, and testosterone

** vitamin B + herb complex ("PurVitality"), curcumin, vitamin D, folate, magnesium, multivitamin ("Ultra Preventive X"), zinc + C

 *** curcumin, DHEA, fish oil EPA/DHA, iodine, lithium orotate, magnesium, multivitamin ("Ultra Preventive X"), zinc + C

 

This is a lot of supplements! Why are you taking all those steroids PLUS DHEA? That could also be a problem. How are your levels of progesterone, estradiol,, testosterone, and DHEA being monitored?

 

That one day of symptom pattern indicates you're reacting to something you take in the morning -- it causes activation hours later. It could even be the coffee keeping you awake. You may wish to reduce your daily intake of caffeine.

 

Why lithium orotate? Why iodine? You're already taking thyroid hormone.

 

Why are you taking all of this "Ultra Preventive X"? Most multivitamins do not contain effective amounts of anything. 

 

It looks to me like you're overdoing a lot of complementary medicine -- and you feel poorly. Double-check your doses of iodine, zinc, and vitamin C. Too much zinc can cause a copper imbalance. Do not overdose any of them. More is not better.

 

B vitamins, vitamin D, and steroids can keep you awake. 

 

First, please reduce your supplements for a few days. I would appreciate your stopping the following for at least a while:

 

"PurVitality", DHEA, lithium orotate, iodine, zinc, vitamin D, folate

 

Multivitamin and anything else containing any of the B vitamins

 

I think this leaves your compounded hormones, thyroid hormones, curcimin, magnesium, vitamin C, fish oil -- is that correct? Keep track of your symptom pattern throughout the process. 

 

It still could be that Wellbutrin is causing an adverse effect, but you need to clear out the confounding factors first. 

 

I have to note I am worried about those steroids. Vitamin D is also converted into steroids. In women, DHEA tends to convert to testosterone, which can be activating. Steroid use can also cause "depression."

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JackieDecides
7 hours ago, Altostrata said:

It could even be the coffee keeping you awake. You may wish to reduce your daily intake of caffeine.

I know it feels like it would be too hard, but giving up coffee is possible.  it's amazing how much difference even one cup makes.

 

now that drink decaf, mostly, I find if I drink 3 cups of decaf I get a little buzz from it. 🙄

 

what I find now is that I can drink regular coffee but it has a huge effect on me - sometimes this is OK and sometimes not. it really seems to ramp up anxiety later in the day so I especially don't have the caffeinated kind on work days. or if I do, then I'm sorry later. 

 

good luck with everything @fierceturtle

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fierceturtle
5 hours ago, JackieDecides said:
12 hours ago, Altostrata said:

It could even be the coffee keeping you awake. You may wish to reduce your daily intake of caffeine.

I know it feels like it would be too hard, but giving up coffee is possible.  it's amazing how much difference even one cup makes.

 

now that drink decaf, mostly, I find if I drink 3 cups of decaf I get a little buzz from it. 🙄

 

what I find now is that I can drink regular coffee but it has a huge effect on me - sometimes this is OK and sometimes not. it really seems to ramp up anxiety later in the day so I especially don't have the caffeinated kind on work days. or if I do, then I'm sorry later. 

 

I would actually love to give up coffee! Not sure why I haven't already, given I'm no longer the zombie I was on Cymbalta. I started to quit it and then backed off, I forget why. Maybe just trying not to change too much at once. But I'll just go slow -- not medication slow, but enough to avoid headaches. Thanks for the encouragement!

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fierceturtle
14 hours ago, Altostrata said:

This is a lot of supplements! Why are you taking

 

You ask so many great "Why?"s that I've been also asking over the years! I sometimes get satisfying answers and sometimes just keep complying out of fear or being overwhelmed or not having time to do the research or figuring it can't hurt, etc.

 

I just wrote a very detailed reply and then lost it all when I tried to use a keyboard shortcut to undo one small thing. 😢I'll give it another go later.   

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fierceturtle

@JackieDecides, I really love your screen name. Spot on.  😊

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Altostrata

fiercet, all you need to do is fill your coffee cup up a little less each day to taper down over a couple of weeks. Please also do this.

 

As JackieDecides suggested, you may want to substitute decaf ultimately. Caffeine can have a big effect on sleep and nervousness.

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ChessieCat
21 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

you may want to substitute decaf

 

You can do a combo of caffeinated and decaf instead of reducing how much you drink.  I have different sized coffee mugs, and don't feel like I've had my morning cuppa if I don't use the largest one.

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JackieDecides
On 1/11/2019 at 11:28 AM, fierceturtle said:

@JackieDecides, I really love your screen name. Spot on.  😊

 

thank you! I don't always live up to it but I am trying. (when I am in a bad place I want someone else to be in charge)

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fierceturtle
On 1/11/2019 at 12:03 AM, Altostrata said:

First, please reduce your supplements for a few days. I would appreciate your stopping the following for at least a while:

 

"PurVitality", DHEA, lithium orotate, iodine, zinc, vitamin D, folate

 

Multivitamin and anything else containing any of the B vitamins

 

Are you suggesting that I cold-turkey quit all these things that I've been taking for years? I appreciate you pointing out that they may be contributing to symptoms like insomnia and anxiety. However, if they potentially have powerful effects on me, then is it wise to just drop them suddenly? 

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Altostrata

I doubt any of them is having a powerful effect on you. The multivitamins probably don't contain much of anything. The B and D vitamins might be contributing to your alerting. Lithium oratate should be a microdose -- even so, it can cause liver damage. Zinc without copper can be harmful. The iodine may be overstimulating your thyroid, which can also add to alerting. You can probably stop those right off. Please keep notes about what happens, if you feel any different. (You may sleep better.)

 

Have you gotten whiskers from the DHEA? That means it's converted to testosterone, which you're already taking in that highly questionable steroid treatment.

 

What is the steroid cocktail supposed to do for you, by the way?

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fierceturtle
On 1/11/2019 at 12:03 AM, Altostrata said:

You may be taking too much thyroid hormone. When was the last time your dosage was adjusted?

 

How was it determined you needed thyroid hormone?

 

My thyroid levels are measured via blood tests. The original test years ago showed that my levels were low, and the doctor prescribed medication accordingly. Since then she has continued to monitor my levels via blood tests and adjust my dosages accordingly. She last checked my levels on 9/5/18 and said the results indicated that my current dosages were correct.

 

On 1/11/2019 at 12:03 AM, Altostrata said:

Why are you taking all those steroids PLUS DHEA? That could also be a problem. How are your levels of progesterone, estradiol,, testosterone, and DHEA being monitored?

 

My levels of progesterone, estradiol, testosterone, and DHEA are also monitored via blood tests by the same doctor. The last check was 9/5/18, same as the thyroid. She has the three steroids compounded in a prescription cream and recommends a specific brand and dose of over-the-counter DHEA. I don't remember exactly why she thinks I need the DHEA, but she is aware it also converts to steroids.

 

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fierceturtle
12 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

highly questionable steroid treatment

 

Why do you say my steroid treatment is highly questionable?

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Altostrata

What is the medical necessity for you to be taking all these steroids? All steroids carry health risks such as increased rate of various cancers, strokes, heart attack, blood clots.

 

Thyroid treatment is complicated, and an area where patients need to participate. Did you have symptoms of hypothyroidism before you started thyroid medication? Or is your doctor only treating numbers? The numbers mean nothing without the symptoms.

 

Any or all of these prescriptions may be causing your current symptom pattern. They may even be responsible for symptoms like "depression," "anxiety," and sleep disruption.

 

Your history suggests you may be on an unnecessary drug merry-go-round, where side effects were misdiagnosed as other ailments and treated with more drugs, which caused more side effects, etc. You may consider adopting a project of "unpatienting" yourself and unwind the assumptions that you need all these pills -- including those arising from complementary medicine.

 

Anyway, if you're taking pills that might be causing or exacerbating your Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms, they will continue to do so until you reduce them. Your supplements are definitely excessive for someone with withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawal can make your nervous system hypersensitive to all kinds of things, including supplements and sometimes even foods. B vitamins are prime culprits.

 

If you don't want to go off the supplements, I don't think we can help you. We need to clear out anything that might be causing your symptoms to help get your system stabilized.

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fierceturtle
24 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

If you don't want to go off the supplements, I don't think we can help you.

 

I didn't say I don't want to go off the supplements. I said I was concerned about quitting them abruptly. The symptoms you say they may be causing are the "powerful effects" I was referring to. If I'm hypersensitive to being on them, it stands to reason I'll be hypersensitive to the changes that occur when I remove them.

 

51 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

You may consider adopting a project of "unpatienting" yourself and unwind the assumptions that you need all these pills -- including those arising from complementary medicine.

 

Yes, that is exactly what I meant in my Thursday post when I said, "I know there's also a fair amount to untangle as far as the hormone replacement therapy, thyroid, and supplements." I do not assume I need all of these things. I have been unsure and questioning them for years. I wish I could wake up tomorrow and not be taking any of them. But it's going to take time to figure it all out.

 

"Unpatienting" means taking back one's own agency and being able to ask questions when advice is given by people in authority, including advice on a forum about withdrawing from antidepressants.
 

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Altostrata
3 minutes ago, fierceturtle said:

"Unpatienting" means taking back one's own agency and being able to ask questions when advice is given by people in authority, including advice on a forum about withdrawing from antidepressants.

 

Good point!

 

Not sure what you were told when you were advised to take those supplements. Unfortunately, naturopaths do a lot of posturing. As I've explained in detail:

 

1 hour ago, Altostrata said:

Anyway, if you're taking pills that might be causing or exacerbating your Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms, they will continue to do so until you reduce them. Your supplements are definitely excessive for someone with withdrawal syndrome. Withdrawal can make your nervous system hypersensitive to all kinds of things, including supplements and sometimes even foods. B vitamins are prime culprits.

 

Please stop taking the supplements. You may be hypersensitive to them in A BAD WAY. Except for DHEA and vitamin D (both steroid-related), they have such short half-lives, withdrawal symptoms are unlikely.

 

Hopefully, you'll feel better afterward. Let us know how you're doing.

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