my Cymbalta/Duloxetine experience 

Cymbalta is the sixth of six antidepressants I’ve taken in the past five years, and is the first of the six which has significantly improved my ability to live well. It’s not necessarily normal living, but it has been easier to confront my life than ever before.
I started taking it in January of 2016, during a depressive episode which felt inescapable. About six weeks after taking Cymbalta for the first time, my outlook had shifted and my mentality was stable almost all of the time. As months went on, I found it easier to rationalise and dissipate anxiety associated with school work, leaving the house, appearance, social encounters, irrational fears/mild paranoid thoughts. Now, after eleven months of Cymbalta, I am able to feel calm when approaching most situations (which I would not have ventured close to previously). This included completing my final school exams which I swore I would never do when I left school prematurely, a few years back. I have been free of any significant periods of depression since January/February. I have a totally new perspective of myself, a new liking for myself as I am, and a sensibility which was once foreign.

The downside to my experience on Cymbalta is a weight gain of 10 kilograms and lack of sexual sensation. For these reasons, I have been deliberating giving it up for a couple of months. Since the beginning of November, I have reduced my dose to 15mg, and ten days ago, took nothing. I have always been very sensitive to medication withdrawals, and even going from 15mg to nothing, sent me into a sickly state.

Day 1 was okay and I hardly felt sick until the evening, when mild dizziness and nausea set in. Day 2 was worse – sweats, increased heart rate, headaches, nausea, back pain, dizziness, blurred vision. Day 3 and 4 were terrible and prompted me to begin taking Cymbalta again, and assume an even more ridiculously gradual weening. I experienced aggression and anger, bouts of inexplicable crying and an increased intensity of all of the symptoms from days 1 and 2.

I have taken 15mg of Cymblta for the past three nights and I almost feel normal again. Normal enough to function in the activities I have planned for the next few days. My plan is to take 15 mg until tomorrow, at which time I will take 7.5mg for another week. This is very tedious and inaccurate as it requires breaking the smallest dosage capsule of 30mg, and doing my best estimation of the granules. It’s definitely an interesting, love-hate relationship I have with this medication. Overall, I’m thankful for the clarity it has allowed me to feel regarding my capabilities and capacity to do more, feel more, and be more than I ever thought I could.

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