Category Archives: Cymbalta suicide ideation

dankly dumbed

it’s been four months since i last took a cymbalta and, a lifetime or several since the horrific trudge and crawl that has been cymbalta withdrawal.

tinnitus remains and i occasionally get a visit of bowling ball head but the most detrimental dropping of the experience is a depression…devastatingly deep and dark.

i wonder, when i can muster the initiative for such an ambitious endeavor, about the potential of permanent alteration to my body’s ability to produce and use serotonin and norepinephrine. these chemicals affect mood. cymbalta inhibits the re-uptake of these two brain messengers thereby causing an accumulation and increasing the amount present in the brain. cocaine works this way by inhibiting the re-uptake of dopamine.

neither cymbalta nor cocaine create additional neurotransmitters but rather inhibit what’s there from being taken away, as it would in the natural process. over time the body will decrease the amount it produces if there is enough present; its process is likely to atrophy if it determines a decreasing lack of demand to create more. in time cocaine users need more cocaine because the brain reduces the amount of dopamine it produces and the way to get more is to further reduce the re-uptake to maintain the feeling that dopamine induces.

thing is, the body can be helped to increase the amount of neurotransmitters it makes by simply providing the materials – nutrients! directly and indirectly, the body converts the essential amino acid tryptophan and non-essential tyrosine into serotonin and norepinephrine respectively. both aminos are part of the proteins of fish, eggs and meat. tryptophan is also found in chocolate, spirulina and sesame seeds. passionfruit and papaya can increase tyrosine production.

so, why in the hell would a dr. prescribe a two-hundred-dollar-a-month drug to trick the brain into hanging on to used neurotransmitters?

greed and horseshit. for example:

tryptophan was available as a supplement until it was banned by the FDA on March 22, 1990. the process to produce it, by a particular supplier, was contaminated and consequently twenty-seven Americans who ingested it died and fifteen hundred others were disabled. the process, not the nutrient, was the cause.

on March 26, 1990, four days after the tryptophan ban by the FDA, Newsweek’s feature article was about eli lilly’s serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, Prozac (“Prozac: A Breakthrough Drug for Depression”).


Suicide; it’s ok until someone loses a life

A common experience of people attempting to quit Cymbalta, and for many people who are taking it, is suicidal ideation. This varies in degree from a fleeting thought to detailed planning that would include the method, location and timing. I worked as a crisis volunteer for several years and spoke with many people who’d called the center because of concerns about suicidal thoughts. People on a subway platform, with a loaded gun and some with “just” the dark thoughts.

The problem with suicide as an option to stop the pain is inherent in the permanence of the act; once the option has been elected, there aren’t going to be any more options. Of course it is one that we can keep as a plan “D” or “E” while we continue to work with other approaches.

Amongst other indications, Cymbalta is prescribed to treat depression. Lilly were denied approval by the FDA to sell Cymbalta for treatment of stress incontinence because of “liver toxicity” and a record of “suicide events”.  There is a documented case that I’m aware of where one respected, middle-aged gentleman committed suicide two weeks after beginning a Cymbalta prescription. Statistically, younger people are more at risk of suicide while taking Cymbalta.

So, Cymbalta is too dangerous for people who wet themselves under stress because it poisons their liver and leads to suicidal ideation and suicide, but it’s okay to give it to people who are clinically depressed. Huh? Is it that people who are depressed, have back pain, or, as in my case ADHD, have less societal value and can serve as fodder for Lilly’s shareholders. Did I mention that Eli Lilly have earned $10 Billion (USD) with Cymbalta since obtaining FDA approval in 2004? Health Canada approved it in 2008; why did it take the Canucks so long, eh?

Another common withdrawal symptom is insomnia and I’ve experienced it pretty much since I stopped taking the stuff. During an out-of-province visit with family during Thanksgiving I found myself at 04hrs00, learning to play Wii Tennis; no, really, just myself since everyone else had gone to bed at a reasonable hour. I’d also been writing poetry on my iPhone and the combination of the awkwardness of the typing interface and my Cymbalta-withdrawal-lack of patience resulted in several iPhone launches during the writing.

This was about to be the fourth consecutive night without the benefit of a meaningful collection of sleep-hours. At home, I’d found that a spirited top-down drive often helped as a relaxant and, since none of the solutions I’d tried thus far seemed to work, I decided to go for a drive.

In the absence of a particular destination, I took my overnight bag in case I got close to home. Home is nearly four hours away from the family Thanksgiving location and if I got there, I might not want to return. I did leave a gold family ring on the night table.

The next conscious recollection of the drive was the rear-view mirror image of flashing lights attached to a vehicle driven by an Ontario Provincial Police officer. In retrospect, I believe that he’d pulled in behind me and didn’t actually pull me over. I’d pulled over to work my iPhone-based GPS.

Says I was doing 151 KMH, or 50 KM over the limit. Says I was on the 401. I think he’s made a mistake. No, maybe it was me.

not out of the ffog

not yet

one step forward, followed by a visit to the crater

bowling-ball head, occasional flashes of rage

denseness of thought and deed

debilitating depressive episodes


will we ever be there yet?

bitterness awaits in strained abeyance. the consequences of the cymbalta story continue, life moves forward. periods of time have passed during which i’ve not been aware of an intrusion of symptoms.

when a stumble occurs, whether at a physical, psyche and / or emotional level, i’m reminded. it is more than bothersome. jagged-edged concerns about how much i’ve lost and how long it will remain that way.

the end might be in sight. it’s not fair. it’s not right either.


occasionally hopeful

don’t know how the date became 22/11. last time i noticed, it was around the 15th and i saw 18/11 once. a lot of time in bed, mostly sleeping. i’ve clawed back some of the sleep deprivation of the past 8 weeks but became concerned that i’d slipped into a dark and foggy funk. today, i couldn’t get back to sleep after 03:30 so I read until 04:30 and then got up. it felt like an event to rejoice.

meditated and managed a work-out. i don’t remember when the last one was. doesn’t matter. hoping that the pain amplification doesn’t kick in tonight…will take an Advil and a hot jacuzzi to help ward it off.

bowling-ball head persists as does the limited supply of tolerance. being able to put a foot in front of the other is…a step in the right direction. a bad pun is a good sign.

would embrace an opportunity to partake in a well-publicized class action against lilly. they’ve been unable to find an insurance company that will provide coverage so they’ve become self-insured. any settlement money would come directly from their bottom line. if it were significant enough, share-holders would bail like rats on a sinking ship, which in turn would reduce the company’s value for the remaining shareholders and for those otherwise vested in the stock’s performance.

scars by lilly

many of us who are riding this horrid piece of track have learned how difficult it is to find support. many physicians are either guided by Lilly sales propaganda or driven by malpractice premiums. loved ones don’t get it and become as victimized as we have been by the merciless rage that can surface in an instant and, by the consequences of our alienation. it’s not this way for all of us but it is for too many and for many more, it’s worse.

while battling the demonic clutches of this crap, many of us experience and entertain suicidal thoughts…suicidal ideation. it’s an indication of the extreme darkness we find ourselves in that the notion of ending our lives is one of the options we’re entertaining. unfortunately, tragically, there have been some of us who have been unable to keep the idea of suicide in its place as just one of the options or as a way of explaining how rough it can feel to simply live our lives.

the downside of using suicide as a way out is that it eliminates the opportunity to consider other options. even grinding it out for another day leaves the door open for other approaches and of finding the sunny day that could show up tomorrow. we’ll have scars, sure. we’ll still be here and we can always keep suicide as an option, as a metaphor or, not.

i’ve still got bowling-ball head, i woke up this afternoon with a headache that is worse than before, my balance is off and i just threw my iPhone down the hall because it’s acting stupid again.

screw it. nearly day 50, let’s see what nearly day 51 brings.