another daze

my prescribed supply of Cymbalta ran out at the end of September 2010 – the pharmacy then provided me with three capsules while we awaited a response from the prescribing physician, an ADHD specialist, to whom I’d indicated my plans to stop taking the Cymbalta. in a misguided effort to wean off the Cymbalta while waiting for direction from the doctor, i took the three capsules over the following week. each time Cymbalta is depleted from the system a new round of withdrawal begins. its half-life is reported at twelve to seventeen hours so just missing a day causes bells to sound.

it’s been two months less the start-stop week since I’ve taken Cymbalta. the withdrawal symptoms, or in the terms Lilly use to describe the visit to this oozing, black mire, discontinuation syndrome, continue. lately there have been periods lasting several days where symptoms have remained diminished and the chance that their effects are near depletion raises its hopeful little head. then, just like the fairground game where the idea is to mallet a groundhog that is audacious enough to stick its head out of one the available holes, bam, i get slammed.

besides the bowling-ball head, headaches, inexplicable flashes of rage and depressive bouts i’ve noticed a certain clumsiness; it’s similar but different from the balance / vertigo problem that seems is common among us discontinuation violators; it seems that neural connections to my hands and fingers has been re-routed. the dropping of keys illustrates this well and yesterday i counted no less than five key drops. glad i’m not handling crystal.

there are people on forums who wonder whether some of these symptoms are to remain permanently. two months feel like permanent already and there’s a real issue with becoming too accustomed to these experiences; if Cymbalta has left permanent marks on our central nervous system, it will have an impact on everything we do but, we won’t be able to discern to what degree. what’s normal? has the veterinarian who is about to operate on your dog been taking Cymbalta?

Lilly have generated nearly $10B US since 2004 with Cymbalta, a drug they don’t understand yet work to broaden its usage and distribution. If Lilly’s share price were to drop, on a bad-news sell-off for instance, to $25 from its current $33.9, the value of the company (capitalization) would fall by $10.3B or approximately one-quarter of the company’s value. For those of us living through the results of their greed i.e. selling drugs that do what this stuff does, it would still be grossly unfair.

like a joke, without that annoying funny part at the end

i recall a report of a research study that described how kittens, whose environment was restricted to horizontal surfaces, were unable to discern vertical surfaces. when chairs were introduced into their space they would bump into the legs.

sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate the point where the withdrawal symptoms leave off. i’ve been needing a lot of sleep of late; rather unusual especially with a full to-do list. there’s snow on the ground this morning and i’m wondering if my balance is still being effected and whether it’ll impact my ability to ski. i’ve been navigating the consequences of cymbalta-withdrawal for so long that it’s hard to determine the current potency of some of the symptoms. bowling-ball head syndrome and limited patience are particularly pervasive and as subtle as a klaxon at a funeral home so i know that i’m still in the experience. regrettably.

astonished and dazed

still with the bowling-ball head. doing ok on reestablishing a “normal” day/night rhythm but still feeling like i’m inside the ordeal. exhausted, most tasks require a significant exertion of effort just to start and for many, i’ve been on the cusp of saying screw it until the arrival of a distant tomorrow. fewer than before, but still many. too many.

sometimes i’m reminded of the context of this experience and how truly surreal it all is.

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.

out of time

this experience has used up so much, too much, time. too much life has been pissed away on Cymbalta’s discontinuation syndrome. there’s stuff i ought to be doing. i paid a huge cost to come here to write a book and feel as though i’ve betrayed the effort and intent.

i started taking Cymbalta under the direction and care of an ADHD specialist and the intent was to enable me to keep a directed focus on the task at hand. we’d tried different combinations of medications to balance neurotransmitters so that it would happen. tried Lilly’s Strattera (Atomoextine), an ADHD-specific, non-stimulant med that was originally intended as an anti-depressant but didn’t pass clinical trials as such.

i was so enthused about the possibility of being able to experience life without the ADHD symptoms that i chose to follow dr’s suggestions down the yellow brick road. my partner at the time repeatedly advised me that the meds were having detectable negative effects. i knew, but rationalized the possible trade-off.  i developed horrendous prostatitis while taking the Strattera. couldn’t eat for two weeks and became quite weakened. it wasn’t a documented side-effect though prostatitis was reported by Strattera patients who posted on forums. always discussed side effects with the doc, he didn’t say, didn’t know about this one.

instead, i ended up with Lilly’s Cymbalta (Duloxetine), a med that did pass trials as an anti-depressant. it didn’t pass trials as a treatment for stress incontinence, because of “concerns over suicide events and liver toxicity”. Jesus, they don’t have a clue about how any of this stuff works or what all it does and they’ve already sold ten-billion dollars worth of Cymbalta. doc didn’t tell me that i’d feel this way if i stopped taking the Cymbalta.

people are committing suicide, loving, lifetime relationships are being annihilated because of these drugs. it may not be just Eli Lilly who operates this way but it is Lilly’s products that i have exposure to.

Lilly, the governing licensing agencies and the prescribing physicians together don’t know what happens when hopeful, trusting patients take the drugs they’re being sold and people are suffering and dying as a result. dying. this is wrong and i’m tired, really tired of feeling this way.

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.

days disappear, forever

asleep by 02hrs00, as planned. out of bed, 15hrs30 as dreaded.

It’s been nearly eight full weeks since I took my last Cymbalta and it seems Lilly’s vengeance for denying their coffers the revenue is to manifest a replay of every pain, ache and depressed moment accumulated over a lifetime; with amplification.

If there was ever a benefit to taking Cymbalta, regardless of the grandeur of its promise, it could never be commensurate to the price. If the cost was mere blood, I’d gratefully pay the piper and move on, considerably wiser. As it is, the price continues to be extracted in currencies of time and a quantum quality of life. There are somewhat tangible issues around efficiencies and the lack of achievement though these can be discounted when compared to the horrendous costs associated with the interpersonal effects of this experience and how it has taken us away from the people and places in our lives.

Sure, it’s important to let the people we love, know that we love them when we leave them, of course. Fate and circumstance can and do conspire and we’d want to be certain they know how we feel about them. The idea that we have been moved to a different dimension of existence, while attempting to heal some other malady, is difficult to reconcile and impossible to explain.

Pain, discomfort, alienation. How is it that elected governments are able to enable a corporation like Lilly, one that has already demonstrated a willingness to trade corporate integrity and human safety in exchange for profitability, to continue and expand this travesty? Is it simply that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely i.e. money talks, everything else walks?

For anyone looking for more empathy on the web, among the many forums of support for Cymbalta victims, there is one that is particularly well constructed

could be

Woke with the usual headache, this the more regular left side, just in front of the ear. I did get up before 09:30 after getting to sleep some time after 04:30…so, good. Other than the bowling-ball head and a few moments close to the emotional edge this evening, today was an overall improvement over most that have passed since the first of October.

I resumed work on an outline for a screenplay that’s been dormant for two months; it felt like an accomplishment.

I’m going to make an effort to be asleep before two o’clock tonight and work to reestablish a more regular sleep / wake pattern. While insomnia has been a problem, it is also difficult to get out of bed – the Cymbalta withdrawal / discontinuation syndrome wants to suck and blow at the same time.


Clumsiness, Confusion and Migrating Pain

Occasionally I’m overcome by a feeling that only seems expressible by crying. I guess it’s that way because I seem to lack any ability to control it. I’ve read about people, who are suffering Cymbalta withdrawal, getting into crying jags that last for hours. Mine tends to fade after five minutes or so, I think. There is a thickness of thought present that has accompanied me on the “discontinuation” that extends to a sense of time as well as to physical activities, like walking, standing and writing.

A Cymbalta Moment

At one point during week two, I attempted to articulate a few thoughts about what I was experiencing and found it difficult to both formulate the thought and control a pencil to write what I could. The result, as seen on the image of the torn page on the left reads “…and unable to steer my fucking life”. That’s a pretty accurate depiction of what the sheer, pervasive heaviness of the feeling of withdrawal is. The note goes on with a large WTF, which tore through the page and I then noted some of the physical experiences, which were new at the time: “Feeling of circulation issues in my feet, today R foot – 3 smallest toes. Then, back to an emotional level: “Seething anger – destruction. I want to get out of here”

Now, at day 43 (or so; it’s too much work to figure it out precisely), the physical pain is present though it is appearing less often. It migrates from location to location though the left shoulder and triceps area are regular spots. The clumsiness continues with too many awkward moments.

I’ve been taking three grams of fish oil-based Omega 3 and I meditate twice a day. The meditation is notably helpful.

There is one persistent pain that occurs at the back of my neck, just at the top of the spinal column where it disappears from view to merge with the brain stem. This is a stabbing pain that is more than annoying. I recently watched a video blog featuring a young mother who, being awake at 04:00 and trying to work before her child awoke, describes the experience as a feeling of having scissors repeatedly plunged into the base of the skull. I know that it sounds dramatic; it is what it is.

The issue most difficult for me now lies in the uncertainty about how long the symptoms will continue. I’ve been working on writing a book and a screenplay and would really appreciate getting back to whatever capacity is available. Some people say that the brain zaps / bowling ball head might be permanent. Once thing is for sure, we can never give up.

Erin Brockovitch, the advocate made famous by her work and the movie about forcing Pacific Gas & Electric to be held accountable for allowing poisonous deposits to enter the ground water, has opened a file on Cymbalta withdrawal. I’ve sent a note to her to ask about Canadian affiliation.

Since entering into a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Lilly still lack incentive to do the right thing and they continue to peddle this stuff and even expand its use. Ten billion dollars along with demanding shareholders represent the crossroads of moral righteousness and, having passed through there relatively unscathed, the inmates are now running the asylum.

Fear and greed drive the financial markets. Lilly and their Cymbalta product are sodden with these characteristics; no doubt that a sell-off of Lilly shares, along with the consequential vanishing capitalization will get their attention.

mice can fly, they don’t always land well

The RAGE. It surfaces quickly and you can hear it running up the sidewalk. It is often accompanied by an eery calmness, remarkably incongruent to the amount of emotion present. In the moment I know it means that I’ve exhausted the allocated helping of patience and it’d be more useful to simply step away from the issue for a minute. Nope. It’s almost as if I’ve been given license and purpose to rant, pound upon or, in the case of the computer mice, hurl as hard and as far as I possibly can down the hall. The little white one from Apple survived three hurls though it was taped up for the second two flights. The other one is still missing.


So far I’ve not broken anything of value that can’t be replaced. I’ve managed to walk away from my computer, limited edition guitar and the TV set at the right time; barely. There was one event where I cleaned everything from the top of my desk unto the floor in a single, vigorous sweep. This was stuff that I’d picked up from the floor, storage boxes and filing cabinets and neatly placed on top of my desk for filing during a major re-organization of my office. It was stacked a foot-and-a-half high.

A brother told me that I’d been belligerent during a Thanksgiving visit. I recalled being intolerant for “family things” that I’d typically have tolerance for. In any event, something has noticeably changed.