What better way to celebrate being FM meds free, side-effect free, somewhat withdrawal free……….by getting ink’d of course 🙂
Those who know me know my struggle with chronic FM pain and also how the cocktail of meds caused so many side effects that I was mostly numb….devoid of feelings. It was exactly a year ago, in Feb 2015, by sheer luck, that I went off those meds for 3 days when I was visiting my aunt. The visible absence of side effects and boy, that sure is a loooooong list, motivated me to talk to my doctor, who of course refused to listen to anything I had to say and tried to shrug it off. So with the help of Guru and Rekha, I decided to quit Cymbalta, cold-turkey. While it was not the best way when compared to tapering, I just could not take the side effects anymore.
Then…….the withdrawal begun (Read: Withdrawal 101). I can’t even begin to recount the symptoms, it was really extreme and visible. The pain was intense and the symptoms were all over the place – from dry mouth to sudden sweats, shaking to dizziness, mood swings to disorientation (that was actually the worst). I remember Guru saying that “it’s like someone has switched off the light within you…….you are fine one second and then you come crashing down and are totally off, unfocused, disoriented…name it, it is there“. What helped me though was talking to Guru and Rekha about what/how I am feeling, cuddling with my boys/ lying down with them when they go to bed, writing, exercising, yoga, sudarshan kriya, meditation and just existing.
Being unable to feel impacts you in so many ways, I can’t even begin to explain……..i still have moments when I try to think about something significant in my life and I just come up blank (be it names, what we did, where we went). I think that was the key…..the starting point. The pain is still there, intense most times but I know I am in pain and I can FEEL my emotions. I do not have any involuntary seizure like movements/ spasms or brain zaps, no nightmares/waking up screaming, no night sweats or hallucinations. However I still experience some kind of disorientation/slight memory impairment and have a lot of difficulty falling asleep (but that might be due to pain). I definitely could not have gotten the willpower or the motivation to go back to school again if I had not quit Cymbalta.
But now I am back in school again and just taking things as they come….there is no point stressing out over the unknown, when you don’t even know what is in store for the next moment. That doesn’t mean I don’t plan…..of course I do plan ahead to deal with the symptoms I have. I set reminders for self/draft up to-do lists that I can check off.
Every time I see a commercial on TV for a psychiatric drug or any drug for that matter, I feel so angry and sad even, when they list the side effects of a particular medicine. Guru and I have become very cautious with what meds we and the kids take, if we do have to take any and anytime someone, even a doctor, tells me about ‘a new medicine on the market,’ I just run so fast……All I can do and am doing is to do my bit in spreading the word.
Last time I got ink’d was in 2013 and I was just beginning to accept the pain and how it changed me as a person………I could not have gone through withdrawal and still be writing about this if not for the strength and support of my lovely kids, Vidu and Vish, my wonderful husband Guru, my amazing friend Rekha, my patient parents, bro and SIL – Kala and Raja (KR) and my bro and SIL (ramrats)……2 years forward, in Feb 2015, am rising out of pain, working on healing myself more and focusing on getting there eventually, no matter how long it takes.
O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
- Want to know more about ill-effects of Cymbalta, withdrawal and FM in general? These links/groups will help
- – Beyond Meds: Everything Matters: http://beyondmeds.com/2014/07/22/darkness-of-drug-withdrawal/
- – Psychiatric drug withdrawal information and resources: http://beyondmeds.com/2012/12/04/psychiatric-drug-withdrawal/
- – Cymbalta survivors and victims: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CymbaltaSurvivorsAndVictims
- – Cymbalta Dangers International: https://www.facebook.com/CymbaltaDangersInternational/?fref=ts
- – Morgan Freeman on FM: http://www.mdjunction.com/forums/fibromyalgia-me-discussions/men-with-fibromyalgia/10504846-morgan-freemanfamous-male-face-of-fibro
- – Conscious and Holistic Living with Chronic Pain: https://lgvblogs.wordpress.com/fm-corner/