After reading about the extreme struggles many people faced when coming off Cymbalta I continued researching to ensure I had the best odds of successfully weathering the storm. Despite the common approach of tapering, I decided to go cold turkey; just made more sense to me since I was only on 60mg and the thought of counting "beads" via taper sounded absolutely ridiculous. I just wanted to get it over with.
I wanted to keep records of my experience so I set an alarm on my phone to remind me everyday to jot down some details about my day, the good and the bad, so I could track my progress.
Day 1 - Day 3 [The calm before the storm.]
Aside from struggling to get out of bed and some mild vertigo it wasn't too bad. I was able to work with no problems and thought maybe this whole withdrawal thing wouldn't be so bad.
Day 4 - Day 9 [Hell]
Wow was I wrong... These were BY FAR the hardest days for me. Things really escalated during this timeframe. Aside from extreme vertigo, my head felt as if it was going to explode, had flu-like symptoms, I cried (very rare for me), irritability was out of control, ZERO focus, crazy thoughts, insomnia and overall an absolutely miserable experience. I actually had to take 3 days off from work since I couldn't operate normally; handling my clients finances during this trying time didn't seem like a good idea.
Day 10 - 15 [Steady Improvement]
It wasn't until the 10th day that I began feeling slightly "normal" again. All symptoms slowly began subsiding; every day was better than the last. It gave me the additional hope that I desperately needed after feeling, mentally, like I just fought Mike Tyson for 10 rounds. This was also a pleasant surprise since so many posts and reports indicated these symptoms could last up to 5 weeks.
Today is DAY 16 and I feel amazing, I've experienced nothing but improvements over the past few days and can confidently say I feel normal again. My inner drive to succeed has returned, focus is in full effect, and I got my libido back, hallelujah!
EXERCISE, DIET & SUPPLEMENTATION:
You have to stay active. I know it sounds daunting but I forced myself on the treadmill for 30 minutes every morning. I also found that socializing helped, which was ironic because the absolute last thing I wanted to do was be social.
I've been on a diet for the past 2 months so eating healthy was no issue. I made sure to consume lots of vegetables and fish (tuna/salmon have tons of Omega's). I drank between 1 - 2 gallons of water per day to ensure I kept my system flushed.
I used the following supplements throughout my withdrawal. The fish oil is for the rich omega's for healthy brain functioning and the B-3 & B-6 play a vital role in the creation/conversion of serotonin. Maybe they helped, maybe they didn't, but from a psychological and health standpoint I found it very soothing that I was taking proactive measures :
Getting off Cymbalta is not an overnight process and the more you know/prepare, the better. Do your research, there's a ton of great information out there, and try to go in with expectations. Despite some of the horror stories you may come across, just know that not all symptoms affect everyone. For example, the "brain zaps" that many talk about never affected me. When symptoms hit, just keep reminding yourself that they're perfectly normal and that everyday is one step closer to feeling great.
I will be experimenting with a holistic approach to improve my mental health. Based on my research, once I reach 30 days off Cymbalta I will begin introducing L-Tryptophan and L-Tyrosine into my diet, tapering up at first, and dosing strategically throughout the day. At first I contemplated using 5-HTP for mood enhancement, but there were significant studies that show L-Tryptophan to be far superior for what I'm looking to accomplish.