Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back soon.

I have been having problems with my current anti-depressant Cymbalta most of the week. If it isn't diarrhea, it is copious amounts of vomiting. If it isn't that, it's brain zaps. Today it's migraines and brain zaps.

I am finding my family doesn't seem to understand how sick I really am. Believe me, the leaves are just starting to turn, and it's my favorite time of the year. I have so many things I want to do. But on a bad day I can get out of bed, change the cat's water and then feed her, and clean her litter box. Take some ice water, and my meds. Then go back to bed, with the shakes, and the bucket.

On a good day, it's the same thing, but I can check the news on several US and British websites, and a few bloggers I love to read. Maybe comment before my head is back in the bucket, and I am back in bed again.

I haven't seen my parents since Yom Kippur, and my mother is hurt. I don't blame her. Yesterday she told me that she saw her mother in Brooklyn more than I am seeing her. Brooklyn was about 50 miles away. My parents are 2 miles away.

I cannot help but wonder, especially since it is October, and every where I look I see pink ribbons, that if I had cancer, they would understand why I feel sick now most of the time. But when I tell people I feel sick from a med, I am told "It's all in my head", and "Get over it".

Maybe that's why I don't go into a lot of detail about the problems I have had with a lot of the meds I have been on, either now or in the past.

I don't want sympathy. It's a fact of life. I don't want to be a victim either. I just want to be able to live with the least amount of side effects and be able to do the things I use to be able to do.

I have been jotting down ideas on a pad next to my bed, and a microcasstte recorder, and hope in the next few days I can be able to sit long enough to write something coherent and post it. Or I will have a few really good days without brain zaps, migraines, and other side effects. Maybe it's just a bad week. i hope next week i don't have anything other than some mild discomfort from this.


Gianna said...

I've been debilitated by drug withdrawal for 2 years and getting much much worse in the last few weeks. I can't really write anymore either..

I think about the cancer comparison all the time. Though you know, being seriously debilitated scares people away regardless of the cause...I've worked with a lot of terminally ill people...sick people are abandoned in our society regardless of what the illness is, but I do agree we have it worse...

The thing no one in my life disbelieves me...not in my personal life...they all know I have a serious physical problem...but I still am isolated and alone and since it doesn't have a name feel that lack of legitimacy that you feel. People do not go out of their way to help me out or see if I could use help of company, in spite of my telling them how little I am capable of.

my biggest fear is that my body has been so damaged I won't recover...and I don't want to talk about that on my blog...

it's very lonely and scary. and I do know that most people out in the blogosphere don't get it either...

I hope we both feel better soon.

Immi said...

Too many people don't understand how sick meds can make you. One day horridly, the next day merely rottely. I hope you get past it quickly. *sending hugs*

Radagast said...

I'm not sure what to write, to be honest, although I feel I ought to write something. What are you going to write about, next week?


AA said...

Wow, brain zaps while you're taking it, even? I remember the doctor who put me on effexor had me take it twice a day even though it was the extended release version, to maintain a more even blood level. I don't know if that would help you at all or if cymbalta just isn't going to work out for you.

Take care!

Mark p.s. said...

I hope you are eating something for energy, fibre ( to move the medicine along), and proteins. You didn't describe food.

Alaa said...

Hi Susan,

You don't know me. I ran into your blog while looking for something on if you're going through hell. Um.. i'm curious, what is it that you have? Is it a psychological disorder? Or what exactly? what's your story?


Dano MacNamarrah said...

Susan~I've written before about the different treatment those with a physical illness receive. As Gianna says, there are those who react badly to those with terminal illnesses. I believe that fear has a lot to do with this.

I am lucky, inasmuch as I don't generally have very bad side effects. My problems lie in my body becoming used to the drugs to the point where they no longer work. If I'm not on top of this, I'll end up in the hospital for months at a time.

My heart goes out to, and hope that you can find a med that makes you well, not sick.

Merelyme said...

I am so sorry you are going through this susan. Can you tell me what brain zaps are? Can your doctor help with these side effects? Know that I am thinking about you.

Anonymous Drifter said...

I hope this horrible time passes quickly and your body adjusts.

Border Life said...

So sorry to hear it :-( I hope you called your pdoc / doctor about these side effects... I hear you about people not understanding how sick these drugs can make you, so frustrating! I hope you are feeling better soon. Take care. <3 BL

K said...

How much Cymbalta are you taking a day?
A couple of weeks after I started taking 30mgs (practically none) I had the diarehhea so many times a day I lost count. This went on for 10 weeks. My GP ordered a colonoscopy but even with insurance, $800 out of pocket was not worth it to me. I decided to go back on Adderall XR via my GP. Funny thing was, a med that publisized diarehhea as a side effect stopped it in me. I've been taking 60mgs of Cymbalta a day now for about a year. Its finally losing its effectiveness and I dread the thought of increasing the dose.

Susan, make sure that you stay hydrated. I hope that you find a med that works for you and lets you live your life.

s said...

I think I've commented this before, but Cymbalta was the worst drug I have ever taken, just like you are describing. It actually did sort of even out my moods, but left me with a deep passive suicidality, lack of joy, and the physical symptoms were horrific.

Ana said...

I never heard about brain zaps being side effect of SSRIs.
I would also like to know how does it feels.
I hate the fact you're alone! I know what does it means. I lost many friends and family thinks I'm a looser.
I went through side effects, withdrawal and everything alone.
When I've fished the Effexor withdrawal and felt terrible I had to have people in my house for the first time in my entire life.
It was terrible.
People don't have a clue about what we feel and it's hard to explain in words what we feel.
I don't think you should be taking Cymbalta any longer.
For how long are you taking it?
Give us more details Susan.
Perhaps someone can give you a hint.
I know what you mean by not wanting sympathy and so on.
You want to feel fine.

Abhaya said...

I have always wished that I had a disease that people could see. At least them maybe people would understand. I wouldn't hear things like "just move on" or "get over it". People who don't live with metal illness just don't get it.

Anonymous said...


Exactly who told you it's "all in your head" and to "get over it?" And are you sure those are precisely the words those people used? It's easy to misinterpret the words of others when we're depressed and physically ill on top of it.

Remember, you need to understand your famliy as much as you want them to understand you.

It's largely a generational thing. You are blessed with one of the most loving families I know. They'll always love you whether or not they understand you. Their love is unconditional. Please don't hold their inablility to do more against them.

I know your pain and suffering are real. Accepting that your family can never fully understand can help can soften your frustration.

Remember that your friends have been there and do understand. AK

Patricia said...

Susan, I am so sorry you feel so bad! I hope the Striped One is comforting you--her Auntie Patti tells her this is one of her "duties"!!!

I'm on Cymbalta myself--60mg/day--and I'm not sure how much it's helping. *sigh* But at least it isn't making me so sick!!!

Sending you tons of love and a bushel of warm hugs! Take care of yourself, sweetie, get well soon! You know you are loved!!! :-)

Love and hugs,

Anonymous said...


When you tell people...? No, when you *told* one person he said that. He's been out of your life for two years and wasn't good for you anyway. That's past tense.

Have you told your pdoc how ill you are from the meds? You must! She wouldn't want you to be so sick.

I think we've all felt that way about physical illness. It's tragic but so true that we get little support from many others. That's why we need to stick together!

You have not lost your friends and family. Your family has proven time and again that they would *anything* for you.

Your friends would as well, but remember they (we) have the illnesss as well. We're down there in hell keeping you company!

We plan to see you sometime next month, before TG. AK

susan said...

Hi AK.

Thanks for your comment. I was actually correct in what i said, there was the one person I emailed you privately about, and also a couple members of my family.

I don't like discussing that because I know they are reading the blog. But one of them told me she wished I would give this blog up, and another member of the family is convinced I need lithium and an anti-depressant. i have, personally had bad experiences with anti-depressants, they work like a charm for a few months, maybe somewhere around 3-6, and then they poop out. At this point, there aren't many left to try I haven't been on already.

The doc is aware of the side effects but is convinced if i go to another drug, I would have the same type of side effects , based on previous experiences with all the other anti-depressants.

You are right about my family, but they believe if I just take my pills everything will be OK. I would do anything for them,. But i do believe the best anti-depressant is the cat

No side effects other than an occasional fur ball, and hair all over the furniture.

Looking forward to seeing you AK. Hope you c an meet the cat.

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

I cannot help but wonder, especially since it is October, and every where I look I see pink ribbons, that if I had cancer, they would understand why I feel sick now most of the time.

I've thought this so many times. I'm all for supporting a cure for breast cancer but they seem to take up all the donations and oxygen. I don't know of any mental health rallies let alone any with similar exposure. We're the dirty little secret in our societies.

Anonymous said...

Not a rally, but a walk that attempts to shed light on what may be the dirtiest little secret:

Nearly $100,000 donated for prevention in one day:

There have been some mental health rallies but as you say, handsome, they'll never get the press they deserve.


Not Very Anonymous Mom said...

susan, everyone in my family reads my blog, except my dad. i haven't told him about it - he gets too upset when rob isn't nice to me. silly really, but he's my dad and i'm a higher priority to him than rob is - know what i mean?

anyway, since they've been reading the blog they've all become more aware of what we go through every day. and if they still have opinions about the situation, they at least keep them to themselves if they think i will be hurt.

i was going to suggest that you write them a letter, but maybe if you let them read your blog, warts and all - that could possibly help them to understand your day to day problems and your efforts to get past them?

i dunno.

but, i love you and here's a hug.


Lizzie said...

I could relate to your entry. I too try to stay away from talking about my medication. I am on a pretty heft dose. Every time I mentioned it there are truly caring people online and off who become worried about my dosages being what they are. I just hope that one day mental health sufferers do not have to live with shame- on or off medication.

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