Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Psychiatry Tales or I don't want to go back on Cymbalta!

I’m sitting in my psychiatrist’s office in an overstuffed beige wing chair. It reminds me of Archie Bunker’s chair. My mother is near me sitting on an overstuffed red pattern that reminds me of William Morris. I wish my mother wasn’t here. This is the downsize of my bout in November with shut kidneys and bladder- she is treating me like I am 16. It’s getting on every last nerve I have, and like a teenager, I want to rebel. Smoke or drink, or do something to irritate her. 

My mother is talking to my doctor; I cannot get a word in edgewise. Something about me sleeping the day away. I try to tell her it’s from the kidney/bladder medicine, but she isn’t buying it. Not now. I’m lazy. 

She’s talking pills. The only pill she recalls me taking is Cymbalta, and she wants the doc to put me on that. I get upset. I don’t want to go on that drug. I was on it three years ago and the side effects after the first 2 months were horrible. It's because of Cymbalta I developed agoraphobia, not to mention a dozen other side effects like severe bloating, confusion, twitching in my arms and face, impossible to read a book, constantly thirsty, itching, a feeling like bugs were crawling over me (I had that one with Prozac too), and the worst, when I went off cold turkey on the doctors suggestion, I had brain zaps for the first time in my life.

The doctor says she will look into it, call my kidney doctor and get back to my mother. Mom is adamant I need to be on something. I’m depressed. 

“I’m not depressed mom, I am sad, in pain and frustrated”, I tell her. My father doesn’t want me to be on any meds. But my father is going downhill. My mother is calling all the shots now in their marriage. In any marriage there is always a dominate partner, even if it’s 50/50 it’s always 51/49. 

My mother looks at my psychiatrist. “She needs to be medicated. She needs to get out of the apartment more.”

I look at my psychiatrist. She’s the most petite woman I have ever seen, doll like at 4 8”, and exotic since she was not born in the States, but in India. As a person, she’s nice, she even gave me a recipe for a vegetarian korma. 

I will give her props. She asked me a month or so earlier to give her a list of every med I have ever been on. She called the kidney doctor to check which one(s) I should be on. And she knows I do not want to go back on any psych meds, and respects me for that. 

Only now it’s my mother telling her, begging her to put me on something. Begging for a script for Cymbalta. Not understanding why I cannot be on an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer. 

The doctor does her best to explain I do not need to be on both, and right now, it’s all about the kidneys. My mother goes back on her tirade all I am doing is sleeping and crying. 

Yes, I am sleeping too much, but I found if I miss a dose of the kidney/bladder pills I sleep 10 hours a day opposed to 18. I cry because my gynecologist is saying I am perimenopausal and anything and everything turns on the waterworks. I wake up in the middle of the night covered in sweat like I am bringing off a fever, and find for some reason it’s easier to sleep during the day than the night, even with a fan blowing directly on me. 

I’ve been on psych meds for about 5/8 ths of my life. I’ve been off them now since November, and I am noticing some things happening to my body, all-amazing. Physically, my body is a wreck. But my brain, the brain that had the photographic memory, the brain that could read a poem once and have it committed to memory, who never forgot a book from the first one I ever read “Pat the Bunny”, to the last one I read, “The Noonday Demon”, when I had ECT. I am watching “Jeopardy” at night and actually can get more questions correct. 

There seems to be two camps both on line and in real life. Those who are pro meds and anti meds. Let me state this here and there. I don’t know where I am. I don’t think, any of the psych meds I have ever taken have helped me, and two came close to killing me, one actually had me flat line. Personally, I don’t think they did anything for me, but I stayed on them all these years because of the propaganda; doctors telling me it was like diabetes, I needed these drugs to stay alive. Playing Monday morning quarterback, I don’t they did anything for me. I might have felt good for a very slight time when they started working, but after a couple of months, they always made me feel worse. I was always told to cut the drugs cold turkey and start another one. I was a good girl, I took the drugs, blindly like a sheeple. My parents believed I should be on these drugs, and I wanted to be a dutiful daughter. And I believed the PR, the promises, because all I wanted was to be the person I was when I was first diagnosed. 

That person is gone. “She’s dead and gone lady, she’s dead and gone”- but unlike Ophelia I don’t think I am mad. I pray I do not succumb to suicide like she did. Gosh knows I’ve been in her shoes. But I am older and wiser. And I know the only Dane to die for is a Danish. (Preferably Apple Cinnamon). I want to rebuild my life again. True, the dreams I had at 22 are gone, but maybe I can make new dreams, and have a good life for how ever long I stay on this big blue ball called Earth. 

ETA: Here is the video I posted a few years ago on Cymbalta and the side effects. I will be showing it to my psychiatrist on why I hate Cymbalta. It’s a keeper. 


Stephi said...

This post made me laugh out loud for the very reason that I was in the same position you were in just a few days ago. Sitting in the pyschiatrist's office WITH the mothership, not being able to get a word in because she is doing all the talking saying I'm sleeping all day blah blah.

Unlike your Mom my Mom is anti meds ( probably because she is so religious more than anything ). One time she actually told my psychiatrist "It's time she went off all her medicine" and then got very upset when I said I didn't want to yet.

But what our mothers have in common is that they both came close to loosing one of their kids. My mother never got over being told that I could have a brain tumor and likewise your Mom will probably never get over almost loosing you. It's something that I won't understand the true impact of because I am not a mother.

So my mother comes with me to ALL my doctors appointments and has access to both my pyshologist and my christian counsellor. Shes bloody annoying because she nags and has been kicked out of doctors offices and hospital rooms because she becomes so overbearing. But she has been there through all six of my spinal taps, she organizes my meds each day and has been my guiding light when I am in so much pain I can't see.

It's probably best that she doesn't come with you to your appointments but- at least for her peace of mind- allow her some access to your doctors or she will most likely drive you nuts. Remember though she is probably willing to give her life for you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. Everyone in my life right now feels I need to be on meds, even though they veil their coercion by saying "It's your choice". But then they get all weird if I try to stand up for myself and say no to the meds. So right now I am back on Prozac even though I have been on meds for 16 years and have noticed some negative effects. I don't have the energy right now to argue with the others, and if it's better for them that I'm medicated, I'm just going to have to take the meds.

Tailwags and kitty purrs to you and Holly,

Tina said...

It's hard, Susan. Very hard, but what you're seeing with your mind coming back is how it starts. That's just a glimmer of what healing is to come. We have lost a lot, I understand that part intimately, but we also survived it for a reason. I wish there were something I could say about the mother problem, but it sounds like she's not able to tolerate your distress. That should be her problem to deal with, not yours. I think if people have a little bit of faith in your ability to recover and heal, it goes a long way to reduce the stress level. It's difficult enough to process one's own pain without having others throwing their own stuff into the mix. Hold on. You've made it this far. The worst is over. <3

midnight rainbow said...

I was on three psych meds, and went off Prozac over two years ago. That was the easy part. I keep finding myself in this wishy-washy state and it is difficult to focus and make decisions. There has been a lot of damage done with 20 years of meds. Then I will have these clear moments and feeling myself just snapping together and it is so cool!

It is difficult when you don't have the support and someone fighting you on your choices. I am sorry to hear about your mother.

It isn't an easy choice, but I appauld you for sticking to it. Doing what you feel you need to do for you. I remember thinking the same way, feeling like I had to take meds for life. One by one I am eliminating them, when I am ready. It takes courage Susan but it is possible and I will be right here rooting for you. :)

Adam Glenn said...

I think each person needs to decide for themselves with their psychiatrist what the best antidote is, for or against meds, and no one outside, including mothers, can know what is needed perfectly.

Still, at least it shows she cares.

Astral Samurai said...

Hey Susan,

I hate meds, hate em I'm twenty five now though and its become harder and harder to resist the medication. If I take it whether it be 10 mg of Celexa or 100 mg of Clozaril (An Antipsychotic) I am sleeping onwards of 12-16 hours a day.

But little secret between you, me and the web. I slipped off it yesterday just to see the difference. I have so much more energy and I actually feel like moving!

David A. Stein said...

Thank you for posting this as I am currently struggling with the idea of meds. Ever since I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I have been on meds. But my life hasn't improved. The depression hasn't gone away, the anxiety and agoraphobia are still there and there is still a lot of paranoia. But I'm confused, because the longer I am off the meds the more my emotional state rapidly shifts from mania to depression back to mania.

I'm just really frustrated. Plus the side-effefcts and potential long term problems (tardive dyskinesia and diabetes are just some of the problems I get look forward to, because of the meds I am on) are starting to make me wonder what my later life is going to be like; will I be in more pain?

I hope things work out with your psychiatrist and I am sorry it is a struggle with your mother.

The last line of your post I thought was amazing. "True, the dreams I had at 22 are gone, but maybe I can make new dreams, and have a good life for how ever long I stay on this big blue ball called Earth. "

We do all have a chance to make new dreams. And I know how hard it can be to do it, but we have to try and be optimistic or at least try to make new dreams to replace those that failed.

Thank you again for posting this,


Ruth said...

Susan I am sorry to hear you are having a rough time and adding a mothership sounds like an added distraction. I had the experience of watching my mother take herself off of lithium and not getting the counseling that was supposed to go with it. I refused medication. Not an easy choice. Which ever way you go, here's hoping that it works for you.

Anonymous said...

Ever think that maybe your mother does it because she cares. She hates to see her daughter in pain and she does not know what else to do? Maybe she wants to keep you alive, ever think of that, instead of always seeing the negative. As one other person said, at least she cares. You know how many people in this world have no one who cares about them. Think about that. I hope you feel better.

Mark p.s.2 said...

David A. Stein said "my emotional state rapidly shifts from mania to depression back to mania"
I am off meds and this happens to me as well. I just have to constantly remember how horrible hospitalization (jail) is.
Remembering motivates me to take care of myself (washing cleaning eating) when I am down, or watch myself (stop myself ) when manic.

Ana said...

Don't go back to Cymbalta. You're right, the side effects are that terrible. You are right when you say that it is the reason for agoraphobia. I'm telling you this because sometimes we don't trust our instincts about what did us wrong since there is nobody there to support us.
Antidepressants cause depression!
I wish your mother could understand but you are not alone. At least she is taking care of you, her way, but you have your father, his way.
From someone who needed and hadn't any of them... I can only say to you: do what you want and enjoy your mother and father because not having any support is worse.
It doesn't seem to me that she is one of those mothers that try to sabotage. She thinks that the best for you is what she reads at newspapers and watches at the TV.
We know it is not, your psychiatrist seems to agree. No Cymbalta for Susan.
If necessary tell your mother you're taking and it is making you sleep more and more... a good reason to stop again...
Everybody lies... and it is for a good cause: your peace of mind.
You are very brave!!!!!!

Wendy said...

I'm stuck on Cymbalta. I went a few weeks ago to pick up my scrip and the Pharmacist says - "What is your doctor doing, you are on twice the recommended amount!" WTF? But my therapist refuses to see me if I don't stay on the meds, and see the shrink - the shrink threatens that if I go off the meds she will immeidately hospitalize me - and believe me it won't be for 72 hours... I wonder if I could just leave the country?? What would they do then? Is it more fun being cracked up in Paris??? I believe so.

Ethereal Highway said...

Tell your mother that some cocaine would probably get you out of bed, too. Does she want you on that? Sometimes moms need to back off a little. I feel I can say that since I'm a mom. Make the best decision for YOU, Susan. If your mom likes the drugs so much, then let her take them herself. Load HER up with extra pills so it won't bother her as much that you need so much rest in order to heal your body. I use that tactic on anyone who tries to push drugs on me. I tell them that if my situation bothers them that much, then perhaps there is some underlying problem they need to attend to and that THEY may be the one who needs a psychiatrist. And then I advise them not to let their health insurance lapse so they have someone to help pay the medical bills for a while when the psyche drugs begin to destroy their health. I offer to find them a social worker who can get them on public assistance when they finally lose their job and their insurance. I do it up big like they are seriously mentally ill for being that concerned over my problems (which I handle quite well) and I give them all kinds of horrifying, but seemingly compassionate advice about how to handle the destruction and incapacity that awaits them because they might be mentally ill and in need of a good drugging. Oh, no! Poor them, poor them. And of course they can call me and I will do anything I can to help them when this all goes down, because I will still be the healthier one and would gladly share my abilities with them whenever possible if it might ease their suffering. Yes, I admit this performance is downright frightening to my 'victim' on more than one level, but I really don't give a rip. It gets the point across.

Mary LA said...

LOve and hugs to you Susan.

Jeanne said...

I'm posting your video to my facebook page!


Daniel said...

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Natalie said...

Susan, I'm so sorry your mom is putting this trip on you...your pain and healing are yours and yours alone! And what you put in your body should be your choice. I got a fair amount of pressure about meds following my diagnosis last year, and had to push back hard to pursue healing med-free. While it's not been an easy journey, I don't experience so much of the medication-induced agony that I hear of from so many people. I feel so fucking fortunate for that. (And after reading Anatomy of an Epidemic, my wife is really glad I was so stubborn about not going on meds!)

Stand your ground, do what you need to do, and put your needs and wants first. You have every right to be human and to process your very human experiences without meds!

As for changing your dreams - I would argue that your years of wisdom and experience on this front can make for some amazing dreams. Just this blog right here is having a profound impact on so many lives...so dream away! :)

Syd said...

I don't know the answer. Perhaps medication in proper doses help some with severe mental problems. Others who are the walking wounded may not need any medication. Each case is an individual. That being said, there are more and more prescription drug addicts than ever. Something is wrong.

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Lori Orman said...

Cymbalta ruined my life! Broke up my marriage and created a monster out of me! I hope one day enough people get together to file a class action lawsuit against cymbalta. It's pure evil!

Lori Orman said...

I hate cymbalta it ruined my life marriage and self! It's evil!! It turned me into a monster! I hope one day enough of us get together to file a class action lawsuit against them and stop the suffering they are causing!

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