3 – The Cymbalta Story

I initially took Sertraline for depression as told in a previous post. After 20 years on Sertraline problems developed. My doctor switched me to a new “savior”; Duloxetine. Duloxetine is the generic form of Cymbalta. I really didn’t think too much about the change in meds at the time. This type of drug gets into your system and changes your brain chemistry so slowly that you may not notice a thing until you are over your head in a huge mess. That is what happened to me.


My only child, who had always been my world, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy soon after my prescription was changed. I was over the moon. Becoming a grandmother was awesome. I had a tiny bundle of beautiful innocence to love. He wrapped himself around my heart immediately. Being a grandmother was the greatest joy of my life. I was so very happy. Who wouldn’t be? As I said, I was over the moon! Happy, happy, happy.


I was so very happy that I jumped into my car at 1AM and made a fast 200 mile backroad drive to the hospital when my daughter went into labor. My driving vision isn’t great at night. I always had a great deal of anxiety before venturing out on long trips alone. I was venturing into a big city alone at night. I normally would have avoided doing that at all costs. Then, I was so happy when little Jacob was born that I sort of forgot to go back home. I just never returned to my husband of 20 years, my house, or my job. My old life disappeared from my mindset.


I was so damned happy that I didn’t stop to ask my daughter’s opinion. I just moved in with her, her new husband, and her stepchildren. I jumped in and took care of my daughter’s wounds left over from a bad C-section. I basked in the warmth of caring for her baby boy. I was so damned happy that it never occurred to me that I might be expected to move back home someday. I was so damned happy in my new self-appointed role of caretaker.  It never occurred to me that I might be interfering with the bonding between the real mother and her child. For the first time, I was deliriously happy. That would surely have been a good thing had it not been for the delirious part.


Somehow, it all seemed perfectly natural. It never occurred to me that my brain chemicals were changing a bit too far to the happy, self-absorbed side. I was a grandmother! I had a baby to love. Nothing else mattered. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing at all mattered.


Then my deliriously happy self jumped further into of hot bed of irrational, impulsive activity. My thought patterns became unrealistic. My driving became erratic. My work ethic fell by the wayside. My normally introverted, cautious self jumped into a an unrealistic, uncharacteristic relationship with a master of emotional manipulation.


No, to be honest, that isn’t exactly right. I didn’t jump into it. I slammed my way into it like a runaway freight train. What a nightmare! The Cymbalta and the insane relationship were a perfect combination for disaster. The closing scene from that chapter in my life was like nothing I could ever have imagined. A normally rational human being, I vaguely remember the feel of a loaded .38 caliber pistol, forced into my mouth by my own hand.


I really don’t remember much after that. Somehow, I got into my car with brains and skull intact. I had no idea where I was going. I began to come to my senses after miles of random driving. I pulled off the road in front of some abandoned motel. To this day, I have no idea where I was or how I got there. I was not drunk. The only drug influencing my actions was the Duloxetine; the drug that was supposed to be a cure for depression.


I truly thank God for my desire to write when I’m stressed. I thank God for my Facebook friends. If not for them and my love for my grandson, I don’t want to think about what might have happened. I had no desire to live. My Facebook friends, many of whom I’ve never met in real life, hit the keyboard for me. They sent texts, they prayed, they cried. They contacted emergency personnel who could do nothing because nobody, including me, knew where I was. They communicated and read my ramblings. The Facebook team even jumped in and sent messages with suicide hotline and other emergency phone numbers. My Facebook friends were my lifeline, and they held that electronic connection tight until I became rational enough to check myself into a hospital.


This is why I’m on a new journey. I would like to share it with you. I want to prove to myself and others, once and for all, if depression can really be conquered without pharmaceuticals. I want to build a better, healthier lifestyle.  I am currently in the process of weaning myself from Duloxetine. It isn’t easy. My research revealed many lawsuits against the manufacturers of Cymbalta. Patients and doctors have not been sufficiently warned of the difficulty in getting off the medication. I will address all of that in a later post. For now, I am working my butt off to get into better physical shape. I am doing my best to avoid negatives and focus on positives. I’m paying close attention to my own thoughts and needs. Please stay tuned. Sharing my journey is my gift to the world. This blog is my way of making sense of it all and for giving purpose to my struggle.  It will also serve as a way of holding myself accountable. I can’t stop moving if the world is watching. So please, hold my feet to the fire and followGeorgie. Together we’ll see what happens next.


I will be posting motivational memes and success stories. I will do my best to promote love for self and others. I will share tips and tricks that work for me. I hope we all can learn, converse, and laugh together. Life is short. Let’s go forth and live it.


We are in this world together. Let’s make it better. Carry on!


  1. You said a lot in a short time. Your friends on facebook certainly have helped you and I know most of them, including me as much as I can, will continue.

  2. Georgie you are truly an inspiration and so much stronger than I am!! Keep up the good work girl and I’ll be along for the ride. Good luck

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