4 – The Withdrawal



Imagine working in a call center. You feel as if you are in a different world from everything around you. People are talking on phones. People are walking around you. Your coach is speaking to you. Your eyes see her. Her lips are moving. She is speaking through a fog. You are embarrassed. You barely comprehend her words. A call comes in. You answer the phone in slow motion. You can hear a voice on the other end. The voice is saying, “Hi, I’m fog fog fog, I am having a problem with fog fog fog. You say, “Um uh…I’m sorry who did you say you are again? Um….OK. Did you say you are having a problem with telephones? Um…OK. You’re not connecting to the internet. I’m sorry. Um….What was your name again?”


All the while you are stumbling through the call, brain zaps are hitting. A zap. A buzz in the brain that makes you feel as if you are spinning. You are trying so hard to concentrate, but you are spinning in the fog. You pray that you don’t get fired. You know you should be terminated. You are a tech support professional. You should be projecting confidence and a high level of skill. Yet, you can’t follow the conversation. Your brain zaps and you have no idea who you are talking to. Did you complete a work order for a trouble call? What was the problem? Did you complete the troubleshooting steps?


The call ends. You have to fill in notes and document the call. Did you complete the call or did the client hang up? Was this the client with internet issues? Or was this the one missing cable tv channels. You have to make notes, but you can’t remember what you did. Did you create a trouble ticket? Did you resolve the issue? Oh my God. What have you done?


Then you realize it’s time for break. Thank God. You stand to walk to the break room. Brain zaps. Am I walking straight? Did I step sideways? Am I weaving while I walk? What time did I leave my desk? What time am I suppose to go back? What the hell is wrong with me. Do I have a brain tumor? Is it dementia?


Finally, your work day is over. You go home and call your big sister. She’s always been a lifeline for you. You try to talk to her but you can tell she’s angry about something you said on Facebook. Everyone is angry. Everyone who is important to you is angry. You are going through hell, but nobody understands. They don’t understand about prescribed medications making you manic. They don’t understand that you haven’t been yourself for the past year.


Your personality has changed completely. Your life has spun out of control. You. A responsible person. You. An intelligent, stable person are out of control. They don’t understand. They can’t see it, feel it, or touch it. They don’t understand.


All the while your brain is zapping. You’re scared. Nobody cares. Nobody understands. You don’t understand. Suddenly, you are screaming obscenities into the phone. You love your sister, but all you can do is scream. One of you hangs up. You call back to apologize, but you hurt. So, you scream again. Hang up. Call back. Scream. Until she no longer answers.


Now what do you do? It’s days later. You’ve realized that your attempt to wean yourself from the medication isn’t working. If you take the meds, you become manic and you do crazy things. If you don’t take them, you can’t function due to the brain zaps and fog. You have no insurance, so you can’t go to a shrink. You already know that your primary care physician doesn’t understand the medication. He’s the one who told you to stop taking it cold turkey. What would have happened then?


So you do the only thing you know to do. You “Google it”. You discover that many people have sued the company that manufactures the medication. The manufacturer has neglected to tell patients how hard it is to get off the meds once they are in your system. Oh my God. You are taking a prescribed medication that is making you manic and out of control. You know you can’t continue on this path. What do you do? What do you do?


As usual, if you find a problem that many people experience, you will find discussions about it on the web. I discovered many people used a tedious method for weaning themselves from Cymbalta. You have to break open the capsule. You eyeball a small amount of beads to remove from the capsule every day. You increase the amount that you remove over a period of time known only to you. You have to pay attention to yourself to know how slow to go. It’s a tedious process, but it seems to be working for me.


As always, with this type of medication, my method may not work for you. I am not recommending that you stop taking your meds. Your results may be different from mine. If you change your dosage, with or without your physicians approval, be sure to tell someone. Sometimes an outsider will notice a change in your behavior before you notice. Please pay attention to your moods and thought patterns.


Don’t let anyone tell you that you are crazy. You are not. You simply have not found the brain balance that works for you. Don’t give up. If a diabetic’s blood sugar can be regulated, then a brain chemical can be regulated. Some diabetics have no choice but to take insulin. Others can get blood sugar under control with diet, weight loss, and exercise. Everyone is different. There is no “one size fits all” solution.


Good luck. Take care. Spread love. Pay it forward. We are in this world together. Let’s make it better. Carry on….

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