I had an entirely different post planned for tonight, but today something amazing happened.  I stepped out of a pharmaceutical fog and returned to my life.  Am I still experiencing symptoms of whatever it is that plagues me?  Of course, but I had no idea how detrimental the drugs I was taking to control a mere scattering of those symptoms had become until they raged their way out of my system.  Let me tell you about the last month or so of my life.

A few weeks ago the Cymbalta I was taking for fibromyalgia no one is sure I even have just stopped working.  One morning I woke up and could not move my arms.  I had flashbacks of the early days of my illness and now debilitated I was at that time and I started to cry.  After a year of fighting, was I really regressing back to square one?  I couldn’t be.  The Cymbalta had been helping; I was convinced.  I had defended these green and blue capsules when Hubby told me they were merely masking symptoms and making me crazy.  I simply denied these accusations.  Before the Cymbalta I threw a carton of eggs at him and threatened him with his own power drill.  How could this new, more mellow me be worse?  Sure, the medication made me uncontrollably sleepy a few hours after I took them but still gave me insomnia and mind racing at night, but it was helping the pain.  It was letting me return to work at least half the time.  How could this be bad?

Let me assure you, dear readers, I was not blind to the side effects that came with Cymbalta.  I had not been able to feel sex in months.  On a psychological level I enjoyed it, and my body responded to touch, but I just could not feel things happening in my body.  It was frustrating, but I was willing to accept it for the ability to walk.  Hubby sensed this, and the inevitable hardship on our relationship was evident.  In addition, sometimes I could not taste or feel my tongue.  I slurred through my announcements at work, trying to enunciate, cringing as I heard my incoherent mumble play back overhead.  I started biting my tongue and inner cheek, and the bags under my eyes darkened and sunk deeper into my sallow face.  Worst of all were my moods.  Cymbalta may have watered down my temper, but that just meant it fed my floods of irrationality and emotion without cause.  Hubby no longer wanted to be around me.  All I did was mope and yell at him.  I was miserable; everyone had to be miserable.  When Cymbalta stopped helping the pain, which was the only reason I was rationalizing the side effects, I stopped taking it.  I had been warned against quitting it cold turkey, but I was tired of feeling the way I was.  I was tired of not feeling.

The initial fallout was physical.  I was in pain for two weeks straight.  I got migraines, backaches, neck aches, gastrointestinal problems, and cramps all over my body.  I was constantly dehydrated and either slept for days at a time or could not sleep at all.  One morning I woke up to what felt like the flu.  In reality, it was my body purging itself of the last of the physical drug in my system.

Then it was time for my chemicals to balance.  Hubby could not talk to me without a fight.  I could not look at a book, a website, a TV show without uncontrollable sobbing and fits fo rage.  I screamed at Hubby, the animals, and inanimate objects alike for being in my way and frustrating me.  I hit walls and ripped up pieces of paper to try and control my temper.  I cleaned my house spotless trying to use up the extra nervous energy and anxiety the withdrawal was causing.

This weekend my system hit critical mass.  Experts will tell you that when your body is flushing itself of a toxin it will reach a point where you think you can not do it anymore.  You think you would rather just go back to the way it was with the toxin in your system rather than experiencing some of the worst pain you have ever felt.  That was how I woke up early Saturday morning.  I had a fever, chills, vomiting, and dizziness.  For two hours I camped in the bathroom praying I would pass out and forget it all ever happened.  All day Hubby and I fought about things I was blowing out of proportion.  He had been patient with me and my needs, but even he has his limits.  Two hours after we needed to be somewhere we were still curled up on the bed crying, trying to understand what was happening.  We were losing touch with each other, and something needed to change.  Eventually I pulled myself together and we headed to our engagement, but Saturday night and Sunday brought a whole new batch of issues.  I started having panic attacks and freak-out, and it grew exceedingly difficult for me to not start taking Cymbalta again.  I just could not imagine how this was ever going to end.

Monday I secluded myself to work through my emotions logically.  I weighed feelings against thoughts, and sorted out my inner file cabinet.  Yesterday I walked four and a half miles with someone I have let myself only half be myself with and learned that, yes, I can be loved, strong, and secure in myself and my marriage with her being a part of our lives, which is a post for another day.

Today I have been able to smile all day.  Today I have been alert and cognitive all day.  Today I had minimal pain despite my walk and stomach problems last night.  Today I may be slightly weaker, but today I am more stable.  Today something amazing happened.  I stepped out of a pharmaceutical fog and returned to my life.

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