Days 56 – 58: The More They Stay The Same

Monday brought more headache, frustration and car trouble… at least I was able to get Zo to her first Daisy Scout meeting, and my dad came to the rescue with jumper cables and it was all very easy, though I was breathless with anxiety about my former boss’s hybrid SUV being parked quite nearby in the church parking lot. X said slyly, “Maybe she did something to our car!” Ha.

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We had our first rehearsal, a meeting and read-through, really, for the aforementioned production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I am to play Mrs. McCarthy, a slightly bigger and more fun role than I’d realized in my initial disappointment. As I previously have said, I had begun to covet the lead, Grace, for reasons of pride, really, imagining a triumphant return to the living. You know? But was I ready for so many lines, so much depending on me, being in every single scene? Even in high school, I avoided the lead roles so that stress and anxiety wouldn’t make me sick with migraine and cause me to miss practices and performances. But still. I didn’t try out for any lead roles then… this time I really tried, and failed, and I am shocked at how hard it has been for me to get over the loss. J got the role of Grace’s husband, the dad, which makes it even tougher. But… my friend who is playing Grace is so pretty, and has great presence, and she will do an excellent job. So I need to get the fuck over myself here and be glad I got a great supporting role.

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On Tuesday, when I woke up with the flush-face headache again, J made the simple suggestion: why not switch back to Zoloft? Get off Cymbalta altogether. This idea blazed in my heart, the light at the end of my increasingly miserable tunnel. My switch from Zoloft to Cymbalta was rather arbitrary, about 5 years ago maybe, after a very long and untroubled ten years on Zoloft. I’d heard Cymbalta was good for those with pain. “Depression Hurts. Cymbalta Can Help.” Remember those ads? Wow, did I fall for that line. Initially, I thought I liked the new med. I felt a bit less tired, which is a big deal for me. But over the next many years my migraines got worse and worse and worse until I could no longer work, and I started having major memory loss. The memory loss was probably from a combination of many meds and severe pain, not just Cymbalta certainly, but it was terrifying, and prompted me last year to try to taper off of it, which is very difficult due to Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome. I was proud to have been able to get down to 30 mg, half my original dose, which is why I hated to go back up to 60. And look what happened when I did.

One of the recommendations for discontinuing Cymbalta is to add in Zoloft, even if you don’t plan to stay on it. The SSRI acts as a buffer to the unbearable symptoms, which are extreme and different for everyone, but the overriding feeling you read about is just a wish for death. It’s that bad. Zoloft is supposed to make it feel more like tapering off any antidepressant. Some vertigo, brain “twinges,” tremor, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, headache, etc. I used some extra Zoloft I had to get me down to 30 mg, but I ran out. So now, with a new prescription of Zoloft in hand and my doctor and therapist’s awareness and cooperation, I will make the full switch in a week and a half. Cross your fingers, folks.

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