After taking an extra five days at 10mg, I finally felt good enough to decrease again. I started to take 5mg.
While tapering, I simply cut my Lexapro using a pill cutter from CVS pharmacy. At times, it would not always be an exact cut so one day I might have had 4.5mg and the next day 5.5mg. Even though the cuts were not exact, it did not seem to effect me enough to resort to diluting it in liquid or trying to special order anything from the pharmacy.
I was giving advice to a friend of mine who was attempting to come off of 30mg of Cymbalta. Cymbalta is not a solid pill that you can cut. It is a capsule that contains small pellets of medication.
While doing some research, another friend recommended this website. I wanted to post the link because it looks very helpful even though I did not contact them to use their services. I definitely would have if I had not been half way through tapering.
My friend ended up ordering a mg scale from Amazon and using that to measure the tiny pellets to taper off of her Cymbalta. She is still tapering as I write this, but she seems to be doing good.
After tapering to 5mg, I notice a few new things.
Finally, the song that had been stuck in my head switched to another song. That was a relief, but the new one stayed again for about the next twenty-one days before I no longer had a song stuck on repeat in my mind.
During this time, it became very hard to concentrate on things. I would walk around the house and do chores like this:
Rinse three dishes.
Then pay a bill.
Then clean part of my bathroom.
Then finish the dishes.
Then go to the store.
Clean the rest of my bathroom.
Go back to the store for things I forgot earlier.
I don’t know what ADD feels like, but maybe this is it. I was very scatter-brained and incredibly forgetful. My wife even noticed how forgetful I was becoming and extended a lot of support and understanding.
One time I sat through an entire green light and no one was around to honk.
I started to become very emotional instead of just agitated and angry. My wife and I went to see a movie and almost every preview made me cry. Songs from my mp3 player would do the same thing. One day I just listened to music and cried for about an hour.
But the agitation and anger did not completely go away. One afternoon I started to trim a tree in our front yard. I became obsessed with the job and for the life of me could not stop cutting the branches. The tree ended up looking terrible, and I became very angry when my wife confirmed that it looked like it might die (it didn’t). The rest of the night all I could think about was the stupid tree in the front yard, and it made me angry for hours. While I knew I was being ridiculous, the exaggerated emotions would not stop.
During this phase, I remember days where I felt drained and unhappy for no reason. No matter what I would do, I just had wave after wave of unhappiness flow over me. I would focus on all the good things in my life and count my blessings, but it didn’t seem to help (normally it would). There were several days I just had to power through feeling bad. I would read or play video games for hours to take my mind off of the way I felt.
I didn’t discover any new supplements to help me cope, but I did stop consuming some things. First was caffeine. Although caffeine released serotonin and made me feel better for a while after a couple of hours, I would feel much worse. I also drastically reduced my intake of sugar. I realized that eating sugar would make me feel very bad very quickly. I cut all coke like products with 20+ grams of sugar, and I stopped eating any sweets/desserts. After going to zero caffeine and as little sugar as possible I realized I felt better even though I still felt bad.
I had another appointment with my psychiatrist around this time, and I told him how horrible this whole process was. He acted surprised and made it sound like I was some rare case and that most people never go through this. All the accounts I have read so far would beg to differ. But he is a doctor and is probably too busy writing prescriptions to do any research on the internet. Or maybe he didn’t feel like people posting their stories online was credible.
He did suggest that instead of decreasing from 5mg to 0mg I go to 2.5mg instead for two weeks then 2.5mg every other day for one week. I decided that sounded like a good idea.