An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

And the nightmares return

So the weird and annoying and “makes Heather burst up and out of bed with an obscenity” dreams are back with Cymbalta. I had these types of dreams when I was on Zoloft, but rarely when on Prozac. In fact, on Zoloft I was convinced one night that a tarantula had dropped out of the ceiling and onto our bed at the exact moment Jon was dreaming that someone was breaking into our apartment. Holy God. Seriously, you guys should hire us for parties.

I shot out of that bed so fast that I ended up diving head-first three feet across the room into our dresser, knocking over a lamp and breaking it into hundreds of pieces, all while Jon was screaming, “WHERE’S THE INTRUDER! WHERE’S THE INTRUDER!” I banged my head hard enough to wake up, and I was all, intruder? You mean the giant, hairy spider that landed on my leg? IT’S STILL IN BED NEXT TO YOU. And I’m not coming over there to save you, sorry, that wasn’t in our vows.

Once everything had calmed down and we figured out what was going on, I climbed back into bed and fell instantly asleep while Jon sat up terrified the rest of the night. That whole scenario pretty much sums up our marriage.

So last night I got stuck in a mall. ALL NIGHT LONG. I could not find an exit, and I kept passing the Hot Topic and the JC Penney and the Cinnabon, over and over again. And I knew I was dreaming, but I couldn’t wake myself up to get out of it. Oh, there’s the Hot Topic again! Maybe I should stop in a grab some fake jewels with sticky tape on the back so that I can pretend my nose is pierced! Or maybe a Hello Kitty purse, you know, so I can finally start acting my age.

When Tyrant got into work this morning he asked how I had slept, and even though I know he didn’t care I said, “I got stuck in a mall and I couldn’t get out. For eight straight hours. Total nightmare.”

Nightmare?!” he said, incredulous. “Sweetie, you may call that a nightmare, but when you’re gay you call that reality. Please.”

  • MegPuto

    Any thought to trying Paxil? No nightmares. Still have sex drive.

  • adi82

    Get out of my head, Heather! I just finished a post about dreams, and then popped {I re-read that a few times to make sure I didn’t accidentally write “pooped”} over here to read this. Meanwhile, yesterday I started a post about how I don’t understand women who can go “shopping” ALL DAY! I likened it to torture, but a nightmare is equally accurate:)

  • Kristi

    I just got on Cymbalta too. I’m not having nightmares like you are, but dreams sure are VIVID these days!
    I am totally with you on hoping for that primal feeling at some point, and I know my hubby would agree. (Referring to your previous post, of course)

  • adi82

    oops, double post!

  • jilllovesbacon

    Love Tyrant. I’d spend a night trapped in a mall with him, easy. Dress up for HOURS! Woo hoo!

    I recently dreamed that husband and I were undercover FBI agents trapped in a meth neighborhood. To escape we needed money and were going door-to-door selling raffle tickets to win a bicycle. And that’s without Cymbalta.

  • greenplanner

    I used to have the ‘spiders dropping off the ceiling’ dreams all the time until I realized that they were caused by me sleeping with my eyes partially open. Eyelashes = spiders, apparently. I started using a sleep mask and, voila, no more spiders.

  • Lunaticinthehouse

    OMG I have dreams like this every night– WITHOUT drugs. Lately I’m stuck in my dorm room because I have too much furniture & I’ll have to miss my exams if I can’t get out. BTW I haven’t lived in a dorm since 1986.

  • Circe74

    I would have at least a week of the freaked out nightmares every time I’d go on, off, or change a dose of medication. Same thing happens if I start or stop drinking for several days in a row. Though mine always result in me screaming in my sleep until my dog comes to wake me up — yet another reason dogs are the BEST! (The classic was the time I was having a fight in my dream and screamed — out loud — “C**ksucker!” I actually woke up immediately and thought, did I just say that? I’ve never said that word in my entire life!)

  • knerd

    Cymbalta did the same thing to me, and it was totally bizarre. I switched to Wellbutrin + a low dose of Celexa, and it’s been much better.

  • brenintx

    I’m not taking anything and I got stuck in a dream last night where I was trying to order Chinese food. It took me hours to order a few simple things because the menu kept changing. Wonder what that means??

  • ohilyssa

    So, I just went to and watched GIFs for the past 30 minutes, thanks to you. 🙂

    Anyway, I always have those dreams where I KNOW I’m dreaming and I just get over it and want to wake up. I’m not on Cymbalta so I can only imagine what that’s like. At least your sex drive is kicking right?! 🙂

  • jenlb

    Once again, I love Tyrant. Too bad he’s in Utah. Well, that and I’m not a gay man.

  • sandi

    This is my all time favorite post!! Picturing you and Jon freaking out in the middle night had me laughing so hard… I still haven’t pulled myself together.

  • Tam4797

    Funny, the picture I have in my head of you and Jon freaking in the middle of the night looks a little different 🙂

  • Jen J

    Ask your doctor about nortriptyline, in a low dose it actually cuts down REM. I use it because I have a sleep disorder that causes way too many nightmares, it’s really helpful.

  • dianemaggipintovoiceover

    any mall is a living nightmare, frankly. happy halloween.

    tyrant is a babe. does saying that make me a fag hag?

  • Dani

    My husband and I did that once (the dual nightmare thing). It was soooooo confusing trying to determine what the F**k was going on.

  • apostate

    Usually my worst dreams are when I’m not on anti-depressants. In fact, the way I usually know I need to go on them is I start to have really horrible dreams.
    Before anybody tells me that I’m like a crazy version of Tom Cruise who needs to accept that some people need anti-depressants and that I should just stay on my meds long term: It’s not that I’m against them. It’s just that I have a lot of other neurological issues that sometimes make the cure worse than the disease. For me, they sometimes work and sometimes they don’t.

  • Funnygirl78

    And therein lies why Tyrant is worth keeping around.

  • denise

    Been there! My waking dreams used to involve turtles in the bed– for some reason no less threatening than giant spiders. If you wake up and the image and the fear persist, they’re actually called hypnogogic hallucinations. That sounds pathological, but my neurologist said they’re completely normal.

  • parkersmom

    It may not be personal. There could have been a disruption in the collective unconscious last night. I had a horrible nightmare, too.

  • Givepeaceachance

    Long time reader and just joined community to respond to this topic. I too suffer from depression and anxiety and am overmedicated by my dealer I mean shrink – zoloft, wellbutrin, ativan and valium. After my second child, my dr prescribed cymbalta and I had: chronic diarrhea, massive anxiety (ni9ghtmares included) and still no libido (although that could have been on account of the whole just had a baby thing). I had to go off of it and back to Zoloft which was fine for a while, then it wasn’t strong enough, so in came the wellbutrin, then the anxiety, so the ativan. And NO SEX DRIVE whatsoever and Heather, like you, I want a sex drive, my H and I have great sex, but, I just want to want it!! So I asked my shrink if I could switch to something else and that’s when she gave me the valium ?! I know – switch shrink. So, if anyone finds the secret antidepressent that does not suppress sex drive, do post, PLEASE.

  • missusclark

    Huh. So, it’s the Vitamin Z giving me the weird dreams and making me not interested in nookie?!? I thought it was the four kids. Better have a chat with the doctor.

  • cipsi

    @Givepeaceachance: How about Lexapro? I’ve been on it for a while now and the drive is fine! My depression is mild, but enough so that if I don’t take an AD I become angry / sad / frustrated / hopeless by turns. Lexapro doesn’t give me weird dreams, either – though I tend to have sleep disturbances and some odd dreams at certain times of the month. The three – four days before I get my period I can have some real odd dreams; but nothing along the score that poor Heather is having. I think my dream issues are more hormonally-driven than medication-driven.

    Sounds to me like you are indeed overmedicated. Definitely switch shrinks!

  • Wombat Central

    Thanks for the much needed laugh with the tarantula dream. Also? Sorry to laugh at your nighttime terror.

    LOL @circe74’s dream, too! 😀

  • HelluvaMormonFan

    As a child, I would see boulders coming toward me from a certain corner of the bedroom. I would be running for my life down the hall and into my parents’ room. No drugs, mind you.

    I should ask my mom {again, since it’s been so long} wtf she was thinking when I’d do that. LoL

  • jilllovesbacon

    Oh, and I almost forgot: twice now, I’ve been woken up by the sound of a gentle thud on my pillow. You know, two inches from my ear. Turned on the light to see a large and hairy spider on my pillow. My screams could have woken the dead. TWICE. FOR REALS.

  • Annie

    I have lucid nightmares like this A LOT, on and off meds. I always tell people that they really shouldn’t try so hard for lucid dreams, they’re like living a paradoxical nightmare – you know it’s a dream yet you badly want to wake up because you’re really terrified of the dream creatures! plus, you have no idea where your body is. the paralysis part is one of the scariest sensations isn’t it!

  • ErikaMSN

    Oh god, I nearly didn’t make it past the 2nd paragraph I was laughing so hard. Still am.

    I had a dream last night that I flushed the cat down the toilet, then immediately regretted it. WTF? (Actually, I think it probably was from reading about Melissa’s dog problems (Suburban Bliss), but still. Down the toilet?

  • tallnoe

    Um, jilllovesbacon – YIPES! That sounds TERRIBLE!

    And being stuck in a mall for hours and hours sounds awful. I’d find that a nightmare too. It’s what my stepmom used to make me do the day after Thanksgiving. So, that was my reality / nightmare. EW.

  • sarahfromthenorth

    Tyrant is a hoot .. probably and awesome shopper too! I love him across the internet!

    REM sleep – when you can’t move and/or wake yourself you are in this sleep stage.
    I once dreamt a huge black monster was heading towards myself, I was screaming but no sound was coming out and I was trying to wake myself up and couldn’t. It wasn’t t’il I started working as a software engineer programming Sleep staging software (for apnea detection etc) that I realized what happens to you in that ‘almost awake’ dreaming state…. scary!

    Glad you’ve found your groove again on a new meds.
    Sarah (Montreal)

  • Lauren3

    Dude how’s THIS for a nightmare:

    When I saw the home page preview of yesterday’s Chuck picture, I was like wait… is that a pregnancy test? DOES CHUCK HAVE A POSITIVE PREGNANCY TEST ON HIS SNOUTER? But Jon got the ‘ol snippety snip, how could that be?!

    I realized it was a tamp while the page was loading then.

    But anyway, failed vasectomy… what a nightmare that would be, eh?

  • Jess F

    I think those dreams count as cardio. Tell your trainer.

  • pooptoast

    Oh boy. Here’s a touchy subject.

    My personal experience? PROS- Cymbalta has been the best pill that I have taken to address my anxiety, moodiness and depression. Sex drive? Much better, but it took about 9 months.

    And now the CONS- I am now having heart palpitations and it’s not great on your liver (I’ve been on it for about 3 years). I sweat at night SOOO MUCH.

    Where I am- and I know you know what I mean, Heather- I am willing to cut back on caffeine and exercise more for my heart, cut back on alcohol and sleep naked rather then deal with the living hell of not being on medication. Medication is not a luxury for me. It is a necessity. I have come to the realization that like a diabetic, or an epileptic, or any person dealing with a chronic illness, I will need to be on medication for the rest of my life.

    If you trust yourself, and you trust your doctor, then give Cymbalta the ol’ college try. But if these dreams really are more than just an AWESOME story, then perhaps a switch is in order.

    But most importantly? I think Jon should think about sleeping pills and sound deadening headphones. JUST SAYIN’.

  • mhsqrd

    I read the title to your post, and then the first line or two, I thought “it’s Tyrant, not Cymbalta”. I’m just saying. It might not be the medication. Maybe he’s just scared you a few times too many 🙂

  • susand

    I was on zoloft for years in an attempt to control my overwhelming (and, at the time, growing) anxiety. After finally seeing a doctor that listened to me when I complained that the zoloft wasn’t doing anything except making me feel miserable (which made me more self-conscious, which increased my anxiety) and unable to sleep so I had a companion prescription for ambien (sex drive? I had no sex drive for a LOOONG time, but I was sleeping REALLY well). His first response was to increas my zoloft dosage. Which he did a few times until my body couldn’t take it any more – I was paranoid, seeing things moving that weren’t there, hearing things – and I made the switch to cymbalta.

    It has truly changed my life (I don’t get migraines each week!), but the conversion was HORRIBLE. I had bad dreams (I got attacked a lot in my dreams or had home invasions that turned bad) and I was consistenly nauseated for about two weeks (all I could keep down without wanting to die was toast and milk).

    For me, though, cymbalta has made a long-term difference – and I truly hope it does the same for you. I think the only thing that has been a long-term problem is that I don’t sleep well – I still have a hard time shutting my brain off long enough to fall asleep and then stay asleep. Of course, the staying asleep problem could stem from the fact that I have a dog that kicks when rolling over (yes, I let her sleep on the bed – don’t judge me) and a cat that likes to taunt the dog with a mesmerizing series of meows in the middle of the night right next to the bed.

    If cymbalta doesn’t work for you, there are a lot of medications out there that work with the brain chemistry in so many different ways that there is bound to be something that doesn’t make you feel like you’re bartering pieces of your life for some bit of sanity.

  • jigglyjello

    Cymbalta is the devil.

    That drug messed me up so bad it is not even funny.

    I was twitchy I could NOT sleep for more than 5-10 minutes at a time that is NO exageration….

    and the cherry on top so to speak is it made my GI track bleed and bleed bleed.

    It was the most horrible 60 day experience of my life.

  • RzBd

    I’m on a steady dose of blood thinners for the next few months due to blood clots in my lungs (thank you YAZ bcp, YOU SUCK). Anyhow, the meds have punched my dreams into overdrive (and they were already off-the-charts to begin with, much to the detriment of my husband). I wonder what ingredient in these drugs causes this?

  • lilacrystal

    Cymbalta is VERY difficult to withdraw from, should you ever decide to quit taking it. I have tried so many and haven’t found one that doesn’t squash the sex drive. I also found that cymbalta helped with my chronic neck pain, that I had and gave me confidence while driving(I am a nervous Nelly)

  • Mogsie


    that is totally NOT how I thought the story would end…

    you (and the beloved tyrant) just made me snort my coffee out my nose.


    I hope that your body adapts quickly to the cymbalta ~ ((Hugs))

  • karahleigh

    I’ve taken Cymbalta for a few years now … you get used to the crazy vivid dreams, I promise!

    I have to be careful with what I’m reading/watching before bed, because it will work it’s way into a dream. Dr. Who showed up once, and we had to run from aliens. It was very scary.

  • Truthful Mommy

    “Jon was screaming, “WHERE’S THE INTRUDER! WHERE’S THE INTRUDER!” I banged my head hard enough to wake up, and I was all, intruder? You mean the giant, hairy spider that landed on my leg? IT’S STILL IN BED NEXT TO YOU. And I’m not coming over there to save you, sorry, that wasn’t in our vows.”

    Funniest thing EVER! Not because it happened to you two poor babies but because its so sitcom worthy and totally something that would happen around here!Unfortunately,we don’t have giant hairy tarantulas dropping from the ceiling…we have ceiling fan lights that actually do just turn on by themselves in the middle of the night and then there is this scroll to the bottom of the post.This is what I have to live with!Way more creepy than the tarantula:) Sweet dreams!

  • honeydunce

    Recently I had my zoloft increased just a bit and ooooh boy you ain’t kidding about the crazy dreams/nightmares. I’ve had some doozies of late. Also, while i’m adjusting to an increase, I get night sweats that come and go like magical monsoons. So much so that in the morning, my partner will ask me, “Are ya sweatin’?” before rolling over to hold me. And then when he does he slides right off and across the room. Because I am that sweaty.

  • luckyjackalope

    Sounds familiar. One dream I had involved vampire butterflies with velcro wings. I had a rather large one stuck to the back of my arm while I was lost in a gigantic forest. I tried to rip it off my arm but my skin was stuck to it and then it sank its teeth in. Thats when I woke up screaming, feeling refreshed and ready to start my work week.

  • Deserex

    I took Cymbalta for about a year. Seemed to help the depression a lot, but the cost was just too much. I decided to go back to Zoloft with a higher dosage, but had to wean off of Cymbalta. The DT’s (withdrawals) were AWFUL! I was dizzy all the time, and just felt out of myself… I highly recommend NOT taking Cymbalta. Google it. The boards out there have some very interesting info on Cymbalta.

  • ander382

    I’m on Cymbalta and I CONSTANTLY have dreams that I’m driving around in the country and can’t find where I’m supposed to go. the WORST!


    1) I guess I’d be called a fag hag, too. I wish Tyrant came to my office every day….

    2) Cymbalta never caused me to have weird dreams. It did, however, (and no one has mentioned this) make me very tired during the day. Am I just weird? And then I’d have a hard time going to sleep at night. I had to quit taking it because I was so non-productive while on it. I would literally fall asleep every single day while my fingers were still typing.

    3) Cymbalta definitely affected my sex life. The intensity was totally gone. It was sad.

    4) I still have dreams occasionally where I show up for the first college course of the semester, don’t attend any other classes, and then panic because I need to go take the final exam. The last time I was in college was 1981. Will I ever get past this?

    5) Oh, and the one where I get on the school bus naked from the waist up, going to ELEMENTARY school, and have 36C boobs that I then try to hide.

    6) I can’t even bear to write about the ones where the thousands of snakes inhabit my back yard.

  • dykewife

    i used to have really vivid dreams when i was on paxil. i didn’t break any furniture, but i also didn’t feel like i’d had any sleep at all. then i changed to celexa. it’s bliss to know that i’ve dreamt but not to remember any of them and to wake up feeling like i actually managed to rest. it’s a joy.

  • whomajigi

    I blame my dreams last night on you. My husband and I ran into my best friends who live 600 miles away at a food court. I spent a few seconds saying hi to them and promised to return after I grabbed a bite to eat. Cut to 4-5 hours later and I’m still wandering around trying to find something. It was only as my alarm went off that I sat down to join them. 🙁

  • Edwin Allen

    Dude, I had a dream last night that this guy ran into a fence surrounding a power generator or something and got electrocuted/blown up and over the fence and was on the other side of the fence howling about how he was dying and having siezures and stuff, and we were all running around crying because we couldn’t get to him because the fence was electrocuted. Crazy.
    And the night before that I was a Che type training revolutionaries somewhere in South America before they betrayed me, disappeared, and the government forces (who were dressed in uniforms that were a cross between Star Wars generals and the gov’t forces in Soderberg’s Che) were coming descending on me from all directions, coming out of the woods and through this field of tall, tall gras. So I pretended to shoot myself and then played dead, but they still shot me. Then I was in this villa in a treehouse with a shiester lawyer and my this beautiful woman who then told me she was having my baby.
    Wierd stuff. Usually I don’t remember my dreams, but lately it’s been crazy up in my sleep head. I don’t know. I know most people think stories about dreams are like boring or cliche or something, but I love them. I love remembering them. I love hearing about other people’s. I think dreams are just fascinating. I imagine nightmares suck, but even those two crazy dreams I just explained didn’t feel like nightmares. I woke up just feeling like, wow, that was wierd. So, bummer about the dream thing.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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