How can I stop being afraid of medication?
June 28, 2018 7:20 PM   Subscribe

I took 5mg of my prescribed Lexapro for the first time tonight, after 5 months of scaring myself away from it. Despite this, I have done a lot of reading online about SSRIs and other medications' effects on people and have freaked myself out enough to want to stop already. However, my anxiety has been so debilitating and I can't deny it anymore. How can I make the right decision?

Although I have my good days, when my anxiety flares up - it is basically life ruining. I deal with a lot of intrusive thoughts, and they're kinda "sticky", like they race through my mind over and over and won't go away, and they eventually become "fact" in my brain, enough to warrant a reaction out of me, enough to make me do something about it. Basically a lot of cognitive distortions and paranoia and physical anxiety. So it seems like these pills would help, yet I'm scared of potentially making things... worse? How can I stop being afraid of these pills and allow myself to try them without psyching myself out? I am terrified of the sexual side effects. I'm 24 years old and sex is really important to me in a relationship, I love my sex life with my partner and it's something I value a lot. I've always had a high sex drive, but I'm on birth control which has decreased it somewhat. I worry that losing this nice thing would only worsen my depression or anxiety in the long run.

I'm also terrified of something I came across in my research on SSRIs, that they're essentially "chemical lobotomies" and that terrifies me to my core. The idea of permanently damaging myself at such a young age makes me want to stop, while the idea of living with this anxiety makes me question why I'd want to live like that. How can I differentiate between real, scientific facts about these drugs vs. people's conspiracies or opinions? It seems like there is a scientific basis to some of the criticism these drugs get, and I can't really discount the anecdotes either.

I realize that in writing this post, I'm probably succumbing to my anxiety again, and that I haven't actually experienced any of these things to be so afraid. However I am very concerned and don't really know where to start in an effort to ease my mind. I guess what I'm really asking is, how do I think objectively and wisely about this topic, enough to allow myself to make the right decision for my health?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (30 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
When I started meds, I kept a journal. Nothing big, just a sentence or two about my overall feelings of the day. When I was on the right meds, I was able to look back, and notice how things were better. It's not an immediate thing, these were changes over weeks, and months. It also helped as I tried other things, like therapy, and a few self help type books. It still helps, because I can look back, and see if I'm on a good path, and making good... life, I guess, or if I'm obsessing on things that are beyond my control.
posted by kellyblah at 7:43 PM on June 28, 2018 [11 favorites]

Are you talking with your therapist and/or doctor about your concerns? When it's hard to be objective about something so personal (and when it's making you super anxious) working with a professional you trust can be helpful.

I agree with you that meds can be really scary. As far as I know there's no anxiety med that consistently helps everyone, so there's a bit of trial and error to it and I really hate that. But the important thing to remember is that if you start taking a med and realize it's not helping you, you can stop taking it (working with your doctor, of course).

I've had the same panic about starting a new med. And sometimes, yeah, I don't like the side effects and I have go to back to my doc and ask to try something else. But sometimes it makes a huge difference and it's worth it.
posted by bunderful at 7:45 PM on June 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

You can always stop if you have side effects you don’t like. Then the side effects will go away.

I take a drug called tamoxifen to prevent a recurrence of breast cancer. I’ve read stories from so many women who are afraid of it because of potential problems - but this is a life-saving drug, and so is Lexapro, and the truth is that the vast majority of people taking these drugs are happily going along reaping the benefits without posting horror stories on the internet. You’re reading the words of a very small number of vocal people who have had a bad experience. They aren’t the silent majority. It makes me sad that so many people suffer needlessly - or risk cancer recurrence - for fear of side effects that are most likely not even going to occur.

Just try it! You can always stop if you want to. It’s just a little pill once a day.
posted by something something at 7:48 PM on June 28, 2018 [24 favorites]

I know analogies are not the best way to make a decision, because the situations are not exactly the same, but it may help you get some perspective.

Think of it as your eyesight worsening over time, and you are considering getting contact lenses. (Let's leave glasses out of this for now - see caveat about imperfect analogies.) You do your research and find that there are risks involved. Sure, it'll help you see clearly, but the risk of eye infection is always there, and the idea of putting a little piece of glass in your eye terrifies you and there are horror stories of people with whatever permanent damage to their eyes from contact lenses and you find this one post that says contact lenses are essentially implanting a non-biological thing directly onto your eye, which squicks you out. It all sounds terrifying, so what do you do?

You decide if your eyesight problems are impeding your life enough that you would risk all this. You look at the thousands of people walking around with invisible contact lenses in their eyes to get a sense of perspective on how realistic these fears are. You see how they can do things that you can't because of your bad eyesight. You remind yourself that you can get a trial pair and, if for whatever reason they aren't for you, you can take off the lenses and try something else.
posted by satoshi at 7:54 PM on June 28, 2018 [7 favorites]

I don't know if walking-around-in-the-world evidence helps you any, but given how many people use antidepressants (and Lexapro is one of the two most common starter scrips, I believe), how many people do you know who appear to have had "chemical lobotomies"? (Besides in traffic, anyway.) If this was a thing, you'd know.

And IF you have any actual severe sexual side effects that can't be remedied with a little lube or slight change in methodologies? You won't die if you have a substandard sex life for a month or two. If you ever intend to be in a long-haul relationship, you're likely going to have to weather a drought or two or twenty. People get sick, people get hurt, bodies can be fickle. It is at least equally likely that the removal of severe anxiety will improve your sex life. What if that happens?

You may just need to acknowledge that you have so far not been able to treat your anxiety through sheer force of will and need to try following your doctor's advice for a minute. This is absolutely the last thing your anxiety wants you to do, but the choice is ultimately up to you.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:17 PM on June 28, 2018 [10 favorites]

I've been on Lexapro for ten years. it did dull me a bit but i still have a sex drive, emotions , etc. what I no longer have are constant suicidal thoughts. When I first went on Lexapro I felt like a zombie but that feeling was gone after two weeks. I think SSRIs are way overprescribed but the meds work for me.
posted by biggreenplant at 8:53 PM on June 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

You're not chained to Lexapro forever. I've gone through a LOT of different medications (and some time without) trying to find the right combination. I'm weirdly sentitive to medication, so I totally hear you on being anxious about this one screwing you over, but you're not doomed if it turns out this one doesn't work out OK. I had a terrible withdrawal from one med and ended up in hospital for a few hours, but managed to recover. There are options.
posted by divabat at 8:54 PM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

When I went on SSRIs, my life became so much better. I became a much better husband and father, and this decision likely saved a career for which I have great passion. My only regret is not starting sooner.
posted by 4ster at 8:54 PM on June 28, 2018 [12 favorites]

I’ve been on varying amounts of klonapin for anxiety for over 10 years, and I had a lot of the same negative thoughts about it as you, but every once in a while I will taper off because of those negative aspects, to see how things are without it now, & invariably the anxiety worsens to the point where it’s just not worth it.

Not being able to get out of bed because I’m too afraid to go to work is not the sexiest or smartest look I’ve ever had.

I keep the dosage as low as possible to sort of keep the anxiety manageable without getting too dull-headed, as I don’t like that either- sometimes after a particularly bad day, I will take a little extra - within medical guidelines - I almost never take the full prescribed dose - and I don’t like the wasted days recovering from the higher dosage, as there seems to be a fine line between too little & too much, but my life is just plain hell inside my head without it & I’m learning to be okay with that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:09 PM on June 28, 2018

For me, 15mg of Lexapro has been life changing in the most positive way. It works well with my brain. I've been extremely fortunate in terms of side effects. For me, it's a tool that quiets the anxious parts of my brain enough that I can respond rationally.

After I started using it, I got real vocal about taking an SSRI. I waited so long to take it, scared of what it might do to me, and it has -- no shit -- saved my life. I wanted to de-stigmatize meds & therapy for lots of folks, including a loved one who deals with intense anxiety. It worked. And, I also learned that lots and lots of people I know take them and are happy about it. The more I talked about it, the more other people seemed willing to share their (largely positive) experiences. I promise you that you know more people than you realize who are using prescription drugs for their mental health.

From what I know, 5mg is a pretty low dose of Lexapro. Give yourself time to experience it and see how it works for you. If you hate it, if it ruins your sex life and that makes you feel worse, talk to your prescriber and stop taking it.

And remember that anxiety wants to preserve itself. It will help you lie to yourself about whether or not a potential solution will work. If you've lived with anxiety long enough, it's normal to be afraid of it going away. Whether it's debilitating or not, it's part of your experience of life. It's okay to feel complicated about the idea of being less anxious, and fearful of what that change might be like. You can move through this.
posted by linettasky at 9:26 PM on June 28, 2018 [13 favorites]

It is totally valid to be scared of this new experience. I don’t know if knowing the facts will assuage your fears at all (I have an anxiety disorder so I know those distortions of fear mind are really potent!) but just in case:

1) The worst thing that can happen is, you will have a terrible side effect that stops once you stop the medication. (Always go on or off SSRIs with guidance from your doctor). If there’s a side effect that you just can’t tolerate at all, the option to go off the meds is an option. You are fully empowered. Unlike whatever scary fake news stuff you read (“chemical lobotomy” wth?!), these medications don’t cause permanent lasting damage, really. They are some of the most well-researched psychiatric drugs on the market and have been used safely for decades.

2) I, and many others, have found that any side effects of SSRIs taper off eventually. So if you do get an unwanted side effect like lower libido, it can be worth it to push through and see if that effect wears off.

It is also essential to bring these concerns up with your doctor. They have probably heard of this before, as lots of people share your exact same concerns. A good doctor will react with nothing but patience and empathy. For instance, my doctor thoroughly explained all the risks and benefits, what to expect, and started me on the lowest possible dose.
posted by shalom at 10:10 PM on June 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

I was very depressed about 15 years ago and vehemently against medication. But I reached a point where I was so miserable and my anxiety was so bad that I wasn't sure what I was scared the medication would do - it couldn't possibly make me feel any worse than I already did. I was already going through life wishing I were dead, so how could I be worried the medication would be harmful to me?

I eventually took the anti-depressant and didn't notice any side effects. I know some people do have side effects, but I didn't notice any. That alone wasn't enough and my doctor added an anti-anxiety med. I took them both for maybe about two or three years (I can't remember anymore) and then I didn't need them anymore. I became functional and that turned into being happy. I've been depression free since then, more than a decade. I won't say I've been anxiety-free, but it's been quite manageable and nothing like what it was when I needed the help.

I'm not saying medication will fix all your problems, but I do understand your fear. I was very, very against it and I can distinctly recall a conversation with my dad where he told me that people take medicine for their hearts - why can't you take medication for your brain? I saw his point, but it still took me a lot of time to come around to the idea. The "chemical lobotomies" notion sounds like the sort of thing I feared.

But what I can tell is that the medication stopped me from actively hating myself and hating my life and bursting into tears for no reason multiple times throughout the day. It did have a numbing effect on my emotions and my self-loathing, but that was the whole point - it gave me the chance to start to function and help myself instead of feel unbearably miserable. My experience was this: the medication doesn't cure you, it just gives you the chance to fight to take back control of your life. Once the medication allowed me to, I started to leave the house more, socialize, exercise, do work, be productive, and do things that made me feel better about myself - the things that made me feel like myself again.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:14 PM on June 28, 2018 [5 favorites]

I've been where you are but feel very differently these days due to positive experiences. For all the fear people have an SSRIs, there are sooooooo many more happy ends than horror stories but people rarely share them due to the stigma around mental health in the US and many other countries. (Grrr!) I've been taking a very low dose of generic Zoloft for half a year and it has been life-changing. I'd never really known what life was like without anxiety being ever-present! I had fought taking an SSRI for decades but now I wish I had tried one earlier. I also did two years of therapy, the second with an amazing therapist who agreed I was in a rut and the medicine would help me be less anxious in the present so I could focus more on healing past traumas. I now check in once a month with the prescribing psychiatrist; like my therapist, he is awesome and I trust both professionals, which really helps. I plan on trying to stop after a year to see how life is like without it, and then I'll make a decision on if and how to continue. As others have said, you only need to commit to trying it for a few months at this point; you can reevaluate as time goes on. I also had those fears about the sexual side effects: while I noticed them after a month, they were totally gone after two months of taking the meds daily. If you start to notice them, write down the dates and symptoms and bring them up with your doctor at your next appointment. Just remind yourself that the low-term goals will make the short-term challenges worth it; that's what I did and I'm glad I didn't give up. I feel so much better these days because I feel more like "me" again and the best version of me at that.
posted by smorgasbord at 11:14 PM on June 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

I take a med (lithium) that has a very narrow therapeutic range and requires constant monitoring for toxicity, so I get the fear about side effects, and the unease about taking psych meds in general. Though I hope it never gets to that point for you, what ended that train of thought was realizing that it probably quite literally saved my life and allowed me to function without being constantly suicidal, and I didn't care what it did to me for that to happen. You're at a place where you naturally focus on the downside, and can't see from this hole the much greater upside that potentially exists until you get to that place and realize you are okay.
posted by ahundredjarsofsky at 11:42 PM on June 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

The thing to keep in mind with any of these meds is that it takes 6-8 weeks to start seeing a benefit. Which sucks, but until someone figures out how to get the brain to grow synapses faster, there we are.

I say this because lots of people start something for a week or two, get all kinds of side effects, and stop the med before ever getting the good effect. Of course, if a side effect is truly debilitating you should tell your doc and come up with a plan to cross-taper onto something else. There are plenty of antidepressants that don't have sexual SE, for instance. And for some people, they feel great by day 2 (which is probably placebo effect, but then again, placebo releases dopamine, the "reward" neurotransmitter, so hey I'll take it).

Keeping a line-a-day journal is a great idea and can help distinguish signal from noise when it comes to effect/side effect. See if you can check in with your doctor or their nurse a couple of times (maybe monthly or something) during the startup/titration phase, they'll be able to tell you if what you're feeling is common vs rarer and what your options are.
posted by basalganglia at 3:30 AM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]

I’m on lexapro and have been for about 6 years now. I started on 10mg and now take 15mg, and I also take Ativan for anxiety occasionally. A few notes:

-5mg is a super super super super low dose, maybe the lowest dose you can have. You will not be turned into a zombie.

-my doctor told me lexapro is one of the anti depressants with the fewest side effects. YMMV but I have found this to be true in my life.when I first started taking lexapro, I had a few days of feeling very nauseated, but it went away about 2-3 days. I’ve never had another side effect since.

-like others are saying, a lot of this is your anxiety talking and keeping a journal is a great way to be aware of possible side effects. Communicate with your doctors about your fears and about anything that happens during the process of adjusting to new meds. It is literally their job to help you with this.

Good luck. This is a big step and can be scary, but for me, meds were basically life saving.
posted by nuclear_soup at 4:40 AM on June 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

I guess what I'm really asking is, how do I think objectively and wisely about this topic, enough to allow myself to make the right decision for my health?

By understanding that if you *could* think clearly, objectively and in a manner that did not cause you distress, you already would. In a way, consider this as an exercise in gratitude and thank your brain for reminding you why you need to try something new, like meds.

One of the better analogies I've heard is think of your brain like an album on a record player that you love and know from memory, but in the past few months, the record has started skipping. Now, you still love the record and listen to it and in fact, you've memorized where the skips are, and you can sort of live with it, except now the album is skipping more and more and all you hear are the skips and instead of enjoying the music, it's stressing you out because you never know when it's going to add a new and annoying hiccup. You could probably live with this situation, but you also know that it would be SO MUCH BETTER if it stopped skipping.

So you repair the album, it sounds clear again and not filled with little hiccups where you have to keep moving the needle. It becomes background noise and you can again read and do other things without anxiously waiting for it to start skipping again.

Meds can do the same for your brain. It can smooth out your skips and instead of being this endless anxiety source where you're checking and double-checking and stressing and worrying (thanks, brain!), those parts quiet down and you will be more open to healthy strategies like diet, exercise, meditation.

Lastly, if it helps, I do not know one single person with anxiety who did not have the exact same concerns about medication, and they're all now far happier that they stuck with it.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:45 AM on June 29, 2018 [8 favorites]

Hey friend, I started Effexor about 4 months ago and it has been both life-changing, and almost unnoticed in the day-to-day.

I also had a lot of unhealthy fears/concerns/anxiety over taking meds, even though I knew they were the right thing for me, for many of the same reasons you list.

I think you just need to:
A). stop over-researching stuff on the internet. That way truly leads to madness
B). Work with your therapist or doctor. Try not to over-analyze and this you are bothering them with questions. If they have a way to send messages via a patient portal, do it!
C). Journal, if that works for you, or find another way to dump the anxiety thoughts out of your brain so you can re-focus
D). try your hardest to be patient, especially if you have to try out a few meds to get the right mix. It won't (and shouldn't) be an obvious change. If the meds are working right, you won't actively notice a change at all until you are a few months in, someone asks how you are doing, and you realize how much your life has improved.

Good luck! Feel free to MeMail!
posted by RhysPenbras at 5:45 AM on June 29, 2018

So, for what it's worth, the phrase "chemical lobotomy" appears to originate from a self-described "watchdog organization" devoted to debunking the entire concept of psychiatry. It's a scary-sounding phrase because they're actively trying to scare you, not because it has any factual basis. (As far as I can tell, their chain of reasoning goes "Lobotomies were bad. Thorazine can be used inappropriately to make patients docile and compliant, just like lobotomies. Antidepressants are psychotropic, just like Thorazine. Therefore antidepressants are just like lobotomies.")

The organization was established by, and continue to be funded by, the Church of Scientology.

There are a lot of fearmongers out there mongering fear. Check your sources and consider their agenda.
posted by ook at 6:28 AM on June 29, 2018 [16 favorites]

Lastly, if it helps, I do not know one single person with anxiety who did not have the exact same concerns about medication, and they're all now far happier that they stuck with it.

Yes! The doctors that prescribe this sort of medication often aren't as clear as they could be that being afraid to take the medication is part of the disease trying to parasitically keep you sick. That is my mantra to myself. It helps.

Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications help an awful lot of people and are unhelpful for a very small but vocal group of people. Set yourself up with some sort of timeframe (a month or two, ask your doc) and say you'll check in with yourself then about how you are feeling and make a decision whether to continue then. The human body is very resilient and it's incredibly rare that you'll have a side effect that lingers if you discontinue the medication. Take your meds, distract the hell out of yourself while you let them work. Good luck.
posted by jessamyn at 6:50 AM on June 29, 2018 [4 favorites]

I'm a lifelong anxiety sufferer but always resisted medication for the reasons you cited -- fear of side effects, feeling like a zombie, etc. I changed my tune in 2016 when my anxiety got so bad that I had to take leave from work, and decided that the side effects of an SRRI couldn't possibly be any worse than my actual anxiety.

I started on 5 mg, just like you. Yes, I had side effects (mostly exhaustion and low libido). Yes, the first few weeks, my symptoms got a little worse before they got better. Many doctors will prescribe a benzo (Ativan, Xanax) to help you through the first few weeks -- did you get one? Something to look into.

I have a close family friend who is a psychiatrist, and while he wasn't my prescribing doctor, he was a great source of comfort and trustworthy information during this time. DO NOT LOOK FOR SRRI INFO ONLINE. People tend to post online when they have bad experiences, but rarely when they have good ones. My friend has spent the last 20 years prescribing SRRIs and other psychiatric meds to his patients, including his OWN CHILDREN, and kept assuring me how safe and effective they are for the majority of people who try them.

It does indeed take up to 6-8 weeks for the meds to take effect, so try to have patience over the next couple of months. If you're comfortable getting a benzo to deal with the worst of the anxiety, do that. If not, stay off health-related websites, build in a ton of relaxation and self-care into your routine, and wait it out. For me and others I've talked to, the side effects tend to fizzle out after the first few months.

My story has a very happy ending: I'm now on 15 mg of Lexapro, and I have literally never been happier. I can't BELIEVE what a difference it makes in my overall anxiety levels and sense of well-being. My best friend switched to Lexapro about 6 months ago and has reported the same thing. Also, it turns out that SO MANY PEOPLE I KNOW are on SRRIs and do well on them.

It's scary to try a new thing, and to think it might make you worse. But think of it this way -- are you willing to experience some heightened anxiety/fear in the short-term if it could lead to long-term relief? Lexapro (or another SRRI) might REALLY help you, and you won't know unless you take a deep breath and stay the course. If you need support during the short-term, feel free to get in touch!
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 8:50 AM on June 29, 2018

A mental health professional once reminded me to remember to consider the “side effects” of anxiety and depression, not just the potential side effects of the medication.
posted by pril at 8:50 AM on June 29, 2018 [5 favorites]

If you are worried about further dampening your sex drive, have you researched non-hormonal forms of birth control? They're a bit more work and slightly less effective than hormonal but they ... Don't impact your hormones at all and therefore, don't impact your sex drive.

You should be able to physically desire and enjoy sex, not just have to force your way through it with lube. That's a 100% legitimate concern.

Give it a couple months. If you find the combo of BC and your anxiety meds dulls your drive too much, do consider looking into hormone-free methods.
posted by windykites at 9:07 AM on June 29, 2018

Two things: Stop reading about psych meds on the Internet. "Chemical lobotomy" comes from idiots who have some kind of reflexive and unfounded distaste for medicine.

Second, it's not permanent. You can always stop if you don't like the side effects or just feel like you want to quit. Some specific meds require a week or two to taper off, but that's the worst of it.

Point being that if you're having these symptoms that you find severe enough to have gone through the steps involved in getting a prescription, trying is a far better option than not. If it doesn't work or doesn't work well enough, see your doctor and tell them that. It seems complicated when you're in the middle of the mindfuck, but it's really not! :)
posted by wierdo at 9:37 AM on June 29, 2018

I had the same fears going on Celexa. Once the adjustment period was over, the only real side effect I had was gaining 5 lbs. YMMV, but it wasn't even close to the side effects I got on birth control.
posted by noxperpetua at 9:51 AM on June 29, 2018

A lot of people use anti depressants to get over a hump that's blocking them so they can then address underlying issues. I did this approach and stopped taking meds after about 9 or 10 months. It's not a life sentence.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:51 AM on June 29, 2018

Written last night when there were only 10 comments here, and now most of what I said has been covered, but MeFi went down at midnight and I'm still going to post it now because I'm stubborn.

Medication is scary. But it not an end, it is not an absolute, and it isn't magic. It is an assistive device, and it is a journey. Change is scary. Even when you know that you can't trust your brain, it is hard to deliberately try something to change it.

You sound pretty miserable. It probably isn't going to get any better if you don't change something, and it could get worse. I can tell you that worse is a harder place to work from. You don't need or deserve to be miserable.

5 mg of Lexapro is a small step. It is a baby step. It is as safe a start as you can make. It may help, it may not. But it is a start. There are much worse places to start from and bigger steps to start with. So it is good that you can start small, but you have to start somewhere.

I can also tell you that if SSRIs were chemical lobotomizers or some kind of irreversable brain rearranger, I wouldn't be able to type this right now. I've taken relatively huge doses of a few SSRI meds. SSRIs were ultimately not the right meds for me because they didn't treat the underlying problem, but I couldn't have known that unless I tried. Zoloft didn't work for me, but I'd never say that it was a bad drug because it didn't. Prozac had a few rather unpleasant side effects for me, but that doesn't mean that eveyone will have a problem. I was different for having tried them, but not because they changed me at a molecular level.

The Internet is both a very useful tool and a nightmare generator when it comes to research. Try to stay objective.
posted by monopas at 9:55 AM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Spending a ton of time reading about the side effects of medications on sites where people complain about the side effects of their medications, when you have anxiety related to your health and the patterns of thinking you describe, is like doing a bunch of heroin and then trying to make a decision about whether you should stop doing heroin. It will literally impair your judgment and you'll just keep finding it harder and harder to get out of the rabbit hole. If you aren't sure about what the truth is and you've been indulging in this kind of obsessive behavior, trust your doctor and your personal experience of taking the medication and ignore everything else for awhile.

I could give you my reassuring anecdotes, but I think you don't need more anecdotes. You need to stop reading about this on the internet, even if it means blocking sites where you're inclined to go to read about it. I'm serious about that. It will just make things worse and make it harder for the meds to do what they need to do.
posted by Sequence at 12:36 PM on June 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

I was exactly the same as you. I have severe health anxiety and anxiety about putting things into my body that might give me a reaction. Now I have been on Lexapro for the last few years and it *completely* changed my life. When I first started taking it, my anxiety flared up. I was convinced terrible things were happening and had several panicked calls with my psychiatrist, who convinced me to persevere. I am so glad I did.

The idea that ssris are chemical lobotomies offends me. Check your source. Talk to people who have actually taken them long term. I am a tertiary teacher and am doing a Phd part time. I need my enthusiasm and my brain. I need to be able to care about people. While I was on Lexapro I met my husband and fell in love more deeply than I have ever felt. If anything, I am now able to be a better version of myself; a functional version, not clouded by anxiety. A more-clear thinking version.

Keep going!!! All the best :)
posted by thereader at 1:49 PM on June 29, 2018

I wanted to add: Yes, my sex drive was dampened at first, but that only lasted a few months and then it went back totally to normal.
posted by thereader at 1:50 PM on June 29, 2018

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