I left my psychiatrist’s office with a prescription for Lexapro and filled it at the pharmacy the same day. I swallowed my first dose the minute I got home.
I sat there for a second, tilting my head and focusing my hearing as if I’d be able to sense the medicine’s effects right away. Nothing happened, of course: It can take as long as six weeks to know if an SSRI is working. Eventually, mine did.
Today I’ve reached nearly a year of treatment on two antidepressants, Lexapro and Wellbutrin, and the results I’ve experienced were unimaginable to me before I started taking medication. Prior to taking meds, I struggled to make small decisions, like exactly what time I should go to bed or how to phrase even mundane text messages to friends or my significant other. Every move I made was the result of laboriously playing out myriad scenarios and then choosing the option that felt the safest. Now I am able to make thoughtful decisions that are based not on avoidance of fear, but rather what is going to propel me forward each day. I’m free to pursue goals, seek empowerment, and generally be content.
I was resistant to medication for so long because I didn’t understand what taking medication meant. I had bad information and bad assumptions. Here’s what I wish everybody understood about SSRIs: the good, the bad, and the anorgasmic.