How Taking Medication for My Anxiety Changed My Life

For a very long time, I had no clue that I had anxiety. I thought everyone felt like they couldn’t breathe if they were running a little bit late, or that they were sure something would go wrong...constantly.

In my second year of university, I was living alone, (with a huge, 130lb dog) and I wasn’t sleeping. I was so terrified all the time that someone was going to break in, or that I would relax for a moment, and something terrible would happen. When I did sleep at night, I would lock my dog in my room with me, and sleep with all the lights on. I would sleep for a few hours at a time, and I wouldn’t allow myself to relax enough to sleep well ever. I knew that my fear was irrational, I knew nothing bad would happen, and yet, I still couldn’t sleep. Friends would tell me to “relax” and my dad suggested I meditate.

Obviously, if you have anxiety, you know that “relaxing” isn’t a thing you can do, and being told to relax is actually kind of hurtful. I would love to relax; thank you for that brilliant idea. After probably three months of not sleeping through the night and being a huge wreck all the time, my dad suggested that I try some type of medication, like Prozac. I was convinced that I didn’t need medication, that things weren’t even that bad (lol).

I went to see my therapist while I was home for winter break, and I told her what was going on, and asked what she thought I should do. She suggested I try Lexapro, a very common medication that is considerably less addictive than Prozac. She wasn’t able to write prescriptions, so I went to my gynecologist and told her what was going on and what my therapist had suggested.

The first time I took the medication, I was so nauseous. I have a pretty sensitive tummy, and my body reacts very quickly to medications (if I take a Benadryl, I have about half an hour before I fall asleep for twelve hours). I didn’t notice any immediate impact on my anxiety, and told myself that if I felt this sick every time I took my medication, it wasn’t worth it.

I guess I didn’t notice the impact that the medication had on me for a long time. I found that I could take one pill every other day, and not feel terrified of everything. When I went home for the holidays this year, I forgot to bring my medication home with me, and I noticed a drastic change in my anxiousness. By the end of my two-week vacation home, I was crying a lot, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. If someone asked me a simple question, I felt incredibly overwhelmed and stressed out.

It took me a long time to realize that taking medication didn’t mean that I was a bad person, or that there was anything wrong with me. It just meant that I needed a little help sometimes. When you have a cold, you take extra vitamin C, you take DayQuil, because you need a little help to get better. Taking medication for my anxiety just helps me out. It helps me not to worry about literally every single thing in the world. It helps me not to think about every single “what if” situation that could possibly happen ever. It helps me.