For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with anxiety. I remember being young and terrified of talking to strangers, whether they were other kids my age or adults. Everyone around me chalked it up to me being shy, but really it was much more than that.
Around middle school, I realized that I cared a lot about what people thought of me. I was worried that everything I did was wrong and that everyone around me secretly hated me. These anxious thoughts weren’t helped by the bullying and anger that people had for me, which I couldn’t figure out the reasons behind. No one had ever come to me and expressed a problem, so surely there must be something innately wrong with me, right?
It was also around this time that my depression really started to manifest. Fueled by my constant worries and insecurities, my depression grew, until it took over my life. I was sleeping all day and stopped doing my homework. I spent countless hours shut away in my room, scrolling through social media, trying to find a single distraction from my thoughts. My mind was at a constant battle between caring far too much and not caring at all.
Since then, I’ve learned to deal with my anxiety and depression. They were not cured by any means, but at least it was tolerable. I channeled my anxiety into my schoolwork and being a perfectionist and learned to battle my depressive thoughts head on, which mostly worked.
I can’t really recommend this method to anyone as it is simply just not the healthiest mindset. I think the best route for battling your mental health issues is to go to therapy, but does anyone really have the time or money for that? Clearly, I don’t.
I was fully set on going through the rest of my life without ever getting help for my mental health issues because of how inaccessible it can be. Thankfully, my parents offered to pay for Hers, an online telehealth company that allows you to get prescription medication for anxiety, depression and other conditions. Hims and Hers allows you to get access to generic forms of popular medication without insurance.
After completing an online assessment and being connected to an in-state physician, I was prescribed a generic form of Lexapro. I was directed to take half of the dose for one week to acclimate my body to it and then after the week was up, I was to take the full dose.
Before I continue, I would like to make the disclaimer that everybody is different, and what doesn’t work for me, may work for you. This is not to discourage anyone from seeking help or getting access to medication. My boyfriend and I were prescribed the same medication with the same dosage, and he did not have nearly the same experience as me.
If I’m being completely honest, the first two weeks of taking this medication was the worst that I’ve felt mentally in a really, really long time. I was irritable, had constant headaches and was having panic attacks with no thoughts behind them. Even though I hadn’t missed a single dose, I could tell when it was and was not working.
I’ve now been taking this generic Lexapro for about a month, and while I have seen some progress in my anxious thoughts, it has made me so tired that I feel more depressed. My thoughts have gone from caring about everything all the time to being too exhausted to care about anything at all.
Thankfully, Hers does regular check-ins, and I was able to express these concerns to my provider. He worked with me to change my medication, and after allowing me to do some reading about different options, switched me over to the generic form of Prozac. The best part of this process was that not only was it completely online, but I also felt in complete control, which is very rare for me when it comes to medical experiences.
Although I’m not cured by any means, I am hopeful. Not just about the medication, but also about the journey that lies ahead of me and the idea that there’s a better life waiting for me on the other side of this experience.
If you take anything away from my so-far negative experiences with antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication, it should be the realization that mental health does not automatically get better after one try.
It takes work and trying out different options until you find the one that works for you. If you know you need help, you should try to find an option that is accessible to you, even if it may not work for those around you.