Life on Lexapro: 15 Weeks

“God gave you this life because He knew you were strong enough to live it.”

I’ve had a few people ask how things have been going since I last posted about life on Lexapro (thank you, I appreciate it) and I must say, I’ve seen some changes.

When I took my first dose on October 29th, 2016, I thought it might change me dramatically right away. Part of me believed I would immediately be calm, collected, and more focused on the important stuff in my life, rather than the small things I’d feel anxious about every day. Over time, I’ve found that this could be true, but I had to be patient.

When I was first prescribed, my doctor said I would see small changes within 4-6 weeks, but it might even take months to notice the full effects. I was VERY impatient at first. I wanted to be cured! I didn’t want to feel so upset and on edge all the time. I thought this stuff was going to fix it!

Wrong. Since Lexapro is a SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), my body has to get used to it over time, so I don’t see the therapeutic effects of it right away. It’s something I can use long-term without major side effects if I choose to stop using it someday. Other drugs, such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan, are benzodiazepines (“benzos” for short), which calm you down almost instantly. THIS is the relief I initially wanted, but I realized these aren’t the right kinds of medications for me right now.

The cool thing about managing anxiety is that there are lots of different options to treat it. If one medication isn’t working for me, there are plenty more medications I can try with the help of my doctor. If one kind of therapy isn’t working, I can try something else that might be a nice outlet, like yoga or art. The possibilities really are endless, so if you’ve been dealing with anxiety and/or depression, always know that there ARE many different options to help you. Don’t be afraid to try new things that might be good for you! ALWAYS consult your doctor, though, before making changes with medication. PLEASE.

While I was struggling with the test of time until my medicine would take effect, I tried to find some things that could help me focus in the mean time. I started taking time to read, color, journal, paint, or listen to music. I made a daily schedule and to-do lists to keep myself occupied. I set aside specific times to do homework, study, eat, clean, go to club meetings, relax, etc. I slowly began to realize that keeping myself busy and active really alleviated some of my anxiety.

By the time Thanksgiving break rolled around (about 4-6 weeks on Lexapro), I was seeing some very minor changes. Mind you, my doctor said it would probably be 3-4 months before I would notice the bulk of it. However, things were changing. I noticed some mood swings, I’d still have good days and bad days, and I started feeling more emotional (my boyfriend can definitely confirm this). I felt a little bit of nausea, but with a few changes in my diet and by taking my medicine in the morning after breakfast, this was easily fixed. I also began feeling VERY tired. This is a pretty common side effect for many people, so I almost had to expect this one. The first month or two was a lot of trial and error and adjustment.

By Christmas (two months on Lexapro), I was starting to feel more adjusted and in control. I’d still feel anxious at times, but I wasn’t having the constant “on-edge” feeling like I used to have. That continuous little voice in my head slowly began to fade away. However, the true test would be when winter break was over and the new semester began. Like most of us, I feel most comfortable and at-ease when I’m home with my family, so during my winter break, I wasn’t sure if my medicine was really working or if this was just the usual relaxed feeling I always had while I was home. At this point, I was excited but also a little anxious to see how I would feel once I moved back to my apartment for spring semester. Things were looking up, but I was remaining patient.

Today, I am approaching 16 weeks on Lexapro, and by the end of February, I’ll be at my 4 month mark. I’m about four weeks into the spring semester and I’m feeling better than ever! Some of the more recent changes I’ve noticed are the positive ones. No more rapid heartbeat and dizziness, no more anxious nausea, better sleep at night, easier to get up in the morning. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a panic attack, which makes me one happy camper.

The weirdest part of this is that I still feel anxious at times, but I feel like my brain and body are able to manage it much better. I am still able to recognize what makes me anxious, but it’s almost as if my brain just doesn’t care as much. I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t, I know that sometimes I feel better when I’m alone, and sometimes I feel better when I’m busy with other people. Lexapro hasn’t cured my anxiety, but it has given me the little 10 milligram daily dose that my brain needs to function properly.

Overall, I’m very excited to continue seeing changes in my health and attitude. I’m excited to keep exploring new things and discover more methods of therapy that make me happy (so far, I LOVE journaling and painting). THANK YOU to my friends and family for being so patient and supportive as I handle this adjustment. To those who are struggling with GAD, other types of anxiety, depression, or anything similar, feel free to comment or reach out to me on social media (see my “About Me” tab for information), and always always ALWAYS reach out to your doctor if you’re considering some changes in medication or therapy. I’m always happy to offer a helping hand or simply just be an outlet for you share anything without judgement over here. We’re all in this life together.

Love always,

Jessica

32 thoughts on “Life on Lexapro: 15 Weeks

  1. I am so glad I came across your article. I am on week 4 of Lexapro and to today woke up with a huge amount of anxiety.

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    1. Patricia, I know the feeling. It’s a frustrating process but patience is key! I’m doing much better now and I’ve been on Lexapro for over a year! Be open with your doctor and share all your concerns. They are there to help you feel your best!

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  2. Hi Jessica,
    Thanks for sharing your story! I am suffering from GAD an now approaching month 4 on Lexapro. Overall I’d say I feel better than before I started on the meds but I am not where I would like to be. People and the Pharma industry keep saying that the meds should be fully effective after 6-8 weeks, which is not true for me since I am still quite up and down, better than before but not anxiety free. Did you also experience this up an down roller coaster ride and how long did it take before you really felt better?
    Thank you and all the best!
    Chris

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    1. Hi Chris! Thanks for stopping by. I’m in the same boat. I’ve been on Lexapro for well over a year now and I think I really started to feel better around month 6 or 7. However, I still have ups and downs regularly. I do feel much better than I did before I started, though. I’ve considered switching, actually, or even bumping up my dosage. It’s scary to make a change again, but I’ve spoken to many GAD friends who have gone through a few different medications before finding their one. Lexapro is often a starter for many, as it’s very safe to stay on long-term. Definitely speak to your doctor and/or therapist about your own process! Wishing you the best, take care!

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    2. Thanks for your prompt response Jessica! I am on Lexapro 2nd time and I just realized that also on my first journey it took me at least 6 months before I kind of felt recovered. Anxious blips happened also after that but they got milder over time and I reached a point where I thought I could try it without meds. Well, I realized I quit too soon and too abruptly. After three months without them I reinstated 4 months ago but I guess need more patience again before I can say that I am fully back to normal xxx Chris

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  3. I recently got bumped up from 10 to 20mg, i was still having panic attacks after 2 months on 10mg. I am in counseling and trying things like yoga. I’ve always been an anxious person but this past January I lost my mom, she was 55 and it it was sudden and i was witness to it, alone. I finally realized i was loosing control in May when i thought i was having a heart attack, but after i trip to the ER… i was having an very bad panic attack. As i said before its been 2 months and I just start the 20mg 3 days ago. I am glad i came across your journey. It gives me hope that i can be in control if not 100% at least more than i am now. I just have to be patient. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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    1. I’m so sorry you had to experience the death of your mom. That is not easy for anyone, but it’s so great to hear you’re making yourself a priority! It is a unique journey for everyone. Know you are not alone on this path! Take care.

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    2. Hi how are you now? Did you notice at what month you started to feel better? Im taking ecitalopram for 7 weeks now.. minor improvement but my anxiety and depression are still there…

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      1. Hi Jo, thanks so much for reading! Give yourself a few months to see a bigger improvement. Know that Lexapro will not cure anxiety and depression, but make it much more bearable. Definitely see your doctor after 3 months or so if you have concerns. Best of luck and know you aren’t alone!

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  4. Thanks Jessica…I have been on Lexapro for 2 and a bit months and am just finally getting some relief from my GAD. Glad I hung in there…I thought after 4 weeks it would work but it took way longer. Your story is encouraging. Well done. Hope you continue on this positive road. Xx

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    1. Hi Rez! Thanks for reading. I’ve been on 10mg for over a year and there are still days where I struggle. Know that you are not alone, and we all have a very different journey and experience. Take care! x

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  5. So glad I found this. Been on Lexapro for 8 weeks and don’t see any big improvement. Less panic attacks but still don’t feel happy or interested in things. Hope within next couple months I’ll start to see the good days.
    Thank you

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    1. Hello Vicki! I am on 8 weeks as well and getting really hopeless, because I had only 1-2 good days per week so far. Today is very bad again, can’t get out of bed and I feel discouraged to continue taking Lexapro. Can you please share with me If you got much better later on beyond 8 weeks? Just wanna see If it is worth to stick with it or not 😦 Thanks very much

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      1. If it’s ok for me to chime in! It took some time to notice a big difference on lexapro! I would say at least 4-6 months and at about a year I felt pretty much normal again! From my personal experience I’d say give it some time. I hated reading this when I was at your point but it I am so glad I stuck with it bc I’m doing things I haven’t been able to do for years! Including fly! Which was my biggest fear! Take care xo

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  6. Hi (: I’ve been taking Lexapro for about 3 weeks now and feel terrible I was hoping to feel at least a little more “normal” by now. I have extreme anxiety and at this point don’t leave the house. I’ve been so tired and unmotivated since taking it which is extremely not like me. I was going to quit but thinking now I should give it a little longer. I take 10mg in the morning would night time perhaps be better?

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    1. Hi Shelly – Give yourself time 🙂 I would also consider discussing with your doctor the possibility of increasing your dose if you don’t see an improvement by 6-8 weeks. It does take quite some time for your body to adjust, and even after 2 years on it, I still have my bad days. I’ve always taken mine in the morning and that worked for me. Definitely consult your doctor about your concerns!

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  7. Just wondering I have been on lexapro for 4 months now its helped alot with my anxiety but I still have days where im so tired did you have this issue?

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    1. Hi Kristi – Thanks for reading! I also have these days. I’ve been on Lexapro now for well over two years and I still feel tired sometimes. I recommend taking it before bed and see if that helps!

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  8. Hi! Thank you so much for your post on this topic. It’s very helpful to hear your experience on this medication and makes me feel more hopeful that it will work for me too. I’ve been on the medication for about 4 weeks, I started slowly with 2.5mg then upped to the 5mg dose about 2.5 weeks ago. I’ve been taking it at night before bed but I’m noticing more of the nausea creeping up lately. I’m curious what dietary changes you made that helped you? I’m hoping this side affect will be short lived. Thanks again for sharing your experience.

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  9. Thanks for this blog. I’ve been on Lexapro for almost 3 months. I’m very med sensitive so I started very low at 2.5 mg & slowly increased over 8 weeks. I’ve just made it to 10mg and been there for 4 weeks. I have definitely improved slowly & had my best week yet on week 3 of 10 mg but anxiety has not been good again at weeks 4-5 now & my sleep is gotten worse again. My doc wants me to stay on 10 mg for another month or two since I AM better than when I started. It’s just very frustrating & discouraging to have anxiety come back so strong after some time off from it & improvement. It’s good to hear it can take longer than the 4-6 or 8-10 weeks the internet tells you. It’s given me some hope to keep moving forward to read your post & give this more time.

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    1. Hello Brandy! I am on 8 weeks and getting really hopeless, because I had only 1-2 good days per week so far. Today is very bad again, can’t get out of bed and I feel discouraged to continue taking Lexapro. Can you please share with me If you got much better later on beyond 8 weeks? Just wanna see If it is worth to stick with it or not 😦 Thanks very much

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      1. Hi there. Yes, I’ve since gotten better. I eventually made my way up to 15 mg and have been there since July. I’ve noticed I see improvement with each increase & then it seems to level out & I needed more. I’m glad I stuck with it. I am still seeing improvements as time goes on. I’ve been on Lexapro almost a year now & am better than I’ve been. Some days are still hard but it’s so much better than I was. If you’ve seen improvements, I’d stick with it. I’m sleeping, eating, living better.

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  10. Hi Jessica,

    Your story provides hope. Thank you so much for sharing. I have been on Lexapro for 1 month now at 10mgs. It has helped but I still wake up with that pit of anxiety in my chest every morning. Before this I was on Zoloft for several years and started feeling so much better that I decreased that to almost nothing. Lo and behold my anxiety and panic attacks came back. I tried upping my Zoloft again and for some reason it did not work the second time around which is why I made the switch to Lexapro. I’m curious, since you have now been on it for 2+ years, have you ever increased your dose? My dr suggests I increase to 15 mg, but I am very Med sensitive and nervous to do the increase. I’d love any insight you have. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Heather! Thanks so much for reading and also for sharing your story. I never ended up increasing my dose beyond 10mg, but considered for a period of time. I remember starting at 5mg and bumping to 10mg and it was a very easy transition for me. I talked to my doctor and most people float between 10 and 20mg. Definitely chat with your doctor and see if there’s a method that might make it an easy transition for you!

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  11. Hi Jess,
    Started 20mg Lex for 5 months now, improved a lot except lingering anxiety
    Did you feel this way
    I read it took you 6 -7 months to feel better
    How are you now?

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    1. Hi Lori! Thanks for stopping by. How exciting that you’ve felt better since beginning Lexapro, that’s great! Know that Lexapro is used to manage anxiety, not eliminate it all together. I have now been on 10mg for a couple years now and I definitely still have some bouts of anxiety here and there, but it has been much more manageable. Definitely consult your doctor or therapist to see if there’s an alternative that may work for you!

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    1. Hi Kelly! I started taking Lexapro for generalized anxiety disorder. I’ve heard it does great things for those with depression as well. Definitely talk to your doctor if it’s something you’re considering.

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  12. Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for sharing your story… been using a escitalophram 20mg for 7 weeks now. I’ve notcie minor inprovement but still feel anxious most of the times… your story make me wait more patiently… thanks!

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