I have been an anxious person for as long as I can remember. Most of the time it’s just background noise and I cope just fine. I’d have the occasional panic attack and I’ve had a few spectacular meltdowns, but I figured that’s just the way I was. For many years, I just assumed that it wasn’t bad enough to be worth the effort of trying to fix it, or that it was so “minor” that it couldn’t be fixed. I would never begrudge anyone else mental health care, but for me to call my anxiety out as an issue would be admitting failure.

Late last summer, I finally broke. I ended up in my doctor’s office a sobbing mess. Summer is my busy season at work. The nature of my job means I’m handling all of the things I normally do throughout the year, plus additional short-turnaround, high-pressure efforts. Three of those in a row and I cracked. I left with a prescription for Klonopin and a referral to a psychiatrist, and quickly realized that maybe the level of anxiety I was dealing with on a daily basis wasn’t normal. I still couldn’t bring myself to make a psych appointment though.

I’m getting ramped back up for busy season again, and so I finally sucked it up and made the psych appointment. I went this morning. I had no idea what to expect, and I shook through the first half of the appointment, but the doctor was really nice. In the grand scheme of things, she agreed with me that my anxiety wasn’t particularly severe, but that she thought that I would notice a lot of positive changes on a daily medication rather than just a Klonopin or two every few weeks. I’m on a low dose of Lexapro. I’m supposed to work on a list of how my anxiety impacts me now so that I have a baseline for comparison in a few weeks. I’m still trying to show myself the compassion that I would show anyone else and not consider this a failure.

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Also, is there anything I should be on the lookout for regarding the Lexapro? Any weird side effects I need to know about? And how seriously do I need to take the avoid alcohol warning?