Adventures in Escitalopram
Wow, gee, post a picture of your brand new bottle of Lexapro on your InstaStories, and suddenly everyone you know surprises you with the revelation “HEY! That’s what I’m on!” I think it’s easier to ask, do I know anybody who’s not taking Lexapro? For years I’ve been recommended, but afraid of, antidepressants. When I finally decided to start taking Escitalopram (generic for Lexapro) last month, I decided to write down my day-to-day experience with the drug, mainly to help my forgetful ass to keep an eye out for negative side effects. Well, imagine my surprise when… ah-ah! Spoilers! You’ll just have to see how it turned out:
Overcautious, I eat a full can of soup for breakfast before taking the half of the 5mg pill my prescriber advised me to. I don’t want the pills to upset my digestion, as I’ve been warned might happen if I don’t eat before taking it. I’m terrified that my overly-sensitive stomach will have this reaction.
I haven’t showered since Friday, and I take another half pill with yogurt. I’m just hoping to muster up the will to clean myself today, but all I want to do is lay in bed and listen to podcasts. Again. It’s comforting to hear warm and melodic voices, telling stories in my ear (even if they’re true crime stories). I do this when I’m lonely, but don’t have the energy to actually talk to anyone (or text anyone). I feel guilty about wanting human comfort but not having the emotional energy to give anything back. I wonder if this half-pill is doing anything. If it’s too little? Too soon? Or if I’m just lazy and flawed, and there’s no “magic cure” for the kind of ennui that makes me a miserable person. But there’s a new episode of Dark Poutine out today (it’s Monday) and they have gentle voices and sweet humor. I will also listen to The Bowery Boys’ back catalog, as both of these podcasts are soft-spoken and well produced. They’re especially comforting.
My outlook feels better, but it’s still a Herculean effort to get myself out of bed and motivated. After days of worrying writers’ block, I find myself able to focus on finishing a sentence, and am back to finishing blog posts, scheduling, and starting new ones. I have noticed that my farts smell terrible, and wonder if this is a side effect?
Wow. I really can’t believe that I woke up this morning at 6am and touched up my roots. My hair is important to me because I put a lot of pride into maintaining it, and when it grows out I feel like I’m unkempt. Touching it up is a 2-hour process that’s tedious, smelly, and messy. I usually put it off until I’m beyond desperate to get it done, but this time, I seized the day and got moving early, touching up my roots and getting ready for the day before anyone else in the apartment was even awake. I feel proud of accomplishing this. Like this is a small sign of things really turning around for me, and me becoming more capable and motivated.
I’ve been on a streak — waking up early, getting things accomplished, and feeling electrical. It’s like I can smell everything. Like, cut grass and onions and baby powder. My senses feel alive, and it’s actually kind of scary? Is this normal, or is this too much? Tell me, am I accidentally high on SSRIs? I sense and appreciate every little detail, I feel like I’m truly living in the moment. A breeze outside makes the tree cast dancing shadows on my curtain and I feel like i’ve never noticed this phenomenon before. And I feeling too good? Or is this just me, catching up to everybody else’s “normal”? I wondered how my brain would change, actually, with medicine, but I always feared it would make me feel less. I wasn’t prepared to feel more, and to appreciate it more. I wasn’t prepared for it to be good.
I think it’s safe to say the meds are fully in my system, and I definitely feel better. I find myself motivated, doing more, easily tackling the small tasks like putting my laundry in it’s bag and keeping my room tidy. I’ve been taking better care of myself all around: small tasks like brushing my teeth twice a day, that I used to struggle with, are easier now. It’s embarrassing to admit that one of the reasons I decided to try medication was that I had a hard time taking very basic care of myself, but that’s the truth, and I’m glad that it is working!
Final update: I feel like “taking antidepressants” is just part of my routine now. I can’t believe I was so afraid of something that has had such a positive impact on my life. It’s not like I’m suddenly walking around in ma vie en rose, and all of my problems are solved — but my life is definitely easier to live now. It’s easier for me to stay on top of taking care of myself: keeping my room clean, cooking for myself, making good decisions. I’m also surprised by what I don’t feel: I don’t feel robotic, numb, or disconnected from my emotions. I absolutely feel very much present and alive, capable of appreciating things. I’m starting talk therapy pretty soon, and I’m excited to work on things with a therapist, but I’m happy to have Escitalopram to incorporate into my therapeutic routine. Not as the cure, but definitely as a helper.