After my first visit with my doctor, I was prescribed Zoloft, otherwise known as Sertraline, to treat my anxiety. This is my first time taking medication regularly and to be honest, I was a bit scared to get started. I had heard so many horror stories about medication and was worried that I would have a bad experience with it. I was afraid of all of the potentially nasty side effects. Anxiety always makes you fear the worst. Even though I desperately needed to feel better, I was terrified that the medication would leave me feeling worse than I already did. I didn’t know what Zoloft was or how it worked so I decided to do some research before jumping into it.
For those of you who don’t already know, Zoloft is a popular antidepressant. It is also a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, which is a type of drug that treats depression and anxiety by allowing the brain to reuse serotonin, the brain chemical responsible for regulating mood, instead of reabsorbing it. Zoloft allows more serotonin to remain present in the bloodstream. Contrary to popular belief, Zoloft isn’t a “happy pill.” Taking it won’t make you instantly happy again. However, it is supposed to give you back the ability to be happy. If Zoloft works for you, you will likely feel some relief after 3-6 weeks. In my research, I found this nifty little video by one of my favorite anxiety/Zoloft youtubers, A Happy Change, that perfectly describes how Zoloft works. This guy’s channel is full of information about Zoloft, from how it works to what time of day you should take it.
After learning what Zoloft was and how it worked, I felt a bit more prepared to begin taking my medication. I was also able to watch several diary style YouTube videos of people documenting their experiences with Zoloft which helped me to feel more confident moving forward.
Week 1 – As most of the videos that I watched suggested, my first couple weeks on my medication were the toughest. To gradually introduce my body to the medicine, I started my first week by taking only 25mg each day at approximately 10AM. I saw no improvement in my anxiety during the first week. I was still unable to get out of bed most days and suffered from frequent anxiety attacks and brain fog. I was also hit with a few side effects during my first week that added to my discomfort. Specifically, I experienced dry mouth and constipation. Thankfully, I didn’t experience any of the major side effects that can happen with this particular antidepressant.
Week 2 – Though I upped my dosage to 50mg during week 2, I experienced no improvement in my anxiety. I’m no longer experiencing dry mouth.
Week 3 – I finally started to feel a bit of improvement during week three. In my case, improvement meant that I was finally able to get out of bed. I still felt anxious every day, but I wasn’t paralyzed by it. Instead of feeling anxious for the entire day, I was able to experience more days where the anxiety would come and go in waves. All of the side effects that I experienced during the first two weeks had gone away. One of the biggest positives that happened during this week is that I didn’t experience any brain fog / derealization moments. I felt present, which was a really big deal for me.
In closing, I feel that I should add that medication is not the right choice for everyone. It is up to you and your doctor to choose the best option for you. Additionally, medication effects each person differently and your experience won’t necessarily be like my experience.
Love Always, AnxiouslyM