My Trek With Anxiety: Starting Sertraline

Calling it a journey sounds a lot more fun…and it has not been.

Trigger Warnings: mental health in general, anxiety, medication, health, side effects

Header Credit: Harli Marten on Unsplash

I was inspired to do updates on my trek with anxiety and starting an SSRI thanks to @thisissaffers on Instagram. About a month ago, she started posting weekly updates as she also started Sertraline (or Zoloft), and seeing how she was doing and her reactions has helped me feel better about starting it as well.

I’ve also had other people, some I know in real life like my therapist, who also take the same SSRI tell me more about it and that hopefully once it gets into my system, I’ll be wishing I started it sooner.

So, I decided I wanted to do updates as I’m taking Sertraline and learning to handle my mental health better, and maybe this can help/connect to someone else.

How It Started

I’ve been dealing with anxiety for most of my life but it wasn’t until I was in college that things got bad. However, this is a whole new kind of anxiety because it’s been over my health, which has also brought up other crap that needed dealt with.

Not to go over everything that has happened (and nothing has been life-threatening) the biggest thing was the reaction I had to a steroid that was prescribed to me (increased heart rate.) I legit thought I was having a heart attack the next morning and had to go to the ER. Luckily, all of the tests came back good and I had an average reaction.

However, after that, I’ve just been stuck in this constant fight or flight mode. I’ve had a hard time taking medication, even my birth control that I’ve been on for almost 10 years. It’s like my brain wants me to be ready in case it happens again…even when I’m just sitting on the couch re-watching Bake Off for the 20th time because it’s been a comfort show to me.

So, as you can imagine, I’ve been nervous about starting Sertraline because I have no idea what kind of side effects I’m going to have. It was also hard for me to admit that I needed the extra help to get through this.

10 Days of Sertraline

Ten days in and I can say that it’s been night and day. Granted, I was told it would take a couple of weeks to feel full effects but it took me less than a week to notice a change. I don’t think I’m there 100% yet but most of the time, I have a handle on my anxiety. It’s like a dial was turned down and now I can actually work on doing the work and get back to feeling like myself.

I take my medication every morning at 8:30 with breakfast to avoid getting nauseous.

Side Effects

  • not sleeping well: for the first week, I wasn’t sleeping well at all, but now that I’m past the 7-day mark, it is getting better
  • increased anxiety at night: the lack of sleep hasn’t helped this, but within the first couple of days, I noticed my anxiety was worse in the middle of the night, hence, not sleeping, but it’s getting better
  • dry mouth: I didn’t have this for very long and it was more annoying than anything, but at least I got my water intake
  • mild dizziness: I only had this for a few days and it’s pretty much gone, but it wasn’t bad and only lasted a couple of hours
  • some weight loss: I haven’t been eating good at all, but it’s something I’ve noticed

I can’t and won’t complain about the side effects. The worst has been lack of sleep, which is when my anxiety is usually worse, but it’s gotten so much better and I’m waking up every day with less and less anxiety.


I am extremely surprised to see how quickly it’s helped me. It’s not 100% there yet but definitely more than I was expecting. Everyone I talked to said it took them a couple of weeks to start noticing, and I started to notice in less than seven days.

But everyone is different, obviously.

I was very nervous about starting Sertraline but I am very, very happy that I did it. I’m slowly feeling like myself again. My therapist warned me to not get back into everything at once. To just take baby steps. But I am adding a little more each day. I’m even able to read a book for 30 minutes and zone out, which I haven’t been able to do in months.

I see my doctor again in about 10 days from now and I know she’s going to be super happy to see how it’s been working. My therapist sure has been happy to see me more relaxed.


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9 thoughts on “My Trek With Anxiety: Starting Sertraline

  1. 𝑹𝒐𝑩𝑰𝑡 πŸͺ says:

    Very similar to my experience with it. Felt effects within a few days and had the horrible sleep disturbance in the first week. After that the problem becomes the opposite :). It can be hard to get up. The lack of sleep happens again if you increase dose.

    3 years later on the same dose it’s working just the same.

    You can get random heart flutters occasionally so if that happens don’t be alarmed!

    Liked by 1 person

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