At its worst, anxiety controlled my future. I always wanted to go backpacking, but travel had so many inherent risks: Open water was home to lurking sharks, every mosquito was loaded with a deadly tropical disease, my plane would crash, I would hurtle through the window of a taxi onto a dirt road and wouldn’t be able to access medical care, and so on. I was far more comfortable at home.
Seven months after I swallowed my first dose of anxiety medication, I boarded a flight to Vietnam, embarking on a three-month trip around Asia.
Now, I’m not saying SSRIs turned me into a happy-go-lucky, bongo-playing backpacker who abandoned her worries along with her shoes as soon as her plane left the airport. I still dwell on decisions and mistakes longer than the average person. But medication has made me less likely to hurtle into the abyss of panic.