Catholic Funeral + Mexican Restaurant = Placebo Effect

I was 26 at the time, and I was getting migraines.

(I didn’t realize until later but I also had pretty strong social and general anxiety.)


An Indian doctor that worked in my dad’s building gave me some samples of Lexapro to deal with my migraines. My dad has a physical therapy practice, and there are some other specialists like him who use offices in the same building.


I didn’t know that this medicine is usually for treating depression and anxiety. Probably because I couldn’t understand everything the indian doctor said to me. I didn’t want to be rude and make it look like english wasn’t his first language, so I didn’t ask him to repeat anything. He seemed to think that 2 handfuls of free samples would do the trick. Not handfuls of pills. Handfuls of pill boxes.


I was at a Catholic funeral when I got my next migraine. We were going to a mexican restaurant after the funeral and I took the Lexapro on the way there.


By the time our waiter came with fresh guac and chips my anxiety was so low I had become downright annoying. I had no worries about any social qualms or whatever other people might think of me. Not like when someone is drunk and has no inhibition. This was different. I felt like the shackles of social expectations had fallen off me.


By the time I next visited a doctor I was in Utah for the college semester. The doctor there informed me that what I had felt wasn’t possible, because SSRIs take a month to build up in one’s system. He attributed my experience to the placebo effect. I asked him how that could be since if I wasn’t aware that the medicine was for depression and anxiety. He didn’t have an answer for that.


Since then I have been taking Citalopram (the generic for Lexapro). It has been 7 years. It never had the same degree of effect as the first time I took the medicine, but social and general anxiety levels have lowered in my life. While in college I was getting migraines on a daily basis. But the citalopram has brought that down as well. One to five a month I’d say.