I just want to know the opinions of others as far as being on an ssri for a long time as in years?
There are arguments for being on antidepressants for the rest of your life.
Anxiety disorders are mostly chronic conditions that vary in intensity with sometimes long periods of remission, but generally don't go away. To deal with this people have been prescribed antidepressants for up to a year at a time whenever the anxiety returns, However, there is growing evidence from semi professional drug trial participants (yes they exist, or at least used to) that tolerance tends to build up the more often antidepressants are stopped and restarted. According to one study
the chances of antidepressants working after each restart drops by nearly 20%. There is also considerable anecdotal evidence that the initial side-effects tend to become progressively more severe with each discontinuation and restart and that higher doses are needed to achieve the same response.
FWIW, I've been taking antidepressants pretty much continually for nearly 28 years without them causing any noticeable harm. They have mostly been the older tricyclics which generally have a greater impact on the body, especially at the very high doses I need to get good results.
I've gained weight while taking it and was wondering if it was something permanent. Please any comment will help.
Some gain weight, others lose it. It all depends on individual biology. Plus, it isn't necessarily all due to the med. It may be that you enjoy food more when not stressed and so eat a bit more. Exercise would not only help with the waist line, but has also been proven to reduce anxiety/stress. For those with mild to moderate anxiety (or depression) it may the the only treatment they need.