Hello Hannah... Welcome to Anxiety Zone! My name is Chuck, and I am one of the Global Moderators here on the site.
You are now a member of our community, where you will find support and advice from other members in similar situations. It's always nice to find someone else who understands, and to know you're not alone.
We have sections in the forum that address specific concerns, so feel free to post or start a new topic in the section that best fits your situation. Feel free to explore the rest of the forum. You may find the other topics helpful, and you may be able to offer advice or support to someone else.
We also have a chat room for members over the age of 18. Once you have made three meaningful posts, you will be allowed access to the chat room.
Hannah, you and I have a very similar history with an anxiety disorder, and the use of anti-depressant therapy. For myself, I have already made the decision that my anxiety disorder is a chronic, lifelong condition, and so I plan on being on an anti-depressant the rest of my life. I am on Celexa (Citalopram), which is a sister drug to the Lexapro that you are on.
I am not certain why your doctor would tell you that being on anti-depressants would take years off your life, because as far as I know, there is no truth in that statement. In one respect, anti-depressants can help you as they actually "thin the blood", which prevents clots from forming, thus helping to prevent stokes and heart attacks from occurring.
Really, I think a lot of it is just statistical information as when you think about it, many individuals with severe, chronic depressive and/or anxiety disorders, whether they are on anti-depressants or not, may have a shorter life span. And I ask myself, would I rather live to 75 and have a good life, or life to 85 with daily anxiety. I'll take the 75, thank-you.
Again, welcome to Anxiety Zone, Hannah. The very best to you!... Chuck