Paxil Helps

Until 6 years ago, I was afraid of meeting new people. I thought that no one would want to meet me anyway, because I'm not a very good conversationalist. I graduated from high school 6 years ago. As I went through high school, I did manage to make a few friends, but it was difficult. I was afraid to even talk on the phone to a stranger. When I graduated, I was going on to college and I was terrified. I didn't want to be a loner.

It took a lot of courage, but I ended up talking to my doctor about it and he prescribed me a drug called an SSRI. When I started it, it was wretched. It made me nauseous, which to me is the worst feeling in the world. However, my doc told me the side effects would last only a little while, and they went away in about a week. My body grew used to the medicine. I really didn't expect this to work. After all, how was a drug going to change the way I feel about meeting people?

Apparently people like me have chemical imbalances. What's interesting is that, as a kid, I was extremely outgoing. I think middle school is what ruined me. I didn't always have this chemical imbalance. Maybe my shyness caused the imbalance rather than the other way around. At any rate, somehow, some way, the SSRI helped. Oh, I was still shy, but I didn't have a panic attack every time I thought about situations in which I would have to meet someone new. I could greet strangers, and I could call technical support without getting tongue tied. Eventually, after meeting several people successfully, I started gaining confidence. It became easier and easier for me to meet people and make friends.

Eventually, I turned 23 and could no longer be on my parents' insurance. You know what that means: no more SSRI to rely on. However, I had enough for 3 more months. I started taking one every other day, then half of one every other day, so it ended up lasting a lot longer. Now I haven't had one in several months, but I've gotten so used to being more confident meeting people, that I feel like maybe my chemical imbalance is fixed, reset.

SSRIs may not work for everyone, but they worked for me. I recommend at least talking to your doctor. Even if the first drug s/he prescribes doesn't help, something still might. There are tons of drugs out there for social anxiety. And it doesn't mean you have to rely on a drug for the rest of your life.
mspac mspac
22-25, F
2 Responses Jul 28, 2007

Thanks for sharing such an encouraging story! I think anxiety disorders (including social anxiety) are really a spectrum disorder where people have similar symptoms all to varying degrees. So while some people feel very crippled by their anxiety (as you maybe did) you certainly are not alone in that others I'm sure have felt that to the extremes but everyone can identify with those central issues of anxiety in certain social contexts.

What an interesting story! I'm very glad to hear that you discovered you no longer needed the medication, given the craziness of the US health system. And what better than your own confidence, in any case? :)