After not even being able to sleep last night because I was so anxious about my upcoming first psychiatrist appointment - I went, I did it! The psychiatrist was very friendly and helpful. I explained that I was looking for something to take "as-needed" in combination with trying to take active steps to face my anxiety. She said I might be better off with SSRIs, but respected my decision to not try them yet and didn't try to pressure me into it (which was something that was one of my big fears about the appointment!). I agreed that if I haven't made any progress by next summer, I'll give SSRIs a shot.
In the mean time I got prescriptions for a benzodiazepine and a beta-blocker to use as needed. Now I have no excuses, it's time to start regularly facing my anxiety until I overcome it again.
It's a major relief knowing that if I have a panic attack or have an overwhelming event coming up, I have something to help me now. It's also a relief having been to a psychiatrist because now that I've done it once, I think going back there next time will be a lot easier.