This is my first post on pretty much any on-line forum so please be kind.
It all began 5 years ago when I was 17. I had just left AS levels at 6th form to study a BTEC at college. Along with this I had just started a new part time job. During college and my new job (Both new places I had never been before) I began getting extremely concious about myself. I found that a few weeks into college and my new job I was finding I would go bright red and shake and sweat almost uncontrollably when the centre of attention in class or at work. It began to get worse and worse and it was an every day occurrence for the next 2 years of my college and job. Some how even though I skipped most of College I managed to Pass and get a place on the course I wanted at a university in England. My anxiety was crazy throughout this whole period, the only people I felt at ease with were my best friends from when I was a child. First year of University as I am sure many of you know is really easy. I passed with an attendance of around 5%. Second year of university my anxiety was so bad I can not remember attending one class at all. (During my second year) I researched why I felt like this as truly before I was 16 never once did I not feel comfortable in my own skin. I thought mental issues like stress were all just a imagination in the mind (How wrong I was may I add). I found out I may have Social anxiety disorder. I contacted my university and asked for counselling. This in some ways made me worse. I began to feel a little like a mental case, 20 year old, outgoing with friends but nervous of crowds and classes. However I managed to drag myself and my sweating palms to my first counselling lesson and as thought, after speaking with my University counsellor I had Social anxiety disorder and we decided on a course of only 6 sessions (to my dis approval), once weekly of CBT. I made an appointment with my GP that week as advised and got Citalopram 10mg. After starting the Citalopram the first two weeks I felt horrible and I mean really horrible! It was like I was on recreational drugs like how I imagine Cocaine feels. I hardly even ever take paracetamol's or any medication, so without the doctors permission reduced my dose to half for the next week and half again 1/4 after that for a week before ending it just to make sure my body had no withdrawal effects. This all being while having my first 2 counselling sessions. Sadly after my 2nd counselling session I started skipping them and never returned, my anxiety of going into the building I study in for counselling and possibly being seen by someone I know, going in was too much. As mentioned at the end of the year I failed. The following year (Last year) I resat the year without attendance, doing nothing about my social anxiety and giving up completely I just did the things I could cope with. Hanging around with the same friends, never going out my comfort zone etc. Overall it was nice in some ways because I felt comfortable and never pressured to go beyond my comfort zone however its not a way of life for anyone to avoid exciting experiences just to avoid having a panic attack. That brings me up to now. Now (somehow) I am in my final year of study after learning most of the course myself, I now must attend class regularly and also want to! to get the grade I want and am capable of. At the start of September I have gone all out. I am exercising as regularly as I can (a lot more than before) and eating as healthy as I can, as I do think exercise is one of the best ways to a healthy brain. I have made some improvements but only because I have really forced myself. I have managed to go to 2 lectures not tutorials but lectures where I only have to sit and listen. This may seem sad but its quite a big improvement. The problem is that when in lecture I am sat there worrying more about if I have a panic attack or get called on and have to run out than the actual information I should be learning. I do go home and re read the slides and make notes to make sure I am keeping up to date and going to class as a kind of exposure method to start getting used to it. Just today I plucked up the courage to call my GP, I asked for a phone consultation as I am so worried to see a GP in person and will struggle so much telling a stranger my true case especially if they are d**k's as I have heard some GP's can be. I had a really nice talk after an intial few minutes of nervousness with the doctor over the phone. I now have an appointment for Thursday as they would prefer see me in person (pretty reasonable) but its not with the nice doctor on the phone but someone else, (means I have to go through the story again
). I have emailed my university for another counselling session but like last time this will probably take a month to get an appointment.
Overall, I have had SAD for 5 years now diagnosed by a proper counsellor, attended 2 CBT sessions but was too afraid to attend any more. Tried Citalopram for a trail but felt horrible so weaned off quickly. In my final important year of study and going on an all out offensive to tackle my SAD as its restricting me from reaching my potential insane amounts. Eating healthy and exercising regularly for the last 6 weeks and will continue to do so, GP appointment to maybe ask for Meds on Thursday and trying to start CBT sessions again.
The advice I would like is if anyone else has a similar situation to mine and what they feel helps them or maybe someone who has dealt with this and overcame it and how?
I felt horrible at the start of Citalopram but am aware these are just the starter side effects, as someone so against medication, is Citalopram worth the initial side effects? how does it calm the anxiety?
(No hate for this one) My friends take Valium occasionally for all different reasons, personally I have never tried it. After a lot of research, Valium (I am aware of the addictiveness) sounds like a drug that could really help me. I just need something to get me into the classes so that I can start making friends and to my CBT sessions (If I felt comfortable enough, even join a gym which I would like to do). What are your experiences of Valium? Can it even be prescribed by the NHS? Has anyone ever ordered from Sleepingpillsuk? Is Valium in low doses when my anxiety extremely high, enough to calm me to get me through the door and into my classes? If I was to get Valium, is 5mg once a day when I weigh 15 1/2 stone enough to just reduce the anxiety symptoms? and also is it possible to see physically if someone has taken Valium (over excited, drowsy etc.)?
I have tried many herbal remedies (Kalms, Rescue Remedy, Vit B with Zinc and Multi Vits etc) all with really no change. Has anyone got anything that works for them that's herbal and not damaging to the body. I am looking at ordering Chamomile tea but am not hopeful on any relief, after spending probably over 100 Quid on herbal remedies that claim to "relieve" stress.
Any information regarding anything SAD from anyone who has been nice enough to read this post would be greatly appreciated and as mentioned before I am sorry for any forum etiquette I may have missed as this is my first post ever!