Hello, I'm so glad to have found this place
I just found this site today. I've been reading through some posts and am blown away that so many people are out there with the same terrible anxiety that I experience. I always felt so alone with this.
For years I functioned like a mostly normal person while feeling like a fraud because I didn't FEEL normal. I always thought I was weird, different, awkward and sabotaged myself with anorexia, excessive exercise, cutting etc. Only if I was hurting myself did I feel good enough to socialize with others, if that makes any sense.
I finally worked my way through the anorexia, but started experiencing terrible anxiety and derealization/depersonalization in my early 20's - I thought I was going crazy and would never feel "grounded" and normal again.
Over the years I got better; I always felt a little awkward and had some problems with stress but self-medicated, and was accepted socially and profesionally. Recently though the anxiety has come back, a result of stopping benzodiazepenes which I had become dependent on. For 6 months my life has spiraled; I really thought I would lose my job and I've lost contact with most friends.
A few weeks ago I started taking Paxil and looking into other treatments for anxiety and panic (cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation). The Paxil seems to be helping as my near-daily panic attacks and constant general anxiety have subsided. Social situations are now bearable...my hands are cold but not dead-white and shaking after any sort of social interaction.
Anyway I am so glad to have found this friendly and supportive group and look forward to healing from SA and panic, and helping others do the same.