I just wanted to share with everyone how i managed to overcome most of my anxiety to a very manageable extent. I used to have a very high level of anxiety, 120 on the liebowitz test. But now my SA would probably be less than 90. And thats only in the span of months. I was too terrified to even step out of my house, and just the thought of going for a walk made me sick to my stomach. But one day i got so sick of it that i decided to force myself out of my comfort zone, so i took my first step in overcoming social anxiety, i went for a walk to some shops to order food.
It was absolutely terrifying the first few times, but after more and more trips(every day or two), i got used to it. Other ways of forcing yourself to socialize include talking to people at school, work, or saying a simple hello to someone on the streets. It sounds terrifying and the first many times you may be kicking yourself in embarassment, but you'll need to be determined and ready for some embarassment. Once you have tried coming out of your comfort zone(greeting someone, ordering food, etc) about 10 times or so, it gets much easier, although its still scary. After about 20 times, you feel much less anxious, because you are adjusted to it. But you still feel a fear of people's opinions. You feel like you are under the spotlight in a stage, and although lots of your anxiety has left by this point, these thoughts of "everyone staring at me" or "i should be worried that people are looking/talking to me" are in your head the whole time and they make you feel anxious. What you need to do now, which is what my therapist and any therapist will tell you, and what i figured out through social interaction(a bit each day, but still enough to improve), is that you need to ignore those thoughts that make you anxious.
Tell yourself that you are a human being and that you have the right to be alive, to be socializing, to order food, etc, and make yourself believe it. If you dont believe it, then just ignore those anxious thoughts and act as if you're the only person alive. Anxiety may try to prevent you from ignoring those thoughts, but you will just have to endure the anxiety, and in a few minutes it will go away. When you think about it, anxiety isnt the worst feeling you can experience, so just endure the anxiety and most of it goes away in a few minutes. With practice, this rewires your brain to not feel so anxious when thinking those thoughts. Any remaining thoughts such as "people are staring at me waiting for me to make a mistake" can be easily ignored at this point, and you will start feeling much more confident, seriously! I was walking in public today and was busy thinking about something and i then realised that i wasnt even anxious because my mind wasnt thinking anxious thoughts. Anxiety is caused by those thoughts. Ignore those thoughts, as hard as it is, and be willing to experience some embarassment and some thoughts that you should ignore such as "i shouldnt have tried socializing back there", and be determined to practice socializing and make the effort to break the barrier of anxiety by taking small steps out of your comfort zone, and before you know it, you will reach a point where most of your anxiety is gone and where you feel like you can easily overcome your social anxiety completely. I havent overcome mine yet but i have pushed anxiety so far out of my life that i can now confidently say a few words to someone in public or even conversate a little.
But remember, it takes determination, constant practice, and a willingness to experience embarassment and to come out of your comfort zone. And you have to keep it up, because socially isolating yourself for a short while, even for just a few days, can make you more anxious again. Take small steps out of your comfort zone to break the barrier of anxiety and you will go somewhere for sure!
I hope this helps someone! It really worked for me and i am on my way to recovering from this devestating mental disorder that no one should have to live with. Anxiety wont overcome itself, you have to fight to overcome it. Do something about it, make the effort to get rid of social anxiety once and for all, and i guarantee you that very soon you will be on your way to living the normal, happy life that you deserve to live.