I think I've overcome SA
Hi everyone. I haven't posted here a lot but been lurking sometimes for a couple of years. I'm in an amazing place in my life right now even though I thought social anxiety would eventually kill me and I'd like to share the experience.
In 2014 it all started; university student, panic attacks in class, at family/friends. I didn't find a proper therapist back then so throughout 2014/15 I didn't improve much although I could 'manage' my life. In 2016 everything went downhill to the point I barely could go outside anymore. I quit the university I was at (both because I didn't like my studies (art) and because it was just loaded with bad, anxious experiences). Summer 2016 I started at my current university studying history and the academic year of 2016/17 was the most challenging year I've had. I had to take oxazepam (benzo) to go to class every single time. I was also in therapy (CBT mostly) since the start of my studies here. From september 2016 to about march 2017, I've been absolutely miserable. Without oxazepam I wouldn't even go outside for quite some time. I seriously contemplated suicide in that period.
At some point, in march this year, it all changed. I started taking citalopram (20mg), a fairly low dose, and started setting fixed goals for every day and actually doing them, not avoiding. Long story short, within a few weeks I didn't have to take oxazepam anymore and felt fine. I could socialize way more with fellow students, joined a student association/frat last summer (2017) and at the moment I'm exactly where I want to be. I tackled pretty much every truly crippling problems I've had with anxiety, and am now doing the 'smaller' things (low self-esteem, some certain situations), but overall... I can't believe how far I've come. Literally a year ago I couldn't even dream of being what I am today; I was too anxious to step on a train, a bus, visit a store, go to college, let alone socialize without taking tranquilizers (even then it was tough). Now, my social life is flourishing, studies are going well and it has been stable for over 6 months. I haven't experienced real panic in a long, long time.
For me, I think exposure, CBT, group therapy and to some extent the citalopram (although I'm on the lowest functional dose) as worked wonders. If you don't want to settle with your situation, please don't and keep fighting. I didn't believe it but now I experienced that it's possible to conquer this. It took a long time but in the end I believe I came out a better person. I'm more open (I told quite a few friends about my anxiety), I understand my emotions and I can cope with them. I feel reborn and I hope everyone here will experience the same.