First of all, big congrats!
It looked like you had been a hard road for you and it is encouraging to others to read a success story like yours. A lot of the stuff you wrote makes sense in with some of the things that I've been thinking about.
Originally Posted by azbarkingspider
Every time I entered a social situation, all could focus on was my debilitating anxiety. I'd think to myself "I hope I don't feel anxious", and of course every time I would.
I bought every self help book I could find on the issue. I believe I have five of them. I read online about herbal remedies. I tried Kava, Valerian, Tryptophan, Passionflower, vitamin b6 and b12, everything that might help.
The first thing I did was drop coffee. This was a hard decision, because I had used it as a crutch to fight nervousness for so long. About a week after dropping coffee, I noticed an ENORMOUS difference in being able to assess situations, and calm my nerves. Coming from someone who's drank coffee for years, I'm glad I've quit, and I refuse to drink it anymore.
I started drinking a gallon of water each day. People underestimate the power of hydration. Most don't realize that dehydration can cause depression. I filled a gallon jug of water each morning, and finished it each night. Eventually, I grew to love water so much, I now drink a gallon and a half each day.
The third step is this: I stopped fighting. I had to drastically alter my way of thinking. If you think about fighting anxiety, guess what? You're still thinking about anxiety, and everytime you think about it, it gets the victory. When you fight it, you give it the satisfaction of acknowledging it.
Remember: Social anxiety isn't you. It isn't permanent. It'll pass just like any other unpleasant phase in life.
The times I do feel stressed or nervous (like any human), I focus on deep breathing and the situation at hand, and relaxing. Nothing else, or no one else.
I also keep a bottle of Valerian root capsules. If I ever do feel a little edgy, I'll take one, and it relaxes me in a subtle, healthy way.
For anyone out there battling the hell I went through. Just remember that people love you, the world is great, and when you make it a habit to have fun and enjoy yourself, you'll look back on this period of your life and marvel at how much you've grown.
So when you got anxious around the woman it's possible that your system got stuck in the anxiety, possibly the fight or flight mode. I do think it's possible to relax that system. There's the parasympathetic and sympathetic nrevous systems, which normally will balance out, and it's possible to do that by relaxing it through deep breathing, meditating, and relaxing.
I've tried taking all these different herbs and they only help somewhat.
Dropping coffee certainly must help, bravo that you can do that. I think anything with caffeine except perhaps green tea would help.
Hydrating the body makes sense, we always feel better when we drink water, the body really needs it. I read somewhere that the body is over 90% water or something like that.
Not fighting makes sense. My life consultant reminds me that 'what you resist, persists'. It actually builds tension in the body, creating more anxiety. I told some one on here that my social anxiety was lessening because I started focusing more on the experiences of life and the world, relaxing into it, rather than focusing on the source of it--which is how I'm relating or not relating to people, whether alone or not alone.
Also deep breathing has helped relax the system. I tried this before a common social situation that makes me anxious, for about 5 minutes, and it helped considerably. When it came up again, I just took some deep breaths.
That last one I highlighted--yeah, just enjoying the world--which is beautful and funny and so interesting, rather than on the anxiety. It seems the more that you are in it, the more it helps to get habituated to it. I have been borderline agoraphobic, just very anxious and my life consultant started meeting me in different places, and now I feel more at ease in the world. I don't want to miss anything. And yes, there are kind and nice people in the world. I think unfortunately socially anxious people think of the mean people in the world. There really are some decent people out there.