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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! I wanted to share my social anxiety disorder triumph! Today is day #3 of my Zoloft wean (you have to taper down the dose gradually so you don't get withdrawal from stopping it abruptly). I feel that I am finally cured of my disorder so I am very excited to be stopping medication. Just so you can have some background on me:

- I started having symptoms of the disorder in high school (but I didn't know those were tendencies of a person with social anxiety until I took a psychology class in college). I would give my sister my leftover lunch money everyday to throw my trash away for me because I didn't want to walk in front of everyone to throw it away because I feared that people would stare at me, or I would have spilled something on my clothes, or my fly would be unzipped (just all irrational things that made me fear being in front of others)

- Things got horrible during college, and my disorder became the worst it had ever been. I started fearing eating in front of others. I would decline eating with friends everyday so I could eat by myself. I usually made up some excuse for why I couldn't eat with them. If there was no way of avoiding eating with others, I would usually lie and say that I wasn't feeling well so that way I wouldn't have to eat in front of others (but then I would have to go hungry until I could eat by myself).

I also got an intense fear that everyone was always staring at me. I can't count the number of times I went out with my boyfriend and we had to leave a restaurant because I was crying with fear that people were watching me eat. I also started having a fear of eating because I was afraid I was going to choke and that people would laugh at me.

I always HATED having to sit at round tables because I felt that everyone had an open view to look at me. I also hated sitting in the center of a restaurant for the same reason. And if I sat in a booth, I always wanted to sit in the inside so people couldn't see me.

I also got so nervous when I would have to go somewhere new. I hated not knowing where I was going, who would be there, if I would have to introduce myself... I obsessed about every detail and made myself sick over it.

Two years ago, I finally decided to get help. I was tired of being controlled by my disorder. I hated lying just to avoid social situations. It was so hard for me to finally ask for help because I was even scared of telling a professional about everything. My doctor put me on Zoloft and I also took Ativan for breakthrough anxiety. But the longer I was on Zoloft, the less I had to take Ativan.

I have taken Zoloft for 2 years now and I feel like I am ready to lose my security blanket. The medication calmed my anxiety and allowed my true personality to show. I began enjoying life again instead of hiding. I would take pride in my baby steps (ex: I can still remember the first time I ate in public without feeling like I was being stared at). With Zoloft, I was able to see that all of my fears were soooo irrational and "retrain" my brain to realize that I made things so much worse than what they really are.

I am ready to move on and completely leave my disorder behind because it is not who I am. I was apprehensive at first to stop taking Zoloft because I was afraid that I would go back to how things used to be. And I didn't want that to happen, because those were the worst years of my life. But I am moving on, and I just have to remind myself of how I was on the medication if any fears start popping back up.

Tips for success:
- It takes time to heal - you won't feel better in day.
- Celebrate all baby steps. Going out with friends without feeling anxious about it may seem silly to most people, but to us, its a HUGE step in healing.
- Have someone you can share your struggles with.
- Always remember: There is hope! You CAN get better
 

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I feel much better already :)
 

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Awesome, thanks for sharing! I'm reluctant to go on meds, so it's encouraging to see that they do help some people move on. Excellent tips, by the way!
 

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wow thats great news..i hope u get rid of this..god bless u
 

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Awesome. I haven't taken medicine myself, but I'm going to start taking it next semester I'm at college. It's good to hear firsthand that the stuff actually works.
 

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Good for you! I've also been able to overcome my social anxiety disorder through cognitive behavioural therapy, diet & exercise. Feels good.
 

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Your story is so inspirational! I'm glad you've found that you will be able to remain anxiety-free without medication anymore :)
 

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Thanks for sharing :) How do you think you're doing with high-stress situations, like job interviews or talking to someone you really care about impressing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just wanted to give you guys an update... Today is day #8 of cutting my Zoloft dose in half. Then in a week I will stop it completely. I'm sooo excited that I am finally at this point! I have come such a long way from where I used to be.

And to answer the question from Phoenix Rising... With medication, I was able to handle things real well because it sort of "calmed my brain down" and I was able to realize that situations definitely weren't as bad as what I made them. I forced myself to face situations that made me uncomfortable just so I could confront my fears instead of protecting myself by avoiding them. Moving forward, I know that there are going to be times that will make me anxious but I am mentally preparing myself for that. I just have to keep reminding myself that if I could handle the situation with medication, I can handle it without medication because it is still the same situation. I am now better prepared to look at the situation in a different way now. And it always helps reminding myself how far I've come and talking to you guys to keep me going.
 

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Thanks for answering my question. I'm glad to hear that your level of anxiety has gone down and that you're able to face the rest. That's what I'm working on too :)
 

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I am glad you were able to find way to overcome your SA. It is great you were able to undo those harmful thought patterns that ensnare us.
 

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I really believe everyone can overcome social anxiety disorder, neuroplasticity proves it, but what it really comes down to is you have to be open to change. You have to be open to not complaining about social anxiety, not exaggerating, accepting yourself and not allowing those ANT's thoughts to rule your life any longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update :)

Wanted to give you all another update. It has been 18 days now since I started weaning off Zoloft. The past 5 days, I have not taken any Zoloft at all!! My brain/body is having to adjust to not having the Zoloft, and the withdrawal symptoms have not been fun :( I didn't really have any problems until I completely stopped taking it. I felt dizzy for the first 3 days. Then I started getting "brain zaps" or "brain shivers"... Its such a weird feeling. It kinda feels like getting a cold chill and shivering but in your brain instead. Its really weird, but I found its very common in people coming off of SSRI's. I feel alot better today than yesterday though.

I am sooo proud of myself that I have still not had any feelings of anxiety coming back!! I'm starting to think I can do this! I even ate at a restaurant last night, in a crowded booth. And I went to several Christmas parties and didn't feel anxious at all! I just keep reminding myself how far I have come with my social anxiety disorder over the past 2 years, and it keeps me pushing through these withdrawal symptoms.
 
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