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Hi everyone. I believe that I've suffered from social anxiety for most of my life. However, only recently did I realize that the way I've been viewing the world is not the norm. I just moved to a new city and am constantly interacting with people whom I don't know very well. The people I'm now living with have done their best to care for me, but I still have difficulty trusting them and not feeling fear in their presence. My fear of judgment, assumption that others almost always dislike me (in spite of evidence to the contrary), uncertainty in interacting with people in daily activities, etc. have come to the forefront in this new life I've chosen.

After experiencing stomachache-inducing anxiety for nearly two weeks straight over an objectively minor problem with a housemate, I started to wonder if my troubles were part of an anxiety disorder or if there was any way I could find treatment for my ills. I searched several sites for symptoms of anxiety disorders and discovered that I've experienced almost all of the listed symptoms of social anxiety disorder for most of my life (except that my anxiety tends to exhibit itself in stomach problems, sleeplessness, hot flashes, and muscle aches instead of blushing, sweating, shaking, etc.).

So, at this point I just really want some help with these problems. However, I fear self-diagnosing as well--I'm afraid I will have labeled my issues wrongly or that others won't take my fears seriously without a doctor's agreement. And I worry that if I share my concerns with others they won't believe me or will assume that it's not really as bad as I know it is.

I'm not sure where to start as far as being diagnosed. Who do I go to? A counselor, a family physician, a psychiatrist? Is medication a good option? Are there therapy options that don't cost a lot of money? I can't afford much. What if people don't believe me and I continue to be stuck in my own fear and destructive thoughts? Any advice or personal stories would be greatly appreciated.

Also, thanks to everyone who's posted. Your stories have brought me great comfort and helped me feel less alone.
 

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Welcome, Anastana! :)
 

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You should make an appointment with a psychiatrist as they are the only ones who can prescribe meds (thus saving you paying to see a counselor and then paying to see a psychiatrist). I am not saying that you need meds but you never know.
 

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Hey anastana welcome. :hyper
 
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