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new here and at the end of my rope

2743 Views 25 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  sprinter
I am a new member and I am very glad to have found this place. A short version of why: I am 47 and have dealt with severe sa and have been diagnosed with Avoidant personality disorder. I have NO friends and can count on one hand the number of friends that I have had over the years. Currently there is no-one that I socialize with. I have been divorced for 3 years from a very socially adept man who I loved who left me for a woman who is more in tune with his personality. I was devastated and it was the final blow to my self esteem. I long for social contact with others and at the same time avoid it like the plague. I am getting so tired of the battle. I work with 3 very social and strong women in a small office and they hang out together after work but I am never invited. Ayway I wont go on and on. I am glad I found this place. I hope to at least aleave a littel of the isolation I feel here. Dreams and shadows
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Hi everyone, I know I'm a few months late to join this conversation, but, thought I would post anyway. I also have experienced many of the problems you all have. I have had SA since I was a child. Back then they called me shy, then I became a wallflower, then anti-social.

I am here to tell you I truly believe I have been saved. I started therapy six months ago and started taking Zoloft at the same time. I still have my "off" days, but, for the most-part I feel 100 times better than I have for as long as I can remember. I still turn down a few invitations out of fear and I still have a little trouble letting people get to know me and I am working on all of that. I feel that within the next few years I will be able to completely rid myself of unnecessary anxiety. I work in a data processing center and I sit in a waist high cubicle in a large room that holds about 80 cubes. At any given time there are 40 to 60 people there. That's a lot of anxiety! It was very hard for me to even walk around the room. Now, I don't even think about who might be looking at me or talking about me. I don't care. I know I am a good person and a good friend and that's all that matters. I have a group of friends that has slowly grown over the five years I have worked there. For the year prior to Zoloft, I have felt increasingly isolated from this group and I'm sure they didn't know what to do with me. Last Christmas, I bought gifts for all of them and when I gave them out it became clear to me that they never expected this to happen. They had to really scramble to find last minute gifts for me. This year I announced that I had set a budget for Christmas and that I would not be giving gifts to my co-workers. One friend then suggested that we do a gift exchange. I never expected her to want to help me out like that. It made me feel very good to know that she cared about me enough to keep me included in the group and I have felt better and better about my friends at work ever since.

I think that Zoloft has made all the difference. It amazes how once that tiny little pill started taking effect, things that kept me up at night no longer bothered me at all. I urge everyone to seek medical attention for your problems. It saved my life and I think it can save yours. The secret is to keep at it. Go to therapy, take your meds.
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cicada said:
It's great that you have improved so much. I know that Zoloft has been an important part of your therapy, but what kind of non-drug therapy have you been doing? How long do you expect to have to take Zoloft? I am hesitant to take anti-anxiety drugs. I guess I am afraid I'll rely on the drug too much and won't actually change my thinking or behavior. Has this been a concern for you? Just trying to figure out if I should end up using anti-anxiety drugs or not.
I was diagnosed with dysthymia (a mild form of depression) that had developed into major depression and SA. My doctor told me that because I have had these problems since I was a child that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that causes me to think differently than "normal" people. ( Have you seen the Zoloft commercials that show a black and white drawing of nerve endings and the little circles popping back and forth between them?) Because of this I will need to take Zoloft for the rest of my life. This is fine with me because I never want to go back to where I was. I have also found out that in 2006 a generic form of Zoloft will be available and that's great news for my wallet.

To answer one of you questions, I see a therapist every 3 or 4 weeks. She has a checklist of personality problems for me to work on, that she made during her initial evaluation. This way I know what I need to focus on. Taking Zoloft has made this task easier for me. This is my understanding of what Zoloft is, it is not a mind altering drug, so it will not drastically change your personality. It is a re-uptake inhibitor. Which means it simply forces the electrical impulses in you brain to act normally by jumping from nerve to nerve instead of jumping out and back in. Once the electrical impulses start doing what they should,your brain will start to release more serotonin which will elevate your mood. Your elevated mood will allow you to be more approachable and others will respond to you in a more positive manner. As for thinking that you might rely on the drug too much; that would be something that you want to discuss with your therapist. He/she should be able to give you some tools to help you learn how to change your behavior. My therapist recommended a book to read and I learned a great deal from it. I think it is a must read for everyone on this site. It is called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers PhD. The most important thing I learned from this book is that everyone feels the same fears I do. The same fear that paralyzes me will motivate them. The book teaches you how figure out which fears are groundless and how to overcome them. Hope I helped! :thanks
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