Much of my problem stemmed from the fact that I seemed to be too aware of myself and my surroundings. I was hyper-conscious of how I was perceived and how I interacted with others. In fact, so much time was spent analyzing each and every situation that it became tedious, stressful, and laborious to leave the safe confines of my house. Many times, given the choice, I preferred not to put myself through that turmoil and opted to stay in. This made things worse, because I needed real-world practice and exposure to make any improvement.
I was overly conscious of my every move, and how I was perceived by others. This led to distorted and unrealistic assumptions about the real world. My false interpretations were always stacked against me. For some reason, I would never give myself a break. I always assumed the worst when it came to me, and the best when it came to everyone else. I rated other people much higher than I should have, and myself, much lower. This distorted sense of self, and the fact that I was second guessing every move I made, led to an overpowering feeling of anxiety whenever I stepped out the front door.
I needed some way to tone down my thoughts – to stop analyzing everything to death.
It was at that time that I started taking one of the new SSRI drugs. Apparently, millions of prescriptions had been filled for this particular brand, and it had been around a while. I thought I had nothing to lose by at least trying it.
It took about 2 months to really kick in. There were physical side effects, and I was prepared for that. However, I wasnt prepared for the difference it made in my thought processes. It was as if someone had flipped a switch and I was not able to get to that familiar, deep-thinking stage. I was not able to pick apart every aspect of how I governed myself in public. I didnt have that nagging, scrutinizing, over-analyzing, inner voice that was intent on keeping me in my proper place.
This allowed me to function surprisingly well in almost all social situations. Initially, I was thrilled at being able to simply carry on without the usual self-doubt and worry. However, I knew that, deep-down, this was not a cure; it was simply a numbing of the senses, if you will. The drug simply blocked those deeper thoughts, it didnt change them.
In fact, it blocked most of my clear, deep thoughts. Had it been able to simply eliminate the social anxiety aspect, I would have accepted that (though even that would still not be an actual cure), but it seemed to numb my entire range of deeper thought. It was an awful feeling, and I decided that I would prefer to have things back the way they were.
This was not the answer I was looking for. I did not want to simply dull my senses; I wanted to change my thought patterns – Big difference.