Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.
It seems that you have a touch of social phobia
, maybe not the full blown disorder, which is just a form of anxiety
. You also have very low esteem, but you also realize that you do have self-worth,. You just are intimidated by many public situations.
This might have come about because of bullying
earlier in your life. That is not really relevant. What is relevant is that you learn to overcome it. This is most effectively done with a certain type of psychotherapy called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which is really a training that you undergo.
The first step is the COGNITIVE one in which you are trained to detect your thoughts that are negative and are not improving your life, and to replace them with more positive ones.
The BEHAVIOURAL side exposes you, in a controlled manner. to those anxiety-causing situations. This is done repeatedly until the stress
that you feel is gradually decrease to a manageable level.
The therapist will also teach you some social skills to help you control this anxiety and prevent the physiological symptoms that accompany this social phobia. This aspect is known as Social Skills Training.
These two approaches, in combination, will make a big difference in improving your quality of life.
Sometimes medications are given to lower anxiety. Physicians are quick to give patients SSRIs, such as fluoxetine/Prozac, sertraline/Zoloft, or paroxetine/Paxil, but I do not recommend you start on these medications as they must be taken daily, and then it takes months to get off of them.
There are drugs, which are addictive if used regularly and/or in large doses, but are not when used occasionally, as needed. They are in the class of antianxiety drugs known as benzodiazepines and include diazepam/Valium, lorazepam/Ativan, and alprazolam/Xanax. These are fast acting and are ideal for limited use in specific situations. Another drug in a different class is a beta-blocker called propanolol, for performance anxiety. It is a blood pressure medication but is used for performance anxiety.
Find a proper therapist who knows how to reduce anxiety, someone with experience, and you will benefit greatly. Choose carefully, for not all therapists are equally effective.
I wish you great success.
Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC