I used to have really bad social anxiety disorder, that somehow peeked its head my senior year of high school. I had been outgoing and social, played year-round sports, was healthy, active, motivated. Well, senior year, I don't know what happened but I became really depressed, gained a lot of weight, became a recluse and developed really bad social anxiety, like to the point where walking to my next class felt worse than drowning in a pool of water. I would be pale, sweaty, and choking on my own breathe as I scrambled for my chair in the back of the classroom. It was pure hell, I still dream about how hellish that year was. Basically when school is that terrifying, you just don't go very often, and that killed my gpa, how I managed to even graduate is beyond me. Well I graduated, and became an absolute recluse. I would never step out the door, I just played video games and surfed the internet and watched TV. I would get yelled at my parents every day, they would hit me and call me a loser and that I need to get a job, I tried to explain my feelings[I didn't know "social anxiety order" existed and that there was help for it] to them but they said I was just being a lazy loser. I had so much ambition, I didn't want to sit around the house all day, I was too scared to go out in public. My parents basically gave me a deadline, and they would kick me out, and didn't care if I was homeless or whatever. It blows my mind that I could not even be alive right now, at that point I had pretty much planned out my suicide, was gonna go into the garage and just run my dads truck with the garage door closed to kill myself. But one night I was talking to my older brother on AIM and he invited me to move in with him, and he would help me get a job and whatever. Well he got me an interview at his work, failed the interview with his boss saying "no personality, too shy" and that just killed my confidence, and just ended up being a recluse at my brothers place. His friends hated me, they thought I was just a bum/leech, when infact, I was dying to get out there and work, go to college, etc. etc. Being around college kids, theres just tons of alcohol, I began drinking heavily by myself and became an alcoholic. I would just drink vodka straight from the bottle, and just sit in my room and cry, and actually walk around the neighborhood[and probably make an ass out of myself in my drunken stupor] but then I got the brilliant idea[/sarcasm] of getting drunk and then going job hunting. I noticed how I wasn't afraid of going into public when drunk. The only jobs I really got were telemarketing[but they'll hire anybody] but hey, at least I got somewhere. They usually didn't last long, and wasn't making enough to support myself. Brother removed all alcohol from the house since I was just getting drunk everyday, and I wasn't able to get more myself. My brother got me appointments with a psychiatrist, they told me I was all sorts of things, social anxiety, bi-polar, borderline, blah blah blah. Started taking SSRI, Bi-polar, and Anti-psychotic meds. Tried so many of them for period of 1-6 months each, paxil, zoloft, celexa, risperdal, depakote and while they made me a little more comfortable in public, THEY MADE ME FEEL SO TIRED/DRAINED all the time that it seemed rather pointless. I absolutely loved the vivid dreams, and jerking off to porn was actually a struggle. Psychiatrist advised therapy along with the meds, so I did. I still want to stab this therapist for all the wasted time. She didn't help me at all, she didn't seem very caring, I would always catch her eyes wandering towards the wall clock. I stopped going, and was afraid to seek any other therapist. The drugs made me feel like shit, so I stopped taking them cold turkey, boy did that week suck. One day, I basically sat in my room, and just went into deep thought. I had wasted so much time trying to battle this social anxiety and nothing seems to be working. I told myself, something needs to be done now, or I'm going to blink and become an old man, that didn't even get a chance to pursue his dreams, that had been owned by his anxiety all his life. Well I basically threw out all my prescription drugs, except for the klonopin and xanax. Basically, I thought of all the things that made the panic attacks so bad. Would just feel really tense, sweat like crazy, feel like I'm choking, pure panic. Well I realized that when I had fell into a panic attack, I was basically not breathing. So that's the first thing I decided to tackle, was my breathing. I would start by walking around the neighborhood, and when I would start to choke, I would just think real hard, "Okay, theres people, they look at you, in their mind, they might be criticizing you, but what does it matter? They don't mean shit to you" and would just remind myself to breath. When you are actually getting oxygen to your body, you feel a lot better. This took a while. I progressed, and kept throwing myself in public places, and if it got too bad I would find somewhere to hide and pop a couple klonopin or xanax till I relaxed. I would just keep throwing myself in public, it seemed like a stupid idea that could make my anxiety worse, but it ended up helping a bit if you just remember to breathe and concentrate really hard on relaxing. Very difficult. I then went job hunting again. I really, REALLY wanted a job where I could possibly work overnight in some warehouse where I wouldn't get much social interaction, but then I'd just have a job where I could be a recluse anyway, that's not what I wanted. So I decided to pursue a job where I would have to deal with the general public a lot, and ended up becoming a delivery driver for a pizza joint. I was so glad, the manager didn't interview me or anything, he just hired me, the other day I asked him why he hired me without an interview or background check a year and a half ago, and he said "You just seemed like a cool guy" we're pretty good friends nowadays. Well the job was really tough because you basically have to interact with strangers all day. But I just kept practicing my breathing and relaxation techniques, and other ways to improve my social skills. About 3 weeks into the job I ran out of klonopin/xanax, so the job was even worse than the first 3 weeks. I had nothing to turn too if the anxiety became too overwhelming, and for a month or two the job really sucked. I tried to keep on going with the breathing/relaxation techniques, sometimes they helped, sometimes they didn't. I even thought about quitting, every single day, but I knew what that would lead too, I'd just become a recluse again. I kept at it, it was tough as hell, but I think I've improved a lot. A couple months ago, I got my own apartment, I pay all my own bills, I can go out comfortably and go grocery shopping, go to malls, without panic attacks, all by myself. I have a good group of friends that I hang out with now. It's definitely on the upward swing. My parents are happy for me, we talked and my dad did research on the web about social anxiety and him and my mom apologized for all the hard times during my senior year and after I graduated, they said they had no clue I felt like that. They said if I complete a semester of college and get a 3.0 gpa or above they'll give me financial support to finish school. I want to work on getting in shape again. I've lost about 10 lbs over the past 4 months, slow loss, but a loss nonetheless. I basically just quit drinking soda and really really limit myself on fast food. Hopefully soon, start dating or something I have trouble making moves on women. My friends girlfriend tells me her friend that I've hung out with a couple times is wild for me. Talks about me when they hang out, makes "I want to marry him" jokes, but even with this knowledge I still feel too pussy to make any moves, ask her on a date or whatever. I just don't know what's stopping me, I get that 'on the brink of a panic attack' feeling just thinking about attempting it. I still get kind of anxious in public. It's tolerable for the most part, but at times I still feel uncomfortable, but I never go into full-fledged panic attacks anymore. I have been thinking about giving meds/therapy another shot, because I want to attend school but I'm scared of the school setting triggering my panic attacks again. I read good experiences on here, but I still feel reluctant about the meds. If they make me feel tired and drained all the time, then the only thing to counteract that would be stimulants like caffeine and such, but stimulants will just give me more anxiety, It's like a no win situation. I basically want to jump on meds/therapy soon, as my free healthcare will end in about 7 months. Still not sure if it's the right decision or not. I apologize for any typos/poor grammar, I'm pretty tired. And I just realized how long this post is, so I apologize for that too Suggestions? Advice? Thoughts?