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It started out a long time ago and I supposed I shouldn't have let it go for so long. But I think I misread all the signs.

 I used to be an actor and I loved it. I couldn't wait to perform. I constantly invited people to my shows. I loved being the center of attention. Then, a while back- out of nowhere, I got sudden stage fright. Sweating profusely, not liking it anymore- in the moment and I stopped. I tried picking it up again a few years back and in the beginning it was fine- then these past few years those feelings of dread came out. I sweat so much once that the rest of the cast asked what had happened. I tried to find the joy, I tried many things. I even bought a clinical antiperspirement for underarms and put it on my head each night. I no longer wanted to be on stage And I figured it was time to give up that dream.

Jumping ahead until now. A week ago the middle of dinner with friends the waitress spoke to me in Spanish. I turned to say I didn't speak it and suddenly the heat inside grew. My heart started beating wildly. I had a hard time catching my breath. I started sweating. So much that my friends grew concerned. It was like the worst stage fright was happening in real life.  I went outside to cool down and it did, but when asked about it later it happened again. I paid and left in the middle of dinner and went home. Since then any time I leave the house I begin to wonder if the attack will happen again. These attacks of embarassment/anxiety have happened before..but never to this level and never prepared me for what happened next. 

This week at the bank, waiting to speak to a teller- it happened. I left. At the grocery store as I made small talk with a cashier I've known- it happened. Walking to the gym on the street- it happened, getting a haircut (my barber wiped and hairdried my head twice) At dinner with my partner last night all I could think of was "what if it happens here?" It's a constant worry and each time I leave the house it become a pep talk. Already, Ive begun wearing dark clothes, undershirts and planned cooling spots. Keep in mind its winter/spring in New York. I've already entertained thoughts of looking for jobs where I work from home. 

I've always had the underlying "what ifs"-  "What if they laugh? What if they think Im stupid? What if they dont like it? What if it is stupid? What if its not funny? Can they see how nervous I am?" Speaking up, showing my friends things I like, singing, taking leadership roles at work, acting, sharing my work, telling stories with friends... little by little I have let those things slide into the "What I used to do" column of my life.  But this week it just plunged into me not being able to do anything. I see posts from my friends lives on facebook and I wish I could be a part of it, I see the invitations and think- what if it happens there? and I dont go. Today I sat in bed and cried. I've been doing a lot of that this week. I feel afraid all of the time.

This is a first for me. This forum. I'm just concerned by the rapidness of it all. A week ago I was going to dinner with friends and today just the thought of going back fills me with dread. 

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Welcome to the forum, Congo. Lots of hugs for you! I wish I knew the right words to help you but I'm going through similar feelings myself.  Only I dread even being out in the general these days despite the beautiful nyc weather. 

You sound like an an amazing person with talent that only some possess.  Do not lose sight of that; stop placing yourself in the "used to" column. You still Are!  It's good that you realize what is happening and that you're expressing yourself on this forum.  Have you looked into speaking to a professional about your anxiety at all? 

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Hello. I have begun some general inquiries and recommendations from friends who work in mental health. I have a friend who is a psychotherapist, obviously I cannot see him as I know him, but he has give me some names. I made some calls a few days ago. I actually discovered this forum while googling what questions to ask when searching for a therapist as I never have before. It's strangely debilitating, this thing and I've never been one to ask for help in anything before. 

I'm sorry to hear that you are going through this too. Especially as a fellow New Yorker. It really has been beautiful outside. I feel guilty for not enjoying it. I want to.  I hope you get to.

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Hello Congo!

Welcome to the group. The people here are amazing, especially for those of us who aren't accustomed to asking for help. :-)

I'm sorry you've developed panic attacks. I can imagine it's frustrating and scary to have it strike so quickly. One thing that may help is, when you're having the panic attack or shortly after, to remind yourself that the problem may manifest as and have emotional and psychological symptoms, the underlying disorder is chemically and biologically based. The fear you have is a symptom. The thoughts associated are symptoms. It helps to name the problem to keep it from getting too big in your head. And if I've learned nothing over decades of on and off therapy, what we tell ourselves has a huge influence on the direction and quality of our lives.

As an aside, I saw a play a few years ago at a Fringe festival called She Has a Name. It was amazing.

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Wow this is all very familiar-sounding.

i also have an incredibly hard time with people- it's like i crave nothing more than praise and acceptance but am so very terrified of not getting it that i would prefer to avoid that potential altogether.

i try to force myself to overcome this as much as possible, but with mixed results. i also have a bad habit of self-medicating in order to deal with social situations, which of course leaves me feeling guilty and sad afterwards.

i recently went back to college after many years and i find it incredibly difficult to even walk through the halls most days. Crazy paranoia- of what exactly i cannot say...

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