I'm really struggling to meet and interact with new people. Whenever I'm around people I don't know I just feel like the whole room is judging me and deem me as not good enough for them. It'll cause me to go all quiet and be just completely unable to converse or interact with them. I can't approach/say hi to new people for similar reasons. The only time I feel comfortable around people I've just met is if when it's very very clear they have some form of interest in me.
This is just making it impossible for me to enjoy life. It's causing me to live in a rut because I'm too scared to put myself out there. I've gotten lots of advice on this, "be more confident", "just charge in head first and don't think", "If you screw up you'll never see them again", but no matter how hard I try to apply the advice into my life I can't help but become consumed by my fear and anxieties.
I'm honestly getting to the point where I feel straight up hopelessness. I want to change, but I can't seem to pull off whatever fucking mental gymnastics I need to do in order to do so.
In case you didn't know, this is considered pathological (SAD/AvPD).
Psychiatrists and therapists help with it (it's a big part of their job, this is a common problem due to human evolutionary background and social dynamics).
If the drugs don't work and the therapy doesn't help, come back here and we'll talk about the extreme and experimental solutions (i'm in that situation myself).
You don't need to see a therapist to get medication, but for what you're describing, I would see a therapist and not get medication. Medication will not change the root cause.
The quickest way of dealing with this would be to attend cognitive behavioral therapy- this is a short-term form of therapy that focuses on changing thoughts and behaviors and is results-oriented. One of the things that you describe in your post is called "mind reading" by therapists who deal with social anxiety. If you google around, you will be able to find tips on how to combat it.
CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is really wonderful, I really encourage you to seek it out, anon! Based on your description, I think you would benefit from it immensely and it is exactly what you are looking for. Best of luck.
>Will I need to attend counselling before I can get medicated?
Depends on what your doctor thinks is the best way to fix it.
The most common approach is medication and therapy at the same time, they're not mutually exclusive. The ultimate goal is for the therapy to resolve the issue over the long term, and then wean off the medication since it'll no longer be necessary.
And note that medication isn't a magic fix: none of the standard meds (SSRIs, benzos, etc) worked for me at all.
>I'm just trying to figure out the quickest way of dealing with this.
There is none, if the problems are severe it will take years.
Take the number of years you've been alive, minus 5 years for early childhood.
That's how many years normal people have been learning how to properly socialize, so that's how many years behind you are.
As an adult, you have a massive advantage since you can learn much faster than they did as kids, but you still have to expect at least 2 or 3 years of work until you're at their level.
>Medication will not change the root cause.
This depends what the root cause is. For me i'm guessing neurological abnormalities play a large role due to abnormal responses to psychoactive medication (eg stimulants like amphetamine don't affect the anxiety, benzodiazepines like xanax increase it, and beta-blockers like propanolol do decrease it slightly), the lack of cognitive reinforcement (i don't seem to humor anxious thoughts like "they're judging me", "they're going to hate me", "they're going to reject me", etc) and the fact that therapy didn't seem to work at all.
So I suspect a combination of medications will be the most effective treatment in the end, I just need to find that combo.
But yes, in OPs case i agree that CBT would probably help the most.