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Hi - I'm new and was hoping to get some suggestions for a plan of action.

I have never been treated....and actually don't even have a regular doctor. I don't have any physical health issues except maybe the occasional sinus infection and I just don't go to the doctor unless my symtoms are unbearable.

That (what I believe is...I'm no doctor) social anxiety is killing me. I read a post from another memeber that described the worste symptom...which is my brain shutting down in social situations. I feel like and appear to be a complete idiot...and can never think of anything to contribute to conversations because of the constant and severe fear of saying something stupid or being judged. I also get sweaty palms, and shortness of breath and it feels like my heart will beat a hole in my chest. Another annoying thing....on the rare occasion I do get up the nerve to talk...and see all eyes on me, I panic and turn red (I can actually feel my face getting hot, as if I lost the top of my bathing suite or something) and lose my train of thought...forgetting the point I was trying to make.

I've always been "shy" .....ever since I can remember. When I drink alcohol I'm a different person. I can talk and laugh and have a blast with other people. Without it though....I'm a total bore, and convinced that everyone hates me...which makes me, literally, painfully sad.

What's the protocol for getting help for this? Do I go to a MD and get a referral to someone who can help...I just don't know where to start. I have to do something because I have no friends....I find it completely impossible to connect with other people in any significant way. I know I can keep on breathing and live this way....but I don't want to. Not having any close friends is agonizing. It's something I need in my life and I just can't seem to be a person people are interested in spending time around for some reason. I'm not crazy about the idea of taking pills, but at this point, I just have to do something.

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