Hi everyone, I'm new to the forums and going to share my story or parts of it. Maybe some can relate and hopefully give me advice! I have suffered from general anxiety, social anxiety, and panic attacks to varying degrees for years. I also have OCD. I am NOT depressed, although the anxiety does take its toll on me at times. I am a gay male, HIV positive, and currently taking medication for two years and am doing very well thankfully in that regard. However, the anxiety was with me before I became HIV positive and is still with me now. I do not know how to deal with it. Basically I always feel anxious to one degree or another, although at times much more so than others, such as when I have to go on a job interview, be around new people, or large groups. My palms get sweaty, my heart races, and I just have this reaction to crowds that I can't control. I simply can't stand them. I'd rather be by myself or with people I feel comfortable with and trust. I have a terrible time meeting new people and breaking the ice. I'm not in a bad relationship or anything, and there isn't anything in my personal life that is causing the anxiety, it is just involuntary. I have suffered with it for as long as I can remember.
In recent years, I have developed mild issues sleeping, specifically with falling asleep, not staying asleep. It's not severe as of yet, but it does make me more anxious when it happens. My primary care doctor started me on 50mg of Zoloft, which, after researching, I was leery about, but I tried it for two weeks, and it made me feel worse! I felt jittery, gritted my teeth, anxious, and high all the time, like I couldn't turn my brain off. It also totally killed my appetite. I also felt like I was in this bad brain fog. It also ruined my sex drive, and I couldn't sleep on it. Well after almost two weeks I had enough and stopped it. I feel like the zoloft made me more anxious than I was to begin with! And isn't it more of an anti-depressant anyway? I am not depressed. but I am anxious. There is a HUGE distinction in my book. So I am supposed to be seeing my doc again in a few weeks for a follow up and I'll have to tell her that I had to stop the zoloft because of the side effects. So I'm back to square one. Isn't there any good starter low dose medications that are more specifically for anxiety without major side effects? I'm scared of ativan because of the potential dependency of it, and other benzos. So I guess I'm just hoping there's something out there I could try that could calm me down, and help me sleep at night when I'm having a rough night. The anxiety is quite bad at times, to the point where I'm scared to go into any kind of social situation or job interviews because of my anxiety. To be clear, I'm not depressed, just anxious. I hope some can relate to this, and hopefully give me some advice/suggestions. Thanks a lot!