From what I’ve learned, social anxiety comes from overthinking, particularly false negative thoughts. Thoughts about yourself and thoughts about what others are thinking about you. And from what I’ve learned from taking antidepressants, they stop your social anxiety thoughts by essentially stopping you from thinking altogether. So in a sense, antidepressants do work. They help stop you from thinking the negative thoughts that cause social anxiety. But at the same time, antidepressants also stop you from thinking positive thoughts. And creative thoughts.
That trade-off of sacrificing creative thoughts to get rid of anxious thoughts may be worth it for some people suffering from shyness and social anxiety, but not me. I’m a writer. A creative writer. I was (and still am) trying to pursue a career as a screenwriter and a novelist. My career depends on my creativity and imagination.
The year I was on antidepressants was like a year-long battle of writer’s block. I had less motivation to write. And when I did sit down and force myself to write, I couldn’t think as clearly, sharply, or creatively as I had before.
Writing was and is the most important thing in my life. But at the same time, social anxiety was ruining my life, and it was preventing me from progressing my writing career. I could never become a professional writer if I was too shy to share my writing with anyone.
Was I willing to give up my dreams as a writer in exchange for curing my social anxiety? I seriously thought about it. As much as I loved writing and creating characters and worlds in my imagination, I also wanted to have relationships with actual people in the real world. If antidepressants could make me free of social anxiety and help me meet friends, fall in love, and start a family, I think I would have been willing to abandon creative writing and settle for a different career.
But I never had to make that trade-off. The point became moot. Antidepressants didn’t cure my social anxiety.
After I learned about the benefits of natural health and nutrition, I decided to stop taking antidepressants and try to cure my social anxiety with a holistic approach, through cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness meditation, and natural supplements.
I never would have thought simple old natural practices would work better at curing social anxiety than state of the art science and prescription medication, but for me, it has. Both methods have the same aim: to quiet your social anxiety-inducing negative thoughts. But whereas antidepressants quiet those thoughts by literally stopping you from thinking, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation simply make you conscious of those negative thoughts and help you to ignore them and change them into positive thoughts. Sure, it’s a lot harder and takes a lot longer than popping a pill into your mouth, but for me and my creativity, it’s worth it.