I am desperately seeking some guidance on this. I apologize if it is not the right place to ask, but I really need help. I have suffered from a severe anxiety disorder my whole life but have never been on medication due to conflicted views on this type of "treatment." I am 23 years old but haven't worked a job in practically my whole life due to a very crippling anxiety. I have always avoided social situations, but in this past year since rediscovering my purpose in life, I have analyzed how I have been living and changed a lot of things, but I struggle so much with this one defect that no amount of effort or prayer can ease the pain.
I cannot go for a walk even in my neighborhood without feeling an instinctual, very habitual impulse to tense up as soon as I see someone whether they are in a vehicle or walking past me. This is combined with a sense of paranoia and self-consciousness. This affects the way I walk, almost as though I have to make intense effort to even just take a step forward. I used to walk to help my anxiety but it has just gotten so much worse over the past year. This is often combined with neck tremors and a very intense internal "pressure", a feeling of needing to get away. It is basically a panic attack, but it happens in almost every situation of life, whether a walk, a conversation with a family member, etc. I basically avoid all social situations in life for a lack of any real choice. College is the only place I have really been going regularly. And even so, by the time my lectures are over, I can feel all of my energy completely drained due to the tension both internally and physically that controlled me because I am around others.
I have read so many lectures about self-observation and learning how to pay attention, yet my anxiety makes even functioning as a human being nearly impossible. I wish I were exaggerating, but at times, it feels like I have exert tremendous willpower just to move from point A to point B or to accomplish a simple task (even if I'm by myself). There is just a lot of fear and tension and I cannot cultivate the serenity or willpower to be able to observe the chaos that is going on within myself despite daily efforts. It does not seem so much that there are thoughts, but more a problem with the motor center, but this is a mere guess. As soon as I start to observe myself, the tension triples and prevents that sense of tranquility that is needed to properly observe. This ego is keeping me very entrapped through this mechanism.
Even the small gains I do make in this work are inconsequential to this behemoth that I am clearly feeding without the intent to do so. It doesn't seem that I can help that I feel fear or anxiety. It just happens. I compare this with lust, anger, pride, etc. and I see a clear difference. I can stop those because I know they are wrong and it is a simple matter of not engaging within behaviors that produce them. However, to not engage in life (which seems to be the fuel for this ego) especially as I am getting older is only causing more harm than good.
My dreams at night have nonetheless become more vivid over the months as I continue to work with mantras and pranayama. These practices are likewise affected by the inability to relax and I feel are therefore considerably diminished in their effects, yet they can greatly subdue the tension in all three brains but only for a short duration. After about an hour, it "wears" off and especially once I am reintegrated into daily life, the anxiety comes back full force. I can sense a lot of symbols within my dreams, although I do not know what they mean, and there are a lot of scenarios in which I am being chased, attacked, betrayed, accused, or in which I am simply afraid, sometimes angry. It's a combination of paranoia and anxiety both during the day and at night.
What do the instructors feel is the best option for me at this point? I have read posts regarding medication as something that might be appropriate depending on the severity. I can't object to it if it is my only option.
I don't know if I need to elaborate any further and I will if necessary, but I feel as though the general response to these problems is to meditate, and I wholeheartedly agree. But I have battled these problems my whole life and particularly so since beginning this work with very intangible relief. I have pushed myself to extremes, forcing myself to be around people, to go for walks every day, to do mantras, pranayama, meditate, and so on. I have tried doing nothing but praying, meditating, spending hours trying to relax, and watching my mind, as well as going for 4-5 walks a day just to pay attention, so much to the point of developing sciatica and SI joint dysfunction which I have returned to my doctor several times to address. I have discovered that this is related to another ego that I need to work on and have since learned to live more balanced.
Nonetheless, thank you. I appreciate all of your time. I'm trying to develop the basic capacities to live life and help others rather than being forced to hide away. I will take any suggestions whatever they are very seriously and will not give up! It is possible that I have let this problem go for so long that it has become more complex than I am capable of understanding right now.