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New User - SJW & social anxiety questions

Hello all! I have been reading this forum for some time, finally decided to join. I have been using SJW for about a month now, to generally great results! Prior to using it, I suffered for years, from what I have now learned is real depression and anxiety... it was especially bad that for some time, I was so exhausted that the smallest task, like writing an e-mail, was a chore. I was constantly losing things. I felt exhausted on a daily basis, and thought it was chronic fatigue syndrome. A doctor and psych. both prescribed me strong dosages of SSRIs, which I was afraid of taking. I decided to try SJW first and I'm thankful I did so! On most, but not all days, I feel noticeably better, I have generally happier moods, and more motivation to do work. People around me have commented how I seem changed, and more positive. A surprising side-effect of the herb is that I find I am drinking much, much less. There was a time when I would drink alone, in large quantities, several times a week. I think the general sense of improved well being and basically taking better charge of my health helped contribute!

However, not everything is perfect. For example, some days I still feel noticeably moody, and I have been avoiding large social gatherings as of late, like house parties or the bar (for a number of months before SJW). But, I know it's working: one day I forgot my pills at home, and only took one in the morning - I went to the gym in the evening, and started to feel terrible: the drive back was difficult, I developed a headache and became agitated at other drivers. As soon as I took the batch at home, the headache was gone and I felt calm again.

I recently switched from a more generic store brand to the Perika; the first day on Perika was superb, still good now, but feeling some general feelings of apathy, moodiness etc. However I don't expect any herb or drug to completely change my personality or outlook as a whole, as I've generally been a negative-minded person for many years. But hope it improves eventually.

I guess my question here is, how effective have long-term users found SJW to be in helping with social, particularly situational anxiety? It's generally working great on my depression but not so sure about anxiety. Although I was very shy when in my younger adult years, I am much better now. I have many good, close friends, socialize quite well at work situations, and do things like presentations and lectures for large groups of people with generally little problem.

My main problem is with relationship (of the romantic type) anxiety. Perhaps I denied it to myself for years, but now I am seriously confronting and questioning it. For much of my life, I have been completely inept in approaching woman for purposes of flirting, dating etc. I maintained one long term relationship and then many 'near misses'. Having reached my 30s with little to show for it, and not having even been on a date in almost two years, while many of my friends are either having fun with dating/meeting new people regularly, or are already settled down and married. I have always been afraid of approaching a woman or asking for a date, and this continues. It is an irrational fear, but a very intense one.

Anyhow, I'm tired of living like that and want to ask forum users for advice. Is this something that can be handled naturally, or do I need to make the unfortunate switch to something the psych originally recommended, like Paxil? I am afraid of stopping the SJW, which is improving my quality of life and depression, and then go on something that might be powerful enough to help with anxiety, but the reported side effects I've read about are horrible, and the withdrawal sounds like a true horror story. Significantly for me, I have read that Paxil has caused some people to have increased alcohol cravings and caused reckless behavior; I was already on the edge of that and don't want to deal with it again!

Is the effect of Paxil similar to SJW, only more intense? If I can manage anxiety for most situations, is it worth it? I am also attending CBT, only a few sessions in so far but it's helping me cope with negative thoughts, and on days when the SJW works well I find I have less negative thoughts as a whole. I just feel I wasted so many years of my young adulthood when I should have enjoyed more romantic adventures, but was terrified to do so, and faced regular rejection. And then of course, one of the strongest side-effects of Paxil in particular, would make the benefit of added confidence around women a moot point when it comes to such matters :) Thank you for reading and for any advice!!!
Welcome! a few thoughts..

Hi there!

About the Paxil for anxiety, my doctor had prescribed me Paxil for a time. In fact I've used it twice over because I did find it to be the least symptomatic of the various anti-depressant drugs she has tried on me. However, Paxil caused me severe weight gain and alcohol cravings. Avoid it if you have troubles with alcohol. (I can relate to your situation) I suffer from chronic Anxiety and PTSD. Depression is also part of the parcel and I'm the same way when it comes to crowds or busy events. I'd go to them, but I feel awkward (in some ways this is normal because I am naturally introverted) but then need to 'recharge' by being alone for the next few days. When my depression hits, I don't want to do a blessed thing but sleep and avoid the world. My memory is crappy and can't trust myself to follow through with simple tasks sometimes.

I started taking 5-HTP and went from 100mg to 200mg in the evenings. It helped my anxiety a little but not alot. It does, however, give me terrific sleep. My doctor suggested I try St. John's Wort because studies have been very positive and she's had other Patients that have had great results on it. So, I'm on my 3rd day and I'm already noticing a difference.

My suggestion is to stay on your St. John's Wort. It's working for you, so why change? If you think you need more of a 'boost', try increasing the dosage. I'm also finding with the 5-HTP and St. John's Wort is if I drink even one drink in the evening, the next day I have a horrid headache. If anything, it helps me want to not drink for that reason alone.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progess! :smile:


New User on Probation
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