I am so glad I found this thread. I have been dealing with this since I was 20 years old (19 years ago). It all started after a 4 month round of Accutane. This is the first time I have ever found a discussion about it.
For those writing about how it’s all in your head, and stop fighting it and giving it power, you simply have no idea what this experience is like. It is a bona-fide panic attack in short order that strikes fast and strikes hard, a super-intense JOLT that absolutely forces you to look away, that is all over you like an animal, that fills you with panic and dread and causes rapid EPT-like symptoms where your entire neck and head spasm. The immediate directive issued by the brain is GET OUT, GET AWAY, NOW. This is very real and is very noticeable by other people and trying to cope with it is very difficult because feedback loops occur that make it worse. I believe it is rooted in a disorder of neurotransmitters, probably serotonin or dopamine, that has an attached psychological component, that succeeds it.
I took Klonipin to manage symptoms for nearly all 19 years, and it works VERY well, almost too well - but benzos come along with a whole host of their own issues, and are incredible addictive. I am also a drug addict though and so for many reasons I can no longer use them to manage my life, so I am in search of new solutions. I am semi-intrigued by reading about stuff like Cyproheptadine, which is an anti-histamine with a unique anxiolytic profile. If ANY one has recommendations for drugs that can manage symptoms like these, that particularly are non-habit forming, please let me know.
This is a debilitating condition that affects every single area of life, and can be totally crippling. When you are near-phobic of eye contact with people, and experience constant panic attacks, life becomes VERY difficult. Immediate impressions are made and opinions are formed that cannot be altered and can’t be taken back from other people. You spend your time wishing that the “real” you could express themself without this awful disorder. It scares people away and people have their own adaptive techniques that make social interactions either very awkward, or just totally absent. You simply cannot go around explaining to people throughout the day that you can’t look them in the eyes because you may have some strange spasmodic attack - and this isn’t something you sit and meditate through and use positive self-talk for, at least in my case. It’s a real serious thing. It sucks. And I totally feel for you if you’ve found yourself in a small room, and in a bad way, face to face with someone and trying to cope with this. It’s like a jazz-fusion of fear and dread - IE, panic.
Again I’m so glad I don’t feel alone anymore. I hope this discussion keeps.