It sounds like an extreme case of social anxiety.
I have this as well. I don't have it to the degree that you do (trust me, not bragging) unless it's small crowds. This stems from the same place yours does it seems. I was bullied in school, embarrassed by students and can even pin point when the worst happened that probably domino effected the rest. Mine I think started in elementary school when I got stuck between two buildings and the fire department had to get me down. They almost had to take off my pants, but were able to keep my clothes on.........I think I would be wayyy worse if they had to take them off.
People who are older, like 60's and on, don't bother me in any crowd, but if they are younger, say 40's and younger, I get this social anxiety.
It's because of people on this site having certain problems that I don't say how I deal with it. I would share, but would not want to run the risk of what helps me backfiring and becoming a problem for you or someone else.
Anyways, if I were not to do what helps me, I get REALLY bad, like I just want to escape the situation. I feel like an animal backed into a corner.
Therapy would be the first place I start. I am hoping it would be possible for you to control it without medications. I won't lie though, although I am by no means pro medication, your case seems to be so extreme that I think if therapy don't work, you might need medication.
This is not an insult. I probably should be on a couple medications myself. I would just prefer to self medicate instead of sticking yet another pill inside me. For you, it should be whatever works. Also, and this is important, there is NO reason to feel embarrassed that you have this problem, and have to do whatever it is to fix/control it.
I can tell you are an intelligent person, and so beating this would be in your favor. (Of course people who are not intelligent should try to, just saying that you might have a lot more to offer but can't because of the social anxiety.
If you need to talk to someone, feel free to message me. I don't judge and I don't look down on people. They would have to be evil for me to not be empathetic and judgmental. You seem to be a cool guy with an unfortunate problem. The good news is, you can control this.
Please keep us posted.
I really like the way trdofbeingtird worded their post. I think it was good advice to try non drugs first and then if that fails you still have the meds option. I wish you well.
Im going through all that right now too. i just had my first therapy session and believe it or not, i feel a teeny better just after one session. Im trying to beat this without antidepressants. my advice to you would be TALK to someone. A professional would be best, but even just people on this forum are a Godsend and can help tremendously. You have to figure out WHY you feel this way, get to the root of the problem. I have been on different meds throughout the last 13 years and they did mask the symptoms, but the problem is still always deep down in there. And it usually resurfaces after a while. even if you do need meds, a combination of meds and therapy is sure to work way better than meds alone. Just keep putting in the work and you will be okay. thats what i tell myself every day.
I am glad you are making this choice even though you haven't been to to much therapy yet, however, it would be nice if you could add to my tips/techniques if you find something that works for you. You don't need a huge amount of time in therapy to share stuff that helps :-)