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Not sure how this works fully as it's my first time here, but I suppose I'll just go ahead!
I'm 20 years old, suffer from social & general anxiety. For approximately two years I'd spent a lot of my time hiding away from the world, to a point where sometimes I wouldn't leave the house for a few months on end, but I'm slowly starting to get myself back together. I have ambitions to go to university next year to study wildlife conservation; if there is a positve to my anxiety it is that it has helped me to finally decide what I want to do as a career. However, I'm always comparing myself to where my peers will be currently. They'll have progressed a lot more than me in university, while I've just wasted two years. I know my anxiety has been a barrier in progressing my life beyond where it is now, but I still feel like a failure for missing so much. I've recently started volunteering at a place that does a lot of conservation work, which although still fills me with a lot of anxiety, is slowly getting better and will be a huge help in getting me to where I want to be. Although I'm working now so I'll be ready for next year, I still end up comparing where I am now to where my former friends are now and become incredibly anxious as a result. It just keeps going round and round in my head and I start feeling sick and my heart beats incredibly fast. I'd just like to know if there's any way I could stop this mind frame? I don't have anybody who I could talk to really in person, so here I am!
Also, how can I talk to people normally when my mind is on overdrive around them? I always feel like I seem antisocial, because I often don't know what to say when I panic and end up giving abrupt one word answers. There's this really nice guy at my volunteering place and I'd love to be able to just speak to him without getting all flustered.. it's been a long time since I've had a proper friend and I'm worried I'll never be able to make a friend if I come across in that way all the time and feel as I do around people. I'm always conscious of my skin as well as I've always felt it looks really bad and have had nasty comments from people in the past; it has always been a problem and I avoid looking at people directly. Not sure if this is relevant but it contributes to my social anxiety in a big way.
Finally, I've previously had CBT for my social anxiety about a year and a half ago, but struggled to keep the effects lasting. Just wonder what your opinion is on me possibly going back? I know I'm pushing myself to do things outside of my comfort zone, but I still always feel anxious. I also feel self conscious about going back as I've already been before, and failed to get myself well the first time round and don't want to be judged.
Well, thank you for any help!
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