Our expert says:
Star, you describe it very well, and in part you're speaking of Social Anxiety Disorder, perhaps coloured by some Depression, which responds really well to treatment, with medications, and/or psychological treatments like CBT, and best of all to both. I understand how lonely and miserable this situation feels, but it can and should be changed. You're obviously a fine person, and deserve to enjoy life more freelly. See a good local shrink and get this sorted out, and in years to come you'll be surprised to remember how bad and how hopeless this used to feel.
Self-help books can indeed be very helpful, but often one needs a bit more than that, and that's where a counsellor can be invaluable, to get that DOING done !
Don't be inhibited by expecting it to be very difficult to talk about what's troubling you, to a shrink. They're able to make it easier to do, and as your message shows, you're actually eloquent and skilled at expressing yourself about such things.
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