Hi. I’m reaching out because I really need some help. I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder (SAD) when I was in my mid-teens, and thought that it had mostly gotten better over the years as I’ve had medication and therapy and done lots of self help stuff. I’m now 22. However, I’ve just realised that it’s back and much worse than ever. My friend of 6 years asked me to meet up with him tomorrow, and my heart just sank. Me and him speak almost everyday via message, and I know we’re good friends. But I still ended up having a panic attack because the idea of leaving the house to meet someone is really distressing. I’ve put on a lot of weight and I really don’t like the way I look. I feel like I’m going to be awkward and ruin our friendship, and I keep thinking my friend just pities me and that’s why he still bothers with me. I keep rerunning scenarios in my head thinking that I’m such an awkward idiot, nobody could possibly like me, everyone makes fun of me when I’m not around etc. and I keep thinking of everything that could go wrong tomorrow. I want to cancel and stay in, but I don’t want to lose my friend. I don’t know how I got to this place mentally and I don’t know how to get out of it. I feel like such a failure.
(edited to add current age)