I was always quite popular at school, I felt people genuinely liked me, through my teens I partied hard and lost my way a bit in my late teens and early twenties. My confidence in social situations plummeted and while I had lots of friends gradually isolated myself from them, moving away from alot of them. If I felt someone suddenly didn’t like me or was sniggering and laughing behind my back, I would just distance myself from them. I ended up emigrating and kept trying to make fresh starts. I am now older and more settled but these problems still haunt me, I think everyone hates me, plots against me and laughs at me behind my back, I can no longer even do what is natural and run away from it as I have a wife and son I love dearly, I can’t quit my job, I can’t move away, I don’t have any real close friends. I try to just keep my head down and avoid social contact, but that seems to make it worse, then I try to make an effort and interact socially, sometimes goes well but I feel I open myself up to someones criticism or jibes that sends me back to the dark place. I wish I could go back to when I was young and confident and would eagerly await social situations and thoroughly enjoy them, I feel I am wasting my life being paranoid and depressed, I have lots of things to be thankful for, life is for living and enjoying – how do i do that????