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    (Original post by Kool_Panda)
    I guess this comes under SA?
    I was diagnosed with selective mutism at the age of 7. I didn't talk to anyone at all, bar my two closest friends and teachers (limited) until I left secondary school. I talked more at sixth form (I moved to a different school with completely different classmates) but it took me several weeks to really find any friends. In the end I sort of just fell into a group of friends, through no real input of mine. I feel like I've kind of just grown less anxious over the past few years, been more confident, kind of stopped caring what people think of me. But I still feel incredibly nervous when talking to people who I am not comfortable with, not my friends etc. I find small talk very hard and I find that, even with my friends, conversations seem to just grind to a halt and I feel like it's my fault. I'm going to uni in September and I am slightly nervous of meeting new people and finding new friends but easily not as nervous as I would have been 5 years ago. I guess I'm improving and I clearly pale into insignificance compared to you guys but I needed to get all that out.

    Phew! :indiff:
    Glad to hear you've improved. That's great. Uni is nerve wracking for even the most extroverted and charismatic people so your concerns are totally normal. For the large majority it really does work out. It didn't quite work out for me due to me SA, but there are plenty of people like you at uni - the problem is finding them as they are shy and quiet
    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    Hello

    I've always been socially anxious and I feel I can say it has made my life a lot harder than it needed to be. Things that most people seem to be perfectly fine with can be difficult for me due to how I feel around other people. How do you actually find out if you do have social anxiety? Do you just book a doctors appointment? I would just like to know if there was anything that could be done to change it. I'm also worried though if there is nothing wrong with me (if that makes any sense) and I'm just being an idiot.
    Yeah book an appointment and tell your GP. I often feel stupid when I see my GP, but it really depends who you get. From my experience there are doctors who are sympathetic and want to help, then there are others where it seems mental health isn't their forte and I feel they could handle it better

    Regardless of the GP though, they should all offer you the same treatment, which is talking therapy and/or meds. I always think GPs should encourage people to try talking therapy first before giving people meds but it seems they just chuck out the anti depressants these days.

    Talking therapies may include cognitive behavioural therapy , which is almost like brain training to help you combat any negative thoughts that cause your anxiety. It has high success rates. There's also counselling but CBT is most common on the NHS.

    Regarding your question on how you know if you have SA... from my experience GPs won't ever bluntly tell you you have it. I may be an isolated case but for all these years I thought me saying I had anxiety was a self diagnosis, but I've had a do with some health insurance recently which has led to me seeing my medical records, and I was diagnosed with it, but it was never formal and they never even told me so all this time I thought maybe I was wrong. So I dunno - if you feel you have it, there's no one who can tell you if you do or don't. It's really only up to you to say. Don't depend on a formal diagnosis.

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    (Original post by Airfairy)
    Great, thanks for letting me know about the side effects anyway. I have a friend who is similar to me and he has just been put on sertraline, so I was using him as a sort of guinea pig :lol: , so I'll see how he is going on too.
    No problem. Haha, you can see what he says. I think it can differ for all, though, so you never know if they'll effect you in the same way. Reassurance from someone you know could help to keep your mind at ease.

    (Original post by Airfairy)
    Completely understand with the bailing thing - I'm the same. I often do bail, and the few friends I have just expect it now so it's not too bad. I like that.

    Nah I don't have CBT anymore. I've tried it twice now but it doesn't really do anything. Most of the time I think they are stating the obvious. In the past I have paid for private counselling and it helps but because it's £45 an hour, I have only been able to have odd sessions, so I went to my GP a couple of weeks ago and asked if I can get counselling on the NHS so now I am on waiting list which is nine weeks long, but better than nothing. I want to try counselling because I want to know WHY I feel this way :dontknow: . I feel I want to talk about it sometimes, and CBT never let me do that. In fact I had a really annoying woman leading it, and I felt she was just ranting at me all the time and it ended up feeling like homework or something.

    Does it help you at all? Have you ever tried counselling.
    I kind of feel the same way about CBT, but I've had no real issues with my therapists. It does feel like they're stating the obvious. My first set of CBT gave me a lot of time to talk about my issues. The second set didn't have as much talking about my issues. It was more her setting goals for me to try and achieve. The next set I'm having will allow for more talking again.

    Another therapist may help if you feel that the one you had wasn't right for you. Although, I don't know if you'd have a choice or not. With it being on the NHS, I assume you wouldn't get much choice. I have had counselling sessions in the past. My doctor referred me to one, but the sessions were £20. As a poor student, I couldn't afford to keep paying that.

    I don't think either have been that helpful to me. Meds have been the most helpful. I think the most helpful thing I signed up for was the peer support programme. I meet a support worker every couple weeks and chat about how things have been going. He suffers with anxiety and depression, so he understands the issues. He gives some advice and supports with the work my therapist sets. I'm actually meeting him tomorrow for another chat.


    (Original post by Airfairy)
    I like this thread. It is nice to talk about it with people who understand. The people who know about me at home think I'm a freak. I hate it, it is so embarrassing, yet I just wish they knew how I felt in these situations and that I'm not just being pathetic. It is very real at the time when you feel scared and anxious.
    It's a shame they think that. Some people refuse to believe that these problems are real. They're not physical, so they seem to think they don't exist or they're simple to get over. I'm lucky in the fact that my family and close friends have been supportive of me. I know that many people don't have the same luxury.
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    (Original post by xDave-)
    Hello, I'm obviously called Steve, obviously, and I probably have anxiety issues as I never want to leave my room. It's quite detrimental to my life, I'd say. I live just north of London (note: not North London) in Hertfordshire if anyone close by wants to imagine what it'd be like if we could go outside together.


    What do you work as? I'm desperate to find a job that doesn't destroy me, though I also don't want to completely shut myself in so it's a tricky situation really.
    I actually run an ironing service. I quit my job in insurance and set up my business. I was really struggling with depression and anxiety at the time and hated going to work because the treated staff so badly. So that's what I do now, it's not glamorous but it makes money and means I am in my own home if I have an off day.

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    (Original post by Airfairy)
    Glad to hear you've improved. That's great. Uni is nerve wracking for even the most extroverted and charismatic people so your concerns are totally normal. For the large majority it really does work out. It didn't quite work out for me due to me SA, but there are plenty of people like you at uni - the problem is finding them as they are shy and quiet


    Yeah book an appointment and tell your GP. I often feel stupid when I see my GP, but it really depends who you get. From my experience there are doctors who are sympathetic and want to help, then there are others where it seems mental health isn't their forte and I feel they could handle it better

    Regardless of the GP though, they should all offer you the same treatment, which is talking therapy and/or meds. I always think GPs should encourage people to try talking therapy first before giving people meds but it seems they just chuck out the anti depressants these days.

    Talking therapies may include cognitive behavioural therapy , which is almost like brain training to help you combat any negative thoughts that cause your anxiety. It has high success rates. There's also counselling but CBT is most common on the NHS.

    Regarding your question on how you know if you have SA... from my experience GPs won't ever bluntly tell you you have it. I may be an isolated case but for all these years I thought me saying I had anxiety was a self diagnosis, but I've had a do with some health insurance recently which has led to me seeing my medical records, and I was diagnosed with it, but it was never formal and they never even told me so all this time I thought maybe I was wrong. So I dunno - if you feel you have it, there's no one who can tell you if you do or don't. It's really only up to you to say. Don't depend on a formal diagnosis.

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    Thanks for the advice

    If I were to do it CBT seems the better option. Your last paragrpah was also interesting an useful.
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    I really do think, if you are given antidepressants to "cure" yourself from mental health problems then you are really not being taken seriously. You end up depending on them like any other drug, and that may actually worsen your problems.

    But yeah, I like the idea of this thread. Those who have difficulty talking to others face to face find similar people on this thread, and (ideally through private messaging) they meet up to solve any problems they have. Personally, no one is more helpful than someone who's been through it him/herself
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    (Original post by shawn_o1)
    I really do think, if you are given antidepressants to "cure" yourself from mental health problems then you are really not being taken seriously. You end up depending on them like any other drug, and that may actually worsen your problems.

    But yeah, I like the idea of this thread. Those who have difficulty talking to others face to face find similar people on this thread, and (ideally through private messaging) they meet up to solve any problems they have. Personally, no one is more helpful than someone who's been through it him/herself
    Hey, thanks for replying. I kinda agree with you about the medication but I'm in 2 minds as to whether its totally accurate. I have never been prescribed any medication myself so i have no experience but, I know it helps a lot of people hugely. And that's never a bad thing is it. But I do partly agree that some people could become dependent on them. I guess its whether they are seeking other help whilst taking the meds, once they are feeling better they can come off and will hopefully be much better in themselves that they no longer need to take them.



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    (Original post by AmyBurge)
    Hey, thanks for replying. I kinda agree with you about the medication but I'm in 2 minds as to whether its totally accurate. I have never been prescribed any medication myself so i have no experience but, I know it helps a lot of people hugely. And that's never a bad thing is it. But I do partly agree that some people could become dependent on them. I guess its whether they are seeking other help whilst taking the meds, once they are feeling better they can come off and will hopefully be much better in themselves that they no longer need to take them.



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    Yeah, I've heard that meds are most effective when taken alongside some other form of therapy like CBT and I feel perhaps doctors really should be discouraged more from just giving out tablets to people with mental health problems and doing nothing more like referring them to counselling.

    Thanks for making the thread btw, its a lovely idea and its good to see people posting int it, I may come back and post a bit at some point
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    This thread looks really good, I've tried other forums specifically dedicated to anxiety but they aren't active enough - hope this thread keeps gaining momentum!

    I just really need some people to share my feelings with on bad days and can also hopefully help others on good days.

    Have struggled with SA since... well, forever. In school I had selective mutism at times, now I'm in my twenties and have a good graduate job but it's hard, just recently I've been repeatedly going through everything anybody says to me at work in my head and spending all day on edge, it's exhausting. Because I've learnt to put on a front my colleagues don't know I struggle and I don't know whether they would even take me seriously anyway. Too many people in my past have implied that I could just 'make more of an effort' or 'speak up'. They only see the outer face of SA, the quietness - they don't understand the constant thinking and building yourself up before every interaction and the mental exhaustion that comes with it.

    At work I feel like a balloon that keeps losing air. Just as I get a little air in me - maybe a bit or praise or a nice word or I share a joke with a colleague - and start to gain a bit of confidence, something happens to burst my bubble again - a manager being sharp with me, or trying to contribute to a conversation and nobody taking any notice, or just somebody misunderstanding something I've said and me lacking any confidence to put them right so just accepting it, or a couple of colleagues going for lunch and not asking me - and I'm completely deflated and have to run through it in my head over and over again for hours.

    In short my problem is not really interactions - yes I'm quiet and don't really make firm friends but I can put on a friendly front and keep acquaintances and that's enough for me - but my thoughts are my real enemy and it's exhausting just thinking about everything all day long.

    Anyway it would just be nice to hear from anyone with similar experiences and to read other experiences of SA... just to know I'm not alone I guess
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    Hi everyone, Its great to hear that you like the idea of my thread and so many people have posted
    I've been struggling with SA and low self esteem for many years and it is refreshing to know that I'm not alone in how I feel. Family and colleagues and people on the outside who don't have these issues do not fully understand, no matter how hard I try to explain, and I even think I sound silly when I do explain to them so I stopped trying.
    Hearing all of your stories is helpful to know that there are people out there in similar situations.


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    I totally agree. This thread is great for people with SA to come together and share there experiences. I've struggled with this my whole life it has been extremely difficult, i had to drop out of uni once because of it as i was constantly on edge and i suffered badly from depression. It has made it very difficult for me to make and keep friends and to act normal around other people. I've also suffered with a lot of suicidal thoughts and i used to go days without telling anything to anyone about it. Not only was i embarrassed about it but i felt noone would even understand. Its very difficult for people who dont have it to fully understand what we go through in our heads. Thankfully i've gotten a bit better after my three years at uni.
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    I'm going to university in September and I'm terrified. The fact that I'm going to have to confront so many of my fears at once is overwhelming to me. The Uni I got a place at is 2 hours away from where I live, so that doesn't make me feel any better.

    The first few weeks are what scare me the most. All the people around me socializing and going out to clubs etc. and then there's me just making excuses to get away from people. I'm actually going to take up smoking weed when I get up there, I just want to seem like a normal, laid back person when people first meet me.
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    (Original post by IrishGuy_94)
    I'm going to university in September and I'm terrified. The fact that I'm going to have to confront so many of my fears at once is overwhelming to me. The Uni I got a place at is 2 hours away from where I live, so that doesn't make me feel any better.

    The first few weeks are what scare me the most. All the people around me socializing and going out to clubs etc. and then there's me just making excuses to get away from people. I'm actually going to take up smoking weed when I get up there, I just want to seem like a normal, laid back person when people first meet me.
    I know just how you feel, it can be a very overwhelming experience and I don't think that unis/student unions/etc acknowledge in their freshers week schedules for just how scary an experience going away to uni is especially if you aren't confident or don't enjoy drinking or clubbing.

    What I would say is don't let anybody tell you what you should be doing or feeling. People will try to imply that:

    - You should be having fun
    - You should be out
    - You should be drinking
    - You should be making friends
    - You shouldn't be going home

    Don't let anyone tell you this! What you should actually be doing or feeling is whatever you feel like doing or feeling at that given time. Yes be friendly, do give things a shot (I went on all the freshers events even if I hated them and came home early from pretty much all of them) but don't feel like a failure if you end up in your room just needing your own space. It's your life!

    I felt so miserable the first few weeks of uni because I was having a massive rupture in my life - leaving my family who are my rock and the only people I felt truly able to be myself around - going to a strange place where I didn't know anybody, and then on top of that people were implying that it was wrong to be feeling anything but euphorically happy! It was only later that I realised my life is my own business. If I wanted to go home and see my family or chill alone in my room that was my prerogative.

    Unfortunately a lot of uni culture is centred around drinking and clubbing - especially during the first few weeks when everybody is trying to drink their yearly recommended units in a week to prove how grown up they are - but it does settle down. The best way to find like-minded people is to join a society that you're interested in - I know how daunting this can be as I myself couldn't bring myself to do it, but now I regret that and wish I had as I know people made some genuinely great friends through their societies. The problem with quieter people is we have difficulty finding each other!

    The final thing to remember is so many people will be feeling like this. Only the people who are loving uni tend to shout from the rooftops about it, which can give the impression everybody is loving it. But so many people will be feeling the same.
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    (Original post by IrishGuy_94)
    x

    (Original post by moutonfou)
    I know just how you feel, it can be a very overwhelming experience and I don't think that unis/student unions/etc acknowledge in their freshers week schedules for just how scary an experience going away to uni is especially if you aren't confident or don't enjoy drinking or clubbing.

    What I would say is don't let anybody tell you what you should be doing or feeling. People will try to imply that:

    - You should be having fun
    - You should be out
    - You should be drinking
    - You should be making friends
    - You shouldn't be going home

    Don't let anyone tell you this! What you should actually be doing or feeling is whatever you feel like doing or feeling at that given time. Yes be friendly, do give things a shot (I went on all the freshers events even if I hated them and came home early from pretty much all of them) but don't feel like a failure if you end up in your room just needing your own space. It's your life!

    I felt so miserable the first few weeks of uni because I was having a massive rupture in my life - leaving my family who are my rock and the only people I felt truly able to be myself around - going to a strange place where I didn't know anybody, and then on top of that people were implying that it was wrong to be feeling anything but euphorically happy! It was only later that I realised my life is my own business. If I wanted to go home and see my family or chill alone in my room that was my prerogative.

    Unfortunately a lot of uni culture is centred around drinking and clubbing - especially during the first few weeks when everybody is trying to drink their yearly recommended units in a week to prove how grown up they are - but it does settle down. The best way to find like-minded people is to join a society that you're interested in - I know how daunting this can be as I myself couldn't bring myself to do it, but now I regret that and wish I had as I know people made some genuinely great friends through their societies. The problem with quieter people is we have difficulty finding each other!

    The final thing to remember is so many people will be feeling like this. Only the people who are loving uni tend to shout from the rooftops about it, which can give the impression everybody is loving it. But so many people will be feeling the same.
    I think this is really solid advice! I could have done with this when I started. There's nothing more I can add on, but I want to emphasise how important it is to not give a crap about what you think is expected of you by other people. I think that was my downfall and the pressure of trying to conform to the stereotype got the better of me and I ended up in a situation where I have commuted a four hour round trip for most of uni.

    (Original post by NathanW18)
    No problem. Haha, you can see what he says. I think it can differ for all, though, so you never know if they'll effect you in the same way. Reassurance from someone you know could help to keep your mind at ease.


    I kind of feel the same way about CBT, but I've had no real issues with my therapists. It does feel like they're stating the obvious. My first set of CBT gave me a lot of time to talk about my issues. The second set didn't have as much talking about my issues. It was more her setting goals for me to try and achieve. The next set I'm having will allow for more talking again.

    Another therapist may help if you feel that the one you had wasn't right for you. Although, I don't know if you'd have a choice or not. With it being on the NHS, I assume you wouldn't get much choice. I have had counselling sessions in the past. My doctor referred me to one, but the sessions were £20. As a poor student, I couldn't afford to keep paying that.

    I don't think either have been that helpful to me. Meds have been the most helpful. I think the most helpful thing I signed up for was the peer support programme. I meet a support worker every couple weeks and chat about how things have been going. He suffers with anxiety and depression, so he understands the issues. He gives some advice and supports with the work my therapist sets. I'm actually meeting him tomorrow for another chat.



    It's a shame they think that. Some people refuse to believe that these problems are real. They're not physical, so they seem to think they don't exist or they're simple to get over. I'm lucky in the fact that my family and close friends have been supportive of me. I know that many people don't have the same luxury.
    Interesting to hear your CBT has differed with the amount of talking involved. I thought they followed a set plan. Is this because you saw different people?

    Hmm, I didn't realise there was a subsidy towards the counselling. They never mentioned it to me over the phone and you'd think they would say before they put me on the waiting list... but yeah I wouldn't be happy paying that either. Times are tough when you're a student!

    Well I'm glad to hear something worked for you (the meds), and I will bear that in mind if I have no luck with the talking therapies. I hope you keep getting better with the Sertraline
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    Has anyone here tried group therapy? I'm hopefully joining a SA group therapy thing later this month and I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with group therapy, what happens, if it was helpful or not etc.
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    (Original post by emmalouise-)
    Has anyone here tried group therapy? I'm hopefully joining a SA group therapy thing later this month and I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with group therapy, what happens, if it was helpful or not etc.
    Hey. Sorry I can't help because I've never had group therapy, but I'm wondering how you find these groups? I would be interested in going to one but I've never seen any :dontknow: .
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    (Original post by moutonfou)

    They only see the outer face of SA, the quietness - they don't understand the constant thinking and building yourself up before every interaction and the mental exhaustion that comes with it.

    At work I feel like a balloon that keeps losing air. Just as I get a little air in me - maybe a bit or praise or a nice word or I share a joke with a colleague - and start to gain a bit of confidence, something happens to burst my bubble again - a manager being sharp with me, or trying to contribute to a conversation and nobody taking any notice, or just somebody misunderstanding something I've said and me lacking any confidence to put them right so just accepting it, or a couple of colleagues going for lunch and not asking me - and I'm completely deflated and have to run through it in my head over and over again for hours.

    In short my problem is not really interactions - yes I'm quiet and don't really make firm friends but I can put on a friendly front and keep acquaintances and that's enough for me - but my thoughts are my real enemy and it's exhausting just thinking about everything all day long.

    Anyway it would just be nice to hear from anyone with similar experiences and to read other experiences of SA... just to know I'm not alone I guess
    That completely resonates with me. Especially having to build myself up to certain interactions. When having a meeting with my project supervisor I would get incredibly stressed. I would be running through what I have to say in my head over an over. I have to get their earlier and just find somewhere in the building where I can sit down and read my notes of what I have been doing and what I plan to do now before going in.

    Then after it is over I over analyses/cringe at some of the things I said. The actual interaction is never normally as bad as think it will be, I normally deal with it just fine, or even feel confident. It is all the 'downtime' spent worrying about it both before and after...

    Basically what you said describes me perfectly. So no, you're not alone

    (Original post by moutonfou)
    The problem with quieter people is we have difficulty finding each other!
    It's an annoying problem
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    (Original post by Airfairy)
    Interesting to hear your CBT has differed with the amount of talking involved. I thought they followed a set plan. Is this because you saw different people?

    Hmm, I didn't realise there was a subsidy towards the counselling. They never mentioned it to me over the phone and you'd think they would say before they put me on the waiting list... but yeah I wouldn't be happy paying that either. Times are tough when you're a student!

    Well I'm glad to hear something worked for you (the meds), and I will bear that in mind if I have no luck with the talking therapies. I hope you keep getting better with the Sertraline
    Yeah, I have had one counsellor and two different therapists. My therapist I'm seeing now has more of a set plan. The one I saw a couple years back didn't really have a set plan. I think it may just have changed over the years.

    Haha, exactly. They didn't tell me that there was a cost. I only knew when I called her and asked to set up an appointment. It was nice to talk about things, but I don't think it was worth the cost tbh.

    Thank you and hopefully meds work for you, too. If you decide to try them.

    (Original post by emmalouise-)
    Has anyone here tried group therapy? I'm hopefully joining a SA group therapy thing later this month and I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with group therapy, what happens, if it was helpful or not etc.
    (Original post by Airfairy)
    Hey. Sorry I can't help because I've never had group therapy, but I'm wondering how you find these groups? I would be interested in going to one but I've never seen any :dontknow: .
    You could probably ask your doctor. They should have information on the different types of therapy you can sign up for. My support worker gave me a list of a lot of different activities and therapies I could sign up for. A group therapy session was on the list, but I haven't tried it.

    I was told that the groups were small in my area, but I prefer to do one to one sessions. When my SA is bad, I don't want to do group things. I guess these kind of groups help you to put yourself into a situation that may make you anxious, but you're around people who understand.
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    (Original post by Airfairy)
    Hey. Sorry I can't help because I've never had group therapy, but I'm wondering how you find these groups? I would be interested in going to one but I've never seen any :dontknow: .
    I just googled 'social anxiety' and my city and a group came up
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    hello im shy
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    Hello.

    I'm 25 and have had social anxiety for as long as I can remember (we are talking from all the way back in primary school). I didn't finish school, which resulted in no GCSE's and no friends. I did manage to survive college, although I was bullied. I have since been battling between isolating myself from the world entirely and then desperately trying to 'fit in'. I am currently going into my second year of university (although I really don't want to go back) and could do with some friends, as I honestly don't feel like I have any, and with social anxiety I am struggling to make/maintain any friendships that may come along. I have also just been broken up with, to add insult to injury.

    Well, I really sold myself well huh? HI
 
 
 
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