Of course this is difficult to handle. At 17 you have so much potential, but anxiety is getting in the way. Yes, you’ve had it tough growing up. Yes, your home life hasn’t been the best. But that’s not a problem you can solve. That’s done. The problem you can solve is what you will to do next.
Writing here was a very good start. You are poking out of your shell a bit. I encourage you to take it to the next level by joining one of the forums here at PsychCentral. That will give you more contact with others who can understand and support you as you work to take charge of your anxiety and your future.
A psychiatrist and a mental health counselor would be helpful. I don’t think you have to wait for someone else to arrange for it. You are adult enough to make some calls to find out where you can get free services. A call to your doctor’s office is a place to start. Even if you don’t attend a church or synagogue, clergy and leaders of faith communities are often willing to help someone locate the help they need. So that’s another resource for you. And there’s always research online.
Meanwhile, you can start taking steps to get yourself out of the house and back into life. Take it slow. Imagine it as a series of steps. Step 1: Go out the door and turn around and come back in. There. You went out. Step 2: Then go out and take 10 steps on the sidewalk and go back in. Ok! You went out for more than a second. Continue this step by step process until you are able to be outside for at least a half hour or so.This is called “systematic desensitization”.
Yes, it would be helpful if you had a mental health counselor to give you some support as you do this, but people are often successful doing it on their own. Search for a book that can help you design the steps. Forum participants can also give you the encouragement you need.
You will also feel much better about yourself if you start actively making someone else’s life better. You might start with your brother, who is living in the same difficult situation you do but who is younger and vulnerable. If he’s in good shape, look around. There is always someone who needs help if we just pay attention. It’s been proven over and over that the key to self-esteem is doing things to make the world a better place. Start small. Build on that.
As for school: I don’t believe for a minute that you don’t care about it. But I do agree that you have to take care of your mental health issues first. Your future starts with your decision today to love yourself and care for yourself. I hope you will take yourself seriously and go find the help you need and deserve.
I wish you well.