James, we're all going through the same thing or at least we all have for some time in our lives. That's what brought each of us here. I'm a 25 year-old female and developed this when I was 20. I was extremely paranoid about it for months and hated being near anyone, even my good friends. But what can you do? There is no reason to consider suicide because your lips crack and peel. However, while there is no known universal cure since there are so many different causes, what a lot of us have done is find products that soothe our lips and make the peeling less traumatic. I personally use pure shea butter at night and Aquaphor as needed during the day, but we're all different.
Biting was the cause for me. The problem came when I stopped biting and the skin kept overgrowing. Since you say redness and inflammation is a big problem, I'm guessing something different is triggering yours. Other causes include fungal infections of the lip (like yeast), eczema, allergy to a product or food you might be using around your mouth, certain medications, and various other things. If you haven't already, you should have a patch test done at the dermatologist just to rule out a few things. Here's a thread at another forum with additional products that might work for you: http://www.medhelp.org/forums/dermatology/messages/32120.html
Maybe something involving hydrocortisone would help the inflammation?
I can't emphasize enough that what we have is not that bad. I work at a large company and meet with clients daily, and I have exfoliative cheilitis. While most of my coworkers have no obvious physical conditions, one of them has only one eye. Another one has a giant birthmark over much of his face. Another one gets cold sores on her lip and still shows up for work on those days. We all have positions that involve personal interaction with clients, and we've been working there for a while, so clearly we aren't scaring people away. But like I said before, if you figure how to work with the condition instead of trying to fight it, it can become much less obvious.
What we have is not something that should paralyze you and keep you from leading your life the way you want to; it is your response to it that has that effect. It's time to accept that you have it. Move on with your life while you're still young and things are open to you.