From the UK: I’m 22. About 2 years ago I had really bad social anxiety, about as worse as they come. This was accompanied with a stutter I have always had which made it even more challenging.
It was about 2 years ago when I stood up and had to temporarily cut ties with my abusive parents, which was possible only because I live and study in a different country to where I was raised and where they live. Doing this somehow gave me the strength to also combat my social anxiety by constantly exposing myself to things I was horrified of doing – starting from ordering food at restaurants myself, to eventually giving whole presentations and organizing interactive workshops at events! People applaud my communication skills and tell me how charismatic, confident and likable I come across as.
CBT also helped me tremendously. For the past 8-10 months I have been a brand new person, stutter is 99% gone, I am calm and funny and assertive (I try to be) when speaking to people, it is such a liberating effect and all the hardships I had to go through are well worth it.
I am now in contact with my parents again, we even met up once. Now comes the huge problem – it almost sounds fictional but somehow, when I speak in my own language my anxiety is still there. I still speak very quickly and nervously, I still have the stutter, I am still worried what I say and feel very self-conscious. This is humiliating because this is my own language, and I don’t understand how I can be those two different people when I speak the two languages.
I know it just seems like I am still scared of my parents (which I probably am) and this is why I feel anxious speaking to them, but the truth is when I meet someone from my country while I’m here, first I am so happy to speak my language, and then I realize I have this lump in my throat, mental blockage, stutter – as if I haven’t overcome any anxiety at all, but I have, and I worked so hard to get here!
I want to come back to my home country at some point and see friends and family, but I am horrified of going through this all over again.