When I was little, I suffered from a lot of social anxiety. I was never diagnosed, but thinking back, I dreaded interacting with people. It was stressful for me. I felt judged and I didn’t want to sound stupid.
Whenever someone approached me, I would freak out on the inside. My heartbeat would increase, and I would have trouble focusing. I was terrified of people.
One of the biggest reasons why I felt this way was because I was unable to communicate in English. English is my second language, and it was extremely difficult for me. I was afraid of mispronouncing words, and I had very limited vocabulary.
Although I went to school briefly in Hong Kong (until I was 7), the English words I had acquired helped very little. I knew the basic “How are you?” “How do you do?” “Fine, thank you.” But that was it. I didn’t know how to carry on an actual conversation.