Social anxiety and speech impediment?

As stated in the title, I have a problem with my speech and I’m not sure if it’s related to anxiety. I have always struggled with social anxiety so I thought there might be a link. I’m in post-secondary education now and have completed my first year in Accounting & Finance. At first, I was scared because there are a lot of group projects and presentations, and with social anxiety, I am terrified of public speaking. I managed to give all 6 presentations without much problem, though I was unsatisfied with my performance on 2 of them (more on this later). My success with giving presentations did give me some confidence boost that public speaking is not as scary as I’ve imagined.

I am unhappy with my course however and have been contemplating changing to something else. Not because of anxiety but I have internship experience which made me realize that I won’t be happy with accounting as a future career. Previously, I graduated with a cert in accounting from a technical school with a required internship. Despite that, I chose to continue studying accounting & finance anyway because it’s easy admission. Hence, I want to change my course to gerontology, a social science field about the study of aging and the career prospects of working with older adults. I have a soft spot for old people, so I don’t feel anxious around them. My dream career is one that makes a difference in people’s lives and I have in mind two groups of people specifically that I would enjoy working with because of personal experience – special needs kids and old people. Since my education institution offers a gerontology diploma, I think it could be a really good opportunity for me to expose myself to this field and gain first-hand experience through a compulsory internship working with old people.

This is where the problem with my anxiety and speech issues comes in. I’m not sure specifically what my speech problem is since there are different types out there. So let me illustrate with the 2 presentations I’ve mentioned earlier.

One was a group presentation which I thought was quite okay until the lecturer gave us her comments about our performances. For my group, she said one of us has trouble with pronunciation and even though she didn’t say who it was, I knew she was referring to me. Tbh, I was surprised because I worked with my classmates for group projects and we usually had practice presentations prior to the actual presentations but nobody said anything about my speech. So I thought my speech issue wasn’t too obvious. I felt upset with the lecturer’s comment even though the comment was constructive rather than criticism. She gave a piece of useful advice, to look up the pronunciation of words using an online dictionary. Actually, it’s not that I don’t know how to pronounce words but some words just come out sounding off.

I am the exact same way. I can not for the life of me give complex responses. My mind just goes completely blank and its like I lose 90% of my vocabulary. Its why I suck at telling stories or explaining my opinion on something to other people.

I have a speech impediment and often not only struggle with speech blocks and stuttering, but I have a very difficult time translating my thoughts into words, period.

I always wondered if it was because of my social anxiety, or if my speech impediment caused anxiety, then that anxiety made my speech even worse.

I did that. Had terrible social anxiety in high school and i put all my hopes into the fresh start i would get when going to university. I moved to a different country into my own studio and i was completely alone. Barely met anyone because the course was mostly lecture based and in lectures you don’t really meet many people, plus since it was not mandatory i barely went and just isolated myself more. So on top of having terrible social anxiety and then also got super depressed because i was so lonely.

Then i did it again. I had to start studying something new and moved countries again. There the courses were in much smaller classes, with group work, participation and mandatory presence as well as presentations. Sounded horrible at first but honestly it helped me so much. Kept me social even if making friends was hard and it pushed me out of my comfort zone so much that i managed to reduce my anxiety signigicantly.

So if you do start over, be aware it’s not all rainbows and sunshine, prepare yourself and research where you go and what you will do there to make sure you are not isolated and your mental health gets worse. If you do it can be amazing though.