Low self-esteem

Hello people,

I'm here to share a story of mine and get some feedbacks on that.

I'm 23 years old, Graduate student. I moved to America 4 months ago from a developing country. I have been having issues of low self esteem and low confidence. I get really nervous of how to talk to people and what to talk to people and when I feel that some one knows something better than me, I stop talking to them, I feel scared to talk to them just because they know things better and will laugh and judge me. I was really close to my parents and never lived alone all since. Now that I have moved out, I feel so lonely and depressed and if been finding it difficult to make friends. I don't know what I'm doing with my life and what I want in life. The only decision I took was to take up my graduate education. Now I feel scared of that too, I feel scared to talk to anyone. I'm so depressed and losing things. Please help.

13 Replies

  • Hi well done for going through the education system and being such a success. Not everyone can do that you know. Also congratulations for being brave enough to come in here and ask for help. See that's 2 positive things about you already. Oh and no. 3 moving to a new country.

    The best way to act with people is just to smile and look interested if you can't think of anything to say. Ask people about themselves as everyone loves that and will think you are a good listener.

    How do you know they know more than you? How do you know they will laugh at you and judge you? That's called 'magical thinking'. You cannot possibly know what others are thinking unless you are a mind reader! I presume you aren't.

    Of course it's going to be a different way of life in USA from what you are used to but embrace it in the spirit of learning and taking part in it. You will find a few who take the mickey but ignore them. Most people are fine as long as you are with them too.

  • As has been noted down below, social anxiety is not very pleasant but can be regulated (I do not care too much about the fancy names doctors and other mental health personnel burden people with) and I think it would be worth your while seeking the assistance your University must offer, counsellors and psychiatrists or your usual GP. Again as noted below, it is an impossibility to become so close to someone that you become afraid of what they are 'thinking about'. People will not judge you for expressing your own point of view of whatever topic is being discussed. After completing a year and a half at University, I suddenly found that there was something not quite right with me and so I arranged an appointment to see my GP and he referred me to the Consultant Psychiatrist at the local mental health team. I eventually did manage to return to University clutching my little bottle of diazepam yet even then I completed my course from my room at the local mental health team's medical unit. I did not attend my graduation photograph or parties or anything similar simply because events such at those have never really attracted me to them. Difficult though it was I am glad I completed that course because now I have begun my Masters and then plan for a stab at a PhD course. I wish you well.


  • That's sounds like so much of help. Do you think it will cost me something for the therapy or my health insurance would cover em. And it's really difficult to adapt with new people and new culture.

  • Hey Squash, Welcome to America I hope you find what you are looking for here. I think once you become accustom to our ways you will relax and enjoy the experience. Most graduate programs have advisors for students. I think that is who you should start with, and be honest about how you are feeling. If this person can't help you he should know who can. The university wants its students to succeed and will provide counseling or health care. There may even be a group to help foreign students. Do a little research on what is available to you.Are you at a large or small school? What kind of housing do you have? I can give you more suggestions if I know more. One other thing everyone in grad. school is trying to show the professor how smart they are. They are all scared , just good at hiding it. The fact is if you've been accepted into a program then you are smart.. Please feel free to respond I want to know how you are and how you're being treated. I think most people will be very nice and helpful. Pam

  • Thanks a lot for responding to my query Pam, that really feels good.

    Well I don't know how to talk to graduate advisor about the above topic, I really feel bad about talking on this. People would pity on me for the above reason. So I never share about this and just avoid people at the maximum available opportunity. And I like off-campus with 4 of my friends. I'm at a large school and it's a well known one. It would of great help if you could help me more on that. It would be grateful. Thanks again Pam

  • Hi Squash, I can't imagine why anyone would pity you. You are obviously smart and you have plenty of courage. Being in a masters program means you are mastering a particular subject not that you know everything about everything, no one does. Coming to a new country takes more courage than most people have. When you get scared remember everyone is afraid of something and will go to great lengths to hide it.It is important for you to speak with your advisor. If you don't know what to say try this...Call and make an apt or e-mail which might be easier for you. Introduce yourself and tell him you are one of his students. Let him know you are feeling unsure of yourself at the moment and you need to talk to someone. I'm sure you will get a response. There are a number of other people you can contact, look through your student directory. Are you getting along with your room mates ? If not you can see someone about that also. In America it is not seen as asking or being ungrateful to speak about needing or wanting help or changes. It is getting value for your money. You have accomplished so much, you can do this.. Pam

  • Squash, People relate to you and they feel empathy , not pity. They understand how you feel. You may run into some not so nice people just ignore them. Pam again.

  • I know from my own experience how tough leaving home for uni alone can be a pretty daunting task. But you've done so much & come so far you should feel nothing but pride for your achievements. Evilness on this site is brilliant & you should always stay in touch to let us know how you're getting on & how anyone can help. When speaking with someone about a subject you don't know a lot about just be honest & say "Oh I don't know a lot about that but I'd be really interested to learn more. Can you put some more flesh on the bones for me - perhaps over a coffee"? You'd be surprised how many folk - probably feeling the same as you - would welcome the opportunity to have a chat over a cuppa. You should find an Irishman - the difficult part is getting us to stop talking once we're started!!

  • Hi there ! Welcome to your new land anyway! Not sure how long you have been there ! I am so old, can say, been there done that , having left my parents home in the 50 s to live all over Africa. First thing is my dear, write down all the things you CAN do that others can't ? Bet you remember how you can tell lots of your homeland things that they have never even heard of ! Count your blessings ! You can write and communicate ,you have a degree etc. Loads of things if to tell the truth they may envy about you ! Always be someone around who delights in making you feel like trash ! They have their own demons . Lift your head up high,love! Look in the mirror and say to yourself you can and you will ! Shoulders back! Chin up ! Look the world in the eye And tummy in ! That is what my dad taught me and he was highly decorated for bravery. You can do it !!

  • I think you have done so much feeling as you do .Everyone at uni are trying to find their way .It doesn't mean you have to be loud there is something so wonderful about a person who is considered and gentle and not shouting for attention.It would be good for you to look around and see if there is someone else like you who is quieter and needs a friend .

    Also here in the uk we have what they call talking therapy and I believe it can help a great deal .ps the ones shouting for attention are usually the most scared and trying to keep up .I wish all the best always here if you need a chat .xx😇

  • Squash62, you are moving on with your life, you have decided to go to graduate school. How exciting and yes a little scary. Guess what, almost everybody feels the same as you. Do you have a sport team you like? Can you go to an event ? Once school starts you will meet lots of people you have something in common with. Call your parents, call old friends. Go to church. Make appt with your GP , get a check-up to make sure you are physically okay. Talk to doc about your depression. Come back to this forum when you need someone to talk to 😘

  • Hi! My husband came here from a country similar or close to what you are referring to. Assimilation is hard, being in a strange land is scary, but most of all thinking that people are or will judge you makes life so much more difficult. He went to undergraduate and grad school but still remembers not saying Salad correctly! So just laugh at things and make friends and realize America wouldn't be Amazing without you in it! And I would not have met my husband:) it's hard but u got this! Meet up with others going through the same thing as well bc there are many groups out there. Congrats also on grad school! ✌🏼🌸

  • But also remember what makes you awesome is that you are unique! My husband is from Africa although his parents and heritage is from another country so you can imagine his confusion! And now he's in America. But always be you, remember your roots, and all colleges have advisors, counseling services, groups, etc just for foreign students so take advantage of it bc everyone needs support! Other countries sometimes frown upon asking for help but not here so go to student services today and you will feel much better! I went to a larger graduate school and there were several so I wish u all the success in the world 😊😊

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