I don’t know how it started. I don’t know when it started. All I remember is my friends asking me why I cannot speak fluently. It was hard to explain why I was not like other normal people.
For years, I struggled with my speech. I hated it sometimes and other times I accepted that is how I was. I didn’t see myself as a disabled person but I was not able to do some things.
Here is a narration of my journey with stammering and how I have managed to cut it down to almost extinction. I hope I will be of help to someone out there experiencing the same.
Because this is a heartfelt article, I request you to share it with anyone you know who has speech disorder if you love them. It will do him good. I know.
Struggles that People with Speech Disorder go through
It is a sad situation to be in. You have a speech disorder, which cannot allow you to explain your disorder. What can you do? I have been there in that cycle of confusion.
Ever quiet. Many times, I wanted to speak but I delayed, struggling to utter syllables. The next person spoke and I gave up my point.
Stuttering frustrated me to the core. I hated it with a passion. It is like a man choking you but you can do little about it.
You can’t scream to get help. But with careful procedures and healthy daily habits, I’m inches away from bidding stammering goodbye. Never will I return.
Here are some of the struggles I can remember having when stuttering was wreaking havoc in my life. I’ll write this section with a handkerchief nearby to wipe my tears.
Reading at School
I resented reading time in school. The teacher would ask us to read sections of a passage. Each person was to read one paragraph.
When it was my turn to read, I would panic and struggle to utter words. I would skip some words or even use synonyms that are easier to pronounce.
Some teachers would ask the next person to help me with my section. It would be a relief but again it was painful because I wanted to read like my friends.
I hated the stare that other students would give me for failing to read. It made me feel as if I was a poor student.
I felt useless in the class.
Talking to Friends
I had a hard time conversing with my friends. I would struggle to utter a word, which made my friends make guesses of what I wanted to say.
It disgusted me to a point that I would change my story just to get easier words to pronounce. Some of my friends didn’t understand why I struggle with speech and they would ask me to ‘just speak well’.
But how can you tell a sick person to ‘just get well’ and expect him to be healed? But I couldn’t argue with them because of my stuttering. I was crushed with insults and humiliating words but I had no reply.
Anytime an argument would come up, I would panic. As it is with arguments, you often have to bulldoze your idea for others to hear it.
But with my slow speech, I could barely make it. I ‘lost’ so many arguments. The only time I had an advantage is if one of my friends who cared was around.
He would ask others to give me time to speak. I thank God for such friends.
Speaking when I’m Angry
Many times, anger made my speech disorder worse. I would tremble and the choking feeling would overwhelm me.
The sad thing is I would get angry easily those days. The condition I had made me angry already. It only needed a little ignition from a misplaced word from a friend to send my anger soaring through the roof.
Things would get out of control faster than I could think them out. Many of my friends knew I had short temper. It scared some of them.
I guess it is how nature works. Because I couldn’t speak up against humiliation, subconsciously my mind made me scary to people as a way of keeping them at bay.
I almost had no control over it.
Defending myself against Accusations
You know that adrenaline surge you get when someone accuses you? That eruptive force to defend yourself? I would get it but my speech would fail me.
I would stutter in my response trying to justify myself. Sometimes the other person would regret having accused me. Now he had to listen to a distorted speech like listening to a static voice on radio.
It felt bad when I could not express my stand in an accusation. Accusations usually felt like convictions for me.
It is like having a dumb lawyer represent you in court. You will always lose.
Dealing with the shame of ‘wasting time’
Shame is one of the most humiliating things for anyone with speech disorder. It feels terrible when people have to wait for you to speak. Everyone is silent waiting for you to struggle through your speech.
For people who know you have a stuttering problem, they will cringe when it is your turn to speak. It makes people so uncomfortable.
And just seeing the frown on their faces sends a pile of guilt on your head. I remember the terrible feeling I would get whenever a teacher would skip me during reading time.
Other times, the teacher would avoid picking me to answer a question in class just because of stammering. Worst of all, you have no idea why you are the way you are.
You don’t know what solution can help you. It feels so helpless.
Explaining your condition as if you wanted it
Many times, people ask you about your condition but you are clueless about it as they are. By then I was still young, I knew neither any biology nor any psychology.
All I knew was I had something in me that I hated and that made me not to speak well. I couldn’t touch it or see it but I knew it was there.
Every time I heard a question in the line of ‘Why can’t you just speak well?’ something died within my heart.
I was so tired of people asking me about my condition. It made me feel as if I had killed someone. I never asked for such a condition, nobody ever does. It just happens.
The Cause of my Stuttering
For many years, I was clueless what caused my stammering. Recently, I tried finding out the cause of my stuttering because that is the only way I could tell what the solution might be.
I read several scientific studies but none of their explanations resonated with me. They were talking of how the mind coordinates speech muscles.
However, I got a clue that the problem began in the mind if it is the mind that coordinates voice chords. One day, I read a book called Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and it gave me an answer.
The problem of my stuttering was rooted in my mind. And it came to my mind because of the kind of parenting I grew up in. I definitely knew that was the truth because all my other siblings had struggled with stuttering and some still struggle with it today.
It also made sense because stuttering would get worse when I was at home. The psychology behind it is I feared my Dad.
Since I was young, Dad appeared to me to be a harsh person. I was warned many times against crossing his path. I saw how he dealt with people who crossed his path.
The fear of disappointing my dad took root in my mind. Since then, I would shake whenever I did anything that I supposed would annoy my dad.
And the fear affected my speech. But that is only half of the story. The fear grew to a point that I no longer feared only my dad but anyone who behaved like my dad.
I became insecure whenever I saw male teachers and anyone who would confront me. I was afraid of hurting people. But as you know, it is impossible to avoid disappointing people.
The anger I mentioned above resulted from the spirit within me trying to fight off the emotional prison I was in. I was defensive and would struggle to justify myself.
Unfortunately, my parents thought it was just a biological disorder. Having learned that, I was eager to make a change and be done with stuttering.
That is when I began pursuing self-help. I began working out and reading books. You can check out an article I wrote about how I managed to stick to my workout routine for more than a year and how you can do it too.
I started my own business. I trained how to write articles and set up my first blog. After a year of pushing hard my self-improvement resolution, I began seeing a change.
I became more courageous and much of the childhood fear left me. My voice deepened and stuttering reduced drastically.
The transformation became real the day I said no to my dad when he asked me to do something I did not want. The fear of other people also vanished and now I’m almost done with stuttering.
After just a year of working on it, the change is tremendous.
Solution to Stuttering
If you struggle with stuttering or you know someone who struggles with it, advise them to focus on self-help. On this blog, I write a lot about self-help.
Start working out, reading books, following self-help blogs like this one, doing what you love, and working on projects that interest you. Take control of your life. After sometime, the fear of other people that makes you stutter will disappear.
It is all in the mind.
Once your mind knows that you have nothing to lose even if you breakup with some people, you will lose the fear of disappointing them.
Once I learned that I can still have a fulfilling life without my Dad, I lost much of the internal fear I had. And that freed me. I don’t hate my Dad. It is just that I know I am in control of my own life.
If anyone is making you miserable in life, regardless of who he is, you have the right to breakup with the person and take control of your own life.
I highly recommend you read a book called Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud.
I hope this article has helped you with your stuttering. I want you to know that there is a solution and it is closer than you think.
There are many other oppressive situations I have come out of simply by choosing to pursue a balanced life.