Something I have never really talked about on here or social media is my personal struggle with having a stammer. Ever since I can remember I’ve always had a stammer and I’ve never really talked openly about how it affects me but I feel like now is a good time. I feel like this is a really important subject and a lot of people will be able to relate, I have noticed YouTube videos and blog posts but there’s not a massive lot. Hopefully this will help more people who have a stammer know they aren’t alone because I know I have my days where I get frustrated and can’t talk to anyone I know because they just won’t get it but if you have a stammer and fancy talking to someone, please feel free to send me a message via any of my social media.
So, what causes a stutter?
This question I have thought about a lot of times and there’s not really an answer. There has been a lot of research done on the subject but people still don’t know the exact answer because there’s so many different things that can cause it so there’s no one specific cause for it.
Some of you may but most of you won’t know I’ve had a stammer since a young age. Growing up I never really noticed it as when I was younger I was very shy and never talked a lot but when I started primary school aged 5 that’s when I started to come out of my shell a little more and that’s when I started to notice my stammer. My childhood was amazing but tough for me to get through, there were so many times I would get upset. When I did want to become outgoing my stutter always held me back, I hid myself away and blocked myself out which now I kind of regret but at the time there was no way I could of put myself in those situations.
My stammer is a little different as I only stammer on certain words that begin with certain letters. I stutter on all the vowels except U (I don’t know why) which I know is only a few letters but think about how many words in each letter.. There’s a lot. I mostly only stutter when I’m nervous or meeting new people or when I have to make phone calls which is a massive thing for me to do as I also have anxiety so answering or making a phone call is a big NO NO especially if I have to spell something out or give an number, although I am getting better and breathing makes a huge difference. I find it so upsetting and get so angry with myself when I can’t say a word or number but I know it can’t be helped and I can’t let it rule my life or I wouldn’t walk out of the house every single day and live my life. Stuttering feels like you have a bunch of air inside you that you can’t push out if that makes sense, it’s so horrible to not be able to say certain words without a stutter. Most of the side effects are in the brain so depression and anxiety. Loneliness is another one as with a speech impediment I find it super hard to make friends, I get so nervous around new people so I just don’t say a lot which makes people think I’m rude because I don’t speak to them but that’s not the case I just physically can’t.
Let me talk to you about high school. High school was difficult for me, probably one of the hardest moments of my life because of my stammer. I didn’t get bullied but I did have some people take the mick out of my speech. At such a young age dealing with something like that it was hard and I didn’t really have anywhere to turn. Obviously my mom and sister knew about everything and they was amazing at the time but going into school every single day not knowing what was going to happen scared me. I was probably at my worst through high school with my stammer but I didn’t let it stop me join in with the school productions and it didn’t affect my school work either, I didn’t let it. There were many times in English class that we would have to read aloud from a book that we would eventually write about but they were the worst days. On the morning’s of school when I knew we were reading in English I would cry my eyes out and make every excuse possible to not go in as I knew I would have to read aloud to the class. Even though it scared me to death I did read aloud and even though I did stutter on certain words which I felt embarrassed about I still did it. Presentations at school were again a massive thing for me to get through but I had such a lovely group of friends who were so supportive. I didn’t realise how much my metal health suffered while I was at school until I became older, I definitely think things need to change in regards to mental health in schools as it’s not talked about enough.
I have missed out on a few opportunities in the past because of how I think people will react when I speak and can’t get my words out and honestly I wish I could go back and take those opportunities but now I know looking into the future I won’t be afraid to take that job interview or that phone call or that speaking event because I know I can do it. Even though I know I will be super nervous and I will stutter on certain words I don’t want to look back on my life thinking I missed out on that because of my stammer.
Here’s a little story.. I was at work one day and a man asked me a question and for some reason I was super nervous and with a stammer it gets worse when you are nervous. I was at the end of answering his question and I physically couldn’t get the last word out. He kept saying what? what? but I just couldn’t answer him so he just walked away and just muttered some words to himself.. I felt like a failure. I remembered I kept apologizing to him that I couldn’t get the word out but he just didn’t care.
I think the best word to describe having a stutter is mortifying because imagine having a conversation with someone and the word you are trying to say won’t come out so you have to stay quiet or get someone else to finish the conversation. Honestly it’s so mortifying. I obviously still struggle with my stammer but it doesn’t define who I am. Sometimes I feel like my voice isn’t important and it just takes me a little longer to say what I want to say but there’s often times when I’m not given that opportunity.. I just want to say please be considerate if you come across someone with a stutter, we need time and support. My best advice with how to deal with having a stammer is to just breathe. If you are struggling with a sentence or you know there’s a word coming up you know you are going to struggle with, stop and take a deep breath. It helps trust me.