Posted January 21, 2014on:
Ahhh, the phone. A simple electronic device designed to make our lives easier. But for people who stutter, the phone can be our nemesis.
Talking on the phone can be a struggle, even a nightmare for those who stutter. The time pressure and being unable to see our listener often adds to our anxiety, which in turn can increase our stuttering.
Over the years, I’ve had my hiccups with the phone. For a long stretch, I can remember never answering the phone. I would always let the call go to voice mail, and I would return the call when I was ready. For some reason, I was (and still am) more comfortable when I initiate the call.
I’ve had my times when I re-record a message I have to leave on someone’s voice mail if I think there was a stuttered word in my message. And I’ve re-recorded my own personal greeting on my voice mail numerous times until I got it “perfect.”
These days, on my voice mail, I allow a repetition so that I’ve left a cue to callers that I stutter.
At work, I often have to pitch in and answer the main phone lines in the office. For the most part, I am alright with it. I always say the same greeting and always stutter the same way when I say, “May I he-he-help you?” Usually, I’m fine with that. Sometimes I find myself wincing, wishing I could say it without stuttering.
I covered the phones for a bit on Friday. When I answered in my usual way, the caller immediately said “Hi Pam.” I winced. I felt like she recognized my stuttering and therefore knew right away it was me.
Now, maybe that wasn’t true at all. Maybe she just recognized my voice (although I don’t think so, as I don’t answer the phones often enough to have my voice recognized.) Whatever was the case, I felt uncomfortable and a little embarrassed. Which bothers me, because I shouldn’t be feeling embarrassment anymore because of my stuttering. But I do.
What about you? Is the phone (still) difficult for you? Or have you found a way to just take it in stride?