Make Room For The Stuttering

Posts Tagged ‘feelings about stuttering

How many times has this happened to you? You’re in a conversation with someone, either someone you know well or someone unfamiliar. You’re going along fine with what you are saying and then it hits – a big block.

You get stuck and nothing comes out. You feel helpless and the moment feels like an hour. Your mouth is open and nothing is happening. Or sound is coming out but not the word.

And then your listener tries to help and finishes the word or sentence for you. Maybe they even got it right.

Or maybe they get it wrong, and say something not even remotely close to what you were actually going to say.

How does this make you feel? What do you do?

When this has happened to me, sometimes I feel angry. Angry that the block has happened in the first place and that someone has seen what I look like when I get stuck. I imagine it looks awful, but I’m sure in reality it doesn’t.

I also might feel angry if the listener has finished my word and they guessed wrong. I do one of two things: finish what I was going to say anyway and move on, or move on and pretend like nothing happened.

I don’t like to do that – pretend nothing happened, because something did. I got stuck in a block and someone reacted to it.

I wish I had the guts to acknowledge my feelings when this happens but I often don’t. I don’t like to draw more attention to my stuttering.

What about you?

I wrote a post on Loss of Control five years ago! And it still rings true today. I want to share parts of that post in today’s blog post.

Probably one of the most helpless feelings a person can have is that feeling you get when you lose control when speaking. You probably know what I mean.

My stomach feels like its going to bottom out, my chest gets tight, and my heart starts to pound so hard it feels like everyone can hear it. And my face heats up, I feel a lump in my throat and then my eyes start to well up. If the feeling lasts longer than a few seconds, my eyes spill over.

I feel loss of control when I get embarrassed, because these reactions happen automatically and involuntarily. I also feel loss of control when I get angry, or sad. I always felt like I should be able to control my reactions to feelings. Almost all of the same physical reactions occur.

I used to feel I had some control over my stuttering. Fairly early, I began to know which words or sounds I might stutter on, and concentrated on switching words or doing the avoidance thing. That stopped working for me long ago.

I started feeling more in control when I dropped most of the covert stuttering and just let natural stuttering out. Since not fighting so hard to not stutter, I have felt pretty controlled with my easy, relaxed repetitions.

But sometimes my speech is messy. I can’t predict stuttering moments like I used to be able to, and I feel more tension and lack of control.

I often feel helpless, especially when around someone new or who is impatient.

Even though I tell myself I don’t care what others think, I still sometimes feel the sting of judgment and fear rejection.

What do you think? Do you feel out of control when you get really stuck in a stuttering moment? Does this feeling ever go away?

No words needed for this one – watch this truly inspiring video of a dad talking about what he learned at the recent National Stuttering Association 2014 conference.

PamEpisode 122 features Yousra Ouchen, a 25 year old who hails from Casablanca, Morocco. Yousra works as a financial consultant in an accounting company. She enjoys playing the guitar, drawing and writing.

Yousra is a founder of the new Moroccan Association of Stammering, which is on its way to becoming official. The association currently has 15 members.

Listen in as Yousra discusses what it’s been like getting the association off the ground and the work it involves.

We also discuss the perception of stuttering in Morocco, and how people who stutter are seen as not having confidence. Yousra also shares her speech therapy experiences, and how talking about stuttering helps her to feel better about it.

This was a great conversation with a strong young woman who is determined to help people who stutter in her country. Feel free to leave comments or questions for Yousra. The podcast safe music used in this episode is credited to ccMixter.

 

One of the best workshops I attended at the recent NSA conference was called Creative Movement and Storytelling for People Who Stutter. The workshop gave people a chance to see how well their bodies can work, while also helping them express their stories.

It gave people the opportunity to express themselves in different ways than just our verbal communication.

The session was facilitated by Barry Yeoman, an award-winning journalist who has studied dance and story telling.

The workshop included ice-breaking exercises, improvisations and simple movements. By the end, we all worked together to create a more complex piece that we all built together as a group.

I had marked this workshop as one I really wanted to attend, but also told a friend I was nervous about it, because I feel I have two left feet and I am not very good at creative, expressive movement. It takes me way out of my comfort zone to do things like this.

In the end, I was very glad I attended. It was a beautiful, simple, fun way to let go and be creative and not have to worry at all about our speech.

Below is a brief clip of what some of the free expression looked like.

 

 

Last night in a Stutter Social hangout, a small group talked about shame and fear, and how both can still have a grip on us as adults who stutter. While stuttering may get easier as we mature, those pesky feelings can hold on and do a real number on us.

We were talking about the times when we as adults get laughed at or someone makes a joke about our stuttering. Three of us were participating in this discussion, and we all had examples of when this has happened.

One guy mentioned that when this happens, he feels like punching the person who is so insensitive. He gets all tight and angry, but doesn’t actually act on the desire to lash out. He said he actually doesn’t do anything but feels vulnerable and ashamed.

I mentioned that I sometimes feel ashamed as well, when someone laughs or teases and I don’t do anything, for fear of drawing more attention to the matter.

We discussed how it’s important to pay attention to this shame.

When we feel shame, it’s usually a sign that we need to do something – take action – to rid ourselves of the shameful feelings.

I shared that when someone laughed at my stuttering recently and made a joke, I let it bother me for a few days. Then I decided to email her and let her know it bothered me. She apologized and explained she was unaware she had made me feel uncomfortable. I felt better after doing something and not just letting the feelings eat at me.

What do you think? Do feelings of shame ever creep in? What can you do to lessen those feelings?

 

 

 

 

This really needs no words – it’s a great short animated film that perfectly captures what stuttering is.


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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2014.
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