Make Room For The Stuttering

Stress and Stuttering

Posted on: June 20, 2009

There is definitely a connection between stress and our level of stuttering. Most of the time,my stutter is mild, with easy repetitions and some hesitations. Lately, as I have been sharing, I have seen a subtle change in my stuttering pattern and have had, and felt, more stoppages along with the repetitions and hesitations. Its almost as if my stuttering is evolving or finding itself. This makes some sense. I was covert for years, and have only been stuttering openly for about 3 years. It is between the ages of 2 and 4 that stuttering develops. So, maybe that is what is going on, since my overt stuttering is only 3 years old. As I stutter more, it is changing and evolving.

I have had extra stress over the last few weeks. My partner is acutely ill, and his medical needs continue to grow. I myself had minor surgery two weeks ago, which of course adds stress to ones life. It has been very busy at school with end-of-year activities, staff lay-offs, and summer planning. I’ve definitely noticed I have been stuttering more, with a different pattern. I have been getting stuck more often, and have noticed a little frustration when that happens.

Yesterday was a good example of a stressful day. Partner was scheduled for surgery at 10:15 am,and we were told to arrive an hour before hand. He is diabetic and in renal failure, so not being able to eat was stressing him out. He was also extremely anxious about this particular procedure.

Once he was prepped and taken in, my job was to wait. And wait. And wait. Now, I don’t know about you, but waiting for long hours, feeling stressed and being alone is not a good formula. It is too much time to daydream about worst case scenarios, and it is too much time to think, period. I had a newspaper with me and a good book, but I was tired, and unable to focus on either for very long.

I nodded off a few times, while sitting in a very uncomfortable chair. A couple of times I went to the nurse’s desk to question what was taking so long. At least three times to the desk, each time, very disfluent. Even with simple 3 or 4 word questions. When he was finally done, he had to be in recovery for a while and I still couldn’t go back. So I went outside to get some fresh air, and my phone rang. I had a conversation with a friend, and again noticed a tension in my speech, and much stopping and repetitions. I could feel my lips tremor and felt frustrated. My friend had no problems with any of this. No, this was solitary frustration I kept to myself.

We know that stress does not cause stuttering, nor does anxiety or nervousness. But we do know that stress can certainly exasperate stuttering, and in my case, this has certainly been happening. I am stuttering more than usual, and not feeling positive about it. What  I do feel positive about is being able to recognize that this is going on, and acknowledging that this is yet another part of me that needs exploring.

My partner emerged from surgery fine. He has blocked arteries in both legs, and they had hoped to correct one yesterday and put in a stent,  to keep his artery open and make walking easier. They were unable to do that, so will schedule another procedure in a week or so. He can’t drive for 48 hours, so I had to get up early this morning to drive him to dialysis. I will go back in a few hours to pick him up. He has a lot going on, therefore I have a lot going on. And I think all of this plays into how comfortable and relaxed my speech is.

Has this happend with anyone else? Do you experience growth spurts with your stuttering? Are you able to recognize when things are changing? I think this is one of the periods in my life where I need to be very kind and gentle with myself, and just go with the flow. Stress will always be around. It’s how we react that makes or breaks us.

Copyright © 2009

5 Responses to "Stress and Stuttering"

Oh yes, Pam, I relate totally with this. I just need something to upset my daily scheme of things and my speech suffers. When I am anxious about anything everyone knows because I stutter more.

So stress does affect the way we stutter.

I am sorry about all that you and your partner are going through and I do wish you the very best.

Keep being strong, and do be patient with yourself. I do imagine that even those who do not stutter suffer some anxiety when they are stressed as well. So ways says us.

I am very sorry about your husband, I hope he gets better:)

Thanks for the comments. We’re not married – we’ve been together many years. Its a tough situation.

oh sorry, I guess I assumed wrong

You know what they say when you assume, right?! 🙂
Hey, check out the new video I added to the site, under the tab marked, well, stuttering videos.
Talking about something new that is going on with my stuttering.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. 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 2022.
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