Make Room For The Stuttering

Guest Blogger: Lisa’s Story

Posted on: September 4, 2009

A fellow covert stutterer (but working towards overt, like me!) took me up on my invitation to guest blog. All of us have stories to tell, and sharing is so powerful. When we share our stories, we learn that we are different, yet the same!

This is Lisa’s story! Don’t be surprised if you recognize yourself in her words!

My first realisation that my speech wasn’t quite right was about 7 years old ,when a girl came to play in the street and said it was like I was singing letters before I said the word …threw me a bit because then my other friends started doing it as well.

So from about that moment I decided that this way of talking was going to bring far too much attention and I just became even more quiet than I had been.

I think from then I hid my stutter a lot more, always avoiding speaking situations when possible or pretending I didn’t know answers. I do remember going to speech therapy around this time for help, but because I was so good at switching and avoiding, they said it would be something I would grow out of as it was shyness. My parents accepted this as they were having big issues of their own and with my brother and another baby on the way, they had other issues ….

My next memory was when I started my secondary school about age 11 or 12 …and this was a whole different game as I was no longer in the safe environment of primary school where the friends that I’d grown up with knew me.  I remember my first day in my new class and everyone was asked to say their name and a little about what you did during the school holidays. Well you can imagine the fear I experienced so one major coughing fit followed as it was my turn (I was indeed a great actress).I was generally not asked to say much and every few weeks the school speech therapist would come in and take me out for a chat …hmmm not impressed at age 12 or13.

We had a supply (substitute) teacher come in one day. Some of the boys were messing around so much that he sat us all down and said we had to do this task and shout out as quick as we could something beginning with a letter he said and certain topic i.e. animals. So when it got to me I just didn’t say anything and made out I was thinking, but he wouldn’t leave it there and said I had to say it, otherwise the class would stay in at break. Cruel really so I did or tried to but I blocked so hard I think even the teacher was taken back and the word “table” finally came out. The teacher then kind of sniggered (uncomfortable I expect) and said that it was best that I don’t answer anymore as it would go into break time.

I dealt with this by laughing, I became a gothic as the trend there was to grunt and not speak and people left you alone. Not the best look in the world! And I started skipping school. This led to a lot of trouble but also talking to a great mentor at the school who did understand and put me in touch with a different speech therapist that helped me quite a lot to work through blocks and taught me other techniques.

Over the next few years, these tools and my covertness, I went along and found a job that I stayed with for 22 years (my comfort zone). I also went to see a hypnotherapist for some confidence building, this actually helped a lot.

I married a totally wrong person and my speech was never really mentioned unless to tell me it was bad that day. He never understood even though I felt I was ready then to be more overt about it.

My children came next. Zoe was ok with her speech as she chatted from an early age , but Faye was late speaking and did for just a while start to stutter so she was referred to a health visitor when she was 3 or 4. They said it was just a phase as she was repeating the whole beginning of the word not just the sound. She then went on to chat just fine!

My marriage started to break down and I divorced, and my stress level increased.  I found I was starting to stutter more and not be able to hide it as well. This began my journey of a new life, where I could be just completely me and not be so worn out at the end of the day from avoiding, covering, and worrying about situations. I got a new job in a school (children are so accepting) and settled down with me and my girls.

I then started to talk to people closest to me, but strangely, not my family, just friends, especially my good friend Sarah, who always understood and really supported me. I found help online and eventually started reading posts that Pam had written. Wow, this was so like me ,she gave me the inspiration to be me rather than to keep covering …and this where I am now, just beginning to be myself. Slowly I’m becoming more comfortable with my speech and who Lisa is.

I feel that the day I introduce myself to someone and say “Hi. I’m Lisa and I stutter a bit so bear with me’’ will finally be the day I am myself!!!!

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3 Responses to "Guest Blogger: Lisa’s Story"

Very well written my friend!! So cool that you’re telling your story!! Well done 😀

Lisa, thanks for sharing your story. Like you, my wife and I really never talked about my stuttering for the first 23 years of our marriage. Things changed dramatically when we both attended our first National Stuttering Association convention in 1995. That really opened up the floodgates, and that “elephant in the room” was gone. Now, 14 NSA conventions later, my stuttering is not really that big of a deal to us now. We can talk about it much more openly. And my two grown kids don’t really think too much about it. I’m just Dad who talks a little differently.

I hope you find peace with your stuttering, so it’s not a burden to you anymore.

Bernie

I am so happy that Lisa had the courage to share her story. She is on an incredible journey, that one way or another, we can all relate to. It takes courage to tell your story and to especially make it public like this.

Each one of us that chooses to do this makes an impact on someone else out there. And that is special.

Stay tuned! Lisa plans to share more with us here. Thanks again for your courage, Lisa. Many people will connect with you.

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