Make Room For The Stuttering

More From Adam

Posted on: October 23, 2009

Adam wrote back to me and asked me to run another section of his story that he wanted told. He also commented on how much he appreciated the very positive support he received from many readers who took the time to respond and I wanted to share that as well.

I think Adam’s story is important enough to share again here. His perspective on what it’s like to feel imprisoned by severe stuttering needs to be shared. I hope his confidence is growing from the support he is getting here. I really would love to see Adam share more of his story on his own blog, or consider doing a guest segment on a podcast. Adam, you have a lot to share with the world.

I just wish everybody who responded to my first entry on Pam’s blog were my family. You guys are the best family I could ever ask for….

The only way a stutterer will be understood, no matter what degree their stuttering, is with other stutterers because we all share a common bond…..

Ever since you mentioned me calling you, Pam or you calling me to speak or stutter, I have wanted to contact you verbally very much. But the thing is, I just can’t. I want to have a MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION on the phone with anyone at anytime. I stutter so horrendously awful, that I couldn’t do it. I would not be able to make a call to you or anyone who I miss without a stuttering device or speech therapy that would work or is right.

I would love to call you, but it would need to be with an anti-stuttering device, or someone else would need to be able to verbalize my thoughts because I sure can’t verbalize them. It kills me to think someone needs to say what I want to . . . .because of the fact I can’t on my own.

Another situation. I had this incredible lovable best friend science teacher in 8th grade. And to this day, she is still very dear to me, and I have not forgotten her. She saw so much good in me, and I felt the same way about her. Her personality could melt a Scrooge’s heart.

I have wanted to call her SO BAD because I miss her dearly. Do you know why I don’t call her?  My extreme stuttering would destroy a heartfelt and meaningful conversation with this dear friend and former teacher who changed my life.

I simply want to call her to ask if she has my address so she can send me a Christmas card and a birthday card in July. But how will she understand what I am asking when I can’t verbalize it?

I feel that my own severe stuttering is isolating me from the things that I really want to do. Such as this call to my 8th grade science teacher. I want her to hear the happy jubilant young man who made her glad to be a friend and teacher to others. I don’t want her to hear a verbally messed up person. Because that’s how I think of myself.

If I stuttered far less, and was adequately clear, I would do SO much more,  like ask girls out, go on dates, call this special teacher of mine.  This teacher needs to know how much her family is important to others and me. But extreme stuttering just makes me re-coil. I want to do something but I know I can’t.

I have tried calling her, but LUCKILY, and I mean LUCKILY, no one picks up the phone. I get the answering machine. I never ever leave a message, because I don’t want her or her equally hilarious husband to think there is someone drunk or nuts on the machine.

So making a call to Susie Q, as I endearingly call her, or Mrs. Potrikus or Mrs Po. as me and students called her as students, is out for now. I need a better way to express myself via a device or some meaningful therapy that I can’t afford.

So as you can see, I am in a social and emotional bind because of this extreme stuttering. It’s not today or yesterday or the day before, Pam. It’s weeks, months, and YEARS of stuttering and with no resolve for it. It’s wanting something others take for granted and something that comes easily and readily. Self-expression.

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2 Responses to "More From Adam"

Hey Adam!

I remember when we called each other quite a bit for a month or so. I was always able to understand you and you understood me. Two severe stutterers having a great conversation. I even remember you telling me how much fun it was to chat with me. Don’t give up now. Take the risk and call someone. It will give you a sense of accomplishment.

Jamie

Adam, don’t put off the rest of your life, waiting for a device or therapy. Too many people put off what they want for one reason or another, then when that reason clears find another reason. One friend put off dating until he finished school, then until he had a job, then until he could afford a house, then a larger house suitable for a family. By then he was 50, and his friends had raised happy families in apartments and small houses.

A practical idea: Ask someone to do the first few words of a message or a phone conversation: “Adam is here and wants to leave you a message.” If it’s for someone not aware of your stutter, maybe add, “He has trouble getting words out. Please be patient.” That way, the listener knows to wait through the blocks and silence. Yes, it’s not perfect, but it’s better than someone else doing the the entire message, or nothing at all. You’re still doing most of the work. Eventually, you will do it without any help, but there’s no sense putting off your life until then. Small steps climb a mountain.

Your writing is very eloquent. Maybe consider writing to this beloved teacher. All teachers like to hear about how former students are doing. Also understand if she needs to concentrate on the next group of students. Lastly, teachers need privacy outside of work.

Consider keeping your contact through official channels — like a note delivered through the school — and follow her lead.

I’m not saying don’t contact her, just respect her privacy, and understand that she may not be able to meet with you as freely as you’d like.

Good Luck!

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