Make Room For The Stuttering

On Fatigue

Posted on: November 3, 2010

How does fatigue affect your stuttering? For me, I can almost predict that my smooth speech will “fall apart” towards the end of a long speaking event. I hate that phrase “falling apart”, but that is exactly what it feels like when I am tired and still need to press on.

I had a bunch of presentations to do yesterday, three in the morning and two in the afternoon. I do not specifically practice any techniques, but when speaking for a long time, I do tend to be more aware of my pace, try to pause more and use vocal variety (Toastmasters strategies). I also drink a lot of water.

As I tire, I can feel my speech change, despite paying attention to what I need to do to feel comfortable. I lose the energy needed to project my voice, which helps me maintain what I consider my “comfortable speech”.  The change happens noticeably – I have more repetitions, which when I notice and “feel”, I then lose my train of thought and start word finding.

It’s really not that big of a deal, because no one seems to notice but me. But I notice that I am noticing, as funny as that sounds, and I just don’t like being so aware of how my speech breaks down.

I stutter more when I am tired. Nothing profound, but I really notice it. What about you?

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4 Responses to "On Fatigue"

I find I struggle more when tired. Sometimes I just don’t feel like talking because I will struggle a lot and I don’t fee like dealing with it.

I definitely struggle more with my stuttering when I am tired. I can manage a presentation of about an hour or so, and then the fatigue makes it much more difficult to control my speech. I try to schedule business meetings, and especially presentations, for the morning hours, since I tire quickly in the afternoon.

Thanks for your blogs. You are “awesome”, as my teenage daughter would say.

Hi Pam,

I have been feeling lately that i have been really stressed in my job. It is very chaotic..i work in daycare and my afternoon position is just very, like i said, Chaotic. I feel really anxious the whole time, and my stuttering is hugely affected. I have even considered quitting, as i would like my sanity intact as it is more significant to someone who stutters, i believe. As we need that sense of control or confidence in what we do in order to maintain that level of fluency, as most would call it. What to do?? What do you think..or others?

Rebecca, thanks for reading and for a great question. You may not like what I am going to say, however. Yes, we all need to feel a certain level of control and confidence. That is a huge thing for us – when caught in a stuttering moment or longer block, it can feel helpless. To me, I once described it as falling off a cliff and no one even knows it.
But to try as hard as you can to “maintain that level of fluency” that you mention, I think that is self-defeating. I think its more reasonable to be aware of when you are tiring and do something to maybe reduce that for a moment – stop, pause, drink water, regain your momentum, and continue on.
Focusing on fluency all the time is not the way to go. In fact, I think its impossible as a stutterer.
Instead, focus on being Rebecca, the best person she is, “warts” and all. The kids are going to appreciate your consistent presence, and not really care about our occassional dys-fluent moments. And certainly don’t quit. That will just add to your stress.
Try to find ways to be gentle to your self, and replace that negative self-talk (I know – its hard) with just more of an awareness. Yes, I am tired and I notice my stuttering more. But I am still me, putting my best foot forward.

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