New Year

A new year is coming and so is a new me!  i feel so much better about my life than i did since i have found a great therapist and am working on improving my speech.  I stutter so much less that people i haven't seen since i was a teenager just stop and stare with their mouths open when i speak to them.  I guess they were expecting to get to taunt me like they used to do and were surprised when i spoke almost as well as they do.  That makes this long wait so much fun, although it would have been nice to be able to speak better while i was in high school as i wouldn't have feared some classes so much.  I don't expect to ever be perfect but being able to talk without the thoughts being caged inside my brain because my mouth wont work is great.  I just wish my parents had known to find me a good therapist instead of relying on the speech teacher in school.  My life would have been much different.  I wish i could tell every parent to get help for their child right away if the stutter stays longer than three months or if their child really struggles.  Stuttering effects more than just talking.  It changes every daily encounter, self esteem, the ability to do well in school, and can make life miserable.  I'm having to make up for years of lost social contacts.  I have so much to look forward to in the new year.

be myself

The therpist was right that telling people about my stuttering has helped to get me to open up and be myself.  starting this blog was part of that. I think girls are better at writing journals, keeping diarys, or keeping up with blogs.  But I guess any way that you get your feelings out helps to talk about things that bother you and then makes then seem smaller than you thought they were.  Coworkers tell me that I don't stutter as much now that I am not trying to be someone who doesn't stutter.  It is easier for me to just stutter on through what I am saying and they say it is easier to watch me talk when I don't strugle.  It is nice that they tell me these things and help me be myself.

Life with stuttering

Oh, dear. It took me way too long to get back on my blog. I guess I will never "talk withouit stuttering" at least a little bit. I am okay with that, though. It sure did take me long enough to get where I don't seem to spend all of my time and energy trying not to stutter. I wish I had gotten here long ago, and I think some of my former therapists tried to help me understand that I was the one that was making it worse, but I didn't believe them. Wisdon really does come with age as I have learned so much. Others are better with me just because I don't have a bad attitude about my stuttering and their reaction to it. I have learned to laugh at myself and enjoy friends laughing with me and that has made life so much more fun.

The King's Speech

This is a great movie. I was visiting relatives and had the chance to see it. If it comes near you, don't miss it!

Others stutter, too

Knowing that I am not alone in the world of people who stutter makes a little difference in my attempts at becoming the person I want to be. I have shunned so many oportunities because of not speaking like everyone else. Reading about this guy http://magblog.audubon.org/finding-words-animals-story-alan-rabinowitz made me want to have such an ambition to help someone/something that I would work harder. I have gotten loads better since I got my speech therapist, but I still have days that make me realize that there is a long road ahead of me. If I had just gotten help before I had gotten so many bad habits. It really is hard to unlearn some things. People who have known me a long time say they can see a big difference. I guess I am just very critical of myself and want to talk like everyone else all the time with no effort. Some people don't appreciate the wonderful skill they have of just being able to get through the day without stuttering even once.

A new inspiration

"Nowadays Biden is known as a loquacious orator. But that wasn’t always the case. As a child, Biden stuttered and was teased by his classmates and even by some of his teachers. But that didn’t stop him. Using techniques like those outlined in Self-Therapy for the Stutterer, he practiced reading aloud in front of a mirror and worked hard to overcome this distressing disorder."

That is on this page http://www.stutteringhelp.org/Default.aspx?tabid=725. It might be the inspiration I need to keep on working with my therapist. We are working through Self-Therapy for the Stutterer right now. It is a great book. It is hard not to read ahead and see the rest of what it has in store for those of us who are working on our stutter, but my therapist told me to concentrate on one step at a time, practice, and only move on to the next chapter when she says I am ready. After years of going to therapy and not getting anything out of it (probably because of my attitude), I am ready to listen and do what I am told:)

Lesson in the garden

I seem to always be thinking about my stuttering and comparing myself to others. While in the garden, I noticed the bean plants that looked mostly dead were still flowering and still giving me beans! I figure if I can be like those bean plants and keep on producing no matter what, I will have a fullfilling life until someone "pulls up the plant."

Best Presentation Yet!

I have been working one step at a time to eliminate those extra things I do when I stutter, and it has made a world of difference in the way others react to me and my stuttering. I am not stuttering as badly or as often, and the head jerking has completely stopped. When I did a presentation at work this morning, I got many comments from coworkers on how much better I did than on previous occasions. My "helper" who was signalling for me only pointed to his eyes one time when I squinted before a word that I stuttered on. I stutter where I used to block. I am much more relaxed and take my time. I will "keep on keeping on" as this is really working. I am glad my therapist is patient with me and is helping me. I had nothing but praise for her when I just saw her and am glad that I chose to do therapy on my lunch hour instead of eating!

The extra things I do when stuttering

Well, this has been an enlightening experiece! I didn't know that I did all the things people have told me I do. I was aware that I drummed my fingers on the desk or table if sitting or on my leg if standing, but I didn't know I squinted my eyes, jerked my head, twirled a bit of my hair, looked away every time right before a word starting with "b," "p," or "t." I have actually had some very conversations with friends and coworkers while trying to find out what things I need to stop doing as part of my stuttering. Several have agreed to signal me to let me know that I am doing something. I just have to figure out what type of signal will work. It has to be something they can do that will not draw the attention of others but will let me know so I can try and stop the extra action. I certainly want to stop squinting my eyes and jerking my head if I am doing a presentation in front of a group at work.

Better and going to work on the next step

It is amazing how determination and practice makes speaking easier. I have to concentrate and find it hard to do if I am caught off guard and thrown into a situation that I haven't mentally prepared for, but I am much much better. Sliding into words has become easier. I have now been told to try to get rid of those extra annoying gestures I do that I have developed over the years as I have struggled with stuttering. That means time to talk to other people and ask them what they notice about me and looking in the mirror and watching myself as I talk. I know I drum my fingers on the desk or table. There's something about the rhythm of the drumming that helps me pace my talking.

Perfectionism in stutterers

I read this about stuttering and perfectionism and it made me think that I need to work on two things!

"Perfectionistic people set unrealistic goals and, when they fail to reach them, experience self-criticism and blame. Preliminary research revealed that perfectionism appears to be a characteristic of people who stutter. The purpose of the present study was to explore perfectionism in PWS and to determine if a modified cognitive behavioral therapy approach alone and combined with Stuttering Modification could help reduce perfectionistic tendencies and stuttering behaviors. Initial open-trial testing showed promising results as perfectionism and stuttering severity were reduced and communication attitudes improved. " Cambridge University Press is where I found this.

So, according to this, I need behavioral therapy along with my speech therapy and maybe the stuttering will get under control faster.

Weeks of practicing

The therapist taught me to slide into words, prolong the sounds, and stretch vowel and consonants. The concept was easy to understand and stretch vowels is easy, but the rest is not. I have been working and practicing, but haven't quite gotten the hang of it, yet. I am not a quitter and will keep at it even if I never master it.

I Don't Talk Well

"All people are different. They do some things well and others not so well. ...

Let's take drawing as an example. To draw well, the muscles of your arm, your hand, and your fingers must work together easily. When you have a hard time drawing a picture, getting all those muscles working together is difficult for you; it is kind of a weak point of yours. It is no big deal--you must need more time to make a good drawing. If you try to do it quickly, there is a bigger chance the picture will not come out well.

If you are not very good at something and you try to do it quickly, you may get nervous. And when you are nervous things get worse. Especially when you are afraid of making mistakes, you will be more likely to make one. People who are good at drawing do not have these problems. They can draw quickly, even when they feel tense, and they are not at all afraid of making mistakes.

It is the same with talking. Some people find it easy--they never have any trouble. But people who stutter have their weak point in the area of speech. It may be difficult at times for your lips and tongue and throat and breathing to work together quickly and smoothly. When you speak slowly or feel at ease, there may be no problem; you may talk just fine. When you talk aloud to yourself, or when you are singing a song, or when you talk to your cat or dog, you feel calm and confident, and you hardly every stutter.

But when you are in a hurry and want to say something quickly, or when you feel nervous, talking may get harder, and you may start to stutter. And if you are afraid stuttering is wrong and you try hard NOT to stutter, talking will become even more difficult. Then you may shut your eyes, or press hard, or make a face to say what you want. ...So it's much better to just let the stuttering happen and not try to stop it or hide it. You will feel less nervous, and the calmer you are, the easier the talking will be."

The above is from The Stuttering Foundation of America. I sure can relate! Perhaps if my parents and teachers had known this much about stuttering when I was little and had helped me, I wouldn't have gotten in such a rut with my speech and had such a bad time. If I hadn't feared speaking in front of my family or in school because it was "wrong," I wouldn't have developed a worse problem.

I am working on changing those years of not speaking well. It is not an easy task, at least not all of the time. I am doing much better in some situations, but the old feelings and trying to hide come back all too easily.

Talking Fast

The crisp Fall air makes me hurry my step as well as my speaking for some reason. Any time that I find myself talking too fast, my stuttering gets worse. It trips my tongue up more often. I have to concentrate on being relaxed and not hurrying my speech. Too often, when I speak fast, others ask me to repeat what I said, and the second time around is even worse! I find that thinking of the sound of a metronome that I use when practicing the piano helps me keep a rhythm to my speech that helps a little. A slow, rhythmic tune in the background helps me, too. I wonder if that is true for other people who stutter.

Sliding

Some of the words that I have the most trouble saying are ones that start with "t." I have learned to slide into the word instead of stuttering on that t,t,t,t,t,t,t! It is not like most people speak, but it is a step up.

Psellismophobia: Fear of stuttering.

Psellismophobia is the fear of stuttering. Everybody who stutters has it, and the fear of stuttering makes stuttering worse. We have to confront our stuttering and not hide it or it will only get worse.

I wish everyone knew how to help someone who stutters!

Gee, it is so nice when you run across someone who is informed and know how to help when they are talking with someone who stutters. I need to start carrying a stack of the brochure The Stuttering Foundation of America puts out on tips for speaking with someone who stutters. That way I can educate those who haven't already learned a few things.

Don't tell us to slow down.
Don't tell us to take a deep breath.
Don't tell us to think about what we are going to say before we speak.
Don't walk away or start doing something.
Don't be in a hurry to get away from us.
Be patient and listen to what we are saying rather than how we are speaking.
Act as if you have all the time necessary to have a conversation.

Doing better

I am making progress. That is better than getting worse. I still stutter, but not as often and not as many blocks as I used to have. Learning to accept that stuttering is a part of me and is nothing to be ashamed of and telling others that I stutter and to please have patiense with me have both helped. My talking is better since I don't try to hide my stuttering. My therapist gave me a video from The Stuttering Foundation of America to watch. I hope it has something in it that helps me. Anything that can make my life nicer will make me happy. I wish I had gotten this far a long time ago.

Thank goodness for a good day

Today was one of my good days and I was so grateful. After the horrible weekend of not being able to talk, it was good to be back in the routine of life, work, and home with no company. They say it isn't good for us to "get in a rut" but my "rut" is comfortable and I speak better when I am there.

Glad the weekend is over

Others wish the long weekend would last and the company would stay, but I am glad its over. I was a blubbering idiot most of the time while company was at the house this past weekend. I ended up spending most of my time being busy with something so nobody would try to start a conversation with me. That is exactly the opposite of what I am supposed to be doing. Oh, well. It sure was great to be back at work, in my comfort zone with the few people I am comfortable with, and I didn't dread coming home to a house full of visitors and not knowing how my speech would be tonight. I know that the dread of company coming and my possible speach flaws made them all come out.

Excitement over something special

My memory tells me that as long as I can remember, my stuttering would get worse when a vacation was coming and we were going to do something special, when visitors were coming from out of town, and when other special things happened. My mother would always say that I was just so excited about it that I couldn't talk for weeks before or after the event. I did, and still do, get excited at the prospect of a vacation or company, but I don't see how that can effect my stuttering! I have noticed that, even though I have tried to use easy speech and the other speech tools that I have learned, I am stuttering more this weekend since we have out-of-town guests. Who knows why this is? I guess I will just have to keep on trying. It could be worse.

I am a recovering stutterer

I am finding it easier to start conversations by telling people that I stutter and asking them to please have patience with me if/when I stumble on a word. I had to laugh when one person called me a recovering stutterer and said that was better than a recovering alcoholic. I had never thought of it that way. My stuttering is not an addiction, but it is something that I have to work on every day. I think having the determination and the desire to change is the first step to my "recovery." If I had been willing to work hard at the things the therapist was trying to teach me years ago, I may not have stuttered into adulthood or at least it wouldn't have been as noticeable. I used to pity myself for being different. I wanted it fixed right away. I didn't want to have to spend time and effort to get better. Everything worth having is worth working for. I'm working for smoother talking with less stuttering.

My Mind

My mind is not constantly full of thoughts of stuttering like it used to be. That is such a relief. I am beginning to feel like I can be myself. I still stutter, but not as often. There are still situations that I feel that dread creep into me even though I am telling myself that is okay to stutter. I still want to be able to talk without a speck of stuttering. Funny, I do notice that almost everyone pauses and stutters when they speak. Some of us are just worse than others. I will "keep on keeping on" and practice what my therapist teaches me as I have dreams that don't include stuttering forever.

A broken, stuttering life

I read this posted on another blog, but didn't make a note of who said it: "The real thing to overcome was fear—the fear of sounding like a fool! Being a singer/songwriter means I tell stories between songs, and that's where I can get into trouble with my stuttering. I've decided to use it, though, making it an asset instead of a liability, because that's what God promises to do with our weaknesses. My inability to speak paired with my gift of singing is really a cool metaphor. I take my broken, stuttering life to God, and he's able to make music of it."

This has inspired me to keep on trying. I agree that we can take our problems and turn them into an asset instead of a liability. That is exactly what I am going to do!

Better days

Things are going smoother day by day. Admitting that I stutter and not hiding it any more was one of the best things I did. I still stutter, but not as often as I did. The phone is still a source of trouble. Part of my therapy has been making phone calls to various places for information. It is getting easier to make a phone call because of the practice and doing it daily. But, the incoming calls still send a shiver through me and I haven't been able to answer, yet. I just let it go to the answering machine. Then, later, I return the call. But, at least I can return the call!

I did it!

I finally found a moment at the end of the work day that the boss wasn't busy with something else. I asked if I could have a few minutes of his time. I gave him the brochure from The Stuttering Foundation and told him that I wanted him to know that I was a stutterer and used various ways to cover it up. I told him the reason I wanted him to know was because I was going to try being myself and not using the tricks I have developed. I also wanted him to realize that those who stutter make good employees. Amazingly, he was very interested and asked many questions about stuttering saying that he had interviewed people that he didn't hire in the past because they stuttered so badly that he was afraid they couldn't communicate in the job. After our little meeting, he said he was going to go back in his file and look for the ones that he had marked with bad communication skills and contact them for another interview. I sure hope I have helped another stutterer get a job if they hadn't already gotten hired someplace else. That is a good feeling. I wonder if anyone else who stutters has tried this!

Telling the boss I stutter!

I don't remember much about the interview for my job other than I was nervous about stuttering and made sure that I avoided words that I might stutter or block on. It must have gone okay since I got the job. I have been able to cover up my stuttering all these years and have gotten promotions and praise for my work and dedication. My therapist told me about a way that I can help others like me and suggested that I talk to my boss about stuttering letting him know that I stutter. She printed a brochure written especially for employers from The Stuttering Foundation's web site so I hope I can follow through and give it to my boss before I leave work today. I also hope he treats me the same after he knows that I am a stutterer who has covered it up all this time.

Changing order because of stuttering

Well, I managed the pizza ordering over the phone for the first time, but I didn't order what I really wanted. I hate it when I do that! If I want pepperoni on my pizza, I want to be able to say it. Thankfully, since I called a pizza place, they gathered that I wanted a pizza! I am just happy that I didn't let that telephone scare me into not using it. I was so proud that I didn't give in and let someone else do the calling. It seems funny that a phone can make me stutter more than talking to someone in person. Actually, it's not the phone; it's the thought of using the phone that makes me tense up and stutter. I will have to order a pizza every week as they say practice makes perfect.

A Good Day

Today is a totally different day! I feel relaxed, I feel happy, and I am not stuttering as much. Why can't every day go like this? My therapist says that stutterers have good and bad days just like everyone. I like the days when everything goes smoothly. Maybe I'll try ordering a pizza tonight!

Stuttered on the Phone

I tried, but I couldn't do it. I picked up the phone to call in a pizza order for the first time. I always have managed to get someone else to do it for me. I was going to start out telling the person that I stuttered and to be patient with me, but I couldn't get a darn thing out!!!!! I went to the pains of writing down all that I was going to order and had my notes right there, but I couldn't get started. The only thing I can commend myself about is that I didn't hang up first. They didn't last long, and must have thought it was a crank phone call as the person on the other end didn't try to help by asking yes and no questions that I could "a huh" or "un-a" to. (how on earth do you spell those non verbal "yes" and "no"?) Oh, well, there will be another chance.

Stuttering less

Well, by george, it works! Just not trying to hide that I stutter and starting a conversation with "please be patient as I stutter" has helped so much. I can hardly believe it. I still stutter, but not near as much as I did. I have only brought myself to do this with some people, though. I will have to work on doing it in all situations and with everyone. That may take some time.

Emotional part?

The therapist said that stuttering has both physical and emotional parts. She quoted somebody that said "Stuttering is what you do trying not to stutter again." I know that I stutter worse when I am upset, nervus, or tense. And, the more I try not to stutter when I am doing some things like talking on the phone the more I stutter. I am supposed to work on staying relaxed and not caring if I stutter. Oh, boy!

I can do it!

"A valuable precondition for a successful therapy is the deep inner conviction of the stutterer in the manageability of his disorder, combined with a fighting spirit and a readiness to undergo hardships and deprivations if needed - hopelessness, pessimism, and passivity being the deadliest foes to self-improvement." - Freund

I will work hard to have a "fighting spirit and a readiness to undergo hardships" and will fight off "hopelessness, pessimish, and passivity." I can do it!

Tell People I Stutter

I started therapy during my lunch break from work. She said that I need to admit that I stutter! I am not to try to hide my stuttering. How can I do that? I have been the quiet one who never talks. When I do talk, I only use words that I know I won't stutter on. I can clean the hospital and not talk to anyone all day, which is fine with me. If someone talks to me, I just nod, smile, and keep on mopping.

Well, this is supposed to be how I start. She told me to create a blog and "talk" to people on the internet. I don't know who is listening, but "talking" here is easy. Well, I have admited that I stutter but don't know who I have admited it to. Ha!

It does feel good, though, to say that I stutter, but I am going to get better. I wonder how long it will take.

Anyone listening?