This is my story. I have been stammering for a big deal of my life. In all this roller coaster journey, i have experienced many incidents which took my emotions to extreme. Some got the better of me and some I was able to master. Anyway, this has not gone all to waste. I have learnt a lot in the path and going to share some in the below article.
When I was first learning to speak, I have been told that I used to stammer since then. Even though I don’t remember much of those moments but still it was the time when life was just starting and I was trying to learn the ways people around me were acting. I remember my parents telling my teachers that I stammer. But those were of least worries for me. I mean how can a five year old understand that he stammers. He is just learning to speak. I changed three schools but never got teased or made fun of, that I can remember. Every time there was someone who vouched for me and informed people that I stammer. I also didn’t think much of it.
I must have been in 9th standard when I first understood that I have a diverse speech in comparison to normal people. I was stammering before this obviously but it had never hit me like this. It was the time of roll coll and my name was called. At the moment, I tried but the words were not coming out. Teacher asked once more and then looked since he knew I stammer. Then I could answer the roll call. Same followed for the fore coming years. I tried many ways ie. changing words, replacing them with something which was much easier for me to say, by going to teacher after the roll call. All said in one sentence I was trying to hide the fact that I was a stutter. Even though it was in open, I was like an ostrich who hides his head in ground and thinks he has outsmarted the coyote.
I used many means to hide my stammering. Tap my hand to my thigh just to get the word out. Using excessive amount of ummmm or ‘actually’, adding some letter in front of each word so that I can speak easier: so yes became dyes, right became dright and hence I was well on my way to butcher my pronunciation. I was also told many remedies to ‘cure’ this stammering. Eat some tree leaves or use stones in your mouth or speak in front of mirror. I did try such things but in the end it was just another useless attempt.
One big change which I was going through was the emotional damage. It was an everyday struggle since waking up from the bed till the time I was going to sleep, Most of the life happened around the way I was speaking. If the speech was okay, It became a great day, If not all hell broke loose. The desire to speak perfectly and attempt of multiple remedies left me with more and more disappointment, shame, guilt and embarrassment. Shame of being laughed at, guilt of not being able to communicate, pressure by parents to speak perfectly, It was all making a heap of emotions of animosity and frustration.
It was also the time when I started to blame other people for such things. I blamed my parents because I thought they were very hard on me. I blamed society because this was not a matter of laugh and they were not realizing this. I blamed god for making me like this. There were numerous times when I had thought to be deaf and dumb instead of this, to commit suicide was also reoccurring thought in me but I was never this brave/stupid. I stepped into adulthood as a frustrated, low self esteem, under confident, really insecure and a bit depressed person.
It was 2nd year of my college and after having a failed love attempt as well as placement season coming, I decided to look for a cure for stammering. The idea was that once I cure stammering, all other things would fall right in place. I started reading books loudly and searching internet also. I already had an experience with speech therapist and had understood he is there just to make money. In that quest for the magical potion which will cure my stammering, I got to a website which told that there is a workshop in Dehra for stammers. It was free of cost and you have to bear only living expense. I registered for that. Meanwhile I also checked their website and read many stammers blogs.
It was a three day workshop. I remembered the feeling of fourth day when I was returning to my home. It was like a load which has been taken off my back. I understood what it felt like to be happy, It was my first time when I struck a conversation with a teenage boy sitting next to me. Whole journey we talked about this and that. I was free, I was, for the first time, talking without thinking whether I will stammer on the next world or not. It was amazing. I had found the magic potion. It was acceptance.
Accepting that I am a stammer and that is okay. There is no shame in being different, whatever I was punishing myself for, was just unnecessary burden I was adding. Since then the journey of healing myself started. I attended many workshop, conferences, got introduced to Yoga, meditation, physical fitness. I also gave multiple speeches. Finally landed a job as well which I had thought I will never get.
Stammering paved me a way to look beyond a person’s shortcomings. It has made me more accepting, more forgiving towards others and most importantly towards myself. I stopped blaming people for my problems. In short, It gave me a chance to carve a path towards happiness rather that just being given to.