My name is Daniel and I am currently living in Texas, USA. I’m 24 years old and I’ve been stuttering since I can remember. From what I know, I began stuttering when I was 3, so, basically, all my life. And obviously, this has affected every aspect of my life. Thinking, worrying about my speech, fearing getting stuck when saying my next word, avoiding meeting new people because I knew I would have to eventually introduce myself and say my name and knowing that most likely I would not be able to say it. Not participating in class for the same reason, becoming an introvert with just a few friends and a very limited social life. In other words, worrying about my speech and fearing speaking is all that I could think of during most hours of most days, all my life.
My dad has always loved crafting furniture and working with wood, and he taught me woodworking since I was a child. And I ended up loving it too, and became pretty good at it. During my teens I started crafting furniture and selling it, as a way to get some extra money for my own. And slowly I started to make a living from this, which I still do. And while I love it, it’s not my dream job, it’s more of a hobby. I wanted to start studying mechanical engineering, but going to college, meeting new people, being in one of those huge classes loaded with people I didn’t know, giving presentations… all these things terrified me, and, again, my stutter was holding me back and preventing me from doing what I wanted.
All these years, every now and then, I searched on the Internet for solutions to help me get rid of my stutter, but nothing really called my attention. Nothing seemed convincing. Some time ago, I found a stuttering community on the Internet, and I decided to join it, just in case I found what I was looking for. I was amazed with the vast number of people suffering the same problem as I did (in different degrees, of course, but the same problem). At least that helped me in the sense that I wasn’t feeling so lonely, but that was pretty much it. All they talked about there was learning to accept our stutter and learn to live with it, something I tried to do for more than 20 years, and I knew that was impossible for me.
One day I posted about my situation, my struggles and concerns. That day I felt I just needed to get all that out. I was having a bad day. All the comments were supportive, but no real solutions were given. A day or 2 later, somebody reached me out and told me about a program created by an ex-stutterer named Lee Lovett who had written a book and who had already helped many people stop stuttering (that was it!), and this person recommended to check it out, which I immediately did.
To my surprise, there was a lot of evidence (videos), success stories, and more. I couldn’t believe it. I bought Lee Lovett’s book on Amazon, and started reading immediately. Then, I signed up in this program: the World Stop Stuttering Association, and started attending to some of their meetings, and watching a few of the video lessons and videos of coaching sessions with other stutterers. I knew that it is better to finish reading the book before being coached, but I just couldn’t wait. And they assigned me with a Coach. This coach turned out to be the same person who reached me out in this online stuttering community: Javier, a Person Who Stopped Stuttering from Spain.
A few days later we began speaking. He explained me very clearly everything that I had to do, and gave me the motivation needed to do it every day, consistently. This was just before Christmas of 2021. A bit less that 2 months ago (mid-February of 2022) I eliminated all signs of having a speech disability. No more blocks or awkward silences. I worked hard, every single day, but I felt like every week my speech was getting better and better.
Am I finished? No, because I still fear speaking sometimes, and my heartbeat accelerates, and I feel like I just want to avoid the situation, but I don’t, because I know I have the tools to avoid appearing speech disabled. This is my next goal: get rid of the residual stuttering fears and speech anxiety, to get to the point where I love to speak, no matter where or to whom.
To work on these things, I plan to give a SAM talk (WSSA’s speech club tailored to the needs of PWS) in a month or 2, and prove to everyone that stuttering can be stopped.
If you are reading this and you stutter, do yourself (and your loved ones) a favour, and start now your speech journey towards fluency. There is no need to continue suffering. Your stuttering days are over, if you’re willing to work on it. This charity, WSSA, has a fantastic support group, practice sessions, books, video lessons, meetings, and everything you need to achieve this goal and change your life.
I hope to see you one day in one of their meetings!
Daniel, Texas, February 2022