Since I was four years old, I have stuttered. I’m Jeremiah; I’m 26, and I live in Chicago, and I am a second-year medical student. All throughout elementary and middle school, I was teased and bullied for my speech impediment. I remember not being able to say my name, or not being able to read in class because of my stutter. My stutter got so bad that I used head jerking as a way to get words out. You can imagine how embarrassing this was throughout daily interactions.
I am certain that my drive to succeed academically came from wanting to prove all of my classmates and teachers wrong. Having a stutter is more than just “not being able to say words.” There is a stigma attached to it. One that implies that you are not smart, or that your brain thinks slow. For me, I have used these circumstances to improve myself, both personally and professionally.
Throughout high school, I decided to face my fear of public speaking, by reciting bible verses in the mirror every morning. My faith is the cornerstone of my life, so I knew that there was not any situation or challenge that I could not overcome. I would memorize verses and say them in the mirror, pronouncing each word with authority and confidence, and thinking positively about each phrase. I learned that I could overcome my stutter with energy, enthusiasm, smiling, and bringing a positive attitude to every speaking situation. This conquering my fears, voted me class President of my senior class.
Throughout college, it was much the same. However, there was a slight decline in my speech as I did not have to speak as much in my 500 lecture college classes.
Now, entering medical school I knew that my career would be dependent on how I interacted with patients, classmates, instructors, and attending physicians. I remember during one interaction with a patient, in which I could not smoothly get certain clinical words out. This happened repeatedly. From there I knew that I had relapsed badly and needed a new method to overcome my speech struggles. This is where Coach Lee and WSSA came in.
Coach Lee’s methods absolutely work. World Stop Stuttering Association (WSSA), the world’s only community of EX-stutterers and those fast becoming same, has made Coach Lee’s methods easier to grasp and apply. WSSA’s program includes 60 video-lectures on Lee’s books, 1,000+ coaching videos (which are great teachers), WSSA’s speech club (SAM), which is tailored to the needs of speech-sufferers. The group of ex-stutterers who run WSSA, all contributed to this incredibly helpful program. WSSA also gives stutterers a chance to interact (or “hang out”) with others who have beaten stuttering. Only WSSA offers such an opportunity.
Coach Lee’s crutches reduced my stuttering instances to basically 0 per day. This is of course after practicing and utilizing them in every conversation. And for me, the daily affirmations and auto suggestions have changed my life. And this I believe was the game changer. I am now on the verge of loving to speak, and I am getting closer and closer to that goal every day with successful speaking experiences.
Crutch 11, and Crutch 13, for me, are the Go-to crutches and have allowed me to really change the way that I view myself.
It all begins in the mind, and telling yourself everyday that you can beat this. Because you absolutely can and will. The reading aloud and the daily mind training have changed my life. I am beginning to see that, by conquering my stuttering, I am converting stuttering into a blessing, as Coach Lee and others have done. I hope that the medical community will someday accept the mountain of written and video proofs that are being created via these methods and realize that stuttering is not incurable for many of us.
My final point to anyone who has lost hope in their speech journey, is to think of the irrefutable logic of these words (Lee’s trademarked mantra) day in and day out,
“If I can say one word anywhere, anytime,
I can say any word, anywhere, anytime.”
That is absolute truth, and it’s given me a new lease on life.
I can’t wait to welcome you into WSSA’s exploding PWSS family!
JEREMIAH, Chicago, December 2020