God bless Lee, his book was a life saver. I am Silvia and I am from Italy. I graduated in Biomedical Engineering but then I discovered my passion for programming languages and now I am working as a software engineer for a videogame company. My first language is Italian, but I’m fluent in English, and I wrote this story myself.
I began stuttering when I was a child (around the age of 3) and under pressure situations or with authority figures I stuttered on 90% of my words. I did some therapies that helped relieve my pain momentarily but after a short period of fluency, everything returned as it was before.
My days were focused on thinking about words, planning words and I was living my life with anxiety and fear. I developed strategies like using synonyms or rephrasing my thoughts to cover my stutter and I avoided public speaking like presentations and speaking on the phone. It was a nightmare. Still, I have never accepted myself as a stutterer because I didn’t understand why I was fluent when speaking alone and not fluent speaking to others. So inside of me I have always believed that a solution would have been possible.
Last autumn I read Lee’s book. I found it innovative and completely different from all others that I had read. It provides some temporary techniques (Crutches) that help you to overcome a stutter situation and it explains how to rewire your brain through hypnosis and positive affirmations. The idea is to fill your memory bank with fluent experiences and to reduce to zero the stuttering incidents (with also the help of the Crutches). Since the day I started mind training, I stopped the reinforcement of negative thoughts and in a few weeks I experienced a lot of improvements. Everytime I do a presentation at work or I talk to a group of people, I choose to reject bad thoughts and concentrate on what I want to say.
I have been coached by Lee also and he helped me a lot in pushing hard and never giving up, I will be so grateful to him for the rest of my life!
Although I have not had an incident where I appeared speech disabled in a couple of months, right now I am still working hard because my speech journey has just begun and I still have fears of stuttering (I stuttered for more than 30 years) but I know that I can do it.
I am teaching myself how to love speaking in all the situations and how to extend my comfort zone. Going to SAM meetings and talking with the other ex-stutterers give me a boost of energy to continue working on it until I remove all the fears from my mind. I have also made some friends there. It is wonderful to have a community of ex-stutterers as your support group. If you want you can beat it!
I just had a reunion with my parents, and, as I wrote to Coach Lee, when we said goodbye, they said that they were so happy to hear me be so fluent; both of them almost cried. It was a magic moment, one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I owe it to Coach Lee, his book and WSSA’s entire program. It’s been a dream come true.
SILVIA, Italy, February 2021