I welcome you to watch my latest video where I describe one of my many “bad” stammering days. I have included the video transcript below for those that would rather read than watch.
A fair question; however, for me there is plenty of information about those on other pages of the website and I have also recorded videos about them and I don’t just want to kind of bang on and be just purely talking about the same thing all of the time.
For the purposes, especially of the blog, I want to be able to talk mainly about how the stammer affected me and about some of the people I have met and just of general experiences which again, I hope are if interest and I have to say, even though I overcame my own stammer at the age of 22 and I am now aged 40, I actually enjoy talking about these experiences. I enjoy relaying them because it’s kind of therapeutic.
During the time when I had the stammer, with these experiences, I kept to myself, I didn’t tell family and friends and just kept it all bottled up and that’s not particularly good for you. So even though I again, am fortunately fluent—I say fortunately, it’s probably the wrong word because I actually put a lot, a lot of work into achieving fluency—but so even though I am now able to talk fluently so therefore, you might think, why do you need to have that therapeutic feeling?
I still have anger; I have anger over the poor quality of speech and language therapy that I received. I have anger that I had a stammer in the first place, which probably seems rather that you’re feeling sorry for yourself, Steve. Perhaps I just know that my life, up until the age of 22 would have been so, so different, so much easier, so much more enjoyable. So there we go, that’s why I enjoy relaying some of the experiences.
Now this particular day, I had been in a brilliant mood all day. It was Christmas time, just prior to Christmas, I was aged 21. I was in a good mood throughout the day, A) because it was Christmas, and B) because I was going out for the evening with some of my very close friends.
These friends that I was going out with were superb friends. They were people that knew I had a stammer, they had known me the majority of my life and their lives, they were very supportive, they would order my drinks at the bar from time to time, just an example there, they didn’t laugh at me if I did stammer. Because of all these reasons, I tended to talk a lot better with them than with say other people. So yeah, I felt good, I’m going out with my close friends later on and I liked having a few drinks at that age.
So what went wrong? Okay, originally I went out and met up with a couple of friends and we had a few drinks and we were drinking lager, Carling, and I’d been speaking particularly well, confidently, in a good mood. We then went to meet another friend at a different bar who couldn’t come originally with us because he was working, so we met him straight from when he finished work outside this particular bar. He was there, we walked in, and it was now my turn to buy the next round of drinks, so I just turned to my friends and said, “Right, are we all still drinking lager, Carling?” Everybody, apart from this person we’d just met, said yes, however, the person we just met said, “Steve, I do want a lager, but as this is my first drink, can I have a lager and lime? I always like to start with a lager and lime, I’m not sure why, I just do.” I said, “Yeah, okay,” but straightaway in my head, something happened.
The demons that I will talk to you about on a regular basis, started talking to me, they were having a kind of field day, they were jumping up for joy, “Oh, you’re going to struggle now, you’re going to struggle now, Steve. Instead of just saying, ‘Can I have four pints of Carling?’ you’re going to have to say, ‘Can I have four pints of Carling, one with lime.’ That’s a lot more difficult for someone like you, Steve, because I think you’ll struggle on lime, I think you might stammer on lime, Steve.”
Now, the people who are maybe watching this who are fluent, have always been fluent, might think, well, just tell them to go away, just ignore those voices in your head, these demons. Believe me, I tried, I always tried, but it was very, very difficult. If there hadn’t been a queue, I might have been able to do it, but there was a queue at the bar, I had to wait possibly ten minutes in this queue, because it was Christmas time, it’s a very busy period for bars, people going out, of course.
So by the time it came to my turn, and my friends had all stood around me, I went to order the drinks and boy, did I struggle. Don’t even think about lime, I didn’t even get to lime, I just couldn’t speak – it was just a huge block. I was trying to say Carling – a word I had been saying all day – well the twice I’d ordered drinks, but I just couldn’t—it was like my body was frozen.
In the end, one of my friends stepped in and ordered the drinks for me. This was probably 7 o’clock in the evening and after he’d ordered the drinks, we sat down and my friend said, “We know you have a stammer, Steve, but you’ve been speaking superbly all day, or since you have been out with me, what happened there?” I tried to explain to them, but it’s very difficult. They didn’t laugh, they may have done when I went to the toilet perhaps, but they were good when I was there, but I just felt horrendous.
I wanted to go home there and then, however, I knew the plan was to stay out until possibly 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, but I knew I wouldn’t enjoy those next six, seven, eight hours, and I didn’t. I have to say that it ruined my whole Christmas, that is how much I hated stammering in any situation, even if people didn’t laugh at me, I just really, really hated it. I just kept relaying it over the next few days, weeks, just relaying that experience, all those people that were there around me, in that queue, the bar person who I stammered to.
Now again, people might say, “Why are you worrying about these people? You don’t know these people, why do you care what they think?” I don’t know. I just do, I just did. Now I’m 40, I have to say I have started to care a lot less what people think, that’s a kind of age thing perhaps, but at that point, aged 21, I did care and it was frustrating and again, that question, why me? Why me?
This is why, again, when people said to me, speech therapists said to me, other people said to me, “Just accept you have a stammer, accept it,” no way. No way am I going to accept it. That is what I said and I’m glad I did not listen to them, I’m glad I didn’t accept it because that was no life and I didn’t want to continue having experiences like that because an experience that lasted a few moments, in reality it was with me and I was frustrated hugely by it for a long time after. I’m even relaying it today, 19 years later, so there you go.
So that’s just again, another example of a bad stammering day. I’ll leave it there and I’ll be back with more videos within the next few days. Okay, thank you.
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