Getting older and stuttering

What I’ve been seeing a lot on Facebook lately is a lot of younger people who stutter worrying a lot about their future.

For the record, I was too naive to realize that stuttering would be a lifelong problem. Being covert for such a long time, I figured I could just keep on doing it, and everything would be fine.

What I’d say to a younger person who stutters is that it can get better with the right attitude change. That’s what takes a long time.

The basis for the change is simple and can be spelled out in three aspects:

1. The people who matter don’t care that you stutter
2. The only way to know if something horrid is going to happen is to open your mouth
3. The horrid consequences that you foresee happening when you stutter don’t happen

I’ve mentioned these things before.

What happens as you age is that you simply have more data. You talk more. You see what happens when you stutter. You see how people react. Over months and months and years and years, you see that at the end of the day, it’s us who need to open our mouths again and again and not be afraid of what happens.

We also get more patient as we age. We listen more. We consider our words carefully, and find out if we stutter on one or two (instead of avoiding them) our message becomes more clear. Our listener becomes better engaged and informed. A trust develops amongst our friends.

Is it an overnight process? Heavens no. Does it require work? Yes. Does that mean sitting in your room by yourself for hours on end reading out loud? Maybe. Does it mean not hesitating to open your mouth when you want to say something? Definitely.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this post.
    This thought troubles me almost daily. “What I could have done. What I should have done. What I would have done.”
    I feel life would have been so much better and different, had I opened up about my stutter back in my college days. Not doing so held me back from participating in events and important architectural competitions. I hardly interacted with my seniors & juniors and usually backed away from various opportunities and responsibilities which came my way.
    Now that I’m 26 and a practicing architect, my inability to confront my greatest fear is having a very direct and profound impact on my career.
    They say there’s no use dwelling on your past and rightly so, however, one can always retrospect in a positive way and list down the “coulda-s, shoulda-s and woulda-s”, so that in ten years when I’ll be 36 I wouldn’t want to curse the 26-year-old me for not taking positive measures in ‘managing’ my stuttering.

    • Mohammad, don’t be so hard on yourself. Just think of all the things that you did accomplish despite your stutter. There were surely many who dropped out or didn’t make the cut in school or afterward — and they were perfectly fluent! I’ve noticed as someone who stutters, I’m really, really persistent. I may not get what I want today, but I will eventually! I guess it’s like speaking — it may not come out this second, but just give me a little time, and I’ll tell you exactly how I feel. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: