I'm A Guy Who Stutters But Didn't Realize May Is Better Speech And Hearing Month
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Health and Wellness

I'm A Guy Who Stutters But Didn't Realize May Is Better Speech And Hearing Month

I want to draw more awareness by providing a bit of my personal story.

I'm A Guy Who Stutters But Didn't Realize May Is Better Speech And Hearing Month

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. I didn't know this was a thing until yesterday and I feel somewhat bad about that. How can I be a person who stutters and not know? I thought the best thing to do was to tell my story in order to help raise awareness.

For those who aren't fully aware, stuttering/stammering is a neurological disorder where an individual involuntarily repeats words, phrases, syllables or sounds when speaking. Sometimes they open their mouth and nothing comes out at all. It only affects 1% of the world population (70,000,000+ worldwide and 3,000,000 in the U.S.) and affects males more than females on a 4:1 ratio.

Everyone who knows me, anyone who's heard me speak, knows that I stutter. I still speak up during conversations and I'm in a good mood for the majority of the time, but it took me over a decade to get to where I am now. Let's rewind the clock to 2007.

I live in Georgia and I'm in middle school. I'm nervous, I constantly overthink, and I stress over every single thing, especially my speech. I started to stutter around seventh grade, which worsened when I moved back home to Tennessee. I don't remember how it started (I did fall headfirst onto the pavement while riding in a friend's golf-cart one summer, but I doubt that alone triggered it), but I hoped it would go away. It didn't. Therefore, I was picked on frequently in middle school. I was a pushover, and it seemed like my teachers either turned a blind eye or were indifferent.

In high school, my speech improved somewhat, but I was still self-conscious. I dreaded giving presentations all the damn time. I'll never forget theater class when I stumbled throughout my one-minute speech (it felt like 5). The entire class had looks of sympathy and concern on their faces, while a few held back suppressed laughter. Worst of all, I probably embarrassed myself in front of my crush. After that day I felt ashamed of stepping foot in that room, let alone school.

It wasn't all gloomy though.

I had some fun times in high school, like going to football games and pep-rallies. I had plenty of good days, but on my bad days, I would've honestly preferred to off myself than go to class. Thank God that didn't happen, and I graduated from high school in 2014.

I went to college, studied abroad in Spain, came back and fell further into a spiral of depression. I was reluctant to go to speech therapy since I tried it before and felt it didn't work, but I went anyway. Today, a few years after my first session, my perception of my speech and my outlook on life have bettered. I still stutter, though not as severely. I now view it as a unique characteristic rather than a curse.

I'm no longer apprehensive when speaking my mind, I'm not (as) hesitant when approaching or meeting new people, and I'm not preoccupied with worrying about other peoples' thoughts. If anything, I've focused more on myself and I'm now working on forging my future. Through the mental anguish, I also learned patience, humility, I'm a better listener, and I have more compassion for others.

If I could actually rewind time, I would go back to middle school and give myself some advice: "F**k whatever they think about you! Life is too short as is, and you shouldn't waste precious time worrying about other people. Everyone has insecurities and their own crosses to carry, so don't feel alone. Enjoy these last few years of school you have left and be carefree!"

I sincerely hope this doesn't come across as a plea for sympathy. My aim is to draw more awareness to Better Speech and Hearing month by providing my story. A sort of testimony, if you will. I hope that others with similar experiences, those with hearing or speech disorders, come across this article and find some solace in knowing that they're not alone.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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