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My experience with Stuttering

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My experience with Stuttering

Postby Rizz » Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:59 am

My experience with Stuttering

Hey, I have been a stutterer for about 7 years, and have had incredible improvement with my speech fluency recently(about 85% fluent as of typing). In the 7 years I have had this problem, I have shared many of the same experiences as some of you have had, from the crippling anxiety when meeting a new person, to people finishing your sentences, to parents and close friends not understanding the struggle it takes to just say your own name. The list goes on. For the past two weeks my speech fluency has improved dramatically, and I didn't want to make this post straight away incase it faded. I'm sure someone else out there has experienced those very, very, rare days where you wake up in the morning and when you say 'Good Morning' to someone and it comes out perfectly and you think you are cured, only to feel defeated later on in the day when you start stuttering again. I would like to share my thoughts and the methods that I believe have improved my speech fluency significantly.

Anxiety

Probably the most significant factor that hinders ones ability to speak fluenty.

You stutter, then feel embarrassed, which causes you to be anxious, which causes you to be more likely to stutter, which causes you to be more anxious, which causes you to etc.
This vicious cycle continues on and on until you are so anxious that you won't even attempt to speak because you fear you will stutter.
It is a debilitating cycle that can completely cripple one's confidence.

How do you break the cycle? Take away its power over you. There is no room for pride. In the early stages, you will stutter and you will be embarrassed, but if you let stuttering rob you of pursuing your goals, it is impossible to make any progess. Getting stuck in the "I wish I didn't stutter, so I could ____________" mindset won't take you anywhere. Confidence is king, but the key is inner-confidence.

Some of you may be rolling your eyes right now, but to me, confidence is this psudeo chemical process that manufactures inner-strength and the ability to push past the limits of your own expectations. I am sure many of you have used alcohol before and after a specific amount(3 to 4 drinks for most people) has been consumed, find yourself more sociable, less anxious and therefore find it easier to speak. But alas it does not last and one eventually returns back to reality. Seems great, but it doesn't work in the long run. I have tried, many times but alcoholism ends up causing more problems(as with other drugs) than it relieves you of because build up a dependancy on it, and when that well runs dry your stuttering comes back with a vengeance, stronger than ever before.

The only way to manufacture lasting confidence is through your own well of perserverance, ambition and determination, that will never run out. The tricky part is finding this well, although many spring forth after a realization after reading a book, or listening to someone elses story and understanding a concept that resonates with them, or connecting with a specific event. Personally, I found reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho the catalyst to beggining to discover my own well of inner-strength, but some may prefer something like Siddartha by Hermann Hesse.

Cadence, the rhythm of breathing

In addition to the emotional triggers causing stuttering, there is also a physical aspect. When you stutter your vocal cords slam together, stiffen and close blocking your airways. The muscle contractions/facial contortions you may or may not experience are a result of your body trying to force airflow through your windpipe. Have you ever noticed that when you are singing a song you won't stutter? The cadence, or timing of the breath allows a predicatable rhythm when singing and therefore a predictable airflow preventing you from stuttering.

Breathing exercises can help immensely to improve speech fluency, particularly 'belly-breathing'. Basically, you focus on your stomach and try to breath 'into' it(pulling your diaphram), rather than straight from your chest.

If you would like more information on the physical aspect of stuttering, check out http://stutteringtreatment.org/aboutstuttering2.php


Meditation


Meditation is incredible. Meditation that centers around the focus of the breath has helped immensely. It can help relieve stress and anxiety from emotional problems and improve the way you breathe, both of which are significant factors in speech fluency.

I reccommend checking out http://www.reddit.com/r/Meditation/if you would like to find out more about meditation.

Other thoughts

In combination with the methods described, I had a peculiar experience after watching these youtube videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7onDx7gDI1Q&list=PL1CB55A41BB4CA9EC
I didn't expect to gain anything from watching these videos, but after observing how this man spoke, I instantly found it easier to speak. It was like a baby watching an adult doing something, then coping them, on the subconcious level. I had made significant progess with the methods described already, although this was the icing on the cake. Strange, although worth noting.

Just my thoughts, hopefully something I've typed can help someone out there. I'll update this post if I come across any other tips.

Thanks and goodluck,

-Rizz
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Re: My experience with Stuttering

Postby harmony87 » Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:35 pm

Thank you for the tips :)
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Re: My experience with Stuttering

Postby atchley » Fri May 22, 2015 11:32 am

Hi Rizz,

I'm glad that you have positive experience with the methods you practice.

As you mention, the breathing rhythm is very important.
Working on your self confidence will additionally help.

Best regards.
John Atchley, MA, CCC-SLP
Certified and Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist
http://StutteringPros.com
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