One day, just like any other day, I came to the conclusion that life is too short not to enjoy it as much as possible and too short to lose such valuable moments with negative thoughts and the vicious cycles provoked by fear. My name is Andrés, and I’ve been stuttering since approximately age 8-9. Mi story began when I was at school, when we were too innocent to realize about what was going on in our world, our attitudes and especially our problems. Like many others, I grew up stuttering and without being able to do much about it. I remember very few memories about that time, I guess that I have kept them in a box, at the farthest and darkest place of my subconscious, but there are some others that are impossible to hide. I will never forget the first time that we were asked to do a presentation. It was in eighth grade, and I was scared to death, afraid, restless, and when the time arrived, my fears turned into reality. I couldn’t say a single sentence without stuttering. I remember the expression of my colleagues, my teacher, and above all, how I felt later, defeated. It was after that event that I decided to ask for help to my parents, who supported me and found me a speech therapist.
After my first therapy course my speech improved, temporarily, but it improved. I remember the relief and happiness that I felt, although it didn’t last long, but I will never forget it. Eventually, the problem returned, and now I know that the therapy that I received tried to cure me as if I had a speech impediment, when stuttering actually is a problem of feelings. It is not something organic, it is psychosomatic, and as such, the conscious mind is what causes the problem.
My childhood and teen years were accompanied by many challenges, plenty of defeats, lots of humiliations, tears and desperation. I have always wondered, “why me?”. From that 1% of the world population who stutter, I was among the cursed ones, or that’s what I used to think. But it all changed approximately one year ago, in university.
During that time I spent a great amount of hours, days and weeks searching for people who managed to stop stuttering, and to my amazement, I found out that I wasn’t the only one in this pursuit, and most important, that there were many who have achieved this goal. I began reading the author John Harrison, who first introduced me to the idea that stuttering is a problem inside ourselves, in our way of thinking, in our beliefs, attitudes, feelings and memories. I was astonished and kept on searching until I found other authors such as Ruth Mead, Malcolm Fraser, Barba Damm and Linda Rounds. I must admit that thanks to immediately educating myself on this subject and having read so many books, my mind began to change, and therefore my way of thinking, but my stuttering issues were not solved.
Finally, and most important, I found Lee Lovett’s book, which clarified to me a great deal of questions and subjects that I was currently reading and trying to learn more about. Currently I still read Lee’s book, as it inspires me tranquillity, confidence and calmness. I decided to subscribe to Speech Anxiety Cures, and for the first time in my life I had the chance to speak to somebody who had overcome stuttering, which inspired me in so many levels that I managed to avoid stuttering for 4 weeks without a single bad speech incident (understanding such as any situation in which we clearly appear as speech disabled). If you want to hear me speak now, go here:
Most important, we should never give up. Overcoming stuttering is easiest part; the hardest part is defeating fears; so focus on your goal, make auto-suggestions to defeat it, and remember the three requisites to achieve fluency: believe in your INNATE ability to speak (just like you breathe, write or walk), the second one is to have conviction, and finally, the third one is to have the determination to be as expressive as you can. Stuttering is the only disability that people think it is OK to laugh at. If you had a broken arm, or if you suffered from autism, they wouldn’t probably laugh at you, but they would if you stutter. That is why we are one of the toughest human beings that exist, we’ve been through a lot. Learn to count your blessings, it is something that makes US all have humble hearts. Never allow this curse to define you, we are much more than the way we talk. Believe in yourself and you will move mountains. Some day, when you overcome stuttering, you will shed a tear of pride. Think about this, every day. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”. Franklin Roosevelt.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Javier Valcazar, my Certified Speech Coach at Speech Anxiety Cures (SAC), who coached me in Spanish, and, of course, to Lee Lovett for his incredible book that has led to so many Success Stories like this one. It’s hard to argue with so much success. SAC is the only place in the world where you can find EX-stutterers helping stuttering overcome this so long said to be an “incurable” disease. If you stutter, that should be your first stop.
Andrés, Honduras – July 2020.