My name is Cindy. I am 26. I am a financial analyst living in Los Angeles, where I am required to do lots of stressful phone work and business presentations. I have stuttered since 1st grade, and, in some cases, on 75% of my words. I have now learned many ways to avoid those stutters, and I realize that I never need to stutter again. No longer do I waste hours of precious time thinking “what if I have trouble on this or that word” or “what if they ask me XYZ.” It wasn’t always this way.
I can vividly remember in grade school the few times I spoke were to ask to use the restroom: “ca-ca-ca-ca-can I-I-I…” my teacher would finish my sentence. My uncle teased me. For the most part, I’d say I was a covert stutterer early on, so I didn’t think too much of my speech. My first job, ironically, was as a blood donor telerecruiter. I quit after a month because I began to have trouble with my speech such as those “silent blocks.” Fine, didn’t think much of it. Then came college, which brought on a world of pressure to perform well in presentations, job interviews, networking events, and classroom discussions. This took a toll on my speech, but it took a larger toll on my mentality. I was constantly visualizing myself stuttering in upcoming events. I’d try to convince others that I indeed had a speech impediment, even if minor in their eyes. I signed up for the disabled student program to avoid presentations and discussions. This self-fulfilling prophecy was coming to fruition not only in high pressured events, but even speaking with close friends or ordering at a restaurant. I continued to have this negative mindset through the years in my corporate finance job. I constantly blamed stuttering and failed to look deeper, until I came upon Lee’s book and met Lee.
Lee’s book “Stuttering & Anxiety Self-Cures” is a masterpiece on how to deal with stuttering. He has tactical methods (“crutches”) which helped me lessen the everyday stumbles to the point that my speech does not appear disabled. I’ve learned these crutches were critical to the journey of self-curing. The essence of Lee’s method is his approach to the mind. He has generously given his time to Skype with me over the past six months. He’s helped me realize that my issues lie in my pessimism and negative thinking which became a habit. Like the adage goes “Neurons that fire together, wire together,” I had to change my mind. I can say I’ve made great progress thanks to Lee. I stop the reinforcement of negative thoughts in its tracks by being self-aware and mindful. I spend more time in the present than worrying about future events. I think about the listener rather than drown in defeatist thoughts. I choose to think about the objective than speech mechanics. I choose to be happy. As Lee’s late psychiatrist Dr. Frank S. Capri states, “We have free choice: to accept or reject thoughts. Nothing compels us to think anything except our own desires.” Life is a journey and not a sprint. Our efforts compound each and every day.
I now have the tools to avoid the appearance of a speech disability. Conquering anxiety in all of its forms is a lifelong process. I am very grateful to have met Lee. He has unrelenting passion to help PWS and to share what has worked for him, the SAA community, and me. Thanks, Lee.
If you would like to watch a video of my success story, click here.
CINDY, Los Angeles, May 2018