I will soon graduate from medical school, and I have a richly rewarding story to tell about my lifelong stuttering. I began stuttering at age 4. I have suffered hesitations followed by extreme blocks and nagging repetitions, all compounded by facial distortions, mouth-jerking, gyrations of my eyebrows and excessive blinking. The physical contortions were even worse than my stuttering. When I have felt extreme pressure, I sometimes couldn’t speak at all. Over the years, my speech grew progressively worse, despite having a host of different therapies. The good news is, that in less than three months, by using Lee’s methods, I have stopped stuttering. This is a miracle for me, and I want to share it with you!
My name is Fahad. I am a 23 year old Pakistani medical student who is currently seeking a US medical residency.. During my almost 20 stuttering years, there was one benefit: as I socialized less often than most, I had more time to study, and I became a very good student, which is why I am in Medical School now. It also explains my studious approach to Lee’s book and his methods. Lee’s book gave me hope; I devoured it and began using its methods, and I improved a lot as I read it, but I felt that I could improve a great deal more by Skyping with the author. So, I emailed him, and we began to skype. We began Skyping in earnest in February 2018. By mid-April, I had stopped stuttering. Let me explain how this miracle happened.
It is important to note that when I began stuttering at age 4, it was mild at first but slowly grew worse. School exposure made it infinitely worse. The more I stuttered, the quieter I became. My teachers were convinced that the solution was to force me to speak more in school. I was asked to speak before entire school, even in 1st Grade. The humiliations were brutal, and my stutters exploded into full blocks, often preventing me from saying anything at all. The more that I stuttered, the more they forced me to talk to the entire class and even before the entire student body. They felt that it would increase my confidence. Of course, it backfired, and I completely shut down and cried pathetically. The teachers had to come on the stage and escort me off. This experience was repeated once every month for 16 years, each time reinforcing my stuttering and deepening my humiliations, and always increasing the severity of my stutters. In addition, some teachers made me read aloud to the class once a week. I learned to accept these degrading embarrassments at some level, but it kept increasing my stutter and my dread and hatred of speaking.
In addition to the punishments innocently inflicted upon me by my school teachers, I had therapies; I had six: at ages 8, 9, 13, 15, 18 and 21. Each was different. One was to speak in one tone while tapping my finger on every word, which worked somewhat but my mind got used to it and began stuttering anyway. At 13, they stressed on speaking extremely slowly; this reduced stuttering but it was worse than stuttering, and, after a while, I began stuttering when speaking slowly. At 15, they also wanted me to speak slowly and to stop making faces, but this soon did not work at all. At 18, forced me to talk in pressured situations, which made my speech the worst of my life; my speech literally got worse by the day. Stutters became blocks; blocks became accompanied by facial contortions that were frightening or comical to others. At 21, the program was, once again, slowing speech, which that time did not help at all. My whole life, my heart has been filled with hate of therapy and doing what they asked me to do. I felt so inferior and so angry. Therapists told me that it was in my genes and could never be cured. I have proved the therapists wrong. Disillusioned with speech therapies and unable to ‘accept’ stuttering as a part of me and my life, I then started looking for my own solutions. I began keeping a journal about my speech and my thoughts related to my speech. I noted down the circumstances associated with every block, and later, dissected them in every possible way, often trying to link different blocks to find a common pattern. I tried experimenting with different, self-made methods on an almost weekly basis, noting down my observations, but every experiment ultimately failed due to loopholes which I could not yet make sense of. This continued for 2 years, after which I felt that to make sense of this problem in a holistic manner, my own experiences weren’t enough. I then wanted to read the experiences of other stutterers.
This lead me to Lee’s book, Stuttering & Anxiety Self-Cures, on Amazon. I began reading it, expecting to find out what Lee “learned from 100 PWS”, but it turned out to be something much more. It made so much sense to me; it gave me so much hope. In Lee’s book, I read about auto suggestions and began using them, and they began to help right away. It also helped me reverse my negative thinking. It made me hopeful. I also read aloud, and this helped too. I also tried the Crutches on my own, I felt immediate improvement. Stuttering is a learned behavior that becomes a habit. There are two things that work: Hard work and belief in the methods. I feel so fortunate to have found Lee and to have done so at such a young age. The speed of the recovery is the degree of work and belief. As a student in medical school, I used my knowledge of the brain and neuroplasticity. After reading Lee’s book, I had no doubt that his methods worked, because what he said was consistent with what my own 2-year-research taught me, and I found the answers to all of the loop-holes that had always caused my experiments to fail
What have I done? I embraced Lee’s methods wholeheartedly. First, I explained to my family and friends that I would talking less for a while (to stop hearing incessant dysfluency) as I worked on my speech. Second, I read aloud everything that I read (to hear fluency); after only three weeks, my speech improved noticeably. I studied the Crutches; they were very hard to use; my attitude about Crutches was not right; I viewed using them as failure; this was wrong. Watching Michael’s video (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/236653921) helped me a great deal, as he explained that Crutches are not failures but as voices, ways of speaking with more feeling.
The most important thing of all was auto suggestions; I read the Coue books as well. AST’s began to correct my negative thoughts (that I cannot stop it). I made visions of myself not shutting down, and those visions began to become reality. When one stops fearing stuttering, one stops stuttering. I think that “cure” is the right word, because we DO stop fearing stuttering over time; and, once the fear is cured, the stutter is cured. We actually stop stuttering long before we stop fearing it. Mercifully, the methods enable us to stop stuttering first, even though fears die slowly. Fears don’t embarrass us; only a display of disability does.
Although the book had improved me a lot, I felt that if I could Skype with the author, I could learn to use the methods even better. So, I sent a long email to the author, Lee, and we began to Skype. By my first Skype, after working so hard on his book, I was already speaking BETTER than I ever had in my life, but my stutter was still quite bad and my facial contortions were still pitiful. In less than three months of Skyping with Lee, I stopped stuttering, stopped blocking, and had terminated my facial distortions, and I was and am spending so much less time thinking about my speech. I now feel a level of relief that I can’t fairly put into words.
How did my speech-miracle happen? Work. I became determined to do as Lee kept saying: (1) hear fluency from my lips by reading aloud and talking when alone (fluently) and listen to recordings of myself being fluent as I sleep; (2) do three auto suggestion or self-hypnosis treatments daily; and (3) memorize and use the Crutches. The Crutches (Lee’s word for the methods used to avoid stutters and blocks) are more than tools to dodge a stutter; some are “voices”, as they give ways to speak and to enliven our speech. I have practiced them relentlessly and drilled them on Skype with Lee for hours. When you know the Crutches, really know them, you will be able to use them under pressure, and, the better you know them, the less you need to use them. I do it every day, all day. I practice the Crutches when alone and use them in conversations even sometimes when I don’t need them, and I have learned to use them. They are the final step in the three-pronged method: (1) Hearing fluency in your stutter free zones, (2) mind training and mind control via ASTs and SHTs, and (3) avoiding stutters with the Crutches. The result is that your mind hears fluency for many hours a day, AND it does NOT hear dysfluency. When your mind does not constantly record new stutters and blocks, the automatic response to stutter tends to disappear surprisingly quickly. Then, the fear of stuttering begins its slow death, and your mind is gradually freed.
Medically speaking, Lee’s methods constitute a living example of the validity of the relatively new field of medicine, neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity asserts that the human brain has the ability to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experiences or injuries. Neuroplasticity reveals that the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain can be changed throughout one’s entire life. There are many books on this subject now, some of which Lee includes in the bibliography to his book, such as The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge, M.D. Some of these now maintain that the brain is “like play dough” and can be changed for all of one’s life. In layman’s terms, brain scans can show that different thoughts and experiences create new neural connections in the mind, and that activities not repeated can be shown to lessen or eliminate other neural connections. Lee’s methods appear to be following the path of neuroplasticity, as they lead the PWS to HEAR fluency, which will build new neural connections in the mind that can be seen in brain scans, and, similarly, NOT hearing dysfluency will also show that the connections active during stuttering slowly die through disuse. In other words, the new field of neuroplasticity appears to lend medical support to Lee’s methods.
At this point, I have stopped stuttering and contorting my face in routine conversations, an incredible feat for me, but I realize that it will take considerable time for the random fears to die. I must therefore vigilantly continue to us all three legs of Lee’s three-legged stool (talking extensively in my stutter-free-zones, doing my daily auto suggestion and self-hypnosis treatments, and using the Crutches or voices to avoid stutters). When I recently re-watched my own videos on Lee’s Game of Tongues on Twitch.tv, that helped me too, as it drove his points home and helped me see how much I had improved which made me improve even more. My speech is still a work in progress, but I no longer appear to have a speech disability.
Not surprisingly, my family and friends can’t believe my progress. In fact, when I have called friends on the phone, they literally thought that I was an imposter! My speech has made a 180 degree turn-around. All those who know me are in awe of my progress. Is my speech perfect? Of course not, but the appearance of a disability is gone, and my speech continues to improve every day, and the fears grow less. I feel joy that I have never felt before, and, for the first time in my life, I now believe that I am going to able to have a great medical career and help a great many people through medicine (and, hopefully, some stutterers as well). If you have any form of speech anxiety, get Lee’s book and begin your journey to fluency. As Jason Ewing, Michael, and others have written and said in their videos, Lee’s methods wordk. You can hear me talk about all of this in my videos on Game of Tongues; here is one: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/253966067
If you would like to view my success story, click here.
FAHAD, Pakistan, May 2018