My name is Thomas. I live in New Zealand but I was born and raised in India. I’m 27 and Malayalam (an Indian dialect) is my first language, and this is this is the story of my life battle with stuttering.
It was like a nightmare. It began when I entered school, at age six. I can still see my classrooms, full of students, and the teacher asking me to come to the front of the room and read to the class; I tried, but I couldn’t do it. As I stuttered and stuttered and stuttered, she interrupted me and said, “What’s wrong with you? Can’t you speak?” I broke into tears. It was so humiliating. And that was the way that it was in school, one humiliation after another.
Until this year, my stuttering continued to plague me. It was at its worst in job interviews and on the phone; sometimes, I couldn’t say anything at all. It kept me from getting many jobs. I began to think that stuttering would be my lifelong curse.
Then came my breakthrough. I found Lee’s book, and it helped me so much. I read aloud; I did my auto suggestions, and I used the speech crutches in Lee’s book. I began to be able to think about my message instead of stuttering. I then Skyped with Lee and Prathusha Ravi, from Speech Anxiety Anonymous. After several Skypes, I began to stutter less and less and less. Over the past two months, I’ve had eight Skypes with them.
I haven’t had a detectable stuttering incident in over a month. I am now doing job interviews without stuttering, and I no longer fear talking on the phone and I don’t stutter there either. I feel so liberated. There was a time in my life when all I thought about was stuttering. Now, I don’t think about it much at all. The monster stuttering cloud no longer hangs over me. There’s blue in my skies.
I’m going to keep Skyping with Lee and Prathusha, and I’m going to try to help them with other PWS in India, and I’m going to keep doing my AST’s and try to improve my life in every way I can. Lee says stuttering was his biggest blessing, and now I can understand why he says it.
The stuttering curse can be cured, as I and everyone in SAA has proved and keeps proving every day – and they do if for PWS for free. “We’re here to help each other,” they say. Without stuttering, a whole different world awaits you. I found mine. Is it time for you to find yours?
Thomas, New Zealand, October 2017