People have been trying to cure or stop stuttering for millennia. Demosthenes, the great Greek orator, used rocks in his mouth and spoke over the roar of the ocean. Other cultures believed that stuttering was a result of a dry tongue and tried to moisten it using lettuce leaves, others experimented with more extreme “cures” and tried cutting the tongue.
Unfortunately, at this time, there is no known cure for stuttering. But there are scientists hard at work trying to find that cure or that magic pill to make stuttering go away. There are geneticists who have found genes for stuttering and who continue to look for more genes that cause stuttering. There are neuroscientists who continue to try to understand what’s happening in the brains of people who stutter / stutterers. There are psychiatrists and pharmacologists who are trying to find prescription medications that can help people stop stuttering.
There are also people out there who make claims that they can stop your stuttering if you just follow their methods. Be wary of these claims. Many of them are false claims and will charge you a bunch of money.
Just because there’s no cure for stuttering doesn’t mean there isn’t hope for you. I know how frustrating it can be to stutter, to not be able to say what you want when you want, to be limited in your academic, professional and/or social life. It gets really tiring when our stutter makes all of our decisions for us. It’s tiring to feel like we’re fighting against our stutter every moment of the day. When you wake up worried about when or how badly you're going to stutter today. When you go to bed thinking about how terrible and embarrassing it was when you got really stuck on a word earlier. When you hope with all of your might that you won’t stutter in this talk, in this meeting, on this call, when talking to that person at the party, etc. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. I’m on the other side of it now. You can get there too.
What can I do about it?
You can create a new personal reality of your stuttering. What does that mean? It means that the reality you experience of your stuttering is created by the way you think, act, and feel. You’ve had many difficult experiences because of your stuttering. You’ve been teased, laughed at, called names, made fun of, ignored. Understandably, you think stuttering is terrible, you think that you can’t communicate, that people won’t like you. You don’t go to parties, you don’t order your own food or drinks at restaurants, you don’t take promotions at work, you don’t participate in conversations. You feel embarrassed, helpless, hopeless, angry, frustrated. It makes sense. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You get to decide how you want to think, act, and feel about yourself and your stutter. When you shift how you think, act and feel, you can live into a new personal reality of stuttering.
A new personal what?
A new personal reality. How would you like to wake up every morning and not worry about when you’re going to stutter today or how others will respond to you? Would you like to feel comfortable and confident when speaking in front of a group? Would you like to apply for the job that you’ve always dreamed of or take the promotion that you’ve been offered? How would your life be different if you were full of hope? What would it be like to think to yourself, “What I have to say is valuable and my stutter doesn’t get in the way of sharing it?” This is what a new personal reality can look like. You can be strong, confident, comfortable, hopeful.
Does changing how I think, act and feel really work?
Yes! But it depends on how you define “really work”. Will it make your stutter go away? No. Stuttering is a neurologically based speech disorder with no known cure. Will it help you to live a happier, more fulfilling, more enriching life? Absolutely. I’ve experienced it. I’ve seen countless others experience it. And you can experience it too. Might it help you stutter less often and with less tension? Maybe, and that’s a very big maybe! We know that typically when we are more comfortable we stutter less. I can’t guarantee any outcomes with regards to how much you stutter, but if you want to live a happier life regardless of how much you stutter, you are 100% in control of your thoughts, feelings and actions and I would love nothing more than to be your guide on that journey.