Friday, 27 May 2011

Prepare for a block

God,i'm having a terrible time dealing with those wicked speech blocks of mine.I cannot seem to apply the right techniques the right time,but having said that i must admit i'v been lax in practicing the techniques at home and somehow i seem to think that my brain will magically apply them in the stressful situations.I'm sure this is the case with many stutterers around the world,and even with non stutterers with respect to any therapy,fitness or other programs .Humans are naturally lazy and they need a lot of motivation and commitment to strictly follow a set of guidelines.

I dont know where to look for such motivation.A spiritual answer would be to look for it within you.But all i can find in me is self doubt and fear and mainly emptiness when it comes to my life and my future.I believe that the motivation can come through results,meeting up with some ex stutterers who overcame the blocks using the very same techniques.This will surely encourage the stutterer to keep on going and continue with the efforts.

When it comes to my stutter,i find preparatory sets or pre block corrections the most useful alongwith abdominal breathing.It really has improved my stutter but there's still a long way to go.But all that work will be undone if i dont work hard and keep preparing for the worst.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Surrounded by people,still ALONE

Loneliness has always been with me,along with my stuttering,ever since i can remember,even though i may not have been aware of its presence.It's sort of a side effect of stuttering,and a result of self imposed isolation caused by the social awkwardness.
Because of my speech difficulty ,i had distanced myself from others right from my childhood,and therefore could not develop the necessary social skills required to survive in this cut throat world.Once you lag behind other kids,it is more than likely that you will be left behind in the social scene.
Even if you try to be sociable,it would be difficult to battle the social awkwardness,and also,it would be too late as everybody around you already has friends and may not need or want to hangout with a 'loner'.

Today,i feel as if i'm being constantly reminded that i'm different,and nobody around me really gets me.Stuttering may just leave me for a few moments ,but that strange lonely feeling is always there.The thoughts in my head keep spiraling and recurring,reminding me that something's not right.

The self imposed isolation is an example of approach avoidance conflict,whereby the stutterer wants to do two things at a time.He wants to socialize and make friends and talk to people,but does'nt want them to know about his stutter,and feels afraid of what they might think of him when they find out.

Out of all the disastrous consequences of stuttering in our lives,i believe that loneliness is the worst,as it deprives us of our basic needs of proper social interaction,which is vital to a human being's functioning,just like food and water.Long term loneliness causes various other medical problems.Lonely people also flock to the internet for comfort and superficial social contact.
So,one must atleast try to gain some confidence around people,and prevent social and occupational impairment,to lead a healthy life.

Eye of the tiger

Ever since i became aware that my speech is abnormal,that i'm a stutterer,i'v had this recurrent dream that one day eventually, my stuttering would magically disappear and i would live a rich and fulfilling life and that all my troubles would vanish just like that.But now as i'm about to step out into the real world,i realize more everyday that all those thoughts were nothing but wishful thinking,and that i'd have to live with this handicap for the rest of my life.I would consider myself lucky if i even manage to get a job.

These thoughts are all i think about and i'v had plenty of time too ,during these summer vacations.I bought some legitimate dvd's to take my mind off the thoughts.
The other day as i was watching the movie series 'rocky 1-6' on my laptop,a really strange but true realization came to my mind.I was in a boxing match with my stuttering handicap in the ring of life,with no rules,and i was being constantly beaten and defeated round after round.I knew it sounded ridiculous but it was true.Stuttering is a very harsh,ruthless and strong opponent that will pumble me if i dont fight back and put up resistance,its gonna break my confidince,my self esteem and even my spirit.
So just like rocky balboa,i'v got to persevere this constant beating, endure the pain,be ready for more pain, and fight back for my own survival.I gotta stand up on my feet every time it knocks me down and not lose heart.LOL,,easier said than done,for a guy like me atleast.

This was a strong realization that reminded me that if i dont fight back and do some some damage control ,i may have to live like this for the rest of my life, and i certainly cannot do that.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Stand your ground during a block

Yesterday,one of my college professors called me on my mobile phone regarding some information that needed to be clarified.I,as expected,panicked as soon as i saw that it was a phonecall from my teacher,and did not know what to do.I never answer the phone at home for fear of stuttering and blocking severely,especially official phonecalls.I was so anxious and scared that i could not pick up the phone the first four times it rang.My heart was racing and i felt guilty that i could'nt even pick up the phone and ask the purpose of the call,something that even a little child can do.

After battling with my unrealistic thoughts and worries for about 2 hours,i gathered the courage to call her back.My heart was again pounding rapidly,and my throat went dry as i heard the ring.She picked up the phone and asked 'who is it?',and i must've taken about 3-4 seconds to say my name,and then i told her why i called.She then discussed the official matter and then hung up.I was so proud of myself cuz of the fact that i called her back ,and that i persevered through the blocks that i suffered,more instinctually than intentionally,and that i was able to fully say what i wanted to say.It really felt amazing and fulfilling.
I will definitely work on my speech blocks by using pre block corrections ,smooth speech and costal breathing,so i can get over this 'telephone phobia' of mine and perform normally atleast on the phone.

This experience taught me to hold myself together and stand my ground during severe speech blockage,and not lose sight of what i want to say.
The most important thing for a stutterer is not to worry about other people's opinion,because what others think is not our business and what others say is not in our control....

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Indian society's view of stuttering

Stuttering,as an ailment,has been a source of amusement and confusion for people for centuries.The indian society is no different.
Indians in general are lack the sensitivity towards disabilities and disabled people,atleast that is what i have experienced,living in the capital city of india,for 20 years.I have met with tremendous amount of discrimination and prejudice from people because of my stuttering,which has left a sense of alienation and separation in me towards my own society.I remember being ridiculed by people of every age,though not directly,because i would rarely step out.Childhood was a horrible time and i'm thankful that its passed.

On the other hand,i'v also met people who are extremely kind and tolerant towards me and my disability,though they are few in number.I 'v also made a few really good friends who are really helpful and understanding.

I wish that society would be more tolerant and understanding of our difficulty and not treat us like dirt..

Possible treatments or control measures

Now ,i'm no expert,but i certainly know a lot about stuttering through my own experiences and talking with other stutterers from different walks of life.These methods to control stuttering may not work for evrybody but they certainly work for me..in some situations atleast.Over the past few months ,i have found that i can control my speech in certain situations using these techniques ,but not in every situation.the techniques i found most useful are PMR(progressive muscle relaxation),slow speech,easy onset,voluntary stuttering(though i don't use it as much) and abdominal or costal breathing.

PMR is a great technique for reducing anxiety in feared situations.It comprises of repeatedly tensing and relaxing a particular muscle group consecutively.This helped me to reduce my anxiety symptoms when in public.
Other methods like smooth speech,voluntary stuttering etc are also really helpful.

For those stutterers who are willing to experiment with medications can try prescription drugs for anxiety or herbs like kava kava,passion flower,valerian,st. john's wort etc.However,as a stutterer,i would never personally use or recommend any medication that offers 'cure' for stuttering.

These were some methods that really work for me and helped me get through my semester viva-voce effectively,,i was really happy with my performance as i was able to give most of the answers to the university examiner,inspite of the fact that i stuttered.Well,hope this helps other stutterers too...

Suicide and stuttering

Those familiar with the experience of being a stutterer know how distressing,disabling and frustrating it can be.Infact ,it can even drive some people to take their own life because they simply cannot take the embarrassment and functional impairment any more.
There have been many reports of people attempting suicide out of helplessness.They are depressed and beleive that nothing or nobody can make their situation better.

I think that any adult stutterer would be lying if they said that the atleast the thought of dying did'nt cross their minds at some point in their lives.I would have to be honest and say that the thought did cross my mind a few times,but it was only a thought ,i would never hurt me because i love me ,,however hard my life is,or because i'm too much of a coward..lol..

Well ,personally i really feel bad for people who stutter,people like me,who are suffering like hell each day of their lives,however,i get inspired too when i see a stutterer who has a high degree of self acceptance,who is just as much a part of the community as anybody else.I feel awe and shock when i see such a person(i'v seen a lot of them).

There was a childhood friend of mine who stuttered,obviously later i broke all contacts with him and my other friends for the fear of exposing my stutter,i met him a few weeks back and was amazed to see what a wonderful personality he had,he had friends,a supportive family,a girlfriend,and you could not tell that he was stutterer if you just met him.
Later that day,i wondered how it is possible that he grew up to be the exact opposite of me,even though we had the same problems.Maybe he did not see his stutter as a problem or impediment,so he did'nt let it stop him from living a good life.

Today i wish i could've become like him,and this experience taught me to value wahtever i have,and to definitely keep suicidal thoughts out of my head....Because 'No matter how bad, life is always worth living'...