If I were to describe what my life was like during this period I would just say that it was ‘a battle’. In this article I am going to be writing about some of the struggles that I had to deal with and about how the stammer affected my life.
The average fluent person does not realise just how lucky they are. Having a stammer affects your ability to carry out what should be the most simplest of tasks. As an example, I will never forget the time when I was around eighteen years of age, when I went to purchase some petrol. After filling up the car I proceeded to enter the shop to pay etc. The lady behind the counter asked me which petrol pump I had used, for whatever reason I had not even looked and therefore had to take a quick check. I saw that it was pump number seven and straight away a demon came into my head and informed me that I would not be able to say the word. I have always attempted to ignore these voices from my head; however this is easier said than done. The lady asked me again and guess what? Yes, I could not say the word and it came out as ssssssssssssssseven. I felt totally humiliated, not for the first time of course, but tried to act as if I had said it fluently. From that day forward I made sure that I did not use pump number seven again!
Similar things would happen to me when ordering items such as drinks from a bar. I would revert to pointing at a certain bottle of beer and would hold up three fingers to signal that I wanted three bottles, as a way of coping. I should be enjoying going out socialising with my friends but instead it would turn into one big choir.
Attending an interview, making a phone call, answering the phone, reading out aloud from a book at school and general conversation were other areas of weakness. Surely life should not be this difficult.
I took heart from the fact that I would not stammer when I was singing, when I was shouting or when I was drunk. I felt confident that I would one day achieve fluency, this day arrived twelve years ago when I was aged twenty two. Life now seems so easy!