If you or someone you know struggles to express themselves verbally because of stutter [stammer] but still seeks for freedom of self-expression without techniques, tricks or magic pills. My Channel is for you.
🗣Last 2 years, many Messages have been coming my way from PWS's of different ages, nationalities, as well as parents whose children stutter. Questions are often very similar, almost identical. So, I decided to Start a Channel to provide my answers to you all.
For one and for all! 💕
Looking forward to e-meeting you all soon!
Thanks for your support. This project wouldn't be realised without you!
Hello and thank you for visiting. I hope my blog is for you.
My name is Olga, a former stutterer (PWS) turned an independent researcher. I devoted 7 years of my life to defining and understanding stuttering.
I am a Speech & Language therapist, and thank God. Thanks to this, I have a clearer view on the problem. Unobstructed by past theories and classic notions formulated 30 years ago. I went on to develop the unique outlook on stammering and found the key to eliminating. For good!
I was unsatisfied with the progress I made on speech therapy. The approach did make my stuttering less prominent, but my speech sounded unnatural and stilted. No matter how thoroughly I followed the technique; my mind was still riddled with anxiety. I blocked frequently. Even in desensitized situations, where people knew I stuttered.
The technique did not just control my stutter, it controlled me. It blocked my personality, preventing me from expressing myself the way I wanted. Constantly policing my breathing, body language, word choice, etc. I felt locked inside a tiny room. It was hard to breathe.
No technique would give me that unconditional freedom. Limitless self-expression. I realized that techniques only mask the problem. Drive stuttering deeper into the psyche but do not solve it. It is self-deceit.
So, I left all control tools behind and embarked on the journey. Solo. I was told that if I drop control my stuttering would return in no time, and I'd be back in «the stuttering hell». But speech only got better and better.
I stuttered for 15 years. Since 13. The sudden disfluency came as a shock to me and my family. I had never had speech problems nor shown signs of hesitation. As a child, I was a vivacious and beautifully fluent. My parents were perfectly fluent, so were my grandparents. No history of anyone stammering in my family.
All changed when I entered puberty. I became acutely receptive and sensitive to everything that was going on around me. Hesitation gradually turned into speech interruptions. Mild, at first. Then occasional blocking occurred. Become more frequent, until one day I froze unable to utter a sound.
My classmates laughed, and I felt humiliated. My educators laughed too. They did not know what stammering was and thought I was just pulling their leg.
From this point on, I began to fear of speaking. To save myself from further public ridicule, I devised a set of tricks, excuses, and false - behaviors. Anything from pretending I was mute to pulling sickies. Anything just to avoid social interactions.
Over the years, tricks morphed into what was now my fake personality. The authentic me has been pushed aside and clouded over. Almost invisible. Only an undistinguishable shadow of it remained.
I was a fake. My life was fake.
What I discovered surpassed all expectations.
Not only did I restore the beautiful fluency I enjoyed as a child, but I found something more important. Hidden within laid a chest of priceless treasures. The determination of steel, intelligence, empathy, ability to see ordinary things in new lights. The abilities and potential, I never knew I possessed. And, how could I notice my strengths? If all I did was lashing and comparing myself to "better" others. Feeling undeserving and inferior.
I was blind-folded. Living in complete darkness of false beliefs and lies said about me by other people which I gullibly believed.
Over the years, I have met 283 people who stutter. I analyzed their accounts, interviewed, and observed them.
This blog draws on real accounts, empirical findings, and my extensive personal experience. It will help you understand your psychology, the algorithm of stuttering, identify your version of the problem, and finally find the most effective ways of dissolving blocks.
Without control. Medication. In practice.
If that is what you seek, and:
You had failed attempts at therapy and/or not happy with the outcome
Don't agree stuttering is a sentence or a disability
Wish to restore natural fluency without the use of control or tricks
Ready to consider unconventional views and approach
Know you can fully recover but do not know HOW
This is not a new theory. The time of theorizing is over. Everything you learn from my blog is based on extensive empirical experience.
If you know you can recover fully, but do not know exactly how this blog is for you?
Speaking in public was not as scary as I imagined. + My short speech video “before” and “today”.
Since adolescence, speaking in public (or in fact, in any situation where I could be overheard) was nerve-wracking and often humiliating experience. Suffering from silent blocks meant I was simply unable to utter any sound, when, for example, I was asked to read out loud in class. Even today, although a fully accomplished adult, I still shiver recalling past “speaking incidents” and the avalanche of cortisol-fuelled emotions overwhelming me, my mind going completely blank every time my name had been called out to present. It felt like a public execution!
And, of course, those tormenting “aftermaths” as I re-played and re-lived the situations in my head many times over.
Every person who has ever stuttered is too familiar with such moments. We all know how it feels. There were moments I wanted to scream, but felt gagged by unexplainable speaking difficulties, my sudden muteness and anxiety that held me captive from around the age of 13.
My failing confidence endured countless destructive blows during the adolescence forcing me to play an unfortunate role of a detached, tongue-tied, not very bright and socially clumsy young person. The person I never really was. This was my way to escape, my safety mechanism. It was easy at the time to just resign, blame the whole world and people from their callousness and lack of understanding as to what I, as a person with situational stutter, have been going through. It was easy to just withdraw, turn meek and invisible.
Invisible to the whole big wide world out there and simply watch life passing me by.
Some say keeping quite is the best option for stutterers as at least you avoid being humiliated and ridiculed. Even speech therapist sometime advice – “stay away from conflict situations at all costs, keep you head down, do what you are told, be nice and pleasant towards people” (read Ivan’s story HERE)….
All this just to avoid “being found out“??
So, yes! Shutting myself down, turning away from life seemed like the only “safe” option, and it was easy. Easy to just give up, and then envy others enjoying their lives.
“Bastards! Fluent bastards! They don’t know nothing of my stifled, muffled suffering. How dare they ???”
But what to do if you have so much to say, what do to do with all the feelings that you want to express so much you can hardly contain yourself? I reached the pivotal point at 26, finally resolving to do anything to overcome my fears and claim back the control over my life. By hook or by crook.
Somehow I sensed there would be countless occasions for me to deliver speeches on various topics so MY VOICE was the instrument I absolutely must restore to be heard. And, soon it followed: university presentations, Speakers’ Club talks, Toastmasters, work presentations, job interviews, promotional talks, facilitations of workshops for fluent speakers etc.
One cannot live by avoiding life. Communication is the major part of our interaction with the external world, and if speaking was unavoidable, I decided, I might as well learn to do it well. This was the attitude with which I started my “zero to hero” journey from someone who could hardly say her own name, to the person who was no longer afraid of being in the sport light, speaking, enjoying herself, having fun speaking.
Speaking in public is not scary, our attitudes to it make it so.
Since I resolved to eliminate my stuttering and stepped on the journey of self-development, I have been a member of two speaking club for 7 years in total and run my own workshops for (!) fluent speakers. The experience of delivering speeches as well as watching other speakers, seasoned and not so much, delivering theirs taught me a great deal. It wasn’t all just about poise and eloquence…..it was about facing my biggest monster, irrational fears and insecurities, and watching others facing and conquering theirs.
My vast empirical experience speaks louder than any theorising or speculations. Here is the summary of the quite surprising things I learned whilst on my journey.
Being fluent doesn’t automatically equate to possessing confidence nor warrants absence of anxiety/fear. Fluent speakers can be, and often are just as nervous, tongue-tied and self-conscious as PWS’s.
I was a regular member of the two speaking clubs (Liverpool Speakers Club and Warrington Toastmasters) and led workshops on public speaking for fluent, very anxious speakers. I have seen it all when it comes to public speaking done by fluent speakers: awkwardness, timidity, lack of confidence, quietness, hesitation, loosing thoughts halfway thru a speech, speech errors, filler words, even occasional disfluencies, although they simply call it “bobulations” [i.e. state of confusion].
Here are the couple of my most memorable real-live examples.
I met this experienced speaker, a professional man in his 50’s. He was about to compete in a speaking competition and anxiously awaited for his turn. So, he went to the bar for “only one drink” to ease his nerves. He was visibly trembling. One drink, then another, third…slowly he got tipsy, then drunk. He admitted he was too nervous to speak, even though he was an experienced (a very experience, I presume) speaker. Sadly, he was sent home and didn’t complete. What a Faux pas!
Here is another one, are you ready?
A youth at this army recruitment event was asked to introduce himself in front of the group of other recruits. Watching him was simply, well, hilarious as he performed rather bizarre arm movements whilst trying to tell his story. He wasn’t recruited, of course!. Oops!
Both fluent speakers, and both freaked out and were too unable to talk.
Now a question? Does being fluent warrant never being embarrassed whilst speaking, interacting with others? NO! NO! NO!
Perfection is a myth. Nobody is always 100% confident, eloquent, quick-witted etc. It is merely impossible to maintain that high energy, that bravado for too long!
In fact, disfluencies happens with us all fluent or not. The important thing is how we react to it – you either punish and bully yourself for days for using filler words, pausing, stumbling, looking away etc….obsessive about it, or see a situation as “no big deal” and just forget, forgive and move on.
This makes huge difference in how you will eventually perceive yourself and speaking situations in future. You see, fluent speakers are more forgiving of themselves whereas stutters “lash” themselves over any minor imperfection. Fluent speakers just laugh it off – “oh, well. I will do better next time”. Stutters catastrophe their disfluencies.
I urge you to remember this!
We are all PEOPLE with our feelings, fears, phobias, insecurities, something we wish to hide or improve on. Just because some of us don’t stutter, doesn’t mean there is total unshakable 100% confidence every time and in every situation.
Now try this! Turn your attention away from the inner dialog and feelings over to what goes on in the external world, and believe me, you will soon notice how flustered and nervous people around you can be, just observe and you are no different from others.
Here is the video I wanted to show you. It shows me struggling to speak back in 2010, and my speaking today. See it for yourself.
What do I think of public or any type of speaking today? To be honest, I no longer think about it, speaking just happens, as naturally as it was always measnt to. Speech is a river, speech is like breathing to me.
I wish I could say, that now when my speech preoccupations are over, I have no problems to worry about, but that would be a lie. Sometime I ask myself why do I create so much unnecessary, purely imaginary worries for myself, why do I create them in my mind?
Guys, I often worry when there is nothing to worry about, do I have a new problem now? 🙂
Hope you enjoyed the article and I am grateful for you support,
Many theories, much research. Will we ever find the cure to stuttering?
What is stammering? What causes it? Can stuttering be overcome?
Over the last 30 years, the myriad of theories and speculations formed the enormous body of information about stammering. Pick and choose your own, depends on whatever you have heard before.
According to some of them, stammering is Tourette syndrome (TS), the form of palsy, a dysfunctional speaking apparatus, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TJS),disarray between the hemispheres of the brain, the physical fault in the brain, birth trauma, dog fright, form of schizophrenia (Gosh!) etc.
All these years. All this research. All this pompous theorizing. Yet, they are just as stuck. Nowhere near the solution. There isn’t even the common definition of what stammering is.
And, the bottom line is always the same – STAMMERING CANNOT BE OVERCOME! The advice is hardly reassuring – embrace it, fight it, control it and learn to live with it.
Blindfolded with the impenetrable veil of [useless] theories we become restricted to seeing stammering from only one [popularised] perspective – as an incurable disease. It is inconceivable to envisage even the remote possibility of ever achieving freedom [where no devices, no magic pills and no control are used].
Do as the doctors say.
After all, these are the authoritative figures, neuroscientists, professors, who formulate and propagate those “despairing” theories. How can we, hapless PWS’s, dare to doubt? Our role is to passively hope and wait for yet another idea (i.e. a clever app, a magic pill or device etc.) to come along and save us. Or better still, do our speaking for us so we don’t have to.
Believe what doctors tell you to believe. And, don’t forget to stutter.
My experience, as well as the experience of those who have shown significant improvement [or recovered], proves that stammering CAN be eliminated.
Dissolved. Permanently. No magic pills required.
I don’t mean to undervalue your scientific credentials. Own them, they are yours. But, let’s admit theorizing creates more complexity than clarity leading us further and further away from the ultimate solution.
And, the solution? Well, the solution lays beyond the complexity constructed by your mind. It is right here, only you are too blind to notice. You are too busy complicating and pontificating.
I intend to establish a common ground and provide clarity by sharing my compelling story of recovery. From fluency to stammering. From stammering to freedom of speech, thought and life.
I never stuttered in my childhood. Having learned to speak at the age of 3, I was beautifully fluent. There was no history of speech impediments in our family.
It all changed when I entered puberty.
I can still recall my first “stammering seizure“. My girlfriends asked me to call from a public phonebooth (there were no mobile phones back then). As my friends watched and listened in, I anxiously dialled the number.
My heart pounded as I awaited the response – «Yes?» – the person on the other end responded. I froze. Words stuck in my throat. My mind blank. Somehow I regained my senses and uttered – “Hello, I am calling to enquire about…”. The conversation was over in less than a minute.
The thoughts of embarrassment and confusion haunted me for days.
“What the hell came over me?”.
I hoped it wouldn’t happen again. But stammering seizures repeated. My academic performance took a nosedive. Speaking and reading our loud in class was suddenly beyond my abilities.
Refusing to speak in class, I soon earned the reputation of being dumb.
My timid attempts to explain the situation were met with sarcasm and brushed off. My educators were adamant as they thought “I was faking it to get a good mark without doing any work”.
The fact that my stutter was situational worked against me. Nobody believed me.
This was my only visit to the doctors. No further attempts at “fixing” my speech were made.
My stammer was disregarded as “the teenage thing“ and never discussed since. We silently hoped the problem would pass on its own. Just as it came.
It never did. The school ended. I entered adulthood, hardly knowing who I was. My stutter took root and flourished. Declaring total control over my life.
At the age of 20, I moved to the UK. Alone.
Here, with no family close by and zero financial support, I aimlessly drifted from one dead-end job onto another to fulfil my most immediate physiological needs (see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).
I was always too embarrassed to talk about my stammer. I did not even admit to myself I had it. I thought I was “crazily shy”. “Who wants to know, anyway?” – I thought.
So, I made every attempt to hide it which made me look and act awkwardly. Some people even thought I was aggressive. It was the anxiety of course. That sense of agitation and urgency we all experience.
Too quiet, I did not fit in with work teams. This made me an easy target for predatory behaviour. A “stupid foreigner weirdo” I was given no slack. Being pushed around, bullied and victimized was my “normality”. I was even refused the employment contract once to which I was legally entitled but was too scared to demand.
Yes, I too was dismissed once. And deservedly so. My “communication skills were inadequate” – they said.
I sunk into depression digging myself deeper into the hole.
My life became intolerable. I wanted to scream but could hardly speak. The painful, meaningless existence. I felt as though I lived the life of someone else.
I knew I had to do something. Anything, or else my life would be over.