Anxiety & Stuttering

Hi I am studying to become an SLP, and I was curious as to if or when anxiety due to stuttering played a role in your life?  How do you manage this, or how have you overcome this?  If you could give any advice to your younger self what would it be?  Thank you!

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Anxiety & Stuttering — 5 Comments

  1. Hi Julia,

    Thanks for checking in and asking good questions.

    There was a point in my life where I had anticipatory anxiety. Before I even opened my mouth to speak, I was already anxious about being judged and perceived negatively.

    Now, the best way I’ve found to overcome that crippling anxiety is to just constantly remind myself (through affirmations in my head) that no one cares how I sound. Everyone has their own issues and everyone thinks their issue is the biggest concern.

    I would tell my younger self that it does get better, and that there are ways to positively reframe stuttering.

    Pam

    • Pam,
      I love that you use affirmations to increase your self confidence! This is really cool to hear because I encourage people to do self affirmations when trying to increase confidence in any area. Thank you for your feedback on that. It seems like a positive outlook has had a lasting impact on you.
      I’m a graduate student studying Speech Pathology so the more knowledge I can get on increasing confidence and how to best help my clients, the better. Thank you for schism reply! 🙂

  2. Stuttering is, in the main, a neurological disorder. Most people who have a mild stutter do not tend to get too anxious about their dysfluent speech but if the person who stutters has a more severe or chronic stutter with a level of associated social phobia they can get highly anxious about having to speak. As I have written about in my Stuttering Jack blog the level of anxiety is made up of two factors being probability and consequence. If the person who stutters believes that there is a high probability of stuttering and then also believes the there will be dire consequences from the stuttering behaviour, he/she can get highly anxious. having said that high anxiety situations for a person who stutters are generally high anxiety situations for most people. It is just that the expression of that anxiety effects the speaking mechanism in the person who stutters. So, in general, a person who stutters is no more anxious than other people. It is just that the anxiety effects their functioning in a different way. Reducing anxiety is not easy especially if one has a history of performing badly in certain high anxiety provoking situations. It involved changing ones thinking. Changing the way the person sees the situation. Changing the way one sees the consequences of the stuttering event. If one can change the way he/she sees the event one can change the experience. Methods that have had some success in changing people’s thoughts and emotions are Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Neurolinguistic Programming and Emotional Freedom Technique. Few adults who stutter can be effectively treated for their stuttering without also addressing the psychological side which is not generally an area addressed by speech pathologists. My advice to my younger self would be “enjoy the ride”.

  3. Hi Julia,

    I had a peculiar challenge growing up with a stammer and battling anxiety disorder at the same time. You can imagine how high my anxiety levels were!

    I was prone to anxiety naturally without stammering, and the anxiety that accompanied stammering further increased my woes. It was a real battle growing up.

    I later overcame the fear and anxiety of stammering by accepting myself as a PWS (this was really difficult for me initially) and being open about my stammer at all times. What has really helped me to manage this is the positive mindset of stammering with confidence. I have always maintained that, once I am communicating effectively (even though stammering), I have every cause to be proud of myself.

    I would tell my younger self not to think for others. People may not be bothered about my stammer after all; most often we tend to put the pressure on ourselves.

    Elias.

  4. Anxiety was a major issue, as I learned that what I was doing, was wrong, and I (!) needed to make it go away. (When you have time, my paper for this year’s ISAD will elaborate that https://isad.isastutter.org/isad-2020/papers-presented-by/stories-and-experiences-with-stuttering-by-pws/there-are-no-failures-just-life-lessons-anita-blom/) To work on that I learned Mindfulness, NLP, learned about the brain and how it works with fear, and challenged myself, not just in stuttering situations, but also my fear of the dentist, fear of hights, etc.

    If I could give my younger self one advice it would be “Your stutter doesn’t define you, so show who you are, love and accept yourself, and follow your dreams, no matter what.”

    Stay safe and keep them talking

    Anita

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