Hideo Tatsukawa – I am a former Japan Stuttering GENYUKAI Association president and now a director of the Kyushu area. I have been in GENYUKAI for 20 years.
My family is a wife who is a former GENYUKAI member, but not a person who stutters and a son. My son has a little infantile paralysis on his right side. At home, we usually talk about stuttering and disability. My motto for life and stuttering is what is interesting, not what is right or wrong! I want to enjoy my stuttering life with many people.
I started to be conscious of my stuttering in the third grade. It became difficult to breathe because of the involuntary symptoms caused by blocking. Everyone around me seemed surprised. They laughed at me, and that made me feel bad, but I kept being socially active. For example, I belonged to the Kendo club from elementary school to high school, and I also got the opportunity to be the class representative, where I had to speak every time a class started. I stuttered many times, but I didn’t feel guilty. With some friends from school, I still have good friendships and can talk about stuttering and the support group, Genyukai.
After I entered the caregiving workplace, although there was a wave of stuttering symptoms, I was able to do my work, such as, responding to calls, in-house announcements, and communicating with family and colleagues. I also had the opportunity to make a presentation at the workplace within the time limit. I hated myself because I felt like I couldn’t do it well, but thanks to the cooperation of others, I managed to make the presentation. Looking back at my life so far, although there was a wave of stuttering symptoms, I tried to do my best, and people around me helped me.
My mother searched “Genyukai” on the internet, which was a major turning point. The first time I joined the meeting of Genyukai, I was so shocked to know that there are many people like me! They treated me so kindly that I continued to attend the meetings. There, I met many people who had the same hobbies as me, and people of various occupations who I probably never would have met outside of Genyukai. The most important thing is that I met my wife. The best thing I got in Genyukai was relationships. They told me various ways to cope with stuttering. Despite my difficulties with stuttering, talking about my experiences reduced their power over me and gave me the ability to do the things that I wanted to do in my life.
Throughout the activities in Genyukai, I found that I had many things in common with the other members. A senior member shared the idea that “The stuttering problem is related to human relations,” and I agreed with that. We sometimes collided with each other because of our different ways of living and stuttering, but I was able to achieve a sense of unity and feel joy. I also had a lot of experience with building relationships through stuttering. I live my life with a lot of help, although there are some ups and downs.
There is a limit to the suffering that a person’s heart can bear, and frustration, suffering, and sorrow may eventually weigh so much that they can be too much. I think that I am now supported by my workplace, friends, family, and friends from Geniyukai. There are limited things you can do alone. If it becomes difficult, please ask for help. Someone can help. I want to say, I’m here, too. I would like to continue to think about “supporting people who stutter for their happiness.”
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