Friday, October 21, 2005

International Stuttering Awareness Day

**For those of you who don’t know, Saturday, October 22nd is International Stuttering Awareness Day. As a person who stutters and a future speech-language pathologist, I feel it is my duty to promote awareness of the fluency disorder that affects upwards of 2.6 million people in the United States alone. Please show your support by sending a blank check made out to “cash” to:

Patrick L Griffin
14 Randolph Road, Apt. 2B
Worcester, MA 01606

Thank you. Your donations will be put towards a new plasma television for my apartment, a pair of subwoofers, and a tricked-out exhaust system for my car.

I've decided not to write about hip-hop in this because I wrote the draft and it made no real sense, so that has been scrapped.

Today, under the suggestion of the graduate program, I had my fluency evaluated. I was found to have "very mild" stuttering, and in addition to refresher sessions in fluency they suggested that I attend NSA meetings to work on becoming more comfortable with my stuttering to alleviate the nervousness that I feel sometimes. At first I thought "well I'm comfortable with it, so I don't really need to," then realizing that I'm comfortable talking about it, but not necessarily feeling it when the heat is on.

Today's evaluation, plus the DVD from the National Stuttering Association about covert stuttering that I watched today, has made me realized that I am not nearly as open about my stuttering as I would like to think. I have been trying to promote myself as someone who is comfortable and overt, but I realize that I still have many aspects of a covert stutterer. I avoid making more phone calls than I admit to here. My phone "conveniently" does not get reception in my apartment, so if I have to make a phone call to some place I don't know, I have an excuse. I've sent emails to people that I could have and should have called back (including to the clinic). I've driven to pizza places and ordered in person rather than call (I could call Wings because I knew the order of questions they asked, so I was comfortable). All of these things I have found other reasons to avoid them rather than because of stuttering.

No more. I'm calling to order pizza tonight, I'm calling to find out where my loan check is, and I'm calling to get my iPod fixed. I'm going to go to Toastmasters for their next meeting. I need to find a job that forces me to deal with people, not just hide at a golf course because "the hours work for me". I'm going to answer the phone at work when it rings (even though it will just be my boss telling me he's going to be late). I'm going to go to NSA meetings and cookouts and meet people who have shared things I've been through, and all of the shit I said I wouldn't do last week. If any of you call me for any reason and I don't call back, yell at me.

One of the things I've learned from reading material about psychology, if you want to make a change in your life, you need to associate enough pain to staying the same and enough pleasure to changing. When I got back into therapy in high school, it was right after I had watched a video tape in English class of a presentation we had made, and I had seen myself stutter for the first time. That was one of the worst experiences of my life. I went home that day, cried, and told my mom I wanted to try therapy again. Right now, I feel miserable because I've been avoiding things I've acted like I haven't because I rationalize other reasons not to do them. So now I feel like a fake. Hopefully this combined with being more involved in the stuttering community (which still feels weird to say) will make me embrace it more. I've been talking a big game with little action so far, because I feel so conditioned to being afraid of what people will think when I talk. This is something I will need a lot of support with, so please give me a kick in the ass.

Also, here is a link to the Iceberg analogy of stuttering that should explain a lot of what it is like to stutter: http://www.russhicks.com/iceberg.htm.

For next time, if anyone has any questions they want me to answer, or has a topic they want me to bring up, please ask.

22 comments:

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Greg said...

//I'm calling to order pizza tonight, I'm calling to find out where my loan check is, and I'm calling to get my iPod fixed.//

With all this calling you're doing, I hope you remember NOT to call a certain group of people.

Bitches, the next day.

Gotta keep it real, Griffty.

By the way, what's this simpsons trivia nonsense all about? Undisputed? What are you, the Chris Jericho of Springfield? I'M EFFIN' DISPUTING THIS. And I think a certain Marc Maier might have a few words in that direction as well. I think a trip to Amherst for an official Simpsons Nerd-Off is in order.

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