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Is Stammering Anxiety Driven?

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  • 09-10-2012 6:55am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 2,177 ✭✭✭


    So... I stammer... a little... especially when asked a question requiring an instant, unexpected reply. I get flustered and tongue-tied when I am caught off-guard or when it feels like I am cornered... It was usually manageable albeit a bit embarrassing.

    But lately my stammer has become more pronounced (I assume, from constantly dealing with a snappish woman)... I am rather concerned about stammering in job interviews...

    So, I am hoping stammering is situational in nature and will be controllable in a less stressful environment? Is stammering anxiety driven, I wonder... Any thoughts on the subject? Or experiences that relate?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 10 stutteringdude


    Hi there
    Firstly,stammering is a genetic condition.In my opinion there are two types of stammerers-overt and covert.Overt stammerers are people who stammer most of the time whereas with covert stammerers friends and even family members might not know they have a stammer.Interview situations are difficult because its very hard to use 'tricks' such as switching words.
    An example would be if at the start of an interview if you were asked to state your name,that would be difficult for a person with a stammer,as you can't change it.
    IMO stammering is something you are born with,it is not anxiety driven,however anxiety can exacerbate it.
    Everyone's stammer is different but I believe its more evident when you are in a situation such as giving a Mass reading,have to ask directions to a specific place etc where you can't switch words.
    Personally,I rarely stammer around friends and family whereas situations such as making phone calls,interviews,readings,asking for directions would be far more challenging on my speech.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,177 ✭✭✭Hope O_o


    Thanks stutteringdude. I've never discussed this before, so I have very little information and wasn't aware of any tricks.

    I stammer around family and friends :( and switching words makes my delay worse because then I have to switch gears and form another word when my mouth is struggling to say the first one - its rather frustrating and comes out an the most inopportune times. Everyone has always been pleasantly patient with me when it happens :) though.

    I can give readings and such, but answering point blank questions seems to restrict my responding muscles (sorry, don't know how else to explain it).

    So........relaxation techniques won't help if it's genetic, then :(
    ... Thanks for the good info, stutteringdude. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 10 stutteringdude


    Hope O_o wrote: »
    Thanks stutteringdude. I've never discussed this before, so I have very little information and wasn't aware of any tricks.

    I stammer around family and friends :( and switching words makes my delay worse because then I have to switch gears and form another word when my mouth is struggling to say the first one - its rather frustrating and comes out an the most inopportune times. Everyone has always been pleasantly patient with me when it happens :) though.

    I can give readings and such, but answering point blank questions seems to restrict my responding muscles (sorry, don't know how else to explain it).

    So........relaxation techniques won't help if it's genetic, then :(
    ... Thanks for the good info, stutteringdude. :)

    Hi Hope
    The switching gears you mention is something every person with a stammer experiences.
    Stammering is genetic but there are tools & techniques to control it which I've personally learned on the McGuire programme.It is definetly possible to control your stammer.My advise to you when someone asks you 'point blank questions' is to resist time pressure.Only reply to the question when you are ready to speak.
    I must stress this is only my advise,Im not infallible when it comes to the area of stuttering!:D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,177 ✭✭✭Hope O_o


    Hi Hope
    The switching gears you mention is something every person with a stammer experiences.
    Stammering is genetic but there are tools & techniques to control it which I've personally learned on the McGuire programme.It is definetly possible to control your stammer.My advise to you when someone asks you 'point blank questions' is to resist time pressure.Only reply to the question when you are ready to speak.
    I must stress this is only my advise,Im not infallible when it comes to the area of stuttering!:D
    Thanks much :) ...I will look into the McGuire programme.
    You make a good point about resisting time pressure - I never thought of that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10 stutteringdude


    No prob Hope,any questions ask away!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,966 ✭✭✭✭bnt


    I also stammer under the kinds of conditions the OP describes, but it's not nervousness. I can be enjoying a discussion, for example, but it still happens at times, and it feels to me as if I'm trying to say several things at the same time. As if I'm trying to replace a word in a sentence at the same time as I'm saying the sentence.

    It's well-known that you don't stutter when you sing (or recite), and I have personal experience of this: I played bass and sang in a band when I was a teenager. Doing that in front of an audience is definitely stressful if you aren't used to it, but there was no stuttering. The timing and rhythm help - there's no confusion about what you're supposed to be saying. :cool:

    From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch’.

    — Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 Astronaut



  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,177 ✭✭✭Hope O_o


    Hi Hope
    The switching gears you mention is something every person with a stammer experiences.
    Stammering is genetic but there are tools & techniques to control it which I've personally learned on the McGuire programme.It is definetly possible to control your stammer.My advise to you when someone asks you 'point blank questions' is to resist time pressure.Only reply to the question when you are ready to speak.
    I must stress this is only my advise,Im not infallible when it comes to the area of stuttering!:D

    Thanks for this, again... It feels somewhat empowering to wait a few seconds, like I am in control of what and when I speak.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,177 ✭✭✭Hope O_o


    bnt wrote: »
    I also stammer under the kinds of conditions the OP describes, but it's not nervousness. I can be enjoying a discussion, for example, but it still happens at times, and it feels to me as if I'm trying to say several things at the same time. As if I'm trying to replace a word in a sentence at the same time as I'm saying the sentence.

    It's well-known that you don't stutter when you sing (or recite), and I have personal experience of this: I played bass and sang in a band when I was a teenager. Doing that in front of an audience is definitely stressful if you aren't used to it, but there was no stuttering. The timing and rhythm help - there's no confusion about what you're supposed to be saying. :cool:
    exactly! ......thanks for explaining so well what happens


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,435 ✭✭✭wandatowell


    My advise to you when someone asks you 'point blank questions' is to resist time pressure.Only reply to the question when you are ready to speak.

    +1000

    Quite often in work I'm asked a question "on the spot" and for quite a long time Id ended up answering the question 2 or 3 different times while giving only one answer (if that make sense). Emmmm I'd start explaining the answer one way then while half way through that explanation I'll suddenly change tact and start again with another explanation. Leaving everybody confused.

    I trained myself to say "one moment" this gives the questioner a sense that I'm deeply considering the question while in fact I'm just taking a moment to clear my thoughts and then I proceed to answer the question.

    The system with the "One Moment" thing is what I call a trigger.

    I use loads of them when I'm in different situations. I was at a function when I got talking to a hypotherapist and he said that its a form of self-hypnosis.
    And was very impressed with my system. I've even got one to help me focus when Im trying to learn something.

    It all stemmed from a stammer that started when I was 16-17 and over the years I've learned to control it. Its weird as I always thought that it was me being thick that caused my stammering, and for a while it was really effecting my confidence. It was an episode of MASH, Season 11 Episode 9 that tbh changed my life. It dealt with stammering. Once or twice a year I watch it and I bring a little tear to my eyes.

    Weird but I dont know how I would be if I hadn't been watching tv that day :o


    Jus' my 2cents


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,273 ✭✭✭✭TommieBoy


    Hope O_o wrote: »
    So... I stammer... a little... especially when asked a question requiring an instant, unexpected reply. I get flustered and tongue-tied when I am caught off-guard or when it feels like I am cornered... It was usually manageable albeit a bit embarrassing.

    But lately my stammer has become more pronounced (I assume, from constantly dealing with a snappish woman)... I am rather concerned about stammering in job interviews...

    So, I am hoping stammering is situational in nature and will be controllable in a less stressful environment? Is stammering anxiety driven, I wonder... Any thoughts on the subject? Or experiences that relate?
    okay ^ so that's me, I have been known to stammer when 'cornered'... But yesterday, I experienced the terror of a full-on stutter during a particularly stressful conversation. Was devastating at the time and I can't get it outta my head now. I couldn't get through even a few sentences without a severe and uncontrollable stutter episode - some words were very difficult and I have never experienced such a pronounced stutter or clearly visible physical reaction to a stressor before, :eek: and I have had some pretty scary things happen before - I don't understand this... and I don't like it. :mad:


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,273 ✭✭✭✭TommieBoy


    Emmm, so I was talking with someone last night that said his experience, dealing with other stutter sufferers, is that some forms are based on emotional triggers. I found that interesting, and essentailly true based on my weeks experience.

    Also, when I began stuttering again last night, I stopped myself from talking directly to the person, opting instead to stop and simply repeat the sentence as if I was talking to myself, in a quiet voice. It helped to get through the things I needed to say.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5 Stammering 4 Ireland


    Hi guys.

    Stutteringdude I am not sure whether you are using the wrong word or if you are just mistaken. Stammering/stuttering has not been proved to be genetic as you have stated. Being a member of the McGuire Programme also, I do not know where you have picked that up from.

    Hope - It sounds like a classic case of a feared situation setting off a pyschological/pysiological reaction which is affecting your speech. A great amount of peoples stammers can be traced back to a single "trigger".

    If you feel your speech is holding you back, I would say contact the McGuire programme, it is the best out there at the moment, if you are willing to put the work in.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,377 ✭✭✭Warper


    imo it is not genetic. Sure if someone say in your family has a stammer then there is a greater chance that you imitate them and pick it up that way but no one is born with a stammer. People are born with a lisp or other defect but not with a stammer.

    As a person who stammers, personally it is from anxiety or other emotional problem. I feel once you start to stammer then it can make you second guess yourself when speaking. Its like you have to think about what you are going say rather than just speaking it. You have to align your sentence to what you feel comfortable saying even if it means dumbing down the sentence with basic easier words to say. It is a mental health issue imo. Generally people in authority are one of the worst groups to communicate with for stammerers. Stammering leads to more stammering.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5 Stammering 4 Ireland


    Warper, there is ongoing scientific studies to show a genetic link BUT it is not the only reason.

    Stammers can happen for a variety of reasons. Some of what you say has a kernel of truth to it but it is far too simplistic.

    There is a hell of a lot more resources but into stammering in the USA and they are doing amazing work there. The NSA have an attitude of accepting your stammer and be proud of it. I have heard many people say their stammer is not an issue and does not cause them anxiety or emotional problems, yet it does not stop them stammering.

    I have an upcoming blog called Stammering 4 Ireland which I hope can shed more light on these topics.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,311 ✭✭✭splashthecash


    I suffered quite badly from a stammer when I was younger, and had gotten a good handle on it ever since college or so...my mam had a slight one when she was younger and my brother also has one.

    My 4 year old daughter has developed a problem over the past year or two and as I said, mine would be barely noticable, certainly not at home where I am most comfortable so in my opinion it is genetic. Too many occurances in one family to be coincidence

    I switch words which begin with "problem" letters when required, and the whole thing is seamless enough in my head. I would have the occasional bump but nothing that would be worried about it.

    When in school, I thought I would have this all my life, but I seemed to grow out of it. I know people though who have carried it through to their adult life unfortunately.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5 Stammering 4 Ireland


    Splashthecash, do you still switch words and use those you are comfortable with?? If so you would be described as a covert stammerer, but you seem to be pretty happy with where your speech is.

    Have you done anything in relation to your daughters speech?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,311 ✭✭✭splashthecash


    Splashthecash, do you still switch words and use those you are comfortable with?? If so you would be described as a covert stammerer, but you seem to be pretty happy with where your speech is.

    Have you done anything in relation to your daughters speech?

    I probably do switch words with family\friends but I not conscious of it. Although when in work on and a conference call, i do have to think ahead, while I am talking to see if any problematic words are on the horizon. I switch the find the suitable alternative so its ready...all happens in the blink of an eye but thats how it works for me.

    Re my daughter, myself and my wife are just being aware to speak slowly to her and not react when she encounters any bumps. We just wait for her to get through it and act like nothing is wrong. We will be starting a session with a speech therapist soon and following the Lidcombe program. Supposed to be intensive 6-8 week course.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5 Stammering 4 Ireland


    I probably do switch words with family\friends but I not conscious of it. Although when in work on and a conference call, i do have to think ahead, while I am talking to see if any problematic words are on the horizon. I switch the find the suitable alternative so its ready...all happens in the blink of an eye but thats how it works for me.

    Re my daughter, myself and my wife are just being aware to speak slowly to her and not react when she encounters any bumps. We just wait for her to get through it and act like nothing is wrong. We will be starting a session with a speech therapist soon and following the Lidcombe program. Supposed to be intensive 6-8 week course.

    I think the most important thing, no matter how you deal with your stammer is that you are happy. so fair play to you.

    Also kudos on taking early steps with your daughter, lots of work for you to do with the Lidcombe program, almost as much as your daughter. I really hope it all works out well for you all.

    I would love to maybe get some more input from you for the blog if you are ever interested. One thing I don't have yet is a very young persons stammering story. Of course names would be kept private unless you wanted otherwise.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,587 ✭✭✭DunnoKidz


    I'm generally good at speaking without a a stutter until an anxious trigger hits.

    If I feel threatened, my speech is generally blocked - that I don't mind, I just nod, stay quiet or bolt.

    But, like yesterday, a stressful subject at my gp's was brought up and I involuntarily repeated 'th' in the. I couldn't get out one :mad: simple word "ththththththththe" ...After three attempts, I stopped trying in frustration, but got out the words :eek: "damn, guess I can't talk about it" :rolleyes: just fine.

    I don't often have the luxury of avoiding entire subjects :mad: wish there was something I could do to halt whatever constriction is happening at the time.


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