I never know whether to write about myself in the first person or third person, but it’s MY blog, so I guess first person is fine.
People who know anything about my story know that I was a severe stutterer. I started stuttering at about age 6 or 7 and it made my high school and college years miserable. Only another stutterer has any idea of the embarrassment and humiliation a stutterer feels when not only are they stuttering, but even worse, when nothing comes out.
That’s how it was for me. To this day, I’ll never forget the day in high school, when I was called on in class and I stood up to answer, which is what we had to do in those days, and absolutely nothing came out. Not a sound. And I felt the redness of embarrassment coming over me, and I can still feel it today. That’s how powerful the experience was.
I always knew a lot of kids and I didn’t let my stutter make me isolate, but it made me very unhappy. I couldn’t even say my name which is a problem for many stutterers. ( Not to say MY name to say their own names! LOL)
So when I got to college, and it was a huge college made up of kids from many high schools in NYC where I grew up, I made the decision to run for Pres. of the Freshman class, telling myself that if I could win the election and be President, I wouldn’t have to stutter anymore, because it would prove to me that kids liked me, and that I was okay.
Somewhere along the way I must have picked up the idea that I was flawed in some way, and I had a very negative self-image. Since I wasn’t able to say my name I appointed other kids as my campaign managers, and they introduced me to kids I didn’t know yet, and once I got a few words out I was able to speak.
Btw, my belief is that stutterers have a hard time saying their names, because your name represents your identity, so if you’re not happy with who you are, it’s not going to be easy for you to tell people who you are.
Anyway, I won the election and I was the President of the Freshman class of Hunter College and I still stuttered. It was a great lesson for me. It taught me that outside validation doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter how many people tell you you’re fantastic, and gorgeous and talented, it matters what you think of yourself.
I became obsessed with stopping stuttering. I had been to many types of therapy and none of them worked. As a matter of fact it made me worse being surrounded by stutterers worse than myself. I took the next two years and worked on myself constantly. I think that was about the time I was given the Grace to figure out that I didn’t stutter when I was alone.
Most stutterers don’t. That means there’s really nothing wrong with you. What a revelation. If you can speak fluently some of the time, you can speak fluently ALL of the time. I created the stuttering problem myself! And anything you create you can un-create. It took me a few years of very hard work, but it was worth it. One of my greatest accomplishments is being fluent.
I think about it every day and every time I speak. I’ve been doing radio and TV shows for years and I challenge myself all the time, and stand up to the fear. Stuttering is a bully that wants me to stay alone and not accomplish anything in my life.
With the popularity of The King’s Speech, which I thought was incredible, I was asked to do several public appearances to discuss Stuttering and my cure.
I’m including both of those video clips here, one on the Joey Reynolds show , ” All Night With Joey Reynolds” on NBC, and the other on Valerie Smaldone’s show Valerie’s New York, on WOR Radio.
One of my greatest gifts is working with other stutterers to teach them what I did and how NOT to stutter.
If anyone who is reading this happens to stutter or knows someone who stutters, after watching the two videos in this blog, please ask them to read the Stuttering page on my website, at http://dr.jeffreygurian.com/stuttering.html and if it makes sense to them, which is important, because a lot of my cure is about knowledge, ask them to contact me at [email protected]
Remember – KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!!