My journey to communicate freely and easily with others was a long one, but may resonate with many others who stutter, especially those who stutter severely, sometimes even in mute silence while grimacing menacingly, as I once did.
My name is Ruz. I’m married, have a son and live in Canada, where I am a software developer. I have been stuttering since the age of 13 and into my 40’s, with several years consisting of what we call being a “shut down blocker”. This includes not being able to utter a single word, while making extreme facial contortions in any attempt to force communication. I can confidently say I tried nearly everything, from speech therapists, devices, strategies, even medication. Nothing, but nothing worked — until I became aware of Lee and his priceless book, “Stuttering & Anxiety Self-Cures.”
In Lee’s Stuttering & Anxiety Self-Cures, he writes of his now established techniques and principles to help stuttering, and closes it by mentioning having a history of one-on-one sessions with people who stutter. I believed such personalized coaching sessions were out of my reach until a mutual friend introduced me to Lee several years ago and recommended that I have one-on-one Skype sessions. I reached out and Lee, who being the dedicated coach he is, replied back and set up a few dates to talk over Skype.
In my early sessions with Lee, as I was unable to utter a single word during the entire session. Over the course of these sessions, Lee had me speak using the various tools he has learned over time that are effective (called crutches, as one part of three main pillars of fluent speech), with the hope that some will be more effective than others. After dedicated practice, and enormous persistence and patience by Lee, we eventually stumbled upon several techniques that worked for me, primarily consisting of starting all words by holding a sound and using auto-suggestions continuously until it became an automatic habit.
Today, I still have MINOR problems with speech, but it no longer affects my ability to communicate with others. I have not had “bad incident” (which Lee defines as clearly appearing speech disabled) in over three months! When I met Lee, I couldn’t avoid a bad incident for one hour! As a result of this newly found communication freedom, and by accepting speech is not perfect for anyone, my own fears of people’s reactions if or when I run into any problems speaking naturally diminish more and more over time. My journey to be able to communicate with complete freedom and comfort is not yet over, but it does get easier by the day. As well, the techniques I have learned are not just useful for speech, but in all areas of life that one desires to improve on.
In a perfect world, Lee has infinite time, energy, and capacity to help out everyone who reaches out to him and help others as much as he has helped me to communicate freely. Instead, he has launched what I believe is the next best thing – SPEECH ANXIETY CURES (WSSA), “the world’s only community of “EX-stutterers,” where his techniques are passed to others via forms, emails, videos, and even weekly live events (like hang-outs and a speech club) where anyone can participate to the extent they are most comfortable with talking. To me personally, it was an eye opener of just how big this community is, that I was not alone, and the vast number of coaches willing to help others using what has worked for them. I have started attending WSSA’s “SAM” Meetings, a speech club for PWS and PWSS. It’s a great resource for any stutterer, and it’s the only one of its kind on the planet. Anyway, this program has enabled me to speak without appearing disabled. If you want to hear me speak, go here: https://youtu.be/i79pKD0O8B4. If you are an WSSA member, you can go to its video library and see my early videos where you I was totally mute.
My next goal is to teach myself to love to speak in all situations and then to elevate my life forever by improving the mind training methods that are a part of Lee’s and WSSA’s program.
I conclude my story with my personal discovery that it is possible to retrain the mind to effectively change the way it handles communication. I believe the techniques and principles Lee (as well as WSSA) preach. They are an ideal start for anyone who stutters to any extent. My journey to fluent communication is not yet over, but, being in my fourth month of not appearing speech disabled, I am closer than I ever was, and do thank Lee and his methods, and now WSSA, for getting me there.
RUZ, Canada, February 2021