Many people become affected by different levels of stress. This stress may be caused by worrying about money, work, relationships, health, family, holidays, moving house or many other daily issues. For certain people who live life with a stuttering problem, stress can have an altogether different meaning. As well as worrying about all of the above issues they have many other things to stress about, things that fluent people just take for granted and see as very simple tasks/events.
I will take as an example a young man who is eighteen years of age, I will call him Peter. Peter has had a problem with his speech for as long as he can remember and has what is known as a stutter or stammer. Despite attending regular speech therapy classes, Peter has continued to be affected by this form of speech impediment and is starting to become very concerned about the future.
The first area of concern for Peter is his career prospects. He worries that quite a lot of employers may be reluctant to employ somebody who has a speech impediment and even if he is able to gain employment he worries about how he will cope in the workplace when he is unable to talk fluently. Routine tasks such as answering the telephone, having a conversation with a colleague, having a meeting with his team leader are things that cause Peter a lot of stress. This stress is affecting Peter before he has even got the job, what will he be like therefore once he has one.
Peter also stresses about love and marriage. He has yet to have a girlfriend, which he puts down to his lack of overall confidence and ability to chat them up. He would however dearly love to meet a woman with whom he could call his own girlfriend but worries that no girl/woman would want to date somebody who has a stutter. Even if he were to meet a girl, he then worries about all of the social aspects that go with having a girlfriend, such as meeting her parents and friends. Peter has never been one for socializing and prefers to spend time on his own relaxing. When he is on his own Peter never has a problem with speech and can say any word without the fear of stuttering.
Marriage is something Peter is almost certain he will not be getting involved with. The thought of having to stand up in front of a crowd of people, to give a speech, fills him up with dread. Peter cannot imagine himself ever having the courage or confidence to be able to do that.
For people out there who are stressed about something, spare a thought for people who stutter as they have probably got it a whole lot worse than you.