Like for most people who stutter, it was always almost impossible for me to speak with new people. In fact it was so difficult when I was a lot younger that whenever I would talk to a new person my mind would literally go blank and freeze. Because of this the only way I would talk to a new person is if I absolutely had to and couldn’t really avoid it. That’s why for majority of my life I have done everything in my power to avoid talking to new people for as long as possible.
I did it and continue to do that to a large degree for many reasons. One major reason why I presently tend to avoid contact with new people is because I feel completely out of control in speaking situations most of the time. Because of this, I feel that in some way a wall exists between me and the whole world that needs to be broken down if I ever going to be free from my stuttering. Now that I’m older I’m beginning to try to change my life for the better by breaking this imaginary wall that only exists in my mind.
The most recent example of me trying to change my behavior is when I went to the financial aid office at my college. Of course I was feeling very nervous, anxious and not being in control as usual. But this time I actually tried to modify my thought pattern inside my head by telling myself that that an average person doesn’t really care that I stutter because I know that surveys consistently show that most people don’t care whether a person stutters or not. At the end this new self talk seemed to help and afterwards even though speaking to a new person was still hard I felt very good about myself. I guess it’s because I was able to do it and didn’t avoid it like I usually do. It also helped that a person I talked to was friendly. This small progress gave me hope that with enough time it would get a lot easier speaking with new people and making new friends.