stammerheadshark * blog about living with an acquired neurogenic stammer

Swine flu a saving grace?

Posted on: August 1, 2009

Okay so I’m having to stay home until I’m no longer contagious with this damned swine flu – which inconveniently means that life has had to come to a standstill when I actually had a lot of plans for this week.

I’d had to cancel my appointment to the homeopath earlier this week (which I’d been waiting for as my head pains have come back),  cancelled an evening out with a couple of friends I hadn’t seen for over a year (very disappointed about this), and had to send apologies to a friend who’s getting married today (who I was incredibly excited about being able to see with her hair out and dressed in bright colours and shiny sequins instead of the black dress and hijab I’ve known her to wear everyday for the last five years).

As disappointing as all of this was, there was a sense of relief too – at the thought of not having to humiliate of myself in front of more people, at not having to see the pity on people’s faces or the sheer confusion as they try to make out what I’m trying to say.

Not that anyone would have been overtly rude I imagine, that luxury seems to be held by obnoxious taxi drivers alone. It’s more that I understand that people are trying to understand me but they’re initially shocked.

They see a normal 25 year old girl in front of them, treat her as an intelligent human being, and then SNAP! She opens her mouth to respond and they suddenly believe her to be dimwitted.

It amuses me that just because I have slower speech with all my stuttery repetitions, that they in turn will speak in a slower fashion – as though they think I’ll be able to understand them better. I ONLY HAVE A STUTTER – I CAN UNDERSTAND JUST FINE! It’s just that my mouth doesn’t do what I want it to so well anymore.

I should stop ranting. Apologies. It’s more the point that I find myself reluctant to engage in any social activity where I’m not with people who are familiar with me since the head injury.

If it’s just an extra person with us who I don’t know, I find myself wary of what their reactions will be; if it’s someone I haven’t seen since it happened, I find myself trying not to speak to avoid seeing the shock on their faces; or if it’s a group of people I don’t know – I just want to hide in a hole than confront all their questioning faces.

I really hate that I feel so ashamed of myself, and I know that I shouldn’t  – but that’s easier said than done. Rationally, this stammer shouldn’t define who I am; realistically, it’s becoming that way.

It wasn’t always like this, back track before my accident and I was super-confident. I’d talk to anyone, challenge anything, even won a few elections at uni.

Now, duvet diving is the most tempting option whenever a social occasion appears on the horizon.

There’s two large scale family weddings we have to attend next month, and honest to god, there’s already some serious knicker-wetting going on in anticipation of having to speak in the vicinity of a couple of hundred people I don’t know. And it’s not even like I’m having to give speeches (that’d be an effing riot!) or even the one getting married.

I’d quite like the confident social butterfly that I used to be to come out of hibernation, but that element of my personality seems to be securely cocooned away for the foreseeable future.

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