stammerheadshark * blog about living with an acquired neurogenic stammer

Denial of Service

Posted on: October 9, 2009

I’ve been lax.

Moreover, I’ve been lacking; in motivation primarily, although in unity with a lack of connection to the internet (thanks must go BT broadband for continually disappointing me), without which I would have had to take full responsibility for have not written sooner.

And I feel bad about it. Writing has taken on almost a form of therapy (cue the violins…) in the absence of obtaining physical support from the medical profession.

There’s only so many times you can get discharged from clinics without starting to think that perhaps you might smell a bit. Well, if only that was the reason.

Inadequacy seems too strong a word for the quacks who’ve attempted to help thus far, but uninformed might be slightly more accurate.  Although, that’s not their fault, apparently this kind of brain damage is quite rare to encounter.

In spite of the BT homehub fighting my battles of conscience for not writing over the past fortnight, I must confess that I’d become weary of it all. There’s only so much of a good thing you can absorb whilst retaining enough of a hunger for it.

I’d filled up on balancing my thoughts, satisfied a thirst for getting the torrid of anger out onto the screen, and was quite frankly fed up of hanging in the midst of almost delirious optimism while facing the imminent return of the inevitable utter despair that I’ve unfortunately come to know so well.

Well, a good thing can only last so long and I’ve felt a distinct rumble over the past few days; my internet connection has, however, had other ideas about the matter and prevented a raid.

My poor speech therapist, for who I genuinely feel, arranged for me to meet two other  ladies in Leicester who stammer last week. She did this,  I think, to almost appease her own feeling of inadequacy in being unable to impact my stutter; a sentiment that has been vivid in the disappointment on her face when I returned week-after-week unaffected by the carefully researched and well practiced tasks that she had hoped would do something, anything to change the nature of my repetitious speech.

For once, her actions made a difference. And I’m relieved for both her sake and my own. The distinct lack of hope I had that I would be employable upon returning home to Southport gently thawed throughout the hour or so I spent with these two ladies.

They assured me that, in their exprience at least, neither had ever felt that refusal for a job was due to their stammering. They honestly admitted that any occasion for which they had been turned down for a vacancy or promotion was due to their own incomplete skillset or that there were simply better candidates at that time.

The relief was palpable. What I had hoped for, that I might be recognised for my merits in the face of the speech limitations imposed upon me, they believed was possible.

Through their faith that human resource personnel would see beyond the immediate presentation of a person, accepting human fault in the face of fact, it was easier to believe this might become my experience too – and not the horror I’d imagined job hunting would be.

Since then I’ve received notification of an interview, for a role that I would actually like to be appointed in – instead of a job that would simply pay the bills.  I tick all the boxes on paper, and on the face of it I’m a good candidate.

Hopefully, provided there aren’t more experienced opponents and that my speech doesn’t decide to mysteriously disappear for a week, I might just get it. And if not, well then that’s just life and there’ll be other opportunities.

Either way, their stories of careers unimpinged by their own stammers have bolstered my own confidence. I’m so glad I met them and am grateful for the effort they made to come and meet a complete stranger without reward.

They did, by their own admission, take something away from the encounter though. Appearing simultaneously horrified and amazed at my self-induced situation, they were shocked with the ease by which my normal speech had disappeared to be replaced by what they regarded quite a perculiar stammer.

It was disheartening that I sounded nothing like them; their speech blocked occasionally by difficult sounds, my own voice babbling through repetitions that struggle to keep up with my thoughts and are prohibited by breath that still seems surprised by the additional work it is forced to do.

What meeting them did make obvious to all involved, was that our own experiences are unique and alien to those of others. We are incomparable, although fortunately share the common ground of how others perceive us. In that respect, stammer or not, we are all alike and equally alone.

I still hope to one day find someone who has  acquired a stammer by way of brain injury (and who has hopefully regained their speech), but for the time being it’s enough that people are listening. That I can be heard through the stutter is proof enough that it shouldn’t limit me in the future.

I hope.

2 Responses to "Denial of Service"

I’m glad you’re feeling a bit more positive and I do agree about that job – there are plenty more fish in the sea, and if some of them don’t want to swim with this particular shark there are others who will. The last sentence is encouraging 🙂

Fascinating post. I can definitely relate to your comment that all of our experiences are unique. That is how I feel about my stammer as it has no doubt been caused and then impacted by my own unique situation and experienced and that is the main reason why I’ve never seen much benefit in meeting other people who stammer. It is not like a purely physical ailment where you can learn how to recover from other people as our experiences are all different.

The positive attitude is great to hear and incredibly important. I can see a clear link between my stammer in the past and my attitude towards it and in particular whether I perceived it as a minor handicap or a life changing condition.

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