My Secret, Not My Stutter Was Limiting My Life

It’s your first day on the job at a new company and you are a little bit nervous. The environment is unfamiliar. You don’t know what to expect. Your main goal is to make a great a first impression, hit the ground running, and let your coworkers know you are smart, easy to work with, and a good addition to their team.

When HR greets you and the other new hires, they begin with introductions. You tense up. Some people may not think it is a big deal, but for you, someone who stutters, these moments can be difficult.

You count how many people are ahead of you.

Two people, one person.

The nerves start to rise. You are next. You stand and open your mouth, but nothing comes out. You struggle to talk, to give your name.

This is not a dream you wake up from. This is real life. This is what it is like to stutter.

Since the age of six, I have stuttered. There have been very few days in my life that I have not struggled to enunciate a word, complete a sentence, or communicate a thought. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders, stuttering is defined as a “speech disorder characterized by repetition of sounds, syllables, or words; prolongation of sounds; and interruption of speech known as blocks.”

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