June 30, 2011

My journey until now

 Though Most of you know me by name but I havent really told everything about my stuttering from childhood,to adolescence to adulthood.So here I present my journey as a PERSON WHO STAMMERS.

As far as I remember when I was little(around5-6 years old) I never knew that i stuttered.It never was a big issue for me because I never stuttered when reading in class,or reciting a poem or giving answers to the teacher.What I vaguely remember is that my stutter was bouncing in that phase of life because I remember a kid making fun of me in a bouncing manner.But in my first school where i studied uptil standard 4,I had a great life.I used to stand first in class,used to participate in every extra-curricular activity and was active in sports as well.I remember in standard 4 I was the one in the entire school who took part in maximum number of events(I think around 6 events).So I was very successful and stammering never posed as a hindrance whatsoever.I changed my school in standard 5th.On my first day in school In was the first one raising my hand to give the answer and I remember blocking a lot but I gave the answer nonetheless.There also I was good in studies,sports and curricular activities and within 6 months was elected the head boy of the junior wing.Throughout this phase I was very popular and had a lot of friends.As a head boy I had to give speech in front of the entire school,I was tensed not bcoz of stammering but was nervous of forgetting my lines.So you see at that time i firmly believed that I could never block when giving a speech or when in a competition.And yeah,before I forget in standard 4th my parents took me to a speech therapist(Dyal Chhabra),I had no idea in the beginning that what was going on neither my parents ever told me,but going there everyday i took a wild guess that it might be because of me repeating words sometimes.I was instructed by my parents not to tell anyone about this and I guess from here the attachment of shame and guilt towards stammering started.In the middle of class 6 my parents shifted to Chandigarh(I was in Parwanoo before) and it was a much bigger city and a much bigger school compared to my earlier ones.Here the competition was also sky high(The topper in boards from the whole state was from our school only,so you can guess)I remember that when I first came to my class i handed my admission slip to the teacher which I had my name written on it,she asked my name and i said"Mam it is written on the slip"So I guess i had developed avoidance tactics at that time.The pressure was more but still I was always in the top 3 an within a few weeks made a lot of friends.i was comfortable in performing in class like reading ,giving answers,etc.But my extra curricular activities took a backseat.In standard 9 and 10 I didnt took part in any activity that required speaking whatsoever.During my 5 year stay in this school,I took part in such activities exactly 3 times.
1)In standard 7,I was a part of English Quiz team,I actively took part in the contest without once thinking about stuttering.But I do remember a team mate saying that I should tell him the answer and he will say on the mike as i was stuttering though I didnt pay heed to him.
2)In standard 8th i was forced by my teacher to take part in an English Recital competition.It was strange as I never thought stammering as an issue and in fact didnt stammer at all while reciting in front of the entire school.I actually came 3rd in that competition.
3)In standard 8th I again took part in the English Quiz but it was a disaster this time.We had to introduce ourselves and I tried to pass on the mike without saying m name but obviously I couldnt and then I blocked a lot when saying my name.I was silent in the whole quiz(partly because I didnt know any answer).
So this was the last time I spoke in front of the whole school.
I took up football as a sport and the rest was studying which I was still very good at.But i had a lot of friends and enjoyed thoroughly in my school life.I also remember the whole class sometimes laughing on my stammer.I remember the laugh not the exact situation.Then I remember stammering severely during a viva and a girl(which i was good friends with)asking me that what happened and I just completely ignoring her and changing the topic.I also think puberty played a big role in severing my stammering..The avoidance tactics were at an all time high.
In standard 11 and 12 I opted for non-medical and those two years were the toughest in my life.the pressure was immense,the syllabus was huge and i was competing with the whole country to get admission in the best enginnering college of the country.i also believe that buying a cell phone in 11th was a big mistake.Earlier I never used to have any problem on the phone.Having a landline ensured that i had to introduce myself,tell my friends name to his parents and all that and for every little thing I had to talk on the phone.There was no other option.So I was very comfortable on the phone.But when I got a cell,I found the easy way out of messaging instead of calling.This increased my fear of phone a lot.I no longer had to family members as every one of us had their cell phones.Also no need to introduce myself as my friend already had my number stored.As a result I just couldnt talk on the phone.I remember I used to unplug the landline when i was alone at home so that I didnt have to answer it.
2 months before starting college I went to the same speech therapist,Dr Dyal Chhabra,and took therapy for 2 months.I did get some benefits so i had a little problem of introducing myself during the start of college but still avoidance and substitutions were very high and within a week relapse was visible.I didnt join any club in my college as I just couldnt go to the GDs and the interviews.Though here also I had a good friend circle I kept to my circle not caring about others.So I kept strictly to my comfort zone.In 2nd year ,my friend circle expanded i was a little more known in my college.Today after completing my 3rd year I talk to almost the entire class and have no shortage of friends.But I never talked about my stammering with anyone.It was like a forbidden topic,kind of like an unspoken truth in my friend circle. 
i attended my first SHG meeting when I was in 3rd year organized by Jasbir Sir.It was an O.K. kind of an experience,but still i continued attending the workshops.I also met J.P. in one such workshop but didnt interact that much with him.i also occasionally started browsing the TISA blog and other stammering sites but my outside world was strictly the same.Avoidance,hiding,shame,guilt,etc etc.
Then started my 4 months training in L&T(January 2011 to april 2011).I havent blocked so severely in my life as I did during the first one week there.When asked to introduce myself,I just couldnt utter a word.Once I had to write my name down as I just couldnt utter it from my mouth.But as the time progressed ,the fear subsided.It was that time I thought that enough was enough.I joined Toastmasters to remove my fear of speaking.But it was very painful experience as others were very good speakers and i couldnt even finish a sentence.I was very uncomfortable so after 4 meets I stopped going there because no matter how much I practiced I blocked there a lot.
Then I attended an SHG meeting organized by J.P. and it really helped change my thinking a bit.He encouraged me to be more active on the TISA blog and slowly I was writing the SHG reports and was commenting on various posts under my own name.Another significant step was starting my own blog about stuttering.Slowly slowly it helped me to be more open about my stuttering.I even got emails from various pws which encouraged me further.Hence slowly slowly(very slowly actually)I was coming out.i was getting actively involved in SHG activities and in the online world.But in the outside world i never told anyone about these activities.
I also attended the one day workshop in Chandigarh but it didnt really make any difference.But I was eager to move forward.My training finished and I came home.I ordered Brahmavidya as you had told me about its benifits and started practicing it religiously.It has been little over a month but it has changed my thinking a lot.My attitude,response to external stimulus and my faith in self has greatly increased.Then came the Chandigarh Workshop which was a big push for me for getting out of the stammering mindset.In this workshop I was once again the 5th class headboy very eager to do things,to meet challenges,very excited to talk in front of a group and very eager to meet new people.Brahmavidya changed my perception  little bit to make me the child I once was and the 3 day workshop helped to put that child in full action.There was no fear ,no shame ,no guilt,just a want to do all the tasks given to me and not just do them but perform like a pro.
I now plan to again go to the Toastmasters but with a different attitude altogether.I now talk and talk and try to avoid substitutions and avoidance.Also am bouncing a lot.i am also being open with my parents especially my mom about stammering -a thing I have never done my entire life and feel is the hardest for me.My mom is still paranoid that i am stuttering more now but the truth is I have lessened substitutions and I am sometimes bouncing on purpose.I will also tell my friends about this workshop the next time I meet them.Also after the workshop i have put the link to my stammering blog mystammer.blogspot.com on my Facebook account,a thing I would be scared to even think about before.
About 6 months back I had quit the idea of doing MBA because of my speech as I thought I would never be able to make it but now i will do my MBA from one of the best colleges in the world come what may.i am also planning to post videos on my blog.Most of all I am in a very happy state of my life.I dont feel sad even when I stammer severely as long as I said what I wanted to say.
So to sum up my journey,I started from the highest point,reached an all time low but today I am going to that high point again.:-):-)

11 comments:

J P Sunda said...

WOW!!! Dhruv, I remember you once telling me that you browse tisa blog when no ones around, and NOW look at you; You have taken a giant leap my dear friend and let me tell you , NOT EVEN SKY is the limit to what you can achieve now!! God bless all

ASIT said...

Aaaah...what a post..its highly appreciable...its not just stammrng that v sud b open about..but al chalenges sud b faced openly....
if we think in this way that- "WITH HELP OF GOD I CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING.." then nothng is imposble...
just have faith...
GOD BLESS US!not just stammrng that v sud b open about..but al chalenges sud b faced openly....
if we think in this way that- "WITH HELP OF GOD I CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING.." then nothng is imposble...
just have faith...
GOD BLESS US!

Sumeet said...

Simply GREAT.. U will make it to IIM Ahmedabad Buddy.. Best of Luck and have this confidence forever. :)

sachin said...

I am sure that discerning readers will notice in this case study that TM helps ONLY after a PWS has learned to deal with his blocks.. That TM can not be recommended to any and every PWS as a panacea for all his problems. On the other hand, Brahmavidya probably can be recommended to almost all PWS. It wont hurt anyone. (Brahmavidya or any meditation based system of internalizing our consciousness and becoming calm).
I will just draw your attention to what Tom Weidig says on the subject of TM: (TM is)..Ideal for the transfer and maintenance phase of an intensive therapy.
He says "Transfer" and "Maintenance" phase. These two phases begin only AFTER the main therapy, where in you have learned important skills- acceptance, bouncing, prolongation, breathing, eye contact, voluntary stuttering etc. etc.
(link: http://thestutteringbrain.blogspot.com/2011/06/i-am-president-of-greenhearts.html)

Sikander said...

Hi Dhruv, every stammerer has his own story. It also resembles those of others. Like many of us have faced the same experiences in school and college life and even in working life. Sharing is a big thing and sometimes it mitigates the problem. For a long time you had suppressed your inner feeling and you might be thinking that no one could understand your problem as for others it is just that “Ye thoda ruk ruk kar bolta hai” but we know “Ye ruk ruk kar bolna” how hampers and troubles us. 5 years back, when I joined a group and shared my problems and past experiences with them, I felt very relaxed because I knew there were some persons who could understand me. We have stored so much in our mind for a long time. TISA has provided us a place where we can share our problems.

I am very much impressed and amazed by your writing skill. When I met you in Chandigarh, I did not know you are a very good writer.

amit dixit said...

i read ur so many blogs..ur every blog is wonderful and inpiring.keep writing

mohit said...

my story starts like yours.. and i am currently at the lowest point:(..
Rather than accepting it, i think to cure it without telling anyone.. With years of negetive thoughts, it is difficult to talk about it in the open.

colourchiasm said...

Your story resembles mine in so many ways.You are so right about talking about stammering to our parents,its somehow the scariest.Thanks for the inspiration.I cant wait to be the enthusiastic achiever i once was as a child either!

Varun Sud said...

Hey Dhruv.... Im varun and im from chandigarh.....i can somewhat relate your story to mine......if u r in chd, plz let me know.... I would like to meet you and discuss some imp things wid u.

Varun Sud said...

Hey Dhruv.... Im varun and im from chandigarh.....i can somewhat relate your story to mine......if u r in chd, plz let me know.... I would like to meet you and discuss some imp things wid u.

Ritesh Rampal said...

your thoughts are very genuinely expressed and are understood so well that any PWS would see himself/herself resembling you at some moment.