February 14, 2016

Learning How to Fall Than to Fly

Hi, I am Suraj Kumar. I am 23 years old. I am an IIT Delhi graduate. In future I would like to work in Public Policy and Economics in future.  For more info about me, visit my page at www.thinkingonindia.in/suraj-kumar

This article mainly presents story of my struggle with my stammering. This article covers the period of my life since birth to Oct/Nov 2015. This article will not explain about the cure of stammering or how to manage it but rather through my story, I will try to explain how the other areas of your life affect your stammering. And Secondly, this article is about my fall which passes through several phases such as from being a mild stammerer to fluent stammerer and then finally to a severe stammerer. SO BEWARE! :)

In Future, I will write on my life since Oct/Nov 2015

Short story of My Stammering or How Stuttering has affected my life

Well to answer this question, I would have to go to my Childhood days. So when I was kid, I wanted to become Scientist because of two reasons, I was deeply interested in Science  and , secondly, I used to think that Scientist don't have to talk much just be lab-rats. I used to think that I should choose a profession where I would have to speak the least and thus would be the best for me. I was okay with talking to my friends in the class but had difficulty in speaking in front of class or to Teachers. But yes stuttering was still at the back of my mind and I was having very negative beliefs at the core of my mind. These beliefs were as follows
  • I don't have the freedom of speech and expression (As Art 19 of Indian Constitution states).
  • I would not be able to perform up to the best of my potential and achieve my dreams.
  • I would never get married or to a right girl. Or Girls would not a like a person who stammers. Or to put in other words. Why to marry and spread this disease down the line to your kids (as I used to believe that stuttering is genetic and can be learn very easily by kids from their parents)
I was so conservative with these beliefs that I never ever shared these beliefs with anyone, even not with my close friends or to my Mom. But yes, My School Life was normal, meaning I did not had any kind of severe negative experiences as my fellow stammerers has. When I have to raise question or speak something in class, I will do it, whether I stammers or not, It doesn't mattered to me. Basically I was not thinking much about my stammering but yes negative beliefs were there.

With these beliefs I started preparing for the JEE. Thinking for the moment that here
Yippe! Here I am at advantage as in JEE  my disadvantage is not counted
NOTE: JEE requires no interview just Crack the Exam and That's It! :)

I got through JEE and landed up at IIT. Here also I was at ease whether it was talking to friends or to strangers. I used to hide my stammering (more so I was covert stammers who used to change words without the knowledge of his own mind/self). Except during presentation where I was occasionally reminded of my stammering, I kept myself afloat or going without doing anything related to stammering.
But yes!  During presentation it was literally like GETTING RAPED IN FRONT OF PEOPLE
NOTE: okay!  sorry too much emotions

You can equate it to shattering of all self-confidence, and self-worth. And then I used to  be totally demolished from inside and used to think that I am a disgrace on the name of IIT. It was as if, in spite of having knowledge to speak, I was not able to speak. So there is no use of that knowledge stored in my brain.

Then during one the courses at IIT, I met a friend who is a stammerer but with CONSISTENT PRACTICE AND HARDWORK has managed to express himself forcefully and in a speak in a manner even non-stammered can't.  He tried to help me but I was very lethargic to take his help. And for one full year I neglected his advice. Finally I listened to him when I was just getting out of IIT in final semester. With his advice, I finally went to a speech therapy centre { India Speech Therapy Centre (ISTC), Amer, Jaipur} where he had also went. There I learned the technique and used to practice it for coming the 7-8 months. The technique was good as it tackled the 3 main points which cause stammering which are as follows
  • Shallow Breathing
  • Speaking too fast
  • Psychology (to some extent)
Now along with some good things learned at the centre, I learnt some bad things as well, especially related to psychology of stammering.

I came back from there and started practicing the technique (as advised by my friend,and he was better advisor than the teacher at ISTC) for at-least 1 hr daily for about 7 months continuously (Yes, Sunday's were off especially). And my God Technique worked! I was able to speak in front of people and bosses with it 95% fluency but at least I was better than before by about more than 200%.
I was able to speak to my Dad like as if I AM A NOT A STAMMERER.
But now from the benefit of hindsight, I can say that all of this worked not just because of my practise but because I had totally change environment as well. For instance, I was working in Bangalore by then. I had huge support from my Friend Chaitanya and my Bangalore SHG friends especially Dinesh Singh and Akash Dixit. I was no longer in Delhi or in touch of my family or friends. So In other words
I was totally out of touch with my past and in contact with the promising future.
Seeing some fluency I decided to take next step and started going to toastmaster. Then, I gave my first speech, it was perfect to me as if I had the complete "freedom of speech". I have a video recording of that speech. You can see it below.

Now if I look at this video again, I am somehow at loss with myself to explain how was I able to achieve so much in just seven months.

I think as if Now I am a completely different person.
"Long time ago I was a farmer then became a king now I am not even a beggar"
So why have I reached my present stage where my stuttering is more severe than ever before in my life.

Well here is the story goes. Seeing my improvement in speaking/fluency, I was thinking that now I have a potential to be whatever I want to be. So I decided to prepare for the civil service. I resigned from my job. I came back at Delhi. And remained at my home for the next 9 months ( till Oct/Nov 2015).

I fell into stuttering trap and let me explain to you the mechanics (I am an Engineer so I like "mechanics" word,it seems engineers have monopoly over its usage) of how this stuttering trap works.

Stuttering Trap Mechanism

First of all I have to confess that I was fluent for 7 months ( July 14 - Jan 15) not because I was completely cured or fluent, yes speech practise was helpful but along the way I was also using avoidance, filler words, postponement of feared word and to some extent substitution. So I was not completely cured/fluent but say 70% cured + 30%( filler words, reinforcements, substitution and others).
  • Step 1: (Due to change of Environment, lethargy and other factors) Less Practise -> Less Confidence -> More stammering
  • Step 2: (Due to change of Environment, lethargy and other factors) Again less practise -> less less confidence -> more more stammering.
  • Step 3: (Due to change of Environment, lethargy and other factors) Less Less practise -> Less less less confidence -> more more more stammering
Eventually I reached a rock bottom and got a wake up call related to practise. So now you start to practise but eventually. Here it works
  • Step 4: (Out of fear of stammering, now you start some practise) some practise -> less less confidence -> more more stammering
So now you start to doubt the efficacy of your practise. Should you even continue it? Should you really invest so much time and energy into it. You ask yourself these questions. Have you really become practise dependent, so if you miss it for even a couple of days, your fear of stammering starts to grip you.
  • Step 5:(Seeing no Improvement), you eventually leave it

Why I Relapsed

  • Hold back: You hold back because you(I) have created a false image of yourself/myself (to put it bluntly Aukaat).  So you think that you should hold off your contacts with the world because you are having your Stuttering "periods", so meeting with the people at this point of time will blow of your cover and "Sacchai Sab  ke samne aa Jayegi". So you broke contact with outside world completely due to stuttering disfluency or in other words you fall into stuttering trap. So here are some of the instances during the period of 9 months where I hold back because of stuttering trap
    • Did not attend any weekly spiritual meeting (Satsangs) but during my college days I used to attend atleast weekly.
    • Did not attend any toastmaster meeting
    • Waited and waited and did not do any phone calls to anyone because I wanted to practice and become fluent
    • Similarly did not had much contact with my relatives or friends because I wanted to practice and become fluent and then start mingling with them.
  • In my Stuttering understanding, I totally overlooked the system of stuttering or call it stuttering hexagon (for more info about it please read here System of Stammering), I just focused upon the physical behaviour and devoted my entire energy towards it. I didn't think about my beliefs, perceptions, emotions, intentions, physiological responses and physical behaviour. You can say that I was positive in physical behaviour component but i was negative in all the other remaining 5 components. so slowly my physical behaviour component also became negative. and thus I stammered more. To really understand how it happened, please read my post System of Stammering
  • I did not accept my stammering and gave little importance to stammering.  Here are the some instance which shows that my acceptance was very weak
    • I used to think that I should not get marry because then If I do then my children will 100% be STAMMERER so. Why to spread this "Disease" and make another soul poor
    • I used to think that a STAMMERER have no right to be a civil servant or an officer
    • I used to hate my stammering. I used to feel guilty whenever I stammers.
    • I was not completely not ready to disclose my stammering to my Bose or to my colleague. I was not even ready to discuss it among my friends
  • Why I have totally relapsed now is because I think, I went very fast with the technique continued to enjoy fluency even when consciously or subconsciously, I was indulging in postponement, substitution stalling behaviours, filler words. When slowly and slowly blocks started to appear, I didn't reinforce my technique, in fact I neglected my practice. Thus I fell into stuttering trap.
  • Now with use of General Life Theory, I would like to explain a story of my fall. This theory about life has following postulates
    • P1: Life is an indivisible whole
    • P2: One part of the life will definitely affect the other part of life.
    • P3: Parts of Life can be divided according to subject condition but following generalised parts can be said as follows
      • Physical: Meaning fitness of body, conditions about disease.
      • Emotional/Social: Your relationships with Family, relatives, Friends and GFs/BFs.
      • Professional: Your progress in your area of work.
      • Spiritual: Say something about inner peace, God
      • Financial:  Your ability to full fill your needs and not be dependent upon somebody else financially
      • Mental: ability to develop your mind
Fluency Phase (July 2014 - Jan 2015)Free Fall Phase (March 2015 - Octobar 2015)
  • Had to walk long distance as I was leaving in Bangalore so I did not have any vehicle with me.
  • Since I was working as a trainee civil engineer. I had to walk around the project site daily for at least 2 hr.

So as result of all this. I became physical more fit than before
  • Since I was preparing for civil service via home. You can say that I was still stuck to my place or more appropriately to my Chair. So in the end. I gained weight and lose confidence
  • I got a severe acne. So pimples on my face, reduce my confidence too. I thought first lets my pimples go and then only I will meet with people.
Emotional/ Social
  • I was extremely social as I was in Bangalore. So I was meeting my new colleagues in work (by the way Project management field in civil engineering is full of interactions, Bangalore SHGs members, Lonavala National Conference and Toastmaster Friends.
  • Plus I was able to squeeze out the time out of my schedule to attend some spiritual meetings or satsangs
  • I had very very supportive friend (Mr. Chaitanya RSK). Majority of my time was spent with him only. I used to like him a lot and adore his personality
  • Since I was doing preparation from my home. So I was cutoff from the world.
  • I was extremely unsocial. I stopped responding to mobile calls.
  • Except my 2 friends, I didn't used to meet anyone
  • I was working with good salary and designation while lot of my colleagues were not able to do as good as me. (Perception created by me)
  • I was doing good as well
  • My preparation was not doing good or going well
  • It was the case because I was sitting at my home and was getting disturbed by my family
  • I used to mediate atleast once in every couple of days.
  • I was somehow was regular with my spiritual meetings
  • No meditation
  • No attending of spiritual meetings
  • On Sky high because of easy money from the job.
  • Could easily go to Malls or watch any movie without even thinking twice
  • Felt very unsecured after resigning jobs as for anything that I want to do I have to ask money from my parents
  • As normal Indian Parents keep bugging there children intentionally or unintentionally about jobs or money
  • Yes I was able to squeeze the time out of my schedule to read some really good self help books such as Monk who sold his Ferrari or 7 Habits
  • Controlled masturbation with porn
  • Either reading completely or not reading them at all
  • Masturbation was exceeding a controlled limit, so had feeling of "guilt".
  • So as result of all my compartments such as Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Mental, Financial and professional were in negative arena. So more stammering was natural.

Why I was able to enjoy fluency just after doing Speech Therapy

I think I was able to enjoy fluency after just doing speech therapy because
  • Before joining speech therapy, my stuttering was mild and I stammered only in giving presentations or speaking to superiors with phone and strangers, I was okay with my life.
  • Speech Therapy definitely improved my physical behaviour which helped me to better manage my stuttering. I reached near fluency just after 2 -3 months of practise. I then become too sloppy with my technique. But I still devoted time to practise daily on an average about 1 hr till 7 months from the start of therapy
  • Since I was in Bangalore, I met very supportive people such as my colleague at work Mr. Chaitanya,  Bangalore SHG Members (Dinesh and Akash) and toastmaster Friends. They provided me with supportive environment so my perceptions, beliefs and intention changed.

Why Stuttering is given to me?

Previous I used to think (to a certain extent now as well) that Stuttering is curse or impediment to express yourself.
I used to think that with Stuttering my life is doomed with no chance of redemption
Note: Okay! Okay! Okay! Not so in this much extreme

But slowly a change is coming in since the past one year.

Now I think stuttering is given to me because the almighty wants me to become hardworking and fearless personalty who persevere ,no matter how long it will take for me to express myself the way I want to. Stuttering has also given me the opportunity to some degree feel the pain of people who are physically disabled and what they think about life and others.

It has also given me a way to meet many new people in the world and speak to them by just taking stuttering as an excuse.

And also the Life is a Zero Sum Game. If you didn't have stammering, you still would have some problems here and there. Did you see any person in this world who doesn't have to deal with any kind of problem or didn't have any weakness or faults?

But more so, I will write in future

Author Contact Information
Mr. Suraj Kumar
Email ID - surajdhunna@gmail.com
Mobile No - 09654506719


Satyendra said...

Falling is human. Accepting it, talking about it- and getting up again - is Superhuman! Divine!
Keep walking and keep rising everyday, since you are SURAJ!

vishal gupta said...

#supersonic, the nature of stammering is too strange but by our self believe and Self-realization, we can empower ourselves.

Dehradun SHG said...

Fabulous !! I specially the deep analysis you did here. Commendable Job !!

ABHISHEK said...

Great. It is to the point.. like an encyclopedia for a stammerer, to be referred when needed.