Bhavesh Mistry talks about therapy at the Stammering Support Centre in Leeds.
In 2000 I was 13 and started to notice that I had developed a stammer. I thought I was going to turn into a quiet, shy, anxious boy who couldn't speak when he wanted to. Twelve years later, I finally plucked up the courage to do something about my stammer. Speech and Language Therapist Trudy Stewart was the first person I met at the SSC, and she encouraged me to start attending group sessions.
On the day of my first group therapy session last June I felt nervous, anxious and frightened for the entire week leading up to it. I didn't know what to expect as it was the first time I had done such a thing; I was still trying to accept that I had a stammer. I walked into the room and sat in a circle with other group members and thought my heart was going to punch its way out of my chest! However, I don’t know why I was nervous. I had fun; I met people like me, others who stammered, and for once I felt ‘normal’.
Eight months on, I can truly say that this has been the best experience of my life. I have met some amazing people, and all of the therapists have been supportive. I have carried out activities I never would have done before, such as presentations, role-play and using the telephone, leading me to gain confidence in myself, and some fantastic friends. I am a new, more positive person.
I would like to say a massive thank you to Trudy Stewart, Jo Kitchen, Claire Rowland and Alison McLaughlin for all their continued support and effort.
From Speaking Out, Spring 2013, p14