Starting behaviours (I)

October 9, 2008

I have spent a couple of days trying to identify starting behaviours. It seems as if my “record tape” stops before I start talking…I can’t remember what happened. However, I have managed to perceive this effect….

I have built during time a diverse repository of expressions, starters and jokes I can use to get into the conversation. I see that I tend to use this sort of expressions as starters. I perceive these as easy and fast to execute. However, I notice that there is a high potential of blocking when linking the end of this expressions with what I really want to say. Speed changes dramatically and I have to think what I’m saying…not as the case of “easy starters”.

Consequently, these starters may be hindering my communication instead of helping me. Perhaps I should think in advance what to say and do not rush in the conversation without being prepared.


No examples on avoidance…

October 7, 2008

It’s getting difficult to identify avoidance examples. This is one of the areas I have tried to improve since I went to therapy. I will try to think of difficult speech situations where I may experience this feeling.

Not enough air…

October 7, 2008

Instead of starting behaviour…I would say this is a behaviour taking place before I start talking and generally hinder the performance of my speech.

It’s as simple as not getting enough air. It also happens when I have spent some time talking and I’m tired. Instead of relaxing from time to time and control the air flow, I tend to increase speed and start new sentences before I’m properly prepared to perform.

It would be nice to detect these situations beforehand and pause so that I can get better prepared for execution.

Increasing pressure

October 7, 2008

It’s not usual but a behaviour I have noticed in starting situations is increasing pressure into speech-related muscles before starting to talk – specially, stomach and larynx. The process starts by getting air into my lungs and afterwards, do not release it until I get a word out.

This is one of the behaviours I have tried to prevent during years but I have noticed that it still happens…but sometimes it is not perceptible for me while talking.

Shame feelings

October 2, 2008

Last week I assisted my nephew’s birthday and had the opportunity to talk to him and his little friends – most around 6. It seems that they perceived something strange in my speech and began to laugh at it and make jokes.

As soon as I detected it I paid more attention and began to control my fluency. However, I felt a clear feeling of shame. I didn’t get affected emotionally as the reaction was completely normal on children who are great perceiving (and punishing) difference 🙂

However, this has made me reflect on the issue as I’ve found common ground with another situation. Particularly, since I knew that a baby was coming, I have been thinking of how my stuttering will affect the relationship with my son. Again, a feeling of shame appears when I visualise myself stuttering in front of my children.

Frustration feelings

October 2, 2008

It is getting difficult to detect feelings after a blockage or stuttering behaviour. I don’t know whether it is a defensive behaviour I have been developing for years or it is caused because of the fact that most of my blockages are not severe.

A common feeling I tend to have is frustration. Stuttering poses challenges in important areas of my professional life – specifically, public speaking. I have little problem in speaking to small audiences but things get complicated when the audience is numerous or the event is very important.

Considering excellent communication skills are almost mandatory on top management positions, I tend to see stuttering as a barrier to professional achievement which generates frustration.

This feeling usually appears after a unsuccessful communication attempt in scenarios where I think I could have made a difference with a fluent speech.

One of the peculiarities of the moments where I talk fluently is when I modulate my speech to link smoothly the end of a word with the beginning of the next one. This generally is executed talking slower and relaxing as much as I can. It often emphasises vocal phonems in the next word to avoid difficulties in explosive sounds – my favourites for getting blocked.

The degree of difficulty depends on the situation but the results are quite good. The listener seems comfortable with this calmed and musical way of talking. Emphasis on the next word’s vocal makes the word less understable but it is oftenly not noticed – people usually get meaning unconsciously by the context, not listening to each word.

Tension in stomach

September 27, 2008

Tension in this area is almost continuous. However, its intensity varies with the situation. It may be a good indicator for assessing my level of stress or fear.

When relaxed – e.g. when writing this blog – I feel a light pressure on the stomach forming as if I was pushed with a circular device on it. As I get more nervous, the feeling gets so strong I wonder whether this is could be a good fitness exercise 🙂

Jokes apart, the fact tension remains constant on this area makes me classify it as a major area of tension.

Tension in larynx

September 27, 2008

This is one of the areas where I feel tension when I talk.

In the beginning, it is only a feeling of being uncomfortable. But it progressively increases with time unless I manage the situation. In severe cases, the tension seems to block the air flow…disabling any attempt to talk.

Explosive sounds

September 24, 2008

Explosive sounds such as ‘t’, ‘p’ or ‘c’ are on the top of my list of common difficulties I come across during conversations. Additionally, these get even more complicated when are combined with another consonant such as ‘r’. For example, I have always found difficult to dictate my ZIP code as it contains 3 and 13numbers…notice that these are tres and trece in spanish.

During my last therapy I read lists full of words starting or containing these sounds. It may be interesting (and useful) to get back to them.