I can't carry on living in the shadows

I can't carry on living in the shadows.

Sana Arshad talks about the effect her stammer had on her well being, and how help from therapy and a local group helped her to embrace it. "You are not alone."

Hi, my name is Sana, I am 24-years-old and the unique part of my story is that I am a triplet. A sister and brother were born with me and we all have a stammer. Since being born eight weeks premature, I can say that we are a family of fighters.

All my life I have tried to seek help but the challenging part was how I reacted in various situations. What I have come to realise is how much I avoid the topic with others. We've all been there: using filler words, putting the phone down or not making calls, avoiding eye contact; even just saying your own name is such a chore for some, especially me. There are many more but the real issue is the side effects that are caused from stammering.

It hit me that this can’t be it; I can’t just carry on living in the shadows. I need to progress in life and be successful.

I have suffered from anxiety, panic attacks and depression, which have had an adverse effect on my mental wellbeing. It hit me that this can’t be it; I can’t just carry on living in the shadows. I need to progress in life and be successful.

Embracing stammering

With the aid of my local stammering group and speech therapist I have been able to deal with these problems. I have changed my thinking and approach, and I want to show you that instead of treating your stammer as a negative thing, we should embrace it in terms of it showing us who we really are. The challenging part is expressing that to the outside world. We don’t look for sympathy. We are all equal, but it’s the lack of understanding that can cause problems and have an effect on our daily lives due to the way people react to our stammers. More awareness should be raised and we are responsible for doing that.

I have learnt so much about myself growing up and with the help of loved ones, especially my parents, I have become more confident. It has taken a long time and I am still learning and going to speech therapy, but I have overcome big hurdles in my life. 

Instead of treating your stammer as a negative thing, we should embrace it in terms of it showing us who we really are.

Now I am a fully qualified freelance teacher and my career is progressing. I would never have thought I would be in a job where I’d be talking to a classroom full of students.

My goal with this article is to encourage you to believe in yourself. Open up to people close to you, seek help through online forums and the BSA and most importantly, remember: you are not alone! We’re all here to support and listen to each other. 

If this helps even one person, I will feel like I have achieved my biggest goal in life. Be proud of who you are and remember, never give up!

If you're looking for help with your stammer, check out our section on therapy and courses

To see if there's a stammering group in your area, see our local groups list. Or see our online section to find out what groups or forums you can join online. 

Have you got something you'd like to say? Tell us about how you are living with stammering - share your story by clicking here.

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