Jamie Lewis Rennie shares his story so far and tells us what's on his mind about dating, socialising, therapy and job-hunting with a stammer.
Growing up with a stammer was really difficult as I wanted the stammer to go away so I could talk like everyone else. But I knew the stammer was there. I would block on the words or sentences I wanted to say to either my friends or family.
School was an issue as other children used to bully me for the way I spoke. I also used to get bullied a lot for the way I act, as I'm autistic and have moderate learning difficulties. Being in a school with students who have got special educational needs and disabilities caused concern as they may or may not know want they are doing. But I couldn't say words because I kept getting stuck. But when I shout and swear my words come clear and there are no issues there.
College has been amazing, though. I have no issues with the colleges I went to, as they understood and helped me through it all.
What's going on for me
Dating and relationships have been a massive concern for me. When I tell people that I have a stammer, I don't know how they will react. Like, are they gonna judge me or something? I came out to my family 6 or 7 years ago and dating has been a struggle. But I'm currently dating someone who is amazing – he’s the best guy; he’s understanding, patient and very supportive.
Socialising for me is not an issue. My friends know that I have a stammer and they just wait for me to speak. I go Alton Towers a lot and everyone at the resort knows that I have a stammer, so they are a credit too. I think awareness should be key in every company so they are aware of the condition and can help you the best they can.
Dating and relationships have been a massive concern for me.
Finding a job is hard. Like, I wanna be a ride operator at Alton Towers or be a FunStar at Haven Holidays. I think it's hard in those jobs as you’re talking all the time and moving around, and safety is always key with customers — if they don't know that you have a stammer, then you’re screwed but if you tell them, it should be okay.
I've had speech and language therapy for 10 years and as much as I enjoy the sessions, every time I come out of the room I struggle. My family tell me to use my exercises and I never do. But I really should.
I have done presentations for Alton Towers trips, Anti-Bullying Week and International Stammering Awareness Day and they kinda help me raise awareness of my condition and let people understand what it feels like to have a stammer. No one knows what a stammer is like unless they have it themselves, but my advice is to try your best, as you are never alone. We are here together.
Thank you to Paul (the vlogger 'Falcore' — see his YouTube videos here) for helping me with my stammering presentations :)
What's going on for you? If you'd like to share your story or just vent about something stammering-related, click here.