So I took a version of that letter for Mick with me to see my Cognitive Behavioral Therapist today. And I read it out loud.
I still can’t believe I did that…just because I thought I never could.
She cried a little…and was the most sweet, supportive person you could ever imagine. She is 100% behind me in writing this memoir, and really gave me a lot of confidence.
In the practical sense, she also helped me figure out a remedy for my stuttering!
It sounds strange, but bear with me. Part of social anxiety is that you’re afraid of bigger people than you, and big groups, and for me my anxiety around people manifests as a stutter. But not everyone is larger than me…it’s hard to explain, but when I couldn’t make myself talk, I realized that the only time in my life I have never stuttered is during the brief time I worked at a day care center!
I don’t blame them for firing me; my symptoms at the time made me a terrible employee. But now that my memory is improving, I made the connection that I never stutter around kids.
So if i need to tell someone something but my stuttering is in the way, I do whatever i have to do to switch into my “around children voice.” It can be looking at a picture of a child, or just imagining in my head that I’m reading a book to my neighbor’s little son Eli…and if I can somehow “switch gears” in my head, I don’t stutter! I hope that makes at least a little sense.
There’s other steps involved; I of course can’t let myself slip into baby talk. But it’s like I talk to them…the way I would have wanted people to talk to me when I was younger. Clear, thoughtful, patient. “Projection” is probably not the right word, but if I can somehow empathize with my younger self, then I can also empathize with the person in my presence. This is a milestone for me…more than I can say. Re-parenting? Who knows. I just know that I’m onto something here, and happy about it. 🙂