Wednesday, June 27, 2012
A shift in attitudes
Matt Schreifels, a 32-year-old person who stutters from Minnesota, was apprehensive about giving a Stutter Social hangout a try. When he first heard about it a few months ago, he wasn't involved in any social networks other than Facebook.
Fortunately, he changed his mind. "I thought I had nothing to lose because I could make friends with other stutterers."
A dog lover and avid fisherman, Matt felt a connection with everyone in his first hangout. "I found instant friendship and people going through the same things I'm going through." Now a regular, what keeps Matt coming back is "the camaraderie and instant support that everybody offers right away."
While stuttering was never a major issue for Matt growing up, his self-image was the problem. He could feel the tension in his face due to blocking when he spoke to people. “I've always wanted to know what was going through the listener's head as I was speaking to them”, Matt shared “Not knowing what they were thinking made me self-conscious.”
Within a month of participating in Stutter Social hangouts, Matt found his attitude changing as he hung out with stutterers who had confidence in themselves. “My attitude went from caring how people saw me to letting it roll off my back. Their loss, not mine. Meeting other stutterers who stutter openly helped me embrace my stutter and not care anymore.”
Matt had never talked to anyone about his stuttering prior to trying out Stutter Social. While he never considered himself to be a covert stutterer, it was by interacting and listening to other participants' stories that he was able to disclose for the first time. "When I disclosed to my friend it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was somewhat hesitant to bring it up to her but I'm sure glad I did. From that one experience it helps me want to disclose more often."