May I Have A Glass of Water?…Revisited

dreamstime_xs_9470300 editedIn 2012, I shared my deepest, darkest phobias about my speech in a post titled “May I Have A Glass Of Water.” Notwithstanding 4+ years pounding out my anxieties on this site and finally conquering my self-consciousness over my gait – ironically at a time when my involuntary movements are fading away – I continue to entertain a disgruntling hyperawareness of every word I utter.

During conversation, I find myself a decidedly un-detached observer, appalled at the sounds that just emerged from my mouth despite my earnest efforts to enunciate. I’ll practice a word in isolation again and again only to mutilate it during conversational speech. Too many words continue to evade me and I’m starkly aware of the abundance of sounds I misform.

Since DBS, I’ve been operating on speed dial, sentences tumbling out faster than I can articulate them. In an effort to climb out of my ditch, I resort to conversational CPR, searching my inner thesaurus for synonyms to toss out to my confounded listener…or literally spelling out words l-e-t-t-e-r b-y l-e-t-t-e-r. Conversation presents a bout of oral gymnastics that leaves me exhausted.

Recently, I stood on line at Starbucks on a Saturday morning, all set to tackle a monumental challenge: ordering a Grande Decaf Soy Latte. The barista stared at me in confusion, then slipped a blank piece of paper and pen across the counter. Gulping down my pride, I dutifully wrote out an order I knew I’d never properly execute orally. Perhaps next time, I’ll opt for tea!

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10 responses to “May I Have A Glass of Water?…Revisited

  1. Pamela — given that most of our population unwilling to enunciate and couldn’t care less about it I say KEEP TALKING and let them work at understanding you!

  2. vernon oliver harmon md

    interesting !

  3. Edward Gewirtz

    Hi Pam. The more you stress out, the tougher it becomes to verbally communicate. You have had some wonderful life changing events in your life lately, so naturally your brain is working in overdrive to take the next step towards improving your quality of life. Slow down and give a heads up to the person you are talking to.Tell that person up front that you have a speech problem and you will make every effort to be understood. Suddenly you will notice a change in his or her ability to concentrate and listen I know your frustration, and as time goes on, you will find different ways to deal with each situation. Don’t ever give up!
    Your forever friend, Ed.

    • Ed, You are so right! There is no upside in stressing out over my speech but old habits die hard. Thank you for your advice, which is so helpful – I’ve already put it into practice! Sending my love to your whole family. xx -Pam-

  4. I’ve had a hard time with speech, too. I’ve had to teach my kids some sign language, because my voice will flat out leave sometimes, and other times come out garbled – and then at other times is fine! I’m glad I learned it in High School because of a deaf girl in my Sunday School! I have had days myself that I had to sign to a family member what to order for me!
    What I hate the most is the phone! The tension in my neck if I hold it up to my ear makes it more likely that my voice will leave entirely – I do better with speaker on – but I’ve made my husband make calls for me, particularly to strangers, because I’m afraid it will just cut out in the middle of a conversation. This is not an irrational fear – it happens quite regularly- I have to just hand the phone to someone else, or hang up! Finally, I decided to just hang up if that happens, and call back later – they will probably just think it was a bad connection!

    • Susan, I can totally relate to everything you’ve shared. I don’t like speaking on the phone and it’s where I have the most difficulty. I get very frustrated when it’s apparent the other person on the line has no idea what I’m saying – or that I’m asking them a question. I am working on my phone manners when this happens (lol). xxx -Pam-

  5. P.S. –
    I don’t know about you, but trying to tell someone about a speech problem when you have a speech problem can be using up what little ability was there with little gain. It’s just too hard to be worth it, when you could use your few words for something more.

    • Susan, Thank you for taking the time to comment. I couldn’t agree more! I’m not always so sure people understand me when I explain I have a speech impediment – I guess it comes with the territory! Sending you my best. -Pam-

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