Being bullied can be both a cause and effect of a speech impediment as it often leads to the acute self consciousness which creates social anxiety.
I am 22 and have been told that I have chronic social anxiety. I have always been a shy, self-conscious person. I live alone – I am a loner who is also lonely. I was bullied at school because I have a speech impediment and I am now terrified of being part of a group.
I have a job where I work mostly on my own and I have become expert at avoiding social situations – for example if people are making coffee in the office kitchen, I wait until it is empty before I go in and if anyone comes in after me, I have to leave. I know they all think I’m weird because it is weird to act like that. I am so tired of feeling tense and worried all the time. I feel like my life is on hold. I wish I could find a way to stop feeling so scared and uneasy around people. I desperately need to make some friends.
Being bullied can be both a cause and effect of a speech impediment as it often leads to the acute self consciousness which creates social anxiety. Like blushing, speech impediments are hard to conceal so sufferers can end up hiding themselves away. With the help of good therapy, these kinds of anxiety issues can be overcome if an integrative approach is taken. Your confidence and self esteem have taken a battering and your anxiety in social situations must make it incredibly difficult to make friends. These things can be dealt with using hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), for example.
In addition, to overcome your speech impediment may need the guidance of a specialist speech therapist. And your GP may think it appropriate to prescribe beta blockers or anti-depressants to help you manage your anxiety or deal with any subsequent depression in the meantime.
It is unlikely that your anxiety symptoms will just go away on their own and it would be a good idea to do some research before deciding on the best course of action for you. By writing to me, you’ve made a start and my advice will help you explore all available courses of action. Most people with similar issues to you who come to see me benefit tremendously from positive, solution-led strategies as they give them a degree of control over their progress.
I saw a 26-year-old man recently, who works in IT, for social anxiety treatment in Tunbridge Wells, where I practice. Like many I’ve come across over the years, he chose his career so he could spend his day in solitude with machines instead of struggling to manage his stutter. But sometimes he has to pick the phone up. Sometimes he gets bored with spending all his free time gaming. Sometimes he needs a friend.
A successful businesswoman in her forties who speaks three languages fluently and has stuttered all her life came to me about dealing with the extreme stress of managing her career whilst struggling to communicate.
Both are intelligent and high functioning. They are benefiting from strategies which enable them to mentally rehearse becoming more confident and more able to express themselves freely. Instead of being tense, nervous loners, they are gradually finding their voices again using a variety of techniques. These are available on my audio downloads, including: ‘ Stop Stuttering’, ‘Confidence Booster’, ‘Change Your Life’ and ‘Phobia Release’ (among others).
Life can be lonely and difficult as it is. And sometimes there are deeper root causes which need ongoing therapy but taking a bit of control over your anxiety symptoms reduces the fear which keeps you isolated and gives you the opportunity to see yourself in a more positive light.
Good luck with meeting all the friends waiting to get to know you in the future.