I have been at odds with my speech my whole life. Growing up I wouldn’t really talk much. Not in class, not at social gatherings, not even at the dinner table. It’s not like I didn’t have anything to say, I did, but speaking came at a huge cost. I would stutter in almost every sentence. At times I would try and force my words out. I can’t stay silent forever, right?
But overwhelmed with feelings of embarrassment, pain, confusion and fear I would decide that it’s just best for me and for whoever was listening that I stay quiet.Christie Toney
Years went by with me giving monosyllabic answers to try and avoid conversations. Things like ordering from a menu or answering the phone turned into this phobia that was debilitating me to do things people my age took for granted. Finally, things reached their peak just before my Leaving Cert oral exams.
Years of speech therapy weren’t able to help me get through it (the orals), and so I was left feeling defeated. My mum had come across the McGuire Programme™ and told me to give it a look. Not being in the right mindset, I brushed it off and continued on.
Soon after, I headed into college and by the end came out with my Master’s. It was after getting my first job that I made the choice that I would do whatever was necessary to try and tackle my stutter. I had decided to reconsider the McGuire Programme™ and so after saving enough I headed down to my first course.
To say the programme changed my life would be an understatement. It changed my way of life.Christie Toney
On the final day, I was able to say my name and a few words. All without stuttering. Something I thought I would never be able to say. I gained a newfound sense of confidence and self-respect for myself and saw that the stutter that had been controlling me my whole life wasn’t my Everest anymore. The odds were now in my favour.
Since joining the programme I gained the courage to apply for my dream job, which I have been working on for the past year. Initially, I thought I was only one of a small handful of people in the country who had a stutter, but today the program has given me lifelong friends; people who stutter too who are on a similar journey to mine. Yet most of all my biggest achievement post-McGuire is that I now have the tools to live my life on my terms, not based on what my fear dictates. That I can keep moving forward without holding back. And for that, I will forever be grateful …