I remember the first day of class in college. On the first day, we had to introduce ourselves in front of our professors and classmates. One week before I start to feel the anxiety, the pressure and the fear just by thinking that I would have to say my name. The night before I can’t sleep, the fear takes over my body and I know that soon I would have to face the situation in which my stutter will take control of how, when and what I will say.
The big day arrives and it’s my turn to introduce myself, my legs tremble. I stand in front of everyone and my body doesn’t respond. I feel observed, time goes by slowly and I try to say the first word with everything I’ve got.
Until in an act of total desperation, I let out all the air and I say my name, with barely any strength that just one part of the classroom can hear it. By the end, the shame, guilt, rage invade my body and I ask myself ¿Why does this have to happen to me? ¿How is it possible that saying my name transforms into one of my worst nightmares?… And the situation repeated itself every time I had to speak.
My name is Benjamin Castillo Merino, at the time of writing this, I’m 28 years old. I’m an engineer, and I’m a person who stutters. My parents say that it started when I was around 5 years old, however, I don’t remember one day in which I felt a moment of peace when I had to speak.
As the years went by my stutter became my big secret, an undesirable companion that I’ve tried to hide at all costs so nobody finds out. During all this time there’s been highs and lows, my family always being my greatest support, my greatest and only refuge in the hardest moments and who I could trust my secret with.
I’ve tried different types of therapies, I went to speech therapists, psychologists, meditation centres and every kind of thing that gave me hope to overcome my condition, without having the expected results, reaching the point of giving up and thinking that I could never escape this prison.
In 2017 I decided to take action once again and I started doing research, finding the McGuire Programme on the Internet. I was impressed to see the results of people who took the course and I decided to sign up to try it, with a bit of uncertainty by thinking that maybe it would be another failed attempt in my life to take control of my stutter.
I did my first course on the 28th of February, 2018 in Santiago, Chile. It would become the start of a great change in my life. When I arrived in the room I found a group of amazing people. We all shared similar life experiences. We spent 2 days of long hours of teamwork with my colleagues, members and coaches, the support that allowed me to learn and practice the techniques to take control, accept and overcome my fear of stuttering.
At the end of the course, I felt happy for what I achieved in such a short amount of time and realised that everything I saw on the Internet before starting the course was true. I felt free when I was able to reveal my great secret and since that day I am no longer someone who avoids speaking situations, I say what I want to say without fear of stuttering.
Two weeks after the course, I’ve felt the great support of the McGuire International community at every moment, we keep working, practising and applying our techniques. I’m aware that it’s the start of a long process of a lot of work and overcoming, however, I’ll keep striving to take total control of my stutter, be able to help others and make my dreams come true.