Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Anyone out there?

Post-scriptum: Soudainement, beaucoup de Francophones suit ce blog. Bienvenue! Quelqu'un peut-il me dire comment ceci est venu pour être? (Excusez-moi, s'il vous plaît, si mon français est boiteux.)
Yesterday (Monday; Thanksgiving Day) was the six-month anniversary of the day my world changed more dramatically than ever before.
Since that day, my psychiatrist, physiotherapist and I have been focused on eradicating seizures (psychogenic) from my life and I believe we have “won.” Now I can control them staying home and limiting excursions to the essentials — always the same grocery store and to medical appointments. Otherwise, I venture out escorted.
I have not had a seizure since Sept. 5th. That was the worst one I have had. It led to re-admission to St. Paul’s.
So here I am on the morning of the first day of my third quarter of my disability. Today I shift the focus from PTSD and psychiatric care to speech therapy and stuttering.
Dr. Ramage will be my speech therapist. I have seen her before but the visits were too early into my crisis and all I did was sit in front of her and have seizures. Now I feel ready to see her. 
My objective is simple: To learn any coping techniques that I have not discovered on my own and to find community. I discovered mirroring, using character voices and sing-songing on my own. I want to learn all coping methodologies. I doubt I have intuitively discovered as many as Dr. Ramage knows. And if I would love to find a stutterers support group if there is such a thing locally.
I’d really like to have a friend who stutters. (Ideally, someone who is single and old, like me.)
Since the Stuttering Foundation newsletter arrived, I have read it many times. I have read every letter and when I do, and when I go to the American and/or Canadian Stuttering Foundation websites, I cry.
When I met my birth mother at age forty-five, it was a fairly powerful experience. That’s exactly what it was: “fairly” powerful. Emotionally, I was more aware of her as a stranger than as a mother. We did not hug. There was no heavenly music, there were no angels; there was considerable tension.
Seeing her face was a revelation. We looked like twins born twenty-five years apart. And her being an actress was even more important inasmuch as I, too, am a born thespian. The reunion was a validating experience. It made me feel real and part of eternity, but it did not make me feel part of a family.
The Stuttering Foundation newsletter gives me far more of a family feeling. Like thespians, these are my people and I want to be around my people. Dr. Ramage may be able to help me find them.
The only thing of consequence I did to mark this six-month anniversary of brutalized speech is this: I posted an ad on Craigslist’s “Strictly Platonic” page in the “Personals” section. Here is what it says:
A (long) shot in the dark: I'd like to meet someone who stutters. All my life I could mask my stuttering but now I can't. I stutter badly unless I use a character voice. I am a patient at the Pacific Voice Clinic at VGH.
I recently joined the Stuttering Foundation and it was like finding God so I think it would be wonderful to meet a personable stutterer with whom I could have coffee or go for a walk once in a while.
I'm a retired former university educator and writer but my profession doesn't define me. I am better understood through my passions.  More than anything, I think, my friends think of me as someone who makes things. I constantly write and make visual art. (My teaching was at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.) They would also call me a walker (I take long walks), an avid baker and a lover of all (non-threatening) living things.
I relate well to younger people as well as my peers, that's why I enjoyed teaching. So it doesn't matter to me how old a stutterer I meet. Maybe you stutter or know someone who does. I'd sure like to make contact — first through email.
Anyone out there?

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