Due to a severe stutter, Ray Demnitz often struggles to say his name. He struggles to place orders at restaurants. Finishing any sentence can prove challenging. Even though he may struggle to get the words out, he’s a great communicator. Rather than let his stutter hold him back, Ray has proudly embraced it as a mark of his individuality -- and others might do well to learn from his example.
"I would like people to understand that every person who stutters has a unique perspective on their stutter. Every stutterer I speak with has a different relationship with their stutter. There are wildly varying degrees of self comfort and self love among stutterers. However, I've never met a stutterer for whom stuttering wasn't a huge and impactful aspect of their life. I doubt that there is a stutterer out there that does not constantly think about their stutter in relation to every interaction in their life. From my experience the people who are most comfortable with their stutter are those who accept it fully as an aspect of themselves, instead of trying to change or "cure" their stutter.
I personally have gone back and forth a lot in terms of self image and my relationship with my stutter since I started stuttering. For me, it is an insanely difficult thing to accept about myself. It is very difficult to not think about my stutter as something that makes me lesser.
I was in and out of speech therapy for a long time. I haven't gone in a while, but I found a lot of success at the American Institute for Stuttering. I felt like they really focus on self acceptance and effective communication over fluency techniques and stuttering less. They taught me that it is more important to stutter well than it is to stutter less, and I am very grateful to them for that.
I've only been working as an EMT for a little while, and I mostly do non emergency inter facility transports. 99% of it is not the pulse pounding, life and death stuff that you see on TV, but being a good communicator is still key. I often deal with patients who are anxious about their situation, or depressed, or just plain starved for human interaction. At the level of care I am currently trained for, most of the time being a good person to talk to is all I can do. I like to think that living with a stutter has made me a better listener and a better communicator, and I hope that that translates into my interactions with patients." ~ Ray Demnitz