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Practical Thoughts Blog

Stuttering and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder:
 My Personal Story

Stuttering and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder:
 My Personal Story

by: Angélica Bernabé

It is well-known that our society stigmatizes people who stutter. Unfortunately, if a person has stuttering and a co-occurring condition, the stigma can be higher. Although there are campaigns dedicated to promoting diversity and acceptance, there are still many things we should do in this journey of normalizing conditions.

I strongly believe that one of those actions is sharing our stories. Even though we live in a world that criticizes “vulnerability,” there is a great positive impact when we realize that there are other people experiencing similar things. The “you are not alone” message should be spread, because there will always be someone who needs to hear it.

So, that’s why I would like to share a little bit about my journey. Because when both doctors and psychologists told me that, “it was clear that I have ADHD”, I felt lonely—and I just couldn’t believe it. Being a person who stutters doesn’t make me feel alone; we are a huge community of amazing people with hundreds of stories to share. However, being a person with both stuttering and ADHD made me feel isolated.

Apart from that, I was sad because I didn’t want to be judged. Sometimes people can be cruel, and I didn’t want to hear negative comments. I immediately felt that I was “less than” others, and I was afraid that people would see me in a different way. It was frustrated to realize that I had that feeling of being “out of control” again, but this time not for my speech—it was for my attention.

I had to ask for help, and I found it. In therapy, I started to work on accepting those moments of sadness and looking at them as a part of this journey, because that’s what makes me human. I learned that, just like speech techniques don’t cure stuttering, medication is not going to cure ADHD. So, there will be moments when I’m going to stutter and others when my brain will decide to suddenly switch my attention focus, and I’m learning to handle that.

I know that someday I will fully embrace my ADHD, so I just have to be patient and respect my own process. I am starting step by step and trying not to rush. For instance, almost one year ago I only was able to talk about this with my parents, and today I’m here writing about my conditions. Every step counts, and now I have more reasons to be proud of me.

Of course, this process is easier when we are surrounded of the right people. Even if everything looks dark at the beginning, it is amazing to realize the support of those relatives and friends who are always there no matter what. Moreover, it is beautiful to see that there are warm-hearted people who dedicate all their efforts just to make our lives easier.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story and to help other people know that they, too, are not alone.