"The team I am surrounded by are very professional and no one really bothers if I stammer or not."

Last year I received a new assignment order to the Defence Medical Academy at Whittington barracks in Lichfield. With this brings a multitude of tasks that require careful planning and loads of dreaded phone calls. The sheer excitement surrounding a family move from Colchester to Lichfield was high. This had a profound effect on my speech, and if this wasn’t bad enough, along came COVID-19!

Moving to a new house is stressful at the best of times, the COVID-19 situation meant that our pending move was delayed for a few months. This meant calling and cancelling removals, rearranging dates of the BT engineer, Gas, electric arrangements etc. This proved to be quite challenging due to not really knowing when things were going to be back to normal or knowing when we were going to move. I also had to try and find a place at a new school for my son, but this proved difficult at first because we didn’t really know when he would start. I must admit I struggled speech wise on a few of these calls but must say everyone was quite patient with me and I managed to do what I had to, albeit a little more stressful than usual.

Finally, when we had the opportunity to move, it happened very fast. I had to make more phone calls in a very short period to arrange the move and schools etc. I dreaded this part, as I knew consciously that my speech will be difficult to control, and no matter how hard I tried to apply my starfish technique, the sheer excitement and adrenaline took over and my speech was worse than before. But I still managed!

We are still not settled as we have an issue with the house the military has allocated us. On top of that my wife is expecting our second child in September and we have had a lot of planning to do regarding the birth, so it’s a busy time which has pushed my speech to its limits.

On the work side, however, it is really good, I gave a stammering brief to a group of students as part of a Diversity & Inclusion lesson which was well received and I have not yet had a bad experience, no matter how bad I have stammered, so all good. 

Being in an open-plan office for the first time is proving a challenge, but I am slowly adapting to it. Only thing I still dread is phone calls and Skype calls, I have nowhere to run so I need to do them in the office. The team I am surrounded by are very professional and no one really bothers if I stammer or not. Good times ahead! 

Thanks to Captain Lang MBE, for this guest blog. Read more of our real-life stories from people who stammer here.