"When my words don't come out easily my mouth sometimes changes shape. I screw up my eyes and go red. Then I get terrible butterflies in my tummy, as I feel I won't find a way out. I try to get over the problem word but then another will get stuck, and another.
I often stop talking and take a few breaths to calm myself. I close my eyes as well while doing this; I don't like to see people's reactions. Mostly it works, but sometimes people lose interest or run out of time. They try and finish what they think you were saying.
I stammer more if I'm talking to someone I don't know, less with my family and friends. I never stammer when I sing or speak in different voices I've invented. Teachers are mostly sympathetic and give me the time I need. I have a good way of dealing with registration. When my form teacher calls my name, I reply, 'Es ma'am,' which should be 'Yes ma'am.' If you say it fast you can't hear the missing 'y'. I often know the answers in lessons, but I avoid putting my hand up. If a teacher asks me directly and there's a short answer I'll say it. If it would mean a long explanation, I'd say I didn't know.
At primary school I felt left out; I never got chosen to do anything. I'd like to perform, especially with my different voices. When I started in Year 7, my maths teacher asked me a question and when I couldn't answer without stammering she thought I was taking the micky. I got a detention.
It wasn't until my form tutor intervened that she realised it was true."