Many of you have e-mailed me directly sharing your experiences saying your name. I want to thank all of you for sharing with me and being so open. Many have you said you run out of the room for fear of sounding different or being perceived as "stupid". I hear you and have been there. So what do we do about this?
I think we have to acknowledge that fear is an emotion. It is a very real emotion, but it can be paralyzing. You really need your fluency tools in these situations to not stutter, but the anxiety has to be addressed to allow the tools to be able to be effectively used. I would start by asking yourself how you feel after you flee? Do you feel better or do you still have that dreaded anxiety? Try and disassociate yourself from the event. In other words, visualize the event and remove yourself as if you were a spectator watching. Wouldn't you want that person to stay and be a part of the group? Would you laugh at someone else if they said they stutter and to bear with them as they try and use their fluency tools? People laugh out of ignorance. They don't know about stuttering and many people have never met anyone who stutters. I am not forgiving the laughter or strange expressions, but the education about stuttering may lead to empowerment on your part.