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The Anxiety Symptom I Never Expected


Editor’s note: Not everyone who stutters does so because of anxiety. This post discusses stuttering as a side effect of anxiety. For more information, see The Mighty’s section on stuttering.

As I entered my junior year of high school and began living with anxiety, I began to recognize things I had never experienced before. Anxiety caused many physical symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, stomach pain and trouble breathing. However, it caused one symptom that I would never expect: stuttering.

As someone who has never had a problem with language and speaking, it was strange when I would be talking to someone and get stuck on the first syllable if a sentence, repeating it as I tried to go on. Other times, I wouldn’t be able to get past the first word and when I finally did, I had forgotten what I was going to say. Later, I found out that this was a part of anxiety.

Unfortunately, stuttering in front of a person or a class is extremely embarrassing, causing my anxiety to rise as I wondered if everyone was thinking I was “stupid.”

Stuttering is probably the most frustrating symptom that I have because it hits randomly. So, if you also stutter and don’t know what to do, I find it is helpful to stop and give your brain a second to process what you want to say. If you remember what you want to say, you should be able to say it without difficulty. If you forget, move on. It can be embarrassing, but you aren’t “stupid” and people know that. You are amazing. Keep fighting.

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Getty Images photo via Tharakorn