Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dying for Happiness: The Trial of My Life ~ Part 2

A continuation from: "The Trial of My Life ~ Part 1"

So now that the commitment to God was there, the work began. Once a week I had therapy with Dr. Susca, and then the hard part, implementing what I learned into my regular speech. I had to begin to stutter, and I had to be okay with stuttering in front of my friends, peers and adults. It was hard, but with the newly found happiness and positive attitude it began to become easier. I am so grateful for good friends who supported me through this trial, and did not show frustration or annoyance towards my stutter. One friend even said, "It never really bothered me, and sometimes I even found it fun to try and guess what he was trying to say."  One funny experience that I remember in this time, trying to stutter and not hide it was with this same friend.

I loved Jamba Juice, I mean who doesn't, it is just so delicious, but there was always one thing that I hated about. They ask for your name to put on the order. It is proven that with many people who stutter one of the hardest things to say is there name. I was no different. So this one time, we go to Jamba Juice and order, and she asks for my name, JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ... I pause and try to get my composure. JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ, I tried again, but it was just not coming. Third times the charm right? JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ, nope, still not happening! Then my friend stepped in and said my name to the lady who I am sure was frustrated by this point. It was a hard experience, but as we left we all laughed about it, and made light of the whole situation. Again, I am grateful for friends who made my trial easier and more fun!

After continued effort on my part and counseling from Dr. Susca I began to get my stutter under control, the proper way, not by hiding it. I was able to talk  more freely and with more confidence, and I was able to communicate my desired thoughts.

Mom continues, "We will be eternally grateful for Doctor Susca's willingness to help get Elder Dye on his mission.  He is not a member of our church, but he knew about the pressures missionaries would face, so he would 'test' him.  Question his faith, and put him in uncomfortable situations in order to teach him how to respond."I was able to talk again, which I knew meant that I would be able to serve a mission. A goal I always had, but an achievement that seemed far distant for quite some time. How could I serve a mission if I couldn't talk? Well, God is love, and He loves us, and he will "Prepare a way for [us] that [we] may accomplish the thing which he commandeth [us]." (1 Nephi 3:7)

Mom concludes, "As parents it's sometimes very difficult to watch our children suffer.  I'm so thankful for a son who did not give up on his desire to serve a mission. Who did what it took to be prepared and for wonderful people willing to accept him and his challenges.  I know when we take our problems to the Lord we will be directed in ways that we would never have thought of on our own.  The Church is true. The gospel of Jesus Christ can bring joy and happiness to our lives if we keep the commandments and rely on the Lord."

"If [we] will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put [our] trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind... he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver [us] out of bondage." (Mosiah 7:33) Whether that bondage be a speech impediment, an addiction, an inappropriate relationship, or any other trial that we can face in this life, through Christ, there is a way out! That I know!

If there is any one who reads this that has questions that I could answer or a trial that through my experience might be able to help you through, PLEASE let me know. Leave a comment or email me,

To read the Previous Posts in the Series and learn about upcoming posts, check out the Series Page.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dying for Happiness: The Trial of My Life Part 1

"Elder Dye was a late talker." Said my mother. "He only said a few words until he was 3 years old and I tried to put shoes on him that were too small. He said 'Mommy, these shoes owie my feet'. I was shocked. He really could talk. He started speech 'therapy' in kindergarten and was doing quite well. The only problem was that he had a slight hesitation when he said certain things. He stopped speech in the fifth grade. He said it wasn't helping anymore and he didn't like missing classes."

For as long as I remember I have had trouble with my speech. I had the hesitation, or stutter, from a young age. My mother is right, I quit going to speech in the fifth grade because I thought it was a waste of time and didn't like missing class, but mainly because I did not like being the outcast in my class, having to leave to go learn how to speak like everyone else already did. So the hiding began. I began to substitute words that I could say for words that I thought I would stutter on. I got quite good at this. Actually really good at it. For a while my mother did not know that the stutter was a problem because I hid it from everyone. I hated being the outcast.

My mother continues, "When he was a junior in High School the 'hesitation' started getting worse.  We really did not know where to turn for help."

My mother asked if I wanted to go back to speech therapy at the school. I told her "NO WAY! They don't know what they are talking about and don't know how to help me." So the hiding continued. After hiding my stutter for so long, it began to get harder and harder to hide it. In my Junior year, with the added stress of High School life, and being involved in many other things, the efforts to hide my stutter began to come to no avial. There began to be more and more words and sounds that I would stutter on and less and less ways I could get around it.

For most of my life I was a happy person and mainly had a positive attitude about things. But as the stress increased, so did the stutter, and as a result my positive attitude began to decrease.

"By his senior year it was so bad it was difficult to watch him speak.  His face would become distorted as he tried desperately to express himself.  It became very worrisome to all of us." Said my mom.

As the stutter and difficulty to speak continued to increase, depression also began to increase. As depression increased, so did my stress level, which as stated earlier made my stutter worse. So as you can tell, it was a cycle that continued to get worse and worse. In the midst of this deadening cycle, other things in my life also began to change. I noticed that I was not reading the scriptures as much, and my prayers were quite pathetic when they happened. I began to wonder if God really loved me, and I had come to the conclusion that I was probably viewed as an outsider, even to God. From the experiences earlier in my life, I knew that there was a God and I knew that he had power. But I began to make my self believe that He no longer cared about me! It got to the point to where I knew that something had to change. But I did not know where to turn.

Mom continues, "I asked him what he was willing to do and he said anything.  I have a good friend whose a speech pathologist and she suggested I do research online to find help about stuttering.  That is really the first time I heard the word Stutter. After much fasting and prayer I found the name of a Dr. Michael Susca who taught at the University of Pacific in Stockton California. About 45 minutes from our home. I called what I thought was an office number and discovered I had the cell phone number of Dr. Susca. After talking with him for an hour and then talking it over with my husband and Elder Dye, we decided to take him up to Stockton for an evaluation. Dr. Susca said that Elder Dye had learned how to cover his stutter and he had run out of techniques.  He then said he needed to learn to 'stutter his brains out.' It was a blessing in our lives to find such a respected and qualified person to help our son."

This was when things began to change. I realized that I was a normal person, even if I didn't speak like most other people. I learned that Dr. Susca had a stutter as a boy and now is 100 percent fluent. Hope began to enter into my life. Although, my attitude was still negtive and I was still quite depressed. So I decided that I needed to turn to one more person to help me through this. The person who knows me and what I am going through.

As I prayed I asked if he was there and if he knew me. In a way my prayer was that of the Children's song, "A Child's Prayer." "Heavenly Father, are you really there? And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?" I felt a warmth and love that I had not felt before. I knew that God was there, I knew that Christ knew what I was going through. I learned that the atonement was there for everything we suffer in this life, not just our sins. (see Alma 7:11-13) I learned that there was a way out, and that Christ was willing to take me on the path out from this depression and trial, if I was willing to let him. So on we went. I began to pray more and read the scriptures more, and through this was when I knew without a doubt that the Book of Mormon and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true.  I saw my attitude begin to change, I felt happiness and peace that I had not felt in a long time! I knew that I was not an outsider!