Catherine Sheridan
Catherine Sheridan
Monaghan, Ireland

First Course:
Galway, August 2011

With the help of the McGuire Programme and its back up support I can now truthfully say I am the person I always wanted to be. The confident, outgoing person was hidden behind layers of hiding and avoiding people and speaking situations.

From an early age I became an expert at hiding my stammer, from changing my words, to using filler words, to ‘forgetting’ what I wanted to say. I struggled through primary school. I remember knowing the exact time of day the teacher would begin reading a novel we were studying for English in which he would pick people out to read. Like clockwork I would avoid being picked by going to the bathroom and waiting there for 5/10 minutes. Daily tricks and avoidances like that became habitual and part of my normal daily routine. It was at the end of my first year in university that I made the decision to join the McGuire Programme. I approached my parents with the idea, and they were extremely happy for me to go. Although in their eyes, I didn’t really have a stammer I just got stuck on the odd word. But little did they know the inner turmoil I faced on a daily basis. That one decision to join the programme I firmly believe has shaped my life since and will continue to do so. The freedom of finally being able to admit to myself and others that I have a stammer but it’s okay because I'm now working hard to overcome it was an exhilarating moment. I have done so many things I wouldn't have dreamed possible since then and met a lot of inspirational people on the way. My attitude to life now is anything is possible if you want it enough.