Darren Benham was almost 30 before he could say his own name without chronic stuttering. Struggling to express himself, or even communicate basic information, his mental health was eroded on a daily basis by his self-hatred and frustration. His negativity and depression made him so physically ill for such a long time that he turned to self-harm, believing he was going to live the rest of his life in pain.
Searing and compelling, Stammer is a personal memoir that chronicles growing up in Dublin’s north inner city, the author’s difficult childhood, his struggles with stammering, and how he used hurling and football to express himself, progressing to playing senior hurling for the Dublin team. Ultimately, it is a redemptive story, as Darren gains control of his speech and mental health through intensive therapy and gains acceptance with the help of a new relationship.
Stammer tells a very personal story, but one we can all relate to, in which the themes of mental health, family relationships, the power of sport, self-acceptance, bravery and empowerment weave together, leading to the burning realisation that life is sincerely what you make it and it is very difficult to make it on your own.
Darren Benham was born and raised in Dublin’s inner city to an English father and Dublin mother. His chronic and debilitating stammer drove him to express himself through academic endeavor and sport, particularly hurling. He captained his college team and ultimately secured a place on the Dublin senior hurling panel. A qualified chartered accountant, he runs his own business as an accounting consultant. He is retired from hurling but is currently obsessed by thoughts of cycling around the world.