Learning how to accept a disability as part of who you are can take some people a lifetime.

For Ayo Adesayna, accepting his stammer took him to brink of suicide until he finally learned it was his identity and he didn’t need to hide it.

His debilitating stammer trapped his voice within and at Christmas, last year “he was ready to die”.

Ayo got a degree in banking and finance from Loughborough University but his stammer quickly put an end to any career in the City.

He said: “I would s*** my pants every time the phone rang at the office. It made me anxious which would just make my stammer worse.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

'It’s ok to be honest about your problem'

The 26-year-old from Highams Park tried everything to get his stammer under control, from speech therapy to hypnosis.

In his sheer desperation, he gave thousands of pounds to an African ‘witchdoctor’ in Walthamstow who falsely promised to cure him.

Ayo said he turned to the gym to try and regain a sense of pride in himself.

He said: “I used to think I was macho like I’m some big black guy, I’d have this persona.

“I’d go to the gym, lift weights and act strong.

“But inside I was hurting every day.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Sitting at home in Highams Park, Ayo speaks with remarkable honesty

He had given up hope and by December, he had bought the painkillers and would sit staring at them, mulling over his death.

It wasn’t until he signed up to The McGuire Programme in May that Ayo’s journey to freedom truly began.

The programme famously helped Gareth Gates overcome his stammer by helping him learn to accept it and not fight it.

Ayo started the course in May, and hearing him talk about his troubled past is remarkable considering his confident and honest manner today.

It has led him to standing on a soap box, telling Bristol city centre about his inspiring story for a full 15 minutes.

Ayo accepts he “will always have a stammer” but knows it is “not the end of the world”.

He said: “It’s ok to be honest about your problem and talk about it.

“You don’t want to end up depressed. Depression doesn’t help anyone. You need sort out the problem before it gets to the stage where you feel helpless.

“A lot of men feel like they can’t talk because of their ego, pride or whatever.

“But men can be sensitive, we have feelings too. If you need help, just ask. Don’t keep it to yourself.

“Ask for help like I did.

“When I accepted my stammer and was honest about it, I was able to change my life.

“Now I’m free and happy, I’m the best version of myself I’ve ever been."

Ayo is now a signal technician for Network Rail and he hopes he can inspire more people with his story.

He adds: "I want to get in schools and keep inspiring, I want to give something back to the community.”