The other evening I was talking to Adam on the settee, not a big deep conversation just the normal chatter sparked by the TV programs. I’m so used to not being able to find the next word, that that has just become the way I talk, stutter, silence, words, stutter, words, silence, but on this occasion the words didn’t just vanish so there was a pause, all words vanished, I sat there totally lost not sure what to do or what was happening. I know it was only seconds but the first thing I said, well actually shouted, was “AHHH, I’m never going to talk again”, as I slammed my head down towards my knees, failing to even manage that as my head stopped a couple of inches above them. I was trying to remember the name of the rehab hospital for the forces not far from Glasgow, a place I have been, and I have raised money for in the past, but I could find nothing to even help the word appear. If that had been it and the word or others appeared, it would have been fine, but I was aware of searching madly in a total blank and suddenly that search stopped, there was totally nothing not even words in my mind circling to get there, nothing, a total void. It lasted seconds but I know it happened, and I know I have never had that happen before. The words that came out were the actual first words I found and they came from deep inside as a scream of fear. For seconds or even less that was my heart felt fear, that no words would appear and no voice would be able to get them out.
MS and many other illnesses effects the brain and speech is a normal thing to be attacked and to become difficult to impossible form or be understood. The closest I have seen to the way I feel is those who have had mild strokes, I recognise the look in their eyes, as they try to be understood, searching and trying desperately to push the words out of their mouths. I can empathise as I live there with them a lot of the time. My speech is very varied through out the day, the more tired I get the worse it gets. I hear in Adams voice a frequent frustration with me when I am at my worst and if he is tired to the snaps and jump-ins increase until I have to stop him as he winds me up more and more resulting in everything getting harder. We all forget words when talking from time to time and I am sure you know yourself that you do it to. I remember that annoying feeling from years ago myself, but this is so much more and so much more frustrating. I know, and I can prove it is a speech center problem as I can sit here and type endlessly without the same issues, the words spill out one after another with just the odd pause to think or correct.
We all take speech as an automatic process and a something that will be with us for life but that isn’t the truth for all of us. There is no hard or fast rule it could happen that I am the one talking if badly, to my end and you with normal health now, could be the one unable to form words, but the likely hood is the opposite. Being a progressive condition my speech will progressively worse, I fear that the seconds of the other evening will grow to minutes or even to forever.
Looking into myself and explaining to you or anyone else is hard if you have no near experience, the closest I can get is probably to say that it is a little like when you are in a deep sleep and someone is trying to wake you. In your head you hear their words, part of you is trying to answer and part pulls it into your sleep, desperately trying to fit it into your dream, so you can ignore it and muddling it up in your mind, reality and dream fighting each other. If you have understood that part, now add into it that the first part which is answering is distracted by the dream and it can’t get the words out. Now add frustration, then suddenly the dream disappears, what you are hearing makes sense but what is happening has turned to nothing, even the confusion vanishes because you know you are in a void, unable to go back to the dream and also unable to respond to the words you still hear.
I don’t know if it will ever be as bad as that again but the odds are it will and it will get worse. I hope that what I have written make sense to most of you as I feel I am writing about the unexplainable, but I have tried as I always do.