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  • Writer's pictureThérapie 63

MY DOG'S GOT NO LEGS! HOW DOES HE SNORKLE? STARFISH.....................*see below for translation

Well, yes, you may rightly ask what's going on. But this is one of the hidden symptoms of Fibromyalgia. It is called DYSPHASIA.

Dysphasia, also called aphasia, is a language disorder. It affects how you speak and understand language. People with dysphasia might have trouble putting the right words together in a sentence, understanding what others say, reading, and writing.

[thank you ]

We tend to just lump it all together into that cognitive impairment box that we jovially entitle Fibro fog. If only it was actually funny - frustrating is more like it; and on particularly bad days, well, f***ing frustrating is what it is. For you the sufferer and those around you trying to work out what on earth you are babbling on about.

<< Just a quick side note; I, like a lot of people tend to call it Aphasia - but that actually means no language at all, so medically dysphasia is more correct but can sometimes be confused with dysphagia - which is another condition altogether - unfortunately one also common to Fibromyalgia. >>

So, dysphasia, rotten luck if you've got it. Like many things with Fibromyalgia, symptoms are not consistent for everyone so you may have missed out on this one, if you have, congratulations, if you haven't then I'm sure that you feel my pain. It makes it difficult to get my words out correctly at times, I have trouble understanding simple sentences, and strangely enough I find myself actually typing the wrong word even as I say aloud the correct word. Having to proof-read what I write twenty times over is time consuming, especially when it is just a three word text message!

It is not a sign of early onset dementia, and nor is it a sign of Alzheimers, you are not confused, you know who you are, where you are, and usually what you want to say, it just won't come out properly - technical article here.

Unfortunately as with most Fibro related symptoms, it's not one that goes away nor one that you can treat, unless it is particularly severe in which case you may be referred to a speech therapist. Luckily there are some things that you can do to mitigate the effects. Speaking slowly and breaking down your sentences into shorter sections, (mentally adding commas) can help. Repeating the word until the right one pops out - that can be a bit odd in a shop however, and avoiding very noisy situations where your brain is already overloaded with stimuli, again not always possible.

For some dysphasia manifests as a gaping hole when trying to remember names of people or places, generally primary nouns rather than verbs are affected; for others like me, it's substitution. Your brain knows you want to say a particular word, but it's lost it for a moment so it gives you the next best thing to hand, either a word association effort, or one that begins with the same letter - letter, shmetter - what's the matter with you, they all sound the same! The amount of times I have called Sarah Susan is embarrassing! But making dates can be difficult if your brain is satisfied with window instead of Wednesday....... Many techniques that work with stammering can help, adding a foreign accent, singing the word or saying it in another language. Experiment to see if you can find a technique that helps you. First and foremost, don't be ashamed or hesitant in explaining to people that it is a common symptom in Fibro and other chronic fatigue illnesses as well as rheumatoid arthritis, some chemotherapy treatments and neurological conditions.

It is not a question of your brain being lazy, no amount of brain training games, online puzzles or word games are going to help; because it is the opposite. Your brain is overstimulated, it is dealing with all the external light, sound, sensation as well as trying to cope with the heightened internal stimulus that is living with fibromyalgia.

And as pain makes the fibro fog worse, unfortunately so do the pain medications that work to dull the receptors in your brain.

Those close to you may also feel a degree of frustration when their simple questions go unanswered or you just stare back at them blankly. The more tired you are, the more pain you are in, the more likely it is to happen. Be open, be honest, explain that you are not doing it on purpose. Treat yourself with care, don't get mad at yourself, take a breath, try to still your brain, and the words will be there.

*Apologies; it is a really old joke, but it is how I told it to someone just the other day....

My dog's got no nose does he smell?


P.S. - It is also why we tend not to be good at word games or mental arithmetic - at least that is my excuse and I am sticking to it!

P.P.S. - The full range of dysphasia symptoms are enough to discourage even the most positive of us......

Speaking symptoms include:

  • struggling to find words (anomia)

  • speaking slowly or with great difficulty

  • speaking in single words or short fragments

  • omitting small words, such as articles and prepositions (telegraphic speech)

  • making grammatical errors

  • mixing up word order

  • substituting words or sounds

  • using nonsensical words

  • speaking fluently but without meaning

Comprehension symptoms include:

  • struggling to understand speech

  • taking extra time to understand speech

  • giving incorrect answers to simple questions

  • having difficulty understanding complex grammar

  • having difficulty understanding fast speech

  • misinterpreting meaning (for instance, taking figurative language literally)

  • lacking awareness of errors

[full article here]

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