How often do you find yourself searching your brain for a simple word that you just can't remember? Do you have problems writing, or understanding things you read or hear? If so, you're certainly not alone! This kind of language impairment is a symptom of both fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS).
This language problem is the source of a lot of frustration and embarrassment, and has made some of us unable to read very much, or remember what we have read. This symptom alone can make it hard for some to hold down a job. It's medical name is dysphasia, or in severe cases, aphasia. It's a recognized speech disorder, so you can tell people you have it without having to go into the whole explanation of what FMS and ME/CFS do to our cognitive function. I feel like a broken record saying this, but (of course) no one knows why we get this problem. It's usually associated with brain damage or degeneration from diseases. So far, there's no evidence that FMS or ME/CFS cause this type of degeneration.
As a writer with a lot of public speaking experience, dysphasia drives me crazy! The people closest to me have learned to recognize the signs, so they wait for me to get my words together and continue. I hate talking on the phone, especially to people I don't know.
If dysphasia or aphasia is a major problem for you, talk to your doctor about speech therapies that may help. Here's an article (originally written for stroke patients) that talks about various forms of treatment: Aphasia Treatment
What's your experience with dysphasia/aphasia? Has anything helped you? Leave your comments below, or in About.com's Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome community forum (under Newsletter & Blog Topics.)
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