Losing the ability to speak has been a regular feature of my ‘ticcing fits’ since they suddenly intensified last October. This evening Leftwing Idiot and I were out and about when I had a fit. It was mild and relatively easy to manage because I was in my wheelchair, but as usual I wasn’t able to talk. We stopped on the pavement and waited for the fit to finish.
After a few minutes the constant repetitive movements of the fit stopped, but unusually my speech didn’t return. Time passed and I began to feel panicked by my inability to say the words I had very clearly in my mind.
I kept trying to say things because I wanted to test whether my speech was getting back to normal. When it wasn’t, hearing the chaotic unrecognisable noises that were coming out instead was alarming and upsetting. Leftwing Idiot was trying to find out if what I was trying to say was important or not.
He tried to nudge my speech in the right direction by repeating familiar tics that he knew I couldn’t avoid repeating. I did repeat them, but the only recognisable thing about the sounds I made was their rhythm – the words themselves were completely unrecognisable.
Eventually my speech did return to normal and it was a huge relief. Although it was terrifying to start with, over the past few months I’ve got used to losing the ability to speak during ticcing fits. Not getting my words back after this fit had finished was terrifying all over again.