Neurological stammer

I have had a neurological stammer for 4 months now, I thought I was doing quite well till today, I had a confrontation with someone and found I could hardly speak due to the stammer, and couldn't say what I wanted to, the words and phrases simply weren't there, knowledge couldn't be used as I simply couldn't acsess it.

Does anyone else suffer these problems, and does it get easier, at the moment I am feeling fustrated as I have trained to a high standard but when I need to use the knowlage I have worked hard to aquire , my brain doesn't find what I need

It is unsure why I stammer it was first thought to be a stroke but when MRI showed no evidence of this it was put down to a head injury a month before

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  • Hi sdcakt

    I also have stammer and slurred speech since my head injury 5 month ago I think it 5 month ago yes

    Initially I couldn't speak much at all which shock my family and friends as prior to accidebt I could talk back legs off donkey I was also very articulate with my speech

    Another problem that you have identified is struggling to find words this is problem for me too or using the wrong words which can have embarrassing consequences

    Not related to speech but my binocular vison is problematic which means as I type I miss the keys I'm trying to hit amongst other things which Is why what I type might not always make sense

    Take care

    Emma x

  • As with any brain injury, it's impossible to know whether you'll recover any lost abilities over time. No one can determine that, not even a neuro. But generally, people are more likely to recover lost abilities during the first 6-12 months, however each individual is different and abilities can be recovered many years later. But as a rule, you eventually hit a plateau where you're left with some residual difficulties that may or may not be worked around. Some people may say they've completely recovered and are 'back to normal' but they're rarely the same person they were before.

    I have the problems you describe, the umbrella term is 'expressive aphasia'. Whilst no one has said I have it, I do struggle from time to time with saying what's on my mind, finding appropriate words and otherwise articulating my thoughts so that they're fully understandable to the person listening. Occasionally, it's very obvious at least to me when I have a mental blackout and the words simply evade me and it can be (or used to) embarrassing/socially awkward. I've learned to recognise when I'm going to struggle, especially when fatigued at the end of the day, or early in the morning when I don't feel awake, or sometimes I just don't care and let loose (I can make noise too ;) ). It's not as bad as it used to be and I normally compensate well by saying things in another way approaching the way I intended to whenever these moments arise.

    Did you have a frontal injury? Expressive problems are quite typical in people with frontal damage.

    I appreciate this may not be what you wanted to hear, but it may be helpful to know there are others with similar issues.

  • Hi there

    As a kid I had a really bad stammer, then after BI I found myself stammering again. I find if I can stay calm and not put myself under pressure it is hardly noticeable, but like you if I get stressed I can't find the word I want let alone say it!

    It's very frustrating especially coupled with loss of words, I told someone once 'it's like I used to have an encyclopaedia in my head and now it's a Janet and John book'. It's still early days for me, but I find it is easier to prevent it happening now I understand the trigger behind it.

    Good luck

  • That's funny, Hedgehog99 - I once used almost exactly the same words to describe what it's like! The encyclopaedia is still there, it just takes time to re-learn how to access it. And in my case, yes, it does get easier, so good luck. :)

  • That's encouraging - thanks for the light at the end of the tunnel :)

  • HI, I stammered after my head injury, but after about I think it was between 6-8months after my accident it completely stopped not sure why, but I hope it's the same with you, I still get my words mixed up and can't find the words which is worse when I'm stressed especially in job interviews, I open my mouth but nothing comes out then I go bright red and I get a weird look from the person doing the interviews.

    Wish you all the best for the future and hope the stammer goes. :)

  • Thank you all, yes it was a right frontal head injury just above my eye, they seem to think it's affected my speech as I'm left handed ? Been off work since the injury so not had much stress or had to use my brain to express my feelings or express myself, just general chit chat which were although I stammer it is perfectly understandable. this was the first time it has been tested to such an extent ,n it's come as a great shock, was due to go back to work next week, and am now feeling really worried about this, I work in pharmacy so need to use aquiered knowlage all day, it is obviously dangerous if I can't give the right message or get words mixed up, L feel what's the point of having the knowlage if you can't use it when you need too

  • That's interesting that you had a right frontal injury, since it is what I had. I'am right handed however. There's an area of the brain in the left frontal lobe called "Broca's area" that when injured commonly results in speech problems. But the fact that I had only a right frontal lobe injury leaves me perplexed as to why my speech is affected. I guess it just goes to show there's a lot they still don't know about the brain.

    I feel your frustration. It pains me that I can't always answer back, that what I say isn't the message I wanted to deliver, that I jumble words up, that I can't always use appropriate words. Needless to say it has dire social consequences. You're right I suppose, it doesn't matter how knowledgeable you are if you can't use it when you need to. However, for this reason, i've come to appreciate written communication which acts as a memory and is irrespective of time. It allows people to know my true thoughts on a subject matter, whereas people may misconstrue my spoken word.

    One thing that I've noticed helps me, is singing. I've always been a musical person even before my accident, playing the piano. I've recently taken up to singing songs in my own home. I have noticed that I speak with much greater ease later on in the day when I've sang. I'm also singing whilst playing the piano now, it's a great way of training your brain's communication networks.

  • Hello there,

    Gosh I really sympathise, I have this also. It did improve for me post op over the following year ...and I went back to work for several years. Stress does affect things with me.

    Sadly, my health deteriorated for another reason and I gave up work.

    I therefore don't need to communicate verbally as much day to day now, and I think that this has been the reason I am getting worse again

    I recently had cause to ring my bank and got a call centre.. ( they use a black horse as a logo hem hem)

    I was asked security questions.. but could not tell the "computer says no" man the amount I spent on my card on such a date. I kept repeating to him that I had a brain injury so some questions like that were useless as I wouldn't recall them. I offered information like how long I had banked with them ( 30 years!) but he said that didn't help. And no they didn't have any special arrangements for people with recall difficulties they were combatting fraud and treated everyone the same.

    He was very unsupportive, he kept telling me that I had answered "inefficiently" and asked my more questions about spending amounts and dates....and therefore he could not address the issue I was calling about . ( I needed a replacement debit card).

    He actually got me so distressed the way he spoke to me. He was rude without breaking company policy... clever with it...the tone of voice was unsettling..It was like being in an exam you had not revised for.

    He was so cold down the phone, and used words like " you have been incompetent in answering the security questions." "You are inefficient in your response"...that I could hardly speak. Struck dumb.. literally

    And no I don't do phone banking because like others have said here, I press the wrong keys on occasion..

    I asked to speak to his supervisor, "what for?" he said... his supervisor read from some script when I said I had a disability.. " we treat everyone equally". she said...not a clue.... I became a stammering speechless. wreck.. I was so distressed...in the end I hung up. Still no debit card replacement.

    Equal treatment does not mean " the same treatment for all". its about outcomes being equal for all. I can type that here, but couldn't say it at the time.

    I am so sorry that you are going through this, it is so frustrating I know.

    We are all different, find out what support there is and hopefully you can come through this.

    In solidarity

    Foggy x

  • I'm also with the Black Horse and I haven't ever encountered a problem on the phone. I phone up and start off with I have brain damage which affects my memory, give it a few seconds to sink in. They then ask date of birth, post code stuff I knew before and have always strived to get enough information to prove that it's me. I always use a land line which is the telephone number the Bank have which would flash up on their screens.

    Could you make a list of the usual security questions and the answer before you phone up?

    I wonder if you could write a letter to customer service, do they have the facility of a warning note on your account, could they train their staff about us? The brain injury charities that they donate to would be able to give them some help in dealing with us.

  • Thanks foggy that's exactly it, what an awful experience that was for you, why is this type of injury so miss understood, I was chatting to some friends and someone I hadn't seen in a while said ' your stammer isn't bad' at which point I bcame a stammering wreck, but it doesn't seem recognised as a disability . I'm sure the bank wouldn't have asked a blind person to read a document

    I do find if I try to pre empt what they ask, and write the answers down it helps

  • I also stammer & have slurred speech because of my brain injury. My entire mouth almost always feels like their is a big ball of cotton in it. I find that trying to speak slower really helps it. Unfortunately, when I have a lot of thoughts in my head, I sometimes I speak faster. Speaking faster was the way I learned to try and get my thoughts out, before I forget them. It is quite the dilemma. Actually the only thing that I have ever found to help this condition is smoking marijuana. I'm not exactly sure how, or why it works, but it seems to slow down both your your perception of the outside world, and also allows you to slow down the speed, of your speech. Look up marijuana, Jacqueline Patterson, & speech impediment on you tube.

  • Hi sdcakt, yes, I'm another one with these difficulties. For me, stress and any strong emotion (anxiety, anger, etc.) make my stammer and word recall much worse. It's also worse when I'm tired. At least that is an easy way for my husband to tell when I'm really tired! :)

    However the symptoms have definitely lessened over the 4 years since my injury. I guess I have learned to accept what I'm left with, which is really pretty manageable. (Though saying that, I once had a similar experience to Foggydew, though not with quite such spectacularly useless personnel - poor you, Foggy.)

    Starting a job again is a stressful time for anyone, let alone after a brain injury, so it won't be surprising if your symptoms seem worse for a bit. Is this something you would be able to explain to your boss and colleagues (in writing if easier for you), to fore-warn them? It will reassure them to know that the training and knowledge is still there in your head, it's just that you sometimes might have difficulty accessing it as quickly as you used to, especially when under pressure.

    Don't lose heart, there is every chance that your symptoms will improve. The knowledge is still there in your head, not wasted. As with everything to do with brain injury, it just…takes…time….! Very best of luck.

  • Thanks for the thoughts everyone. The power of this group is knowing you are not alone isn't it. I too suffer speech problems 3.5 years since my accident, i have the enormously frustrating problem that I am not lost for a word, I just can't say it. My problem is only evident when i'm fatiqued and gets worse when i worry about it. I can stand in front of 200 people and speak for an hour with barely a slur but get me on the phone to a bank or similar and i'll fall to bits.

  • Hello sdcakt ( and everyone.. thanks for the empathy... bank now offering to send me BIG PRINT lol! Its like a carry on movie)

    It is a great support this place ...to know that we aren't on our own with all this. Aelfwyn.. that's me to a T also.

    I posted earlier...... but lost it! @ Skipper, same for me.. I could speak in front of a huge group. at length....all still in the long term memory.

    It's the small interpersonal stuff which set off the stammers and some short term memoryissues

    When I have no choice but to stick it out ...then I start closing down.

    I think the trigger for me is knowing that the person I am dealing with doesn't/wont /refuses to/ "get it" and there is no alternative but to deal with them,

    @ sdcakt, re your worries about "acquired knowledge"......I see you work in Pharmacy, I am a lawyer, (now retired), and it was a very specialised area indeed.

    My confidence in this area came back to me, the technical side was still there.

    So take heart. I sincerely hope that you will get a bit more confident as you find that the Pharmacy technical ability is still lurking there.

    We take a great knock when we have been through this stuff, but you can get a lot back.

    Some individuals on a personal level are eejits for whatever reason.

    Our dealing with eejits filter got a bit damaged! I'm still a work in progress in that area...better than last year but still have wonky days.

    So hope that this gives you some good heart. Keep talking... great thread.. thanks for raising the issue, it definitely strikes a chord with a lot of us.

    all the best

    Foggy x

    ps. apols for any typos

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