Imagine that you’re trying to talk, but you can’t get the words out — and then, if you finally do, no one understands what you’re saying. And you don’t understand what others are saying to you. That’s what it’s like to live with aphasia.
Aphasia results from damage to the brain that affects speech and language comprehension. Frequently, aphasia follows a stroke, but it can also result from a traumatic brain injury; in my case, I suffered a “coup contrecoup injury with diffuse axonal shearing of the brain” — and, consequently, aphasia — when a drunk driver plowed into a parked car that I was sitting in one Tuesday morning in 2006.
I’m sharing my story not because I think it is exceptional, but because I know it is not. If anything, it’s the telling that makes it unusual because so few of us with aphasia can speak about the challenges we face.