L-s–g -y W-rd- …
Losing my words! Yikes.
The past several weeks (2-3 at the least) I have found myself in the middle of a conversation completely stuck, searching for a simple, elementary word or concept. Truly bizarre, especially for a linguist/actor such as myself.
A significant example of this phenomena happened last weekend when I brunched with my girlfriends. One of the gals was updating us on a spinal injury she had suffered – a slightly slipped disc. I began to ask her about the muscles surrounding the disc, and wondered if they were __________, or if there was any ___________ that might be making the recovery slower. For the Life of me, I could not find even the sounds of what I wanted to say. I kept gesturing with my hands, holding them together and then growing them apart, but again, I just could not find the words. I started trying to find synonyms, but even those had deserted me. All I had were my flailing hands, a big spoonful of embarrassment, and worrying if my friends thought I was actually drunk at 9 in the morning. Gah.
Finally, another girlfriend read my rudimentary sign language, and asked, ‘Swollen?’ Yes! Thank you, God. The conversation continued. … And for the record, I didn’t think of the second concept until I was driving home from the date. ‘Scar tissue.’ Scar tissue, people. I couldn’t think of ‘scar tissue.’ Dear lord.
And really? This is only one example! Losing words, phrases, and names, or mixing sounds from one word with another, has been happening every day for the past 3 weeks, or so. I really do believe it is PAWS. I am rather certain of it. But for it to last so long, man, it is such an odd, uncomfortable, completely halt-me-in-my-tracks feeling.
On a nerd-level, I am rather curious about what is going on in my brain. I wonder what’s getting fixed up there, while my Vocabulary has gone on a Caribbean vacation and failed to take me with it.
The last several of months I was still drinking, I found a similar lapse in language, and really Memory in general. It was perhaps the biggest sign that I was in trouble. I started to worry what memories I was actually making, versus what memories I had begun to lose and blur out as a result of my heavy drinking. As a 30-something year-old woman, I had begun to worry if I was headed towards the true Stage 5 of Alcohol Addiction. I knew my loss of memory was not normal. However, it was something I could mostly hide from others because it was all inside, locked away. But deep down, I knew. And as I said, I started to get scared.
Having my language disappear at certain moments has been a reminder of those scarier, darker last days of drinking. From my sober vantage point, it is actually kind of nice to revisit the past, because even though my words are a little wonky at times, I am safe to remember those days – and I do remember those days! Rather vividly, actually. And those days remind me why I gave up drinking. Why it was an absolute necessity that I gave up the drink. I was getting slowly erased from the inside out.
And for the record, losing my words here and there is actually kind of funny. I wonder each day what’s going to come out of my mouth. I have no idea. *smile* It keeps me on my toes, and anticipating a rather ridiculous social moment, or many. Ha.
Day 158, Ab–c-da-ra.*