Monday, November 7, 2011

The Emotional Side of Aphasia

As a speech therapist, I work with individuals with aphasia almost every day I walk through the hospital door.  In therapy, I work hard on helping each one improve his/her communication skills but I also am there as an outlet for the emotional side.  As you can imagine, it is very frustrating for a person to be sitting at a table in a small room for an hour of his/her life trying to "relearn" how to talk.  When just a few weeks ago, talking was a skill never thought about.  You just did it.  I have a client now that cries almost every time we meet.  She even jokes about it at times saying "Well, I'm going to go cry now" when walking back to the therapy room; or points to me saying as she's laughing, "She's the one that makes me cry!".  She is a delightful woman and even though she jokes about the crying, it is a real part of her life.

It's amazing to me to see how drastic a difference people are in their emotional way of dealing with their loss (of words).  On one hand, you have the lady I describe above who cries frequently as she can't get some of her words out (although she is able to get her message across most of the time).   Then on the other hand, I have 2 clients who seldom are able to get a single word out, but are so joyful and positive all the time.  Yes, they do get frustrated when they can't get their messages across, but just seem to blow it off and move on never missing a beat.  So positive, so happy to just be alive.  I have to say, I don't think I would be that way if I could no longer communicate effectively.  They are truly an inspiration to me.

So there is not just one emotional side of aphasia.  Each individual handles his or her loss differently.  Help the individual deal in his/her own way.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this post. We're the caregivers and this has been a huge part of recovery. Tears, frustration, anger, etc - it's all part of the process.