People think I’m drunk and stupid because I’m fighting aphasia like Bruce Willis

You might assume someone swearing by their words is a little worse for the wear.

But this happens to Rachel Sykes without even drinking a single drop.

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Rachel Sykes curses her words without a drop to drink
Shana Docherty's son, Henan, 10, has autism and as part of his condition has a speech and communication problem.

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Shana Docherty’s son, Henan, 10, has autism and as part of his condition has a speech and communication problem.

The 56-year-old suffered a brain injury in 2012 that left her with expressive and receptive aphasia – a condition that affects speech and communication.

She said, “In the past people thought I was drunk or should be rough because of my speech. It’s very depressing.”

“I have a high IQ. It’s just that my words don’t come out the way I want them to.”

Rachel’s aphasia is irreversible and she told the Fab Daily, “I had to learn to live with it but it completely changed my life.”

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So she totally understands what Bruce Willis is going through.

When actor Die Hard’s family revealed he had aphasia last month, it became the most searched-for illness on Google overnight.

Although up to 14 million of us – 20 percent of the population – suffer from a communication disorder, very little is known about aphasia.

Sufferers such as Rachel often mistake drunken people for slurred speech or slow speech.

It is most often caused by a stroke but can be caused by head trauma, brain tumors, and conditions such as dementia that cause neurological damage over time.

Bruce’s decision to quit acting comes days after football expert Chris Camara announced he was retracting the live commentary due to apraxia of speech, a condition similar to aphasia where there is a separation between the brain and the mouth.

Kris’ symptoms are due to an underactive thyroid gland. But apraxia is generally caused by a problem with the area of ​​the brain that plans movement — the thing that tells your muscles to move so you can talk.

Actor Bill Chris Ellison’s wife, Anita, has announced that he also suffers from aphasia after suffering a stroke 18 months ago. Presenter Kate Garraway said husband Derek Draper is suffering from a form of aphasia after contracting with Covid for a long time.

Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke also suffered aphasia in 2011 when she had a subarachnoid haemorrhage, or SAH – a life-threatening form of stroke.

She later wrote in The New Yorker: “At my worst moment, I wanted to pull the plug. I asked the medical staff to let me die.”

“My job – my entire dream of what my life would be like – revolves around language and communication. Without it, I would have been lost.”

Amelia’s aphasia passed after a week but this is not the case for most people.

Rachel, from Barnsley, South York, said: ‘I know what I want to say but can’t always say it, and despite hearing what people say or reading the sign, I don’t always process it the way I should. I’ve had speech therapy. and language, which has helped me and I am grateful for, but it is not a curable condition.

‘Incredibly patient’

“I used to run my own real estate company and have a busy social life. Now my world is very small.

“Imagine that you are unable to order a takeaway or make a phone call to the bank or doctor’s office because the words will not appear correctly.”

When Rachel meets people for the first time, she asks them to be patient with her.

She said, “Although there are a lot, it’s not a well known condition so people don’t know how to take me.

“My friends are incredibly considerate. They know all about aphasia, so they are waiting for the right words.

“But it is not easy knowing that the rest of my life will be like this.

Twice a month, the charity Speak With IT (talkwithit.org) hosts a speech aphasia café near Rachel’s home, where others with the condition and their loved ones can meet

She said, “It’s my lifeblood and somewhere I can rest and be myself because I’m with people like me.

In my worst moments, I wanted to pull the plug. I asked the medical staff to let me die. My job – my entire dream of what my life would be like – revolves around language and communication. Without it, you are lost.

Emilia Clarke

“When I read about Bruce Willis, Chris Camara, and Chris Ellison all have speech and communication disorders, while it’s horrific for them, it helps the broader community to understand these conditions.”

Speech and language therapist Gemma Hoyle, of Speak With IT, said it’s important for people to be alert for changes in their speech or the speech of others, especially if a stroke or brain injury is possible.

She added, “If your difficulty in calling starts suddenly and is severe, you should call 999. But for more gradual changes, talk to your doctor.

“They can make referrals for investigations and, most importantly, referral to speech and language therapy for evaluation and advice.”

Children are generally referred directly to speech and language therapy.

Henan, Shanna Docherty’s ten-year-old son, has autism and as part of his condition, struggles with speech and communication.

The 46-year-old, from Tottenham, north London, who works part-time at a social club, said: ‘When Henan was three, I thought he flooded the bathroom by leaving the tap running.

“I told him not to clean it but after a few minutes it happened again. I asked him why he did it again and he said his older brother JJ did it.

While many are (patient), it is not a well known condition so people don’t know how to take me. My friends are incredibly patient. They know all about aphasia, so they are waiting for the right words.

Rachel Sykes

“I thought it was weird, because JJ wasn’t home. But when I noticed a broken pipe, I realized he couldn’t get the words out to tell me it wasn’t him.

When he was four, I noticed that whenever Henan was sick he would say he had abdominal pain, even if his head hurt. This continues to this day.

“We have an elimination process where I ask him if other parts of him are getting hurt or sick so I know what’s really the matter.”

Henan was finally diagnosed with autism when he was seven, thanks to Shana’s connection to a children’s communication disorder charity (ican.org.uk).

Communication for him is still a struggle.

“A few months ago he got really upset and said to me, ‘Mama, I don’t know how to feel my feelings.’ I knew he was trying to tell me he couldn’t express himself but watching my son struggle with communication was heartbreaking,” Shana said.

“He says he sometimes feels trapped but his problems aren’t just about communicating with others

“He doesn’t understand people well and doesn’t read their signs. He was bullied at school but he didn’t understand that the boys took his shoes and left him barefoot was bullying.

instruction manual

“He’s in fifth grade but I’m terrified of starting high school.

“His condition is very meticulous. I know him from the inside out but despite his diagnosis, his school does not provide any further support for him. They say he does well in class.

“It must be very difficult for him trying to navigate his way in the world when he can’t articulate what he wants and doesn’t know how people communicate with him. It’s like he’s trying to live in a world without a guidebook.”

David Baylor was 49 when he had his stroke in October 2020. He is still undergoing speech and language therapy – and he and wife Julie say that people like Chris Camara talking about speech and communication disorders can only help increase understanding.

Julie, 54, internal business development director, said: “I met Chris at an event a few years ago.

“I was very shocked to read about his communication disorder, but talking about and publicizing it can only be a good thing.”

David, 51, a commercial manager from Barnsley, had never heard of the aphasia before it happened to him.

He is still working on the physical aspects of his recovery but finds his speech one of the most frustrating things to deal with.

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He said, “I know what I want to say, but it just won’t come out the way I want it sometimes. I’m still trying until it comes out how I want it.”

“Julie and I have been together for 28 years, and while our conversations are a little different, we still have a lot of fun. It’s not easy having a communication disorder and if I can work it out, I will. But I still have a great life.”

Basic rules to follow

Do you want to support a loved one who suffers from aphasia? Follow the tips on aphasia.org when you’re with them:

  • Make sure you get their attention before you start speaking.
  • Try to reduce or remove any background noise.
  • Keep your voice at a normal level unless they ask otherwise.
  • Keep communication simple but for adults. Simplify sentence structure and reduce speech rate. Emphasis on keywords. Don’t talk to them lightly.
  • Give them time to talk. Resist the urge to finish their sentences or suggest words.
  • Use drawings, gestures, writing, and facial expressions in addition to speech.
  • Ensure that you are successfully communicating with the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions.
  • Praise all attempts to speak and minimize mistakes. Don’t insist that every word is produced perfectly.
  • Engage in normal activities whenever possible. Don’t protect people with aphasia from the family or ignore them in a group conversation. Try to involve them in making family decisions as much as possible. Keep them up to date but avoid loading them with too many everyday details.
  • Encourage independence and avoid being overprotective.
Bruce Willis' family revealed that he had aphasia last month

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Bruce Willis’ family revealed that he had aphasia last month
David Baylor was 49 years old when he had a stroke in October 2020 and is still undergoing speech and language therapy.

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David Baylor was 49 years old when he had a stroke in October 2020 and is still undergoing speech and language therapy.
Kate Garroy says her husband Derek has a form of aphasia after contracting 'long Covid'.

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Kate Garroy says her husband Derek has a form of aphasia after contracting ‘long Covid’.
Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke also suffered aphasia in 2011 when she had subarachnoid hemorrhage, or SAH, a life-threatening form of stroke.

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Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke also suffered aphasia in 2011 when she had subarachnoid hemorrhage, or SAH, a life-threatening form of stroke.
Chris Camara has announced that he will be retracting his live commentary due to his inability to speak

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Chris Camara has announced that he will be retracting his live commentary due to his inability to speak
Actor Bill's wife Kris Ellison Anita has announced that he also suffers from aphasia after suffering a stroke 18 months ago.

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Actor Bill’s wife Kris Ellison Anita has announced that he also suffers from aphasia after suffering a stroke 18 months ago.

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