As regular readers of my blog know, I lost my voice about 18 months ago. Permanently. Itís something exotic called Spasmodic Dysphonia. Essentially a part of the brain that controls speech just shuts down in some people, usually after you strain your voice during a bout with allergies (in my case) or some other sort of normal laryngitis. It happens to people in my age bracket.
. . .
To state the obvious, much of lifeís pleasure is diminished when you canít speak. It has been tough.
But have I mentioned Iím an optimist?
Just because no one has ever gotten better from Spasmodic Dysphonia before doesnít mean I canít be the first. So every day for months and months I tried new tricks to regain my voice. I visualized speaking correctly and repeatedly told myself I could (affirmations). I used self hypnosis. I used voice therapy exercises. I spoke in higher pitches, or changing pitches. I observed when my voice worked best and when it was worst and looked for patterns. I tried speaking in foreign accents. I tried ďsingingĒ some words that were especially hard.
My theory was that the part of my brain responsible for normal speech was still intact, but for some reason had become disconnected from the neural pathways to my vocal cords. (Thatís consistent with any expertís best guess of whatís happening with Spasmodic Dysphonia. Itís somewhat mysterious.) And so I reasoned that there was some way to remap that connection. All I needed to do was find the type of speaking or context most similar Ė but still different enough Ė from normal speech that still worked. Once I could speak in that slightly different context, I would continue to close the gap between the different-context speech and normal speech until my neural pathways remapped. Well, that was my theory. But Iím no brain surgeon.
The day before yesterday, while helping on a homework assignment, I noticed I could speak perfectly in rhyme. Rhyme was a context I hadnít considered. A poem isnít singing and it isnít regular talking. But for some reason the context is just different enough from normal speech that my brain handled it fine.
Read the whole post, and then go tell him about the happiest day of your life, if you can--I can't really think of a standout candidate in mine. (The theme seems to be having children so far, so I guess that's why.) He wants only good news to celebrate today.