Transient Aphasia and Me
Last updated: June 2023
Transient aphasia can affect an individual’s ability to use verbal or nonverbal communication and the ability to comprehend both forms of communication. An occurrence of transient aphasia can be stressful and concerning for the individual experiencing it and their loved ones who witness it.
My brain fog
My migraines have always been associated with brain fog. When I have brain fog, I struggle to concentrate, focus, and to remember things. For many years, I assumed losing my words was just a part of experiencing brain fog.
I would occasionally struggle with language, in addition to the problems with concentration, focus, and issues remembering things. In the beginning, it never seemed like a big deal when my words would be lost. For the most part, people could still understand what I meant despite some of my vocabulary temporarily disappearing. Granted it was frustrating but just something that happened with my worse migraines.
My strange experience
I was out of the state (Texas) and my migraine had me surrendering. The pain was worse than usual and had lasted such a long time. I attempted to respond to a message from my sister and ended up insulting her because what came out was not correct. It happened again with another message. This time it was much worse than some words missing from my vocabulary. I went into the kitchen to verbally speak to my mother (whom I was visiting) but it did not come out any better.
Luckily, I could still comprehend what my mother was saying to me. This allowed for us to agree on trying out an Ohio urgent care for a migraine attack. My mom had to call my insurance to find places that took my insurance and then call those places to see if they treated migraine. By the time we got to the urgent care, my ability to speak was back to normal. They were able to give me a Toradol injection and send me home to sleep off the migraine.
Transient aphasia and migraine aura
It took the trip to the urgent care center during this extremely bad migraine for me to learn that this loss of words was a case of transient aphasia. My inability to find words with my migraine attacks has been a migraine with aura symptom that I overlooked. This case was a more severe version of transient aphasia than what I normally experience.
Transient aphasia is a type of aura that might be suffered by individuals who have migraine with aura. Other types of migraine aura experiences are visual and sensory auras. In most cases, the aura occurs prior to the start of the migraine but can occur during the migraine as well. I do suffer from visual auras sometimes.
The spreading cortical depression brain wave “interrupts the normal flow of electrical currents between your neurons.” This is the case for most aura symptoms. When the spreading cortical depression brain wave spreads “throughout the brain, the brain becomes confused by the messages received from the abnormal electrical signals."1 The confusion can logically create issues for your body which take form as visual, sensory, or auditory auras.
It is easy to ignore symptoms until they become much more drastic than what you are used to experiencing. I would have never told a doctor that I frequently lose my words with a migraine. This is because it was common enough for me to feel as though it was just a part of having a migraine.
I can honestly say that not being able to communicate is scary. Transient aphasia experiences are terrifying when you do not know what is happening to you. I hope to see more information about this type of migraine with aura symptom.
Do you have transient aphasia experiences?
Which are you most sensitive to?