Sometimes I Can’t Speak

I was upset about something and I started to feel weak and tired. Within an hour it continued to get worse. And worse. And worse. I try to form the words with my mouth but no sound will come out. Like I had forgotten how to take formed thoughts and turn them into speech. I guess the muscles that control my voice and my mouth are too weak.

Or maybe I was alone so much before that I never spoke. Maybe I never realized, I never knew. In the mornings I can’t move, I can’t open or close my eyes, I can’t blink. I’ve accepted this, this is old. During the day there are times where I can’t speak. This feels like a fresh wound, still aching and new.

I want to stay home, but some family is having a cook-out. I want to go. So I write notes, I try to predict what kind of things people will ask me. I write a note to say yes and another to respond no. I write a note telling them what’s wrong with me. I write a sarcastic note for when they ask me how I’m doing. “I’m good”. I carry a notepad and a pen so that I can write more if there is more that I needed to say. I pull on my You Matter hoodie to stay warm, and in case I needed a hug.

I’m thinking so many things at once, but I can’t express them to the people around me. I want to cry but I smile instead. I see an old friend and hug them. We sit inside and “chat” using a notepad instead of sitting outside, surrounded by everyone. It was kind of nice, spending time with people instead of staying in. Sometimes I can’t say it aloud, so I write instead.

I had paralysis and weakness for 10 hours that day. Take a shot every time I say “I” in this piece.

Cover Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels


  • Miriam R Breslauer

    Whenever my vocal cords and/or diaphragm paralyze from Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis, I have to write notes or type text messages to communicate. My hands are usually semi-functional during many of my paralysis attacks. When I was a young adult, I would have what seemed like Laryngitis while I would attend Conferences. I burned through entire note books with my gossiping by writing.

    • itsmurrgan

      Yeah! Laryngitis is a really good comparison of that, it’s good to know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this. Hahaha, there’s something really special about writing notes that makes difficult situations such as these fun and memorable. Suddenly a difficult day becomes a fond memory. How often do you experience the vocal or diaphragm paralysis? Is there a difference betwen the vocal chord and diaphragm that you can tell? I really like to sing and I noticed that on days when I felt weak or just exhausted after a long day it would be much harder to hit high notes or sing for a long time. I always just thought it was just because I had run out of energy to use xD

      • Miriam R Breslauer

        I experience diaphragm paralysis much more often than vocal cord paralysis. I first noticed diaphragm paralysis when I was singing in choir in High School. Years before my first full body paralysis attack while not asleep. I love singing, but I found that after a song or two my voice would just stop. I know it was my diaphragm, because I had dealt with laryngitis too many times prior due to the flu or a cold and that would make my vocal cords not work.

        I used to be a first Soprano. Now I am closer to an Alto. My mother had the same thing happen to her over time. However, she was able to perform in choirs many more years before she gave up due to paralysis attacks while singing.

        I couldn’t stop falling during choir practice in my early 20s in addition to the not being able to sing more than a song or two before my voice stopped, so I had to give up singing in choirs.

        I have found that I can sing for fun for longer if I sing while walking. It actually makes walking easier if I sing simultaneously or start singing when my pain load spikes.

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