Aphasia can change your relationships. Families need to adjust to a new normal, and friends sometimes drift away when communication becomes time consuming.
But the other side is that aphasia leads you to people you would have otherwise never met, from other participants in support groups to members of your therapy team. Moreover, it can bring two people closer together as they spend time together trying to forge a new life.
Experiencing aphasia can make you feel a little bit like Alice entering Wonderland, not only in the sense that it’s not readily apparent how you’ll ever get home to your old life. Your day-to-day world will be filled with many new characters including doctors, speech therapists, and social workers.
You’ll meet even more people if you join a support group or an aphasia therapy group. No one wants to experience aphasia, but it is heartening to meet other people who are going through the same thing at the same time.
Susan Bluhm, a nurse, explains in the book The Word Escapes Me,
I learned that life has a way of humbling us very quickly, life has a way of connecting us to one another, and life has a way of helping us find the common denominator in each of us.
Like all crises, aphasia has a way of strengthening bonds between people just as much as it has a way of unmooring friendships. Though some people will drift away, others will not only stick around but will come up with clever ways to connect and communicate.
Aphasia can test a relationship or marriage. Communication, a key piece of couplehood, is suddenly inaccessible. It means that partners will need to find unique ways to connect, including finding ways so that neither party experiences care-giver or care-receiver burnout.
Some couples may split apart due to the stress of the situation, but many others will see their marriage grow and deepen as they lean on each other to get through aphasia.
How have your relationships changed due to aphasia? Whom have you met or grown closer to due to the experience?
Image: Christopher via Flickr via Creative Commons license