There’s just nothing like the feeling of knowing the general form of a word, grasping for it, gazing into the fog where it is, and just utterly failing to catch it. The frustration, sitting on the edge of tears trying not to cry (because it’s a silly thing to cry over), knowing that it has escaped you. The wondering if you’ve lost that word forever.
I’ve always been a good writer, with a very good vocabulary. It helps me pick the precise word I want at the time. I’ve never been as verbally eloquent as I am (what’s the written equivalent of ‘verbally’ or ‘orally’?), but I could hold a decent conversation. It’s been a part of my identity for a long time. What’s causing the change?
I’ve been unwell for a very long time, more than ten years. So I don’t think it’s just my illness. It’s never affected me badly before, or a least not in writing. My ability to speak well has come and gone with my wellness, but I don’t need to orate anything so that’s ok. It’s just that this time, I’m reaching for words that will not come, both in the immediacy of a conversation, and the slower, more deliberate pace of writing.
So, I’m pretty sure it’s not my illness. Is it perhaps the medicines I take to try and be well? Perhaps the medicines that keep my brain well are affecting other parts of my brain as well. I wouldn’t be surprised, brains are complicated and all sorts of odd things occur when treating it. Is it a side effect I can live with? . . . I don’t know. It’s taking a core part of me away. I write, I always have, even if about six people read what I write. Taking away my tools is frustrating, painful, even depressing. If I can avoid that and stay well, I would be happy.
The worst option is that for whatever reason I’m losing my vocabulary. Maybe it’s not used enough, or maybe my brain is broken in another way, or maybe I’m just getting older. That’s a scary thought, that my mind is failing. I hope it’s not.