Sunday, 20 October 2019

Sounds without a voice

 The sounds of dropping leaves on the path I walk
 and the darkest speed of the evenings. You don't have to say it loud:  "autumn"

The feeling of silent waiting and the voiceless breath of the wind
the autumn storm

The painting, the layers of the temperatures and the geology of ending growth, 
the leftovers of green

Invitation for a walk,
making sounds
without a voice

Today I had three different walks. I wanted to capture some autumn moments. I only managed to take a picture of my shoes with some fallen leaves. I felt a bit shy with my camera out there. I was avoiding crowds and looking for the most silent corners at the park. 

The blurry season change is making me a bit more tired than normally. I was looking for strong colors, but instead the poetry of darker evenings felt more suitable for my mood. 

Some memories came back to my mind, one autumn five years ago...when my voice was gone and talking loud was a struggle. I took a lot of pictures with my camera back then. I was talking and writing through the pictures, focusing on something that brought me joy. I felt relief, that I could express myself this way.

I hardly never think of the three years I had this problem with my voice.  It started back in Germany and I did not get a prober help from the local doctor there. I felt he did not take my problem seriously even it was impacting my daily life so much. Talking, reading loud, making phone calls and just going to super market was getting more and more difficult. I was concentrating enormously just trying to produce some normal sounding speech. People were asking what is wrong with my voice and I started to feel like a stranger in my own body. I was hoping this problem will go away if I just relax more.  

In the end I was too tired of my problem and even trying to find out some more information or getting a second opinion from another doctor. I almost gave up. The funny thing is I had studied logopedics at the University in Finland and how powerless I was so with my own voice problem. But some knowledge of the speech problems helped me not to panic. My german doctor obviously thought this was more a psychic, stress related thing. He just wrote me some homeopathic pills to be more calm. I did not feel connected with him, he made me feel invisible. 

People are complicated and all different factors together are slowly creating a spiral and affecting to different situations in our life. From this process I learned I have to trust on my intuition. I know myself better than anyone else and it is extremely important to find the professionals and people out there who are listening to you and taking you seriously. Many problems in life are invisible to others, you don't see the individual problems from the outside. I started to avoid some social situations and I chose carefully the words that were easier for me to produce. 

My intuition said we have to move from that little town and go to a bigger place with more possibilities. We also wanted to be more close to our families. We had some close family in Holland and it was easier to combine with the work situation. One of the first things I did in Amsterdam was that I took contact to a local nose, ear and throat doctor. My husband had read an article in the internet about a radio dj who lost his voice and was diagnosed and helped by this local medical specialist.

This meeting gave me hope, I was very fast diagnosed having a spasmodic dysphonia. It is a neurological condition and the reason for the motorical coordination problems in producing the sounds, (needed for articulating words) are basically neurological. Nothing dangerous or serious, but making talking normally more difficult. I felt relief: I was not being crazy and I was taken seriously. The problem was lying somewhere between the connections of  my vocal cords, my nervous system and the motorical areas of my brain. We tried some voice therapy for a while with a logopedist to evaluate my situation and see if the therapy helps me. But the voice therapy did not really help. 

From the start it was clear there would be another option for me available: a small surgery on my vocal cords, manipulating the connection between the nerve and the muscle. After this surgery I would not be depended on the Botox injections to my vocal cords like most of the people with spasmodic dysphonia are for the rest of their lives. The doctor is a pioneer in these sort of operations in Europe. I could have not got this surgery in Germany back then and these are not available in Finland, where I come from. I did not even know this sort of treatment exists. But I am happy I found this option and it helped me. I can speak totally normally again after this surgery and I can be "me" without thinking how I sound and what sort of first impression I give based on my voice.

I could make this a long story, but it is already quite long. Thank you for reading :). The intuition pushed me towards to Amsterdam where I found a specialist. One of the only ones in Europe and he could help me. 

If you ever have a problem with your health or with something else: Use your intuition and trust on your own feeling what is best in that situation. Find help and find people who make you feel connected, take you seriously and listen to you. 

Stay connected to yourself too and enjoy the nature!