What Happens When You Can’t Talk to Yourself? – Facts So Romantic

Phillips participates in an aphasia communication workshop in Speechless, a documentary by Guillermo F. Flórez that profiles people with the condition.Guillermo F. Flórez

What would you do if you lost your inner monologue? You know, the one where you tell yourself “I don’t want to get up yet,” or “This is one delicious burger.” That’s what happened to Tinna Geula Phillips.

In 1997, Phillips suffered a massive stroke, which left her without the ability to communicate in any meaningful way. She went from being fluent in six different languages to virtually mute. “I cried inside, because I cannot communicate. My mom, others, Chinese! I don’t know. Is not communicate, nothing. I, six languages, gone!”

Phillips has aphasia, from the Ancient Greek “without speech.” Typically, aphasia occurs after a stroke, which causes the brain to go “into a form of shock” according to aphasia specialist Robert Volin, who runs an aphasia speech therapy clinic at New York Medical College. First, reduced blood flow or bleeding causes brain cells to start dying off. Then a cascade of neural transmitters signal the brain’s neurons to keep firing, even as they slowly starve from a lack of oxygen. Any brain cells killed during this…

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