Why Fibro Affects Your Speech

I’m often astounded over the myriad of inexplicable symptoms that come along with Fibro and usually, I never find out what causes them. We typically just throw them into “the Fibro bucket”, which is pretty much bottomless and dismiss them without ever knowing. So it’s really great when you actually get an answer!

One such “symptom”, as most people with Fibro know, is difficulty speaking. I used to speak publicly. I gave speeches at Colleges, gave work related presentations and business pitches to Executives. For years, speaking with and to people, was the crux of my career and then, I “got sick”. Pain is just one of a multitude of reasons that I gave up working, but another driving force, was an inability to speak. Nowadays, I sometimes have difficulty forming sentences, articulating my thoughts into words and worst of all, I can never guarantee what will actually fall out of my mouth; regardless of what I intended.

When the opportunity arose, I brought it up to my Neurologist, who is the Head of Neurology at Saint Vincent’s Hospital and the answer was pretty simple: pain is the first thing processed by the brain. So for people who are constantly in pain, everything else comes secondary to that, including speech. So when the brain is constantly being flooded with pain signals, it’s too busy processing those to focus on other signals.

Pretty crazy how simple that is, right? It doesn’t help to improve things, but it certainly helps to know and understand why it happens.

Meeting new people, for the first time or being in a social setting now creates anxiety and embarrassment, as I’m sure it does for anyone affected in this way. It can feel like a direct reflection on my level of intelligence or competence. So, we handle it in a few ways.

We hope it doesn’t come up!!

Ahead of any situations with new people, I try to keep my pain levels well controlled.

If it’s someone important, like when meeting my Son’s Girlfriend recently, he actually headed it all off and explained it to her ahead of time. Which was great, because it actually did come up while we were out to eat. Having been given an explanation ahead of time, I never felt the need to explain or feel embarrassed. Instead, we laughed about it. Which, brings me to my last recommendation:

Laugh. It isn’t always easy to have a sense of humor or to brush off the challenges that come in even the simplest of things, like talking. But trying to not take everything so seriously does help. My kids never hesitate to pounce when gibberish falls out of my mouth.

Above all, be kind to yourself and have sympathy. There is a scientific explanation. Speech challenges are real and they in no way reflect incompetency or lack of intelligence. Everyone has their challenges and no one is perfect. So if and when it does come up, I simply explain. Now you can too.

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Fighting with Fibro and Living With Purpose. Mom, Wife, Blogger and animal lover. Fighting with Chronic Illness on a minute by minute basis; sometimes winning.

115 thoughts on “Why Fibro Affects Your Speech

  1. Thank you for explaining the reason for gibberish it helps me understand what’s been going on with me . I’ve had fibromyalgia for over 13 years so I totally get the pain.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Pam. I’m so glad my post was helpful. For me, getting answers really helps and it can oftentime be a struggle. It may not improve the situation, but at least I know the causes behind what’s happening. So I hope to help others by sharing what I know and learn. I’m wishing you well. 13 years is a long time-you’re a Warrior!

      1. Thank you so much for sharing, I’m always afraid to talk never knowing how my work are going to come out. I live in the south but I’m from the north I have always been proud of my proper northern ascent. Now I don’t know what’s going to come out of my mouth.😢😢😢

      2. Hey Monica, I know, right? It’s always a gamble, isn’t it? I’m sorry. I can certainly relate. I used to give speeches and it has always been important to me to be articulate and well spoken. I lost that too. You’re right, too. I get so nervous speaking to new people, its atrocious. I used to be an outgoing social person and that, like everything else, has changed too. I’m sure your accent is still great though!! Thanks for reading and commenting!!! Warmly, Stacey

      3. Hi Stacey as a fibro sufferer for over 20 years you have written down the explanation for my mixed up speech and thoughts,and the reasons I try to avoid getting into conversation with people who don’t know me.I have always been very outgoing and love a good conversation debate however this has been taken away.I find it really impacts on my life and my happy part added to wich I have hearing problems so this makes it all the more difficult to socialise.So thank you for the great way you speak through your written words.kind regards Marguerita

      4. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this, Marguerita and I can totally relate. I had the most embarrassing speech related incident last week just trying (5 times) to order some fish at the store. I could have crawled under a rock. It’s one of the less talked about, but really life altering symptoms for so very many of us. It hurts so much to have to stop yourself from engaging with others over fear of embarrassment or criticism-I’m sorry you have to contend with that. It doesn’t make me feel better about it, but I have found that at least having an explanation for it helps. I’m so glad you read and commented, Marguerita! <3 Stace

      5. God bless and be with you always. Thank you doesnt seem to be enough to say how much you are appreciated for helping everyone, including myself

      6. Oh goodness, Teri. You bring me to tears. Thank you so very much. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for you and all the other incredible readers I have. This fight is just a little bit easier together, I have come to realize-thanks to all of you ❤️

      7. i have had fibromyalgia since I was 13 I am now 43 and I never knew this, thankyou now I understand why I get so muddled up with my sentences and also say things I never ment to say lol. thankyou

    2. Now, I know why I can’t speak sometimes…I usually just bust out laughing, but it still aggravates me..

      1. I’m so glad you can laugh about it, Vanessa!! It’s super frustrating and often embarrassing-especially when I try multiple times to say something and no matter what, it’s just gibberish. Trying to have a sense of humor is sometimes all we can do!!

      1. thanks for all your comments .i’m 71 and can now blame my speech errors on my age LOL! Love and
        God bless to you all……

    3. Thanks I feel better just reading this..I have two hearing aids so speaking to other people has always been a problem ..when I trip or stumble I just say opps that much firbro fog I never saw that.it brakes the ice and starts a conversation of.thanks x

      1. I’m glad you use it as an ice breaker! Sometimes that’s all we can do!! I’m glad you liked the post and it made you feel better. I’m finding that sometimes it just helps to have other people “get it”. Best wishes, Jennifer ❤️

    4. This so resonates with me. I was a trainer for a federal agency. I frequently spoke at conferences around the country. Nerves were not an issue. In 2013, I had to back out of a couple speaking engagements. But then I would handle the next engagement with ease and grace. I’d had some issue with panic and anxiety previously. My supervisors thought I was panicking. Maybe I was. I just knew in those instances, right before I was to speak that I couldn’t do it. In one instance, I was scheduled to give 2 presentations at a one-day event. I gave the first one. Somehow I knew I couldn’t do the next one, just 90 minutes later. I hadn’t been diagnosed with Fibro at that point. But my fatigue and pain were making me tardy and absent. I was being reprimanded for something I couldn’t control. I wound up quitting on the spot after failing to deliver a presentation to another region within the agency.

      And I love speaking. I’ve given presentations for non-profits since then.

      But also, my speech gets much worse than not being able to give a talk. Those times, I could actually communicate with my co-workers, just slowly and carefully. More severe instances restricted my verbal abilities altogether. I sound like someone following a stroke. I can think and hear clearly, but I can’t get the words out. I have to sometimes get a notepad or text to communicate. This has been frightening for family members. It’s not a symptom often discussed. Thank you so much for sharing.

      1. Hi Kristy, thanks for reading and commenting. I have to say, though, I’m a little concerned about you. This is the first time I’ve heard of speaking abilities being impaired to this extent…..and while I’m really glad you were able to relate to my post, I feel like it would be irresponsible of me not to ask if you’ve seen a Doctor (Neurologist) about this. While I think it’s super helpful when we hear of others living with similar afflictions, I would hate to think that something serious (for you) got overlooked on account of something I wrote.
        I’m sorry to hear of your difficulties and can relate to losing the things we really loved doing in our lives and careers. It’s frustrating to go from being super articulate to not being able to spit out anything coherent.
        I will be thinking of you and wishing you well. Please take extra good care of yourself.
        Much Love,

      2. This mimics my experience. I was a trainer in the corporate world in a highly regulated and technical field. I spoke in front of crowds from 2 to several hundred. I absolutely loved it. I began to not remember my next speaking point, then I could not get words to come out of my mouth, and then words could not form in my mind. Writing my thoughts down at these times was the only way to attempt communication. Since then I can barely speak to new people at certain times. Three neurologists, 2 rheumatologist, and assorted others have attributed it to fibromyalgia. I routinely bring it up to any new physicians and at least once a year in the event new information is available. It’s a terrifying symptom. Thank you for your post. It helps to not be alone.

      3. Hi Angela!! Thanks for commenting. I totally agree-it’s a super terrifying symptom….I went through all the emotions thinking it was the onset of a disease like Alzheimers and no one could tell me why it was happening. I can’t find words, stumble on my speech or worse; have things come out that I wasn’t expecting. It’s horrifying. And it tanks your self esteem. I once prided myself on my articulation……Now, I’ve heard from dozens of other people that they suffer with the same thing. So that helps a little. You definitely aren’t alone!!! xoxo

      4. I have this problem too. Been sent to the ER a few times because people mistake this for a stroke. In addition, I sometimes lose control of other muscle groups. Lol, never know what my body is going to do each day. I have learned to keep open and paper in my pocket. Really helps

      5. Good idea, Mary. I do the same thing…..I keep a pen & paper in the upstairs bathroom so at night I can write down all the stuff anxiety keeps me up with. That way, I don’t need to turn on the bedroom light and wake my Husband.
        It’s been amazing how many people have responded to this post and say how badly affected they are by this symptom. And you’re right-it can appear stroke like.
        I once had to have Firefighters pull me out of a vehicle, thinking it was a stroke (very early on)……turned out to be a Basilar Migraine that time, but still.
        I’m sorry you struggle with this; we can all relate to how life affecting it is.

      6. OMG! I have found my people!! Thank you soooo much for sharing! I’ve been to a multitude of doctors over the past 6 years with many of the symptoms that mimic fibromyalgia, but not one doctor has ever diagnosed me. Symptoms began with severe chronic migraines and then gradually increased to chronic pain, fatigue, insomnia, nausea, IBS, bouts of depression and slurred speech or inability to form words at all! Even went to Mayo Clinic’s head of neurology, only to be told my bloodwork is within normal limits and try another antidepressant! 🙄 Finally, I hear I am not crazy and I am not alone! Thank you for sharing your experience.

    5. I am so grateful to have stumbled on this post today! I am relieved to learn my mixed-up words could be related to something other than the dementia I fear. Thank you for being a blessing to me today.

      1. Thank you for brightening my day, I’m glad I could help. I can totally understand those fears, I get them myself. Amazing *all* the ways it can affect us, right?? Thanks for reading and commenting, I hope you’ll come back again soon!!!

    6. Thank you again! I do that too! I tell people ahead as well and joke that I’m not drunk, really! That always gets a giggle. The truth of it is that it is embarrassing. Some people laugh with you some at you. It’s part of fun with fibro

      1. Oh the endless funs of Fibro. I’m not a fan of this one at all. I have always prided myself on my articulation and now, I just can’t seem to find or remember the most rudimentary of words. It makes me nuts and is super embarrassing. It’s certainly changed how I interact with people. I’m glad you liked the post! Thanks SO much for commenting!! Love, Stace

    7. Wow, thank you. I never put the two together. I mix my words up constantly, especially when I’m exhausted.

      1. Hi Anna, thanks so much for reading and commenting!! The same goes for me; if I’m tired or am getting/recovering from a migraine then I’m totally indecipherable. It makes me crazy. But knowing why helped a little…..

    8. I’ve been struggling with fibromyalgia for over 20 years now . I couldn’t understand why I was going through all the changes fibromyalgia puts u through. Thank you for explaining the speech problem because that’s my new challenge.

      1. Thanks so much, Rachel!! I’m glad the article was helpful. The speech thing is a frustrating (and puzzling) symptom for sure!!

    9. Thank you for this!!! I’m in the process of applying for jobs after being out for a year & this is probably my #2 fear (#1 being managing my pain). I feel really dumb when I can’t form a complete thought. It’s so bad that I rarely even comment or post on social media anymore. Your article makes so much sense!! Thank you again!!

      1. Sorry, Kelly. I cannot remember if I responded to this(and my indicator isn’t telling me); my life is SO upside down right now with my Son’s injuries. Ugh. So better late than never…..
        Thanks so much for responding.
        I hope your job search goes well, I’ll be rooting for you!
        Like you, I shy away from interacting. It’s SO embarrassing when nothing comes out of my mouth right….
        The last interviews I went on, I was just honest about my health. I couldn’t hide it, so at least if I explained it, people knew. I still got offers, so that was reassuring. I just couldn’t work anymore…..
        I’m glad you liked the article. Good luck with your job search! I’m sure you’ll be GREAT!

    10. Thank you Stacey, in the simple way you explain how fibromyalgia affect how I speak. I have talk this way my whole life. People do3 understand what I say usually. I an 57 years old. Reading how you explain is easy to understand, it has given me a calm peaceful feeling. All will be okay. I smile all the time as I live each day with fibro and even laugh at how I talk. Its who I am, it’s ok. – Shir

      1. Shirlyn, I’m SO happy to meet you and I’m glad you liked the post.
        Calm and peace are SO important, I’m glad you have that and have found acceptance for who and what you are. That’s one of the biggest steps!! And you’re SO right. You being you is perfect. ❤️
        It’s great to hear that you smile all the time. While I feel it’s important to write about the difficulties we have and the desperation we can feel, I also try to live with hope and gratitude. Despite everything, I am still Blessed and try to live a life of peace and happiness with all I do still have.
        Keep laughing, your smiles and laughter will get you through ❤️
        I’m glad you’re right there with me!!

    11. I have fibromyalgia and had it for years I have early-stage dementia and I recently had a stroke and I’ve recently been diagnosed with MS and I’ve always had trouble with my speech sometimes it comes sometimes I can’t talk and gets very upsetting when I’m trying to say something and it don’t come out the way I want it to or my husband is like what what did you say and it really upsets me do you have any more stories to tell or what can help me please

      1. Hi Melissa, I’m sorry. This is my only article on speaking difficulties.
        But I will happily create a post on here and all my social media to see how others handle their speaking difficulties. I know how frustrating and defeating it can be.
        My Mom just had a stroke on November 30th and her speaking has been affected. She is now working with an Occupational Therapist to help improve it…..I’m not sure when your stroke was, but maybe an OT can help?
        I’m very sorry for all your health struggles. It certainly sounds like it’s been a very trying year for you.
        Once I gather enough info, I’ll write a post detailing what other people do in regards to their speaking difficulties. It should be very interesting!!
        Sending lots of love ❤️ Stace

      2. Hi Melissa. You text ur response last year 12/20, ITS 7/21 now and I hope you are doing good. You r in my prayers, because having Vubro is bad enough in itself, much less all the rest added to it. May our ?ord touch you and all of my brothers n sisters in this community ity.
        Stacy. I came across this on PINTEREST,and it has been so helpful. God bless u n urs.

  2. Stacey, this is spot on! Yes! Our fibro brains tend to the pain first, everything else is secondary. Speech, walking, sleep… all secondary but affecting the brain. I went through a period of time when my family thought I was drunk all the time! I mean, I couldn’t talk and I would stumble from time to time. (I wish I had been drunk, then I’d have a fun reason!) Bravo for your son forwarning his girlfriend. I would have preferred having an answer at the beginning of these difficulties so I could’ve headed off some insults! ~Kim

    1. Kim, thanks SO much for coming back and reading again. I’m really glad you liked my post. My incoherent speech and randomly falling over are now the running jokes in our family, but there was a time when it really hurt and embarrassed me. As if everything else wasn’t overwhelming enough, it’s as if you suddenly lose your intelligence and capabilities too. This has been one of the life changing answers I’ve gotten, so I try to write about the things I’ve learned or wish I knew all along. That way, I’m hopefully helping out others that are struggling with the same!! Love your comments!! ~Stacey

      1. You are doing a great service, advocating for fibromyalgia Awareness! We all search for answers, many times they come after the damage has been done. So, together, we can maybe help the next lot of fibro warriors not be so misunderstood. It does hurt, emotionally, when we are mocked for things we do, not knowing why. We beat ourselves up enough! We know what we can no longer do. We are aware. You are an excellent blogger! You will help many! May I share this post? 😊

      2. Thanks so much Kim, I would be honored!! Please share away!!!
        And you’re right, together we can change and improve it for others. That’s precisely what this is all about; helping others and living with purpose.
        I’m in excellent company with you.

  3. 14 Year Fibro.Fighter…
    It does Get Frustrating. Can Be Embarrassing.. Hurts When Mocked by Others..

    Thankyou for Sharing..

    1. 14 years. Wow. God love you. I know how it feels to experience all the emotions you do. It’s hard to live with all this-it goes far beyond just “being sick”. I hoped, when I wrote this, that maybe explaining why, for some people, might help. I’m grateful you read and commented. Thank you so much!!

  4. Hi Stacey. Thk you so much for your post. I’ve always had symptoms of fibro, but they got worse in my twenties. I am 36, so people look at me like I am this incompetent young lady and wonder why the heck she can’t speak right. [Even me typing takes some time]My spouse who is divorcing me and who I’ve been trying to reconcile with, but now I am finally saying no more taking him back. He has made fun of me when I can’t seem to get the right word or pronounciation of a word right even when it’s at the tip of my tongue. That puts a lot of pressure on me and stress and I just tell him “You know what I mean!?”. He plays dumb w me and it is very upsetting that your spouse even after telling him your speach problem just doesn’t believe you.
    I have been practicing opening my mouth more and repeating to myself [when I can remember…another symptom, brain fog] a word or idea that I find myself encountering a lot. It helps some. Made me cry to hear this is not just the way I feel bc there are so many people who still don’t believe we have a chronic illness bc we don’t have a missing limb.

    1. Oh Ruby. I had to sit for a bit and digest your post before responding. I wish I could hug you. So instead, I’m sending virtual hugs. I’m so happy you found the post helpful. So, like the issues with speech, the brain fog and typing are also both results of the brain being busy. When the brain is processing pain, that occupies it’s bandwith. So anything from thinking and talking, to walking, is affected. That’s why too, some of us are so clumsy. (I actually am talented enough to frequently trip UP the stairs.) There are certainly other reasons that your hands, balance and brain are affected, but again, the brain processes pain first, everything else comes second. With all due respect, I am proud of you not allowing someone to be disrespectful to you anymore. That’s a super scary and difficult thing to do. BUT, you deserve to be with someone who understands what you are going through, who supports and respects you. Being sick, does not make you unworthy of having a supportive and sympathetic spouse. You are totally still deserving. I will be thinking of you and sending you strength and prayers. As for the invisibility of it, ugh, that’s a tough one. It’s the worst when people say, “oh my God, Stace, you look great!!! Are you feeling better?”. Ahm. No. I’m in so much pain (or nausea or dizzy or hot or faint or whatever) that I want to crawl under a rock and die…..but thanks for the compliment. Sometimes, I wish I looked as awful as I feel, because then it would just be so much easier to explain. BUT……Ruby, I have eliminated ALOT of people in my life. My new theory is that if someone doesn’t believe me, respect me or support me, then I don’t need them in my life. We have enough to contend with. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I really hope you will continue to do so. If you look at some of the other reader’s comments, know you are NOT alone and what you are experiencing IS real. I will be thinking of you, Ruby. Sending virtual hugs. ~Stacey <3

      1. Hi Stacey,
        When I was thirty two I was infected with Ensephilitus and Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick fever ,from a tiny seed tick. I spent two and a half weeks in ICU and very nearly died. The brain damage was significant and resulted in a loss of short term memory and loss of speech. It was very much like having had a stroke. For years after that I suffered from loss of words and short term memory loss. I went to therapy and learned to compensate.

        I am now sixty six and am in the sixth stage of fibromyalgia, I have lupis, all three of the “arthritis monsters” , neuropathy up to my hips degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis.

        I am never without pain. Ninety percent of the time I spend in bed or on the couch. I have several specialists who are at the top of their field in my part of the country and yet not one of them understand the difficulty in making myself verbally understood. One of them even diagnosed me with dementia! I know what I want to say and how I would like to describe how I feel ,however when I open my mouth things come out backward and upside down. Because of my age I am often patronized and dismissed as old aged.

        Because of the opioid problem it has become quite a problem getting insurance to pay for pain patches. I do have a sense of humor and have found laughter helps, I laugh a lot at myself!

        Sometimes people you count as friend walk away because you end up canceling plans due to a bad day. Or maybe they thought you gave them a hard look ,when in actually your happy face act relaxed for a moment.

        Thank you so much for your posts! They help me to know that I am am normal for the fibro world I live with.

      2. Diana, thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry to hear about ALL of this; your inner strength and tenacity is incredible.
        I’ve often found when Doctors don’t know something, they just chock it up to whatever seems reasonable or convenient. As for Dementia-it’s terrifying, isn’t it? I’ve often feared it myself, because my inability to think clearly, discern & retain information and speak are all such a struggle sometimes.
        My immediate family (3 kids in their 20’s + a Son in Law) laugh now and practically play charades to understand me. But in the outside world, it’s awful. I can never guarantee what will come out of my mouth and most often end up saying the wrong word. It’s horrifying when I mix up words or a sentence and end up saying something totally inappropriate. Ugh.
        But we have shrunken our world pretty tightly now and the few friends and family I have left understand my world. I’ve found that by eliminating all the toxic people that surrounded me has helped tremendously with my mental health-but it was really tough to lose people initially.

        I’m really, really happy you find my posts helpful. To me, it’s been comforting to know there’s so many of us out there. And we all share many of the same struggles.
        I wish you well and thank you so much for your comments ❤️❤️

  5. There are times when I am speaking and mid-sentence, lose my train of thought entirely. Then there are the times when I just “know” the word, but it “won’t come out”. My family get rather frustrated with me – my daughter particularly, has little patience with me. This just exacerbates the situation – not only do I feel abject disappointment in the way I am now, but hurt too at the lack of understanding. I have been such a capable woman for most of life – fybro is taking that away from me 🙁

    1. Maryse, I totally understand how you feel, I have experienced all you described above. If you look at some of the comments starting to come in, so do other people in our situation. I’m so sorry. Those are all awful feelings to experience. I have to say, though, you totally ARE still capable!!! Just in different ways. Please know that in your heart. At your root, you are *still* the same woman, with the same heart, soul and intelligence. You are just that person who now lives with some pretty challenging constraints. It’s awful to feel that “abject disappointment” that you described. I feel it too, often. I think that people who are not sick find it impossible to believe ALL of the symptoms or affects our diseases have on us. I think I can safely assure you that anyone who got sick would also fall prey to these things. Please don’t feel incapable-that is so counter intuitive (trust me, I know). That is exactly why I started to write, because we ARE still capable. It’s just a matter of finding new ways to demonstrate that capability. Maryse, you are NOT alone. I support you. Others here support you. I will pray that those in your life support you too. Much love, Maryse. I hope you will continue to follow and comment. I am with you. <3

    2. I have had fibro for over 30 years. It is at it’s worse right now. Everyday is a struggle, especially getting out of bed every morning. I am reading an old inspirational book titled “Pain is inevitable, misery is optional”. I hope it inspires me to get through the day, grateful for the good things I have in my life.

      1. Wow. 30 years. That’s a long time, Ellen. I seem to hear from a lot of people that it gets worse right around that 30 (ish) year mark…….I wonder why that seems to be a thing? I’m sorry it’s such a struggle-I can understand that. I try to (unsuccessfully) explain that to my Mom: that it’s just incredibly difficult to feel awful every. single. day. of your life. It wears you down. I hope you find some inspiration from the book. I have found, for me, that trying to remain hopeful and focusing on all I do have, instead of what I don’t helps. And then accepting when I just can’t mentally power through. Then tears and a lot of swearing help a teeny bit. It seems to always be a power struggle of the mind and body. I give you SO much credit, Ellen, for still trying to find hope and grace-even after 30 years!! I’m so happy to meet you and hear from you! Sending you strength, hope and love ❤️ Stace

  6. Hi! I loved your article and the comments. I have just discovered that my fibro actually goes back to my teenage years ( I am 65 yrs old) I could remember a time where I had severe symptoms that turned my life upside down. I thought at the time I had something seriously wrong with me. Not only was I having pain but I was having massive headaches and extreme fatigue. Then on top of that I had an unreasonable fear and panic attacks. This all came on top of untreated chronic asthma. In my senior year I missed my last semester because of all the sickness. Thankfully, I had enough credits to graduate. Every doctor more or less told me it was all in my head (no pun intended!). I believed them. About a year later I went into a period of time where the sympthoms lessened. I went to College and graduated. Still had minor pain but not controling me. Then in 2003 I began experiencing those old sympthoms . It was at that time I was diagnosed with Fibro. The journey to the present day has been long and painful. I lost my job in 2005 and fought to get Social Security Disability until 2008 which I won. Now, I live by myself because I never married. Have only a few friends who get it. All others have fallen by the wayside. The same with my family. I have one neice who tries but even she doesn’t comprehend the scope of the illness. I am so thankful that there are people like you that have made it a priority to educate. I have experienced all of the things you mentioned in your article. Even typing this message had to be reread several times to correct errors, especially in spelling. That has effected me along with the stumbling speech and totally losing trains of thoughts.Medically I still am a mess. But fibro has taught me that you must live one day at a time, deal with the present,.make the most out of that day, even it means lying in bed. It does not help if you fuss about what has been lost, the shrinking of your world, or what can the future hold. To wander down those paths will only bring negative thoughts which will fuel your pain. Don’t get me wrong I still find myself wandering down those paths myself.Finally, always remember that you must be your own advocate. Gentle hugs to all.

    1. LeaAnn, it just so happened that I was writing a new Blog Post on pretty much every subject that your comment just touched upon. I totally get it and I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. Looking back now, I am also pretty sure that I had dormant Fibro all my life. It takes some time with having it and a different perspective to realize that though. I’m glad you were able to win Disability. Getting sick can really be financially crippling. Your comments and post are ironic, given I was writing exactly all you brought up. Take a look at my newest post, if you like. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I’m glad you found me. Much Love ~Stacey

    1. Yesterday it took me all day just to write my Blog post and respond to one email. My head was a jumbled mess of thoughts and I couldn’t connect or articulate those thoughts into words on the paper. It was the first time I can remember really struggling with Brain Fog in that way. Always an adventure, isn’t it, Dawn?
      At least on paper we can correct it before sounding ridiculous, right???
      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

    2. I love to write. Occasionally I will try to write Christian country songs and when one finally gets completed I thank our Lord for giving me the words. While speaking to others and explaining a situation or story, I forget the next line. I try to explain something about a certain subject I just said and then thats when I forget the next line. (I hope I’m making sense lol), anyway, I tell them I must have turned down the wrong road n would they help me back to where I was. I can’t explain things quite as well as u use to, n yes, all yall, my speaking (I taught childrens n adult Bible studies in Sunday School). It’s like I get caught up in this huge net and can’t get myself back on course. I pray some of yall can understand what I’m saying, cause if ya can’t, well. Thats my Fibro Fog. God bless u all,

  7. Dear Stacey, this is the first time ever that I read an article linking Fibro with speach problems. English is my second language (Imagine the confusion!). I am an accountant, and the last 3 years have been the worst. I experienced problems communicating with my new boss and co-workers and in addition I started having communication problems in my marriage that I blamed on me not being very smart. Reading your article has brought tears to my eyes. The realization that I am not an IDIOT is so comforting. I am in the process of ending my 28 year marriage. I am all by myself and need to continue to work. Do you recommend getting under the care of a neurologist?
    Thank you for your blog. You are making a positive impact in the life of many women.
    – Patricia A.

    1. Goodness, two languages floating in your head!! If that were me I’d probably create a third one out of the two combined and end up speaking something no one understood! (joke 😉 You are NOT an idiot and you certainly are intelligent!! Our difficulties with speaking have nothing to do with our levels of intelligence. Look at the other comments-there’s a lot of us!! I know how you feel though. It can be frustrating and embarrassing and when people get frustrated with you, it just makes it all worse. I’m sorry you’re contending with this too. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s anything that can be done for this. I see a Neurologist for Migraines, headaches & RLS. He just happened to tell me that one day. To be honest, I’m not sure how many would know that. He’s my third and I’m about to trade him in too!!! People with Fibro typically see a Rheumatologist to begin with. Depending on your symptoms, a Neurologist may also be helpful. Just not for this. I am so sorry about your marriage. I will be thinking of you and praying for you. I’m so happy you read my post and commented. I’m glad to hear from you. Warmly, Stacey

  8. Omg Stacy thank you so much for that explanation! I have been dealing with fibro since 2004 and telling my family that of all the things that fibro has taken from me, my ability to speak is what I miss the most. At least now I know why, thank you again for this post.

    1. You’re so welcome!! I’m glad you found my post. I agree. It’s really tough to lose your words. I used to pride myself on my articulation and speaking skills. Too bad we can’t all invent our own Fibro language!!

      1. OMG!!!! So that’s why I desperately “search” for a word to describe what I mean! An example for you… my lovely friend had a stroke and I was asking her how it affected her. I couldn’t think of the word stroke, instead it came out as frost!!!!! We laughed about it, but I was deeply worried that I couldn’t mentally grasp the word stroke. I’ve read your messages and of others who have experienced the same thing, I now know where the problem has come from. This fibro business goes much deeper than I realised. So I want to thank you for explaining why I have so many problems remembering and of trying to “hit” the right word first time. Now I can laugh it off with my friends without thinking I’m totally losing my mind, I’m just not wired up the same as I was…..mystery solved! 🙂, regards, Lynneth.

      2. Oh goodness-yes, the symptoms list for Fibro seems never ending. As a Central Nervous System disorder, I can see why. I totally sympathize-last night I was exhausted and in agony. I kept trying to ask my Husband to pick me up a shurtain cower at the store 🙄. After three times, he finally realized I was asking for a shower curtain!!! SO annoying when you feel awful. Thankfully, he’s gotten pretty good at deciphering my gibberish!! I’m glad you liked the post and find it helpful!! So, nope, you aren’t losing your mind at all!! Thanks for reading and commenting, Lynneth!

  9. Thanks for your post I get so much identification reading things like this and I too don’t get frustrated about this problem and laugh it off now it’s so much easier I used to get so angry and frustrated with myself but that was just wearing me out its nice to have an understanding of what it is now so thanks again xx

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jo. I know, right? So many of the symptoms we just never get explained or have a determinable cause. So if and when I get one, I feel like it’s important to share. I agree-I try to laugh it off too. Sometimes that proves harder than others, but we can’t change it, so might as well laugh at it 😉

  10. I have fibro, and I go to an acupuncturist as part of my attempt to relieve some of my pain. One weekend I was out with friends, and I knew what I was trying to say, but the wrong words kept coming out. On the third try, I was able to vocalize the correct word. So Tuesday rolls around, and I go in for my regular acupuncture appointment. I mentioned this to the Dr, because it freaked me out. He immediately grabs a needle and inserts it into my forehead, starts spinning it, and tells me to start talking. Tell him a story. I did as requested. Since then, it has only happened one more time. The same treatment a second time seems to have stopped that. I still have brain fog, and can’t always think of the right word, but at least when I do think of a word, it is the one that comes out of my mouth! My Dr explained something to the effect of that particular point helping to reset speech capabilities. I don’t understand it, but I’m not complaining! The amount of symptoms that come with fibromyalgia are just staggering. Here’s hoping for relief for all of us. 😉

    1. Wow!! Great info Stephanie!! This is really great to know! I had said that after the New Year I would be trying Acupuncture. Sounds like this is another reason to make good on that. Have you found other measurable results too?
      Thanks so much!! Stacey

      1. Acupuncture has helped with the pain, as well as when other symptoms pop up from time to time. It seems to stop most of them in their tracks. It’s not a miracle cure, but I don’t know how I would have made it through the last year without it. I’ve ‘been sick’ for many years, but the last 3+ have been the worst by far.) I also started LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone) about 6 months ago. It has helped my flares to be less intense. Doesn’t have all those side effects (for me) that so many meds have. It is the only medication I actually take. I take plenty of supplements. I hope your search for a good acupuncturist is fruitful and quick! 😉

  11. I’m so so glad I came across this blog! It explained many things that I have been questioning.. I’ve had fibro since 2007.
    Just typing this comment I’m exhausted and when I come to speak my mouth is extremely exhausted to even spill out the words. I’ve become a good listener to everyone though lol! Thank you very much for writing this article ♥

    1. I’m so glad you read it and commented!! Thank you!!
      I’m really happy you found that helpful.
      Oh gosh, Petra, when I’m tired, it’s absolutely hopeless!! I give you credit for your well articulated comment.
      My Husband used to say he never talked so much as he did once he met me. Shocking that even I’m quiet now. Sometimes, it’s just easier and saves face. Right?

      1. Hi stacey, thank you for sharing that it so helpful to get an understanding of as to why our speech is effected, iv had fibo for 25 years , it only the last 3 yrs it got to a point iv had to ajust things in my life x take medication, i had tryed to push through it for so long being strong minded I hate anything getting the better of me , but I push on to a point it was flooring me x then I had to ask for help, I attended counciling and it helped me mentally ajust my life still hard going x know two days are the same, or rather know 2 hours are the same. Thank you.

      2. Hi Sara, thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment!! I’m so glad you found me. WOW!! I’m sorry things took a turn for the worse. You are *still* a warrior-needing help doesn’t change that!! I understand how defeating it can feel though. I’ve certainly felt that way myself. I’m glad you got counseling, with a good Therapist it can really help (at least from my experiences). I can completely relate to no 2 hours being the same. Sometimes, I shift massively in a matter of minutes and need to suddenly lie down. Life can be challenging with Fibro. Sending you strength and well wishes, Sara
        <3 Stace

  12. Thank you so much. I am PTA president of my daughters school. We have monthly meetings with the principal and other meeting I reside over. It’s very difficult. I could acknowledge someone from the floor and totally forget their name even though I’ve known them for years. What do I do in those situations, we laugh and move on. Thankfully my principal understands and helps me pick up where I left off in the middle of a sentence. This confirms everything you said.

    1. Hi Carol! Thanks for reading and commenting! I hope you will follow my Blog!
      I so applaud your courage and continuing to do what you do! The speech aspects of Fibro can cause alot of us to have self confidence issues. All you do is just perfect and I’m glad you have supportive people that step in when you need it! <3 Stace

  13. Wow! Finally an answer…it gets so aggravating trying to talk sometimes..but, I laugh a lot to…

    1. Great you laugh!! Good for you. One of these days I’m going to record myself, I swear!! You would never believe what comes out of my mouth when I’m tired and in pain!!! 😳

  14. Just so people know men can have this to . I have been dealing with it for 15 years and it put me out of work . And that is something hard for a man to deal with . And it cost me my marriage too

    1. Hi Brian. Thank you so much for reading and especially, commenting. That took a lot of courage. I am so sorry for your losses and suffering; 15 years is a long time. I do know men can suffer with Fibro, I quite often worry about my two Sons developing it. I have certainly experienced some pretty nasty accusations and assumptions put on me; so I can only imagine how much worse it is for a man. I’m sorry. The suffering from the illness itself is immeasurable; it’s criminal when misinformation or societal expectations add to that suffering.
      Thank you so much for speaking up and letting people know. ~Stace

  15. Hi I have had fibromyalgia for many years I am seventy two. I make myself get up every day and go for coffee with my friends even thought the pain is so bad. On June I had two strokes and came though it well. I have a hard time finding words sometimes but I think it’s my fibromyalgia.i do get upset with my husband he doesn’t let me finish a sentence and I get frustrated. Good job we have been married for fifty four years and he takes care of me and I take care of him. He can’t drive so I had to take over if he didn’t tell me how to drive all the time my stress would be better. Every three months I have cortisone shots in both arms it help for a few months I also take medication. Thinking of taking marijuana oil they say it helps pain.

    1. Hi Linda, good to meet you! Good for you to still get up and out to do things-sometimes it can be so challenging! Thank goodness you came through your strokes okay, what a miracle! My Husband and I have nothing on 50 years yet, amazing! But as you mentioned, we take care of one another. I cannot imagine ever having to do this without him. He’s truly one in a billion! I didn’t realize you could get Cortisone that often, I thought there was a finite amount of times they could inject a joint with it. I keep putting off seeing the Orthopedic Surgeon again for that reason…..I do read a lot about using CBD oil and that it does help some people, but I’ve never had any success with it. I hope you have a better outcome! Good luck! Thanks so much for commenting!!! Much Love, Stace

  16. THIS….is exactly how I feel. This is my life. And it makes me so sad. This really hit home for me. I really appreciate this article. I have trouble articulating. I have trouble finding words. And I feel like it makes me look stupid. I’m even having trouble reading out loud fluently. The fact that fibro is taking this away from me too is so disheartening. So thank you for sharing this and also giving encouragement.

    1. You’re so welcome. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I completely understand how you feel. I feel the same way. My vocabulary, articulation and ability to speak publicly have always been a source of pride for me. Now, just like you, I can’t find my words, get tripped up when speaking and stumble when I try to read aloud. Ultimately, it was one of the (many) reasons I stepped back from my consulting career…..it’s difficult for people to work with you when you speak gibberish. Just when you think Fibro can’t take any more from you, it affects another facet of your life. I’m sorry this has happened to you, too. Sending hugs and encouragement ❤️ Stace

  17. So glad to have come across this article. I also suffer from speech problems some days. Fibromyalgia is just life altering in so many ways! Thank you for one of the few answers out there for many of the conditions you suffer due to this condition. I also feel like everything gets thrown into the “fibromyalgia bucket”, once your diagnosed. Can’t say anymore due to shoulder pain today! Thanks again will follow on Pinterest!!!!

    1. Hi Robin, thank you. I’m really glad you found it helpful!! I totally agree. Most everything ends up in the Fibro bucket and it’s crazy, because there’s such a wide breadth of symptoms, they involve seemingly every body function there is. There’s been times the pain is so bad, I literally didn’t think I would make it. It’s always astonishing when things come back “normal”, because I feel anything but normal. You aren’t alone though!!! Ask anyone “here”, they almost all struggle with speech and cognitive issues. I hope your shoulder pain lightens up a little bit. SO nice to meet you. Be well. <3 Stace

  18. Where should I go to find out if I have Fibromyalgia? I have most of the symptoms, including the speech problems you mention in your post. Thx.

    1. Hi Amy,

      Have you spoken with your Primary Care Doctor? That’s usually the best place to start. From there, I would suggest seeing a Rheumatologist.
      I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with symptoms. Feel free to reach out anytime if you have any questions.
      Best of luck, Stace ❤️

  19. I’m reading over all these beautiful lovely Warriors you are helping including me. I’m so grateful for your blog, and the others on your site. Thanks to you and the others I don’t feel like I’m going through this alone.

    1. Thank you, so very much, Hopeful!! That means the absolute world to me. Impressive people reading, aren’t they? Everyone has such bravery and tenacity, it’s inspiring. Especially for me. I’m so grateful that you found me and my Readers and that you took the time to read and comment on my posts. It’s great to meet you and to have you join our incredible army of warriors, you are definitely not alone (even though I know how that feels)!!
      Much Love <3 Stace

  20. Thank you so much for sharing! Now I know why I sometimes blether. Have had fibromyalgia for over 40 yeas. I’m glad and grateful I found you.

    1. Aww, thanks Kirsten! I’m super glad you’re here! I’m happy you found the post helpful! It’s a super strange and scary aspect of Fibro, right? Ugh, I’m an extrovert, so I’ve always chatted with people and in general, been a big mouth LOL But not anymore. Now I can’t trust anything that comes out of my mouth, so I just try not to engage and feel foolish.
      At least we’re all in the same boat! <3

  21. I’m so glad to come across this! I’m sure I’m like many others when I say “now I know I’m not alone.” It doesn’t help. But I’m not alone. The brain fog & near aphasia are terribly bad when one is a writing center tutor. Thankfully, we are able to work online now, so I don’t have to be embarrassed to death & while I still can’t think of what I need to write/advise, I have the luxury of time to look everything up. I’ve been dreadfully worried about how bad this is getting, which only exacerbates my increasing bi-polar depression & anxiety. I’m a mess. And not even a hot one! LOL

    1. Hi Valerie!! Oh gosh, I can only imagine how challenging the brain fog & aphasia are in your situation. I’m glad you’re now home and can better manage it. It was one of the bigger reasons why I had to step back from working. On top of all the physical issues, I could never be in a professional capacity and blurt out horribly inappropriate things or just make no sense whatsoever. So it’s great that you can continue what you’re doing and somewhat manage the craziness of this symptom.
      I think it’s totally normal that it exacerbates the anxiety and depression. How could it not? While I know that isn’t necessarily helpful, it’s totally normal. You (or we) contend with such difficult circumstances on a daily or hourly basis. How can it not get depressing? For what it’s worth, I don’t hear about it getting worse as we age, it seems most people who comment suffer with it the same as us and I have multiple readers in their 70’s. Just know you are not alone in what you’re going through. <3
      And I'm going to disagree and call you a HOT mess. Just like the rest of us!

      1. -Anomia, sometimes referred to as, “tip of the tongue syndrome”, difficulty accessing familiar words
        -Losing train of thought in the middle of an utterance
        -Difficulty in pronouncing words – producing good, fluent articulation
        -Problems organizing thoughts into coherent communication
        -Periods of confusion
        -Difficulty problem solving
        -Episodes of disorientation
        -Swallowing difficulties, coughing or choking
        -Problems managing secretions, drooling

        These are all symptoms that I personally have experienced at times in my own battle with fibromyalgia. As a speech-language pathologist, I am acutely familiar with the struggle and embarrassment that go with them. Please know that there is help available in learning to compensate for these symptoms. Speech-language pathologists are trained to assist in maximizing your abilities and teach strategies for coping when these symptoms occur. You can contact the American Speech-Language Hearing Association for a referral to a professional near you.

      2. Wow Victoria!! This is all really great information!! Thank you SO much!! We had a very serious family emergency this week and so I apologize for my delayed response.
        It’s really great that you spelled out all the clinical names for the speech issues most of us deal with. It’s nice to be able to put a name with the affliction.
        I hadn’t considered going to a Speech Pathologist! I’m so grateful you suggested that. Once (if ever) life slows down for a few minutes, I will look and see if I can find one! I’m sure this will be extremely helpful for some of my Readers too! The issues with Fibro Fog and speech difficulties are very common and are a significant struggle for most I know. So I thank you for them, too!!
        Thank you so much for the suggestions and recommendations.
        I’m sorry you struggle with all you mentioned. It’s really tough to struggle with Fibro Fog (et al), maybe even moreso for someone who is used to fixing these issues for other people. It’s terrible to struggle with such rudimentary things, like thinking and speaking……it puts such a strain on social situations or trying to remain working. I know how embarrassing it is to speak in some jumbled form, instead of having coherent thoughts and sentences come out. While I used to be an extrovert and loved social situations, now I cringe at the thought; I know many other Fibro folks feel the same.
        It’s great to meet you. I thank you for your time and very thoughtful post. It will no doubt help other readers and for that, especially, I’m grateful.
        Warmest Regards,

  22. I understand my gibberish as does my children. It’s my husband that has a hard time grasping the concept of fibro. If I am telling a story and I lose my way, if I ask my husband to recall something he will say, “it’s your story you tell it” . It’s embarrassing and heartbreaking. I have become quiet in groups now.

    1. I’m so sad and sorry to hear this, Denise. I have had other readers say they were excited to read my article, so they could show it to family members.
      Getting Fibro is not a choice, Denise….neither are the symptoms we’re forced to live with. All we can do is try to live with it the best we can.
      I’m happy to hear your children are supportive.
      I know how tough it is to chat with people-I can never trust what will come out of my mouth. So it makes it really challenging to be social.
      I lose my points, stick my foot in my mouth or just have totally different things come out, versus what I intended.
      It’s never comfortable, but I try to laugh it off and/or explain….
      We have no more choice in this symptom of Fibro, than a person with Epilepsy has control over having seizures.
      It’s a symptom of our disease.
      Anyhow-you are not alone in experiencing this and I hope just knowing that, helps a tiny bit.
      Wishing you well and sending you strength ❤️

  23. Thank you so much for explaining it this way. It makes me feel so much better. I’ve always understood my loss of words, stuttering, etc. happens when my pain is at its worst but it’s really hard because my parents are my care takers. My mom always tries to get me to “tell” her what’s wrong and gets very upset when I can’t. And being unable to communicate is hard for me too. Sometimes all I can do is mime because I have no vocals, and it’s like pain charades. My dads super understanding because he has chronic pain and him and I have been doing “guess what I’m trying to say” hand gestures since we were kids. Because he said if you ever lost your voice or couldn’t talk I want to be able to communicate clearly. But hopefully this helps my mom understand that I’m not going to be able to answer her and it’s not my fault and why.

    1. Hi Lissarella,

      I’m sorry to hear you struggle so much with this aspect of the illness and that it frustrates people around you. Especially when it’s your Caretaker.
      I try to look at their perspective and realize that no one could ever understand what we live with, until they get the illness. I certainly never could have when I was well.
      It sometimes seems like the unfair cherry on top of the awful Fibro sundae.
      BUT…..it’s definitely not your fault and I hope I’ve explained this well.
      But the bigger thing…..read through ALL the comments from ALL the Readers.
      It happens to the best of us.

      I used to be a prolific public speaker. I loved it. Now, I fear speaking to the girl at the register of a store for what may come out of my mouth. It’s sometimes incoherent, has once or twice been inappropriate and most often makes no sense. It’s horribly demeaning and embarrassing.

      I hope you’re right and maybe showing your Mom not just the article, but the comments from dozens of other people afflicted this way, will help her better understand.

      Either way, hang in there.
      You’re not alone.


  24. I just tell everyone the processor in my brain doesn’t work properly if I was a computer I’d need an upgrade

  25. Hi being suffering with fibromyalgia for many years and it gets worse averyday and is hard to know that the people around you don’t understand what you are going through i don’t know what to do anymore i take lyrica but it doesn’t help anyone please any advice thank you

    1. Hi Luz,
      I’m sorry. It sounds like you’re really struggling. I’ve certainly been there myself. I understand how you feel, as do most Readers here. But I know what a challenge it is and frustrating it can be when people around us don’t understand. When I am saddened or upset about that, I try to consider that ten years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to understand what this life is like. Especially, because for years, Fibro had a reputation of being a disease of fakers…..
      If Lyrica isn’t working, what about trying a different medication? If you feel you aren’t getting the proper support, maybe a switch of Doctor is in order. I’ve gone through dozens, myself.
      Unfortunately, many of the meds don’t help. It’s very often a matter of trial and error to find any that even slightly take the edge off.
      Here’s a few posts I’ve written, I would highly encourage you to read the comments….Readers, here, are incredible and offer the most helpful suggestions and input. They’re the best!! It also helps to know you aren’t as alone as you think you are…..









      I hope you find something helpful in one of these posts.
      Know that you are not alone.
      I will keep you in my heart and prayers.
      Much Love, Stace ❤️

  26. Hi Stacey, Thank you for sharing this important information. It does help! I am a fifty something who was diagnosed at twenty something, starting with, “fibrosis,” back before they nailed down the symptoms or the name of this dreadful thing that is happening to us! They began calling it “Fibromyalgia” in my 30’s. Thanks to the information you’ve provided, I now know I’m not “slipping,” or losing my mind. It’s important to know as much as we can, and it’s far less scary than wondering if it’s something worse that could suddenly begin to cause other erosion of our faculties, or worse debilitation. Your work is so important, and very helpful. I sure do appreciated your efforts, and your struggle. Sincerely, Teres Strouse

    1. Thank you so much, Teresa. I’m really glad you found the post helpful. It is scary, right? And it just keeps getting worse with age! (which then makes you worry more you are declining, right??)
      So, you aren’t slipping, you have hundreds more of us just like you.
      It must have been very tough to have had Fibro (whatever it was called) all these years. I know for many of them it somehow had a negative stigma of being a mental health issue…..
      I’m sure it’s been a long road ❤️
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m so grateful for that.

  27. I thank everyone for sharing their experiences. I have been living with fibro for over 30 years. Unfortunately, I also live with migraines, from as far back as I can remember, and way longer than 30 years!!! I’m am so happy that I came across this because I now have an explanation as to what is happening to me for the last 4 or so years; but really bad for the year and a bit. I know what I want to say but it just doesn’t come out the right way. I’m in the medical industry and I’m always reading, researching and asking questions but I never left a conversation feeling like I got an answer?? It was always brushed off or blamed on my migraines; not once did anyone make the connection that this could be happening because of my fibro. My family doctor did not make the connection, the neurologist did not make the connection and I certainly did not make the connection!! Sometimes, the simplest words are the hardest to say; sometimes people think I’m having a stroke; sometimes people think I’ve been drinking; at one point, I thought I was losing my mind or aging a lot faster than I want to.
    Please hang in there everyone and know that you are not alone.

  28. I just came across this on pinterest, thank you so much. I was wondering why I couldn’t speak like I used to. I felt so unintelligent, especially with mispronouncation. I often don’t want to carry a conversation because sometimes I don’t make sense. So this gives me a bit more self security to make conversation. Thank you again!

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