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Thread: Flashes in Vision, Language Difficulties

  1. #1

    Flashes in Vision, Language Difficulties

    I'm 20 years old, a university student. In February I started having the symptoms I lay out here:

    Thankfully, they have very slowly subsided and I feel basically okay. The only complaints I have now are seeing flashes in my vision and occasional periods of difficulty understanding or using language, accompanied by a generally dazed and confused feeling. My sleep has been erratic as well.

    The visual disturbances seem to mostly be in my periphery. It's as though something has quickly darted just out of my sight and when I turn to look (often involuntarily) there is nothing. Other times it's like the afterimages one sees after staring at a bright light too long, usually blue or green, but with no obvious cause. It's a bit like the cue dots seen during a projected film. At times it's hard for me to focus on anything because I'm constantly trying to figure these things out, or resisting the urge to look at what I know aren't real movements in my periphery. I'm extremely concerned these aren't entopic phenomena (problems in the eye) but early symptoms of some hallucinatory disorder.

    The second, more troubling problem, are periods when I have problems finding the words to express myself or structuring a sentence grammatically. This is unusual for me - language has always come very easily to me and I've been an avid reader since childhood. I'm still understood, but my speech isn't nearly as fluid, and I occasionally make grammatical mistakes that are entirely out of character for me. I also have a tendency to mispronounce words - "conpute" instead of "compute" - or make word subsitutions that are semantically close to my intended meaning, but wrong - "when does that show come off?" when I meant to say "when does that show come on?". I find myself getting midway through reading a sentence, finding it doesn't make any sense, and upon glancing back realize that I had skipped over some words or identified them incorrectly. There are days when it just seems more difficult for me to understand complex thoughts than I'm used to.

    I find myself asking people to repeat themselves a lot on these bad days. The fact that I don't on other days seems to rule out hearing problems (I had it checked a month or so ago anyway, my hearing loss is as slight as can be measured).

    How can I bring up these language difficulties with a doctor? It's hardly full blown aphasia, just a sort of slowness that isn't normal for me. I'm concerned it's just the beginning of something far worse (espescially considering my previous "symptoms" - which I hope were coincidental or can be chalked up anxiety).

    I read a lot of popsci stuff about neurology in high school, so conditions causing focal neurologic symptoms like multiple sclerosis or gliomas are always at the back of my mind. I'd really like to have a CT scan done, as it would conclusively rule out all the illnesses I'm really afraid of and give me significant peace of mind, but I'm not sure my request is medically warranted given my symptoms. I don't feel like anything will convince me.

    I'm very much afraid of having a condition that would impair my ability to understand the world, or communicate with others - I can't imagine a life worth living with those drives frustrated. I really can't think of a greater tradgedy - I'd rather be a quadrapalegic.

  2. #2

    Re: Flashes in Vision, Language Difficulties

    Does the lack of responses mean no one else experiences these symptoms?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: Flashes in Vision, Language Difficulties

    You sound like you have a lot of what I have. I have had labyrinthitis for almost 4 months now.

    And yes, the reading and speaking problems are issues for me, not as often as before, but when I am really dizzy, I have a hard time speaking or I lose thoughts mid sentence. It scared the crap out of me. I have had CT scans and MRIs ruling out anything. Heck I even had spasms and tremors, and even facial tingling that scared the hell out of me for weeks.

    I also have the peripheral thing as well. I keep thinking I see things, but I don't. I also can't move my head real fast either or else I have problems with my gaze. All of my tests showed up as normal, with no nystagmus so an ENT told me he really couldn't do much for me. Not what I wanted to hear.

    I decided to keep a journal of my symptoms because I was so worried. When I look back on older entries, I can totally tell which days I felt bad. You can't read my handwriting and half of the sentences look like I scribbled out words that I had started to write but didn't make sense.

    Were you sick anytime before this came on? How is the lightheadedness, better or worse than before? Anxiety has made labyrinthitis way worse for me...I am beginning to think its a vicious cycle: I feel off balance and dizzy, I get scared, I get anxious, which makes me even more tense and dizzy. Repeat ad nauseum.

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