I’ll make my story as short as possible, but it has been going on for years…
I couldn’t speak, which is a disaster for someone who has been teaching English abroad since the mid-90’s! Finally, three years ago, the pain was so bad that I had to quit teaching.
I then got a manual job. Of course in my mind I was still still 23, but my body had other ideas. And though I lost 6kgs in 6 months, I also developed osteo-arthritis in both feet, and can only walk now with special shoes.
So there I was - no voice, and no feet.
I’ve had loads of cameras down my throat, and an mri, and all sorts, and the closest I can get to a diagnosis is MTD - muscular tension dysphonia.
I actually put it down to some awful, and unnecessary, dental work I had done when I first arrived in Japan almost ten years ago. That started me clenching and grinding, and if that doesn’t cause muscular tension, what does?
Anyway, I’m now teaching again, but just part-time, and I have to be very careful. So, yes, all speaking is difficult for me, and is probably one of the reasons I avoid speaking Japanese so much!
My illness has been very isolating (it’s difficult to build relationships when you can’t talk to people) and has seen my income go down to almost nothing, and that doesn’t help either. I know that depression lurks over the horizon, but thankfully I have managed to keep that at bay so far (thanks to the amazing support of my wife and thanks to my religious faith too).
My inability at Japanese has also compounded my worries in all this, and not a day goes by that I don’t want to pack it all in and quit. I have no idea what keeps me going - stubbornness perhaps, and the community here I guess. But yes, I have to accept I’ll never be the world’s best Japanese speaker and my goals in the language get more and more modest all the time.
Like others have said; acceptance and patience are the keys!
Good wishes to all.