Glad to know that you are able to make a decision to take a break from your research work. It is not an easy decision to make but I think we should all be proud when we are able to make a decision like this.
In regards to symptoms, I do not have twitches to my muscles. Not once at all. So it is possible that our underlying causes can be different but we can still share a lot of common grounds in terms of coping strategies and subjective experience of the symptoms.
My right leg is most affected and then my trunk, and then my arm. Speech dysarthria is a rarity nowadays.
Since having this disorder, I realise how little research there is with cerebellum in Psychology. Yes I do encounter other language difficulty not associated with motor controls. I think cerebellum is important in mediating some kind of fluency in speech, especially internally generated one. One interesting I found is that when I have dysarthria, my speech is better if I read out loud from a written paper or repeated other’s words, but grossly impaired when I have to produce the sentence myself (even though I know how the sentence goes). My intuition is that cerebellum may maintain the cortical activation pattern/ mental representation. Also when I am unwell (without dysarthria), I am unable to do multidimensional reasoning. My thoughts become short, and fragmented. I believe sequential thoughts require some kind of latching behaviours among different mental representation, and I wonder whether this latching of multiple representation is supported by cerebellum.
Social interaction is difficult for me during an episode because social interaction demands a lot of attentional resource. I am impaired at social gaze when I am unwell because I have to concentrate on what I want to say. There are many subtle differences in my attentional controls and perhaps saccade and fixation (subjective feeling) now. My research interest is on attentional shift, with experiment designed for 4-year-olds and I feel I am unable to perform that task I designed when I am unwell. My attention definitely suffer, and cognitive flexibility suffers as well.
I am not a big fan of componential executive functions as I believe these functions are manifestation or emergent from lower level attentional system. Even that my intelligence is generally spared, I feel I may not do very well on many executive tasks.
With the eye problems, I cannot look at visual illusion patterns. Also nowadays visual scenes lose some kind of clarity to me even though I can see it clearly. The best way I can put it is that certain affordances are lost, and the visual representations seem more ‘flat’. I have multisensory problems so I have ear defender with me all the time. TV noises are not as disruptive as noises in space so I think it is the specific multisensory experience that is difficult for me.
After I graduate, I don’t know if there’s any postdoc position that can be taken up as PT. I still want to stay in academia. Or I don’t mind to be an RA at all.
I wish you well. I am doing well psychologically. I can still enjoy small things in life so at the moment I am content. What is most important is to look after our psychological wellbeing and stay healthy.
They did test me for MS but ruled it out. My episodes are too short to resemble MS. As you, I feel there’s a high chance that my genetic testing will be negative for EA2, mainly because I have no family history of it. But I have had lifelong insomnia and digestive issues, so sometimes I wonder if my problem is metabolic mediated or immune mediated. I do feel my symptoms have some association with what I eat at least. I feel with any disorder there are things we can do, and perhaps sometimes better than doctors. Coming from the science community I know how little researchers do know. There are always more questions than answers (which makes science awesome obviously). But I just cannot wait for everything to be verified, peer reviewed etc.
Glad to talk to you.