Dilbert Writer Repairs His Own Brain

Dennis Faas's picture

Scott Adams has been the writer and illustrator of the popular and successful "Dilbert" comic strip since 1989. Eighteen months ago, Adams permanently lost his own voice. Yes, you're reading that correctly.

It's a condition called Spasmodic Dysphonia.

On the official Dilbert blog, Adams wrote: "I asked my doctor -- a specialist for this condition -- how many people have ever gotten better. Answer: zero."

According to Adams, a "breathy and weak" voice can be achieved with "painful Botox injections through the front of the neck and into the vocal cords."

And so a long and painful journey began for the writer.

But ever the optimist, Adams was determined to find his own cure -- and he did!

"So every day for months and months I tried new tricks to regain my voice. I visualized speaking correctly and repeatedly told myself I could (affirmations). I used self hypnosis. I used voice therapy exercises. I spoke in higher pitches, or changing pitches. I observed when my voice worked best and when it was worst and looked for patterns. I tried speaking in foreign accents. I tried 'singing' some words that were especially hard."

Unfortunately, none of those techniques worked. Then Adams tried something new.

"The day before yesterday, while helping on a homework assignment, I noticed I could speak perfectly in rhyme. Rhyme was a context I hadn't considered. A poem isn't singing and it isn't regular talking. But for some reason the context is just different enough from normal speech that my brain handled it fine ... It was effortless, even though it was similar to regular speech. I enjoyed repeating it, hearing the sound of my own voice working almost flawlessly ... Then something happened.

My brain remapped.

My speech returned.

Not 100%, but close, like a car starting up on a cold winter night. And so I talked that night. A lot. And all the next day. A few times I felt my voice slipping away, so I repeated the nursery rhyme and tuned it back in. By the following night my voice was almost completely normal ... I felt the connection again. It wasn't just being able to speak, it was KNOWING how. The knowing returned."

At this point, Adams doesn't know for sure if he has found a permanent cure. "But I do know that for one day I got to speak normally," he said joyfully. "And this is one of the happiest days of my life."

You can read the entire blog and post the happiest moment of YOUR life here:


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