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Selective Mutism


sneezewuv

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Hi everyone,

So, today in my English class, we were given a new book called Speak. Along with the book we were given some terms we should know, one being "Selective Mutism". I have selective mutism. I just didn't know it was an actual disorder until today. 

Most of my life, I've been unable to talk to select people in my life. My relatives are some I just cannot talk to or in front of. I can talk to my parents and siblings, but that's as far as it goes. Also, I cannot speak to anyone who has been told I cannot speak to certain people. I have a very very hard time talking to strangers, but I generally can as long as they don't know me. After talking to me for a little while though, they often begin to notice how little I do talk, thus them bringing it up which makes me stop talking to them pretty much altogether. So, as expected I have been ragged on a lot by many people. They believe by making me talk to them, they're helping me, but instead they're hurting me. The more they pressure me, the less likely I am to talk. It's pretty stressful. I've also been mocked pretty badly by family and talked to like a child because of this. There are many more symptoms, but Mutism is by far the biggest (hence the name).

So, since I didn't really know it was an actual disorder, I really thought I was making it all up in my head. Like maybe I was doing it for attention, or it was something I'd grow out of? It turns out what I had been dealing with is actually Selective Mutism. The problem with this is I've never been treated. If anything, I've been...anti-treated if that makes sense. Selective Mutism will not usually go away on its own, and usually gets worse with time. After finding it out, I believe I will seek out a therapist who has experience with the disorder.

Anyway, I wrote this post because I wanted to help anyone else who possibly might be going through this on this site. Especially those who might not know their disorder. 

This is in a lot of ways like discovering I had this fetish. It let me know I'm truly not alone, and no one should ever feel alone. So if you're going through this too, you're really not alone. 

And you're very special because only 0.8% of the population has Selective Mutism! Add that on to being a sneeze fetishist, and you're truly a unique individual. :) 

If anyone is interested about reading more in depth, I put a link below of a work that provides a great explanation of the disorder. 

http://www.selectivemutism.org/resources/library/SM General Information/Older Children and Teens.pdf

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I'm really happy that you were able to discover this about yourself. Selective Mutism can be really devastatingly stressful, and being able to put a name to those feelings and seek out resources to help can drastically improve your quality of life.

My younger sister had selective mutism until she was maybe 8 or 9 years old, and it really took a toll on her and on our family. She's an adult now, but she still struggles with a lot of social anxiety and awkwardness that manifests itself as aggression/perfectionism. My mom knew all about selective mutism while we were growing up and did a ton of research, and I think that, along with therapy, was what helped my sister to grow out of it as early as she did.

Selective mutism is kind of difficult for me to talk about beyond this (not because I have it, but because of my experiences with a family member who did), so I want to thank you for making such a thoughtful post for our community.

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Sincere congratulations on discovering this - I know how you feel, right now, and I believe this will be a turning point for the better for you.

I did not know anything about selective mutism before, so it's interesting to learn about it.

I'm not in your position, so I have no real authority to offer advice, but I will share an opinion, if you don't mind. I believe that, in the event that you never change, that's okay. There's nothing wrong with being the way you are. People might always give you a hard time over it, and not everyone will be sympathetic, but I believe you will be much happier accepting it and owning it than you would by struggling to not be that way.

From my own perspective (which is where most of this comes from), I was always an odd/eccentric/weird/loner/quirky child. Lots of odd quirks and habits, some trouble keeping friends, but most of it I was blind to. I found out several years ago that I have Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Although, initially, this revelation crushed me and I went through a long period of emotional numbness (through not knowing which of my perceptions to believe and what was really me and what was a mask), I eventually have come to accept myself for what I am. I overexplain, I take things too literally, I miss sarcasm, I'm always late for things, I have a diminished interest in people and events around me, I obsess over things, and don't mention spiders to me unless you want me to talk about them for a solid hour. Good traits and bad traits, but my traits.

Understand your traits, for better and for worse, and learn to live with them.

Again, sincere congratulations. :) Understanding this - if it's the same for you as it was for me - could be one of the best things to ever happen to you. Never be ashamed of it.

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I'm going to echo what others have said - it's really positive that you've been able to discover this. ^_^ I also think it's really lovely of you to post a topic like this, to reach out to other people who have experience with it. :heart:

Selective mutism affected me a lot whilst I was at secondary school, so from the age of 11 upwards. I was pretty much unable to speak at school to teachers or other students, and it got to a point where I was terrified of absolutely everyone I came into contact with. I could only really speak around my parents and to a few friends I knew from outside my school. It has improved, though I still find some situations difficult to speak in and some people difficult to speak to.

Anyway, I just want to say well done for deciding to do something about it. ^_^ And I hope that people can be more understanding and stop exerting pressure on you. Try not to let anyone get you down about it - you are an amazing individual! :heart:

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Hi sorry! I've been wanting to reply and I'm having difficulty quoting posts on mobile so I can't quote! :nosad: arg. 

 

Thank you all for sharing your experiences and advice. It means a lot! It feels really good to know what I have, but also discouraging because I haven't done anything about it. I'm almost 17 and I barely talk to anyone, and it's stressful because I almost feel like I'm hitting a deadline if it makes sense. Like I'm getting too old to not talk. Hmm. I'm sure though that a therapist will help. This would be so much easier if no one knew I didn't talk then I could just start anew. Erg. 

Anyway, thank you all again!! :hug:

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If you feel like you do want to start talking to more people, I'm sure you're right, and that therapy will help. Perhaps you'll start out small, communicating through minimal speech, leaning on body language, before moving on to full-blown conversations.

And don't worry about your age - I'm almost 30, and I still get told by people that I'll "grow out" of my autistic symptoms. Just today I had several panic attacks from having to deal with the general public - as soon as I was able, I found a quiet place to calm down. It's not terribly convenient, but it's livable, and if that's the worst problem I have to deal with in my life, I'm blessed (of course, I have an advantage many people like me don't, in that I don't feel inclined to pursue many social connections, being more interested in my own hobbies).

It's good that you're now aware of this, and I'm sorry to hear about your frustrations, but I'm sure you'll figure it out - you know yourself better than anyone. As long as you're trying to talk to people because you want to, and not because you feel you're being pressured to change, than follow your desires. And don't beat yourself up if progress is slow - just let it happen naturally. You might surprise yourself!

I hope everything works out for you. :) Please  keep us posted - I'm really interested to hear your experiences on this, if you're willing to share!

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On 01/12/2016 at 9:15 PM, sneezewuv said:

Thank you all for sharing your experiences and advice. It means a lot! It feels really good to know what I have, but also discouraging because I haven't done anything about it. I'm almost 17 and I barely talk to anyone, and it's stressful because I almost feel like I'm hitting a deadline if it makes sense. Like I'm getting too old to not talk. Hmm. I'm sure though that a therapist will help. This would be so much easier if no one knew I didn't talk then I could just start anew. Erg. 

I just wanted to add, that I of course don't know your experience of this and I can't give you an answer on whether therapy, etc. will help, but I do want to encourage you that there doesn't have to be a deadline for these things! By the time things really started improving for me, I was about the same age, if not a little older, than you are now! So please don't give up hope. If you want to find a way, you will. And no matter how fast or how slow things happen, any step is a step in the right direction. :hug:

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On 12/6/2016 at 5:10 PM, MaiMai said:

I just wanted to add, that I of course don't know your experience of this and I can't give you an answer on whether therapy, etc. will help, but I do want to encourage you that there doesn't have to be a deadline for these things! By the time things really started improving for me, I was about the same age, if not a little older, than you are now! So please don't give up hope. If you want to find a way, you will. And no matter how fast or how slow things happen, any step is a step in the right direction. :hug:

Thank you so much. :hug:

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On 12/1/2016 at 5:06 PM, Stegosaurus said:

If you feel like you do want to start talking to more people, I'm sure you're right, and that therapy will help. Perhaps you'll start out small, communicating through minimal speech, leaning on body language, before moving on to full-blown conversations.

And don't worry about your age - I'm almost 30, and I still get told by people that I'll "grow out" of my autistic symptoms. Just today I had several panic attacks from having to deal with the general public - as soon as I was able, I found a quiet place to calm down. It's not terribly convenient, but it's livable, and if that's the worst problem I have to deal with in my life, I'm blessed (of course, I have an advantage many people like me don't, in that I don't feel inclined to pursue many social connections, being more interested in my own hobbies).

It's good that you're now aware of this, and I'm sorry to hear about your frustrations, but I'm sure you'll figure it out - you know yourself better than anyone. As long as you're trying to talk to people because you want to, and not because you feel you're being pressured to change, than follow your desires. And don't beat yourself up if progress is slow - just let it happen naturally. You might surprise yourself!

I hope everything works out for you. :) Please  keep us posted - I'm really interested to hear your experiences on this, if you're willing to share!

Thank you so much!:hug: And I if I make any progress I'll be sure to share!! :) 

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