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  1. #1
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    Selective Mutism?

    I have a disorder called Selective Mutism. It's the "Adult form". Most people only have it when they are a kid, and parents, teachers and doctors help them cope. I've been dealing with it sense young but no ones really helped me.

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    Marleywhite's Avatar
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    Re: Selective Mutism?

    So, what type of people or situations do you mute?

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    In social situations.

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    I first heard of the term within the last year and I think I am selectively mute too. It's very demoralizing to have your brain switch off and your ability to engage in conversation desert you. I feel like I'm always operating well below my intelligence level, especially with people I perceive to be "cool" or smart or authoritative etc--well, i guess almost everyone outside my family.

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    Antidote's Avatar Rude & Shouty
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    How mute do you become? Can you give monosyllabic answers, or can you say literally nothing at all?

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    I typically give monosyllabic answers.

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    Nelly's Avatar
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    October was actually selective mutism month lol

    Here are some facts about it taken from the Facebook page of Selective Mutism Awareness:

    1. The main symptom of selective mutism is a lack of speech in specific social situations.
    2. People with selective mutism can and do talk normally in situations where they are entirely comfortable.
    3. Children with selective mutism are often extremely talkative and loud when they feel comfortable.
    4. It’s common for people with selective mutism to struggle to communicate in social situations even without their voice (by whispering, writing, or pointing, for example).
    5. Some people with selective mutism display stiff body language and a blank facial expression in situations where they have trouble communicating.
    6. People with selective mutism are often of above-average intelligence.
    7. Selective mutism almost always develops before the age of six.
    8. Children often show the first noticeable symptoms of selective mutism when they start preschool or kindergarten.
    9. School is the most common place for someone with selective mutism to be silent, and inside their house is the most common place for them to be able to talk.
    10. According to research, 0.1% to 0.7% of children have selective mutism. That’s one child in every 1000 to one in every 150.
    11. Over 90% of people with selective mutism have social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, as well.
    12. It’s common for people with selective mutism to have more than one other anxiety disorders or phobias.
    13. Without treatment, it’s not uncommon for childhood selective mutism to continue into teenage years or even adulthood, and it can become significantly worse rather than improving over time.
    14. It’s thought that many children with untreated selective mutism to grow into adults who can speak but suffer from severe social anxiety disorder and possibly depression.
    15. The first name for selective mutism was “aphasia voluntaria” (voluntary lack of ability to speak), which was first mentioned in 1877.
    16. The Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders first included selective mutism in 1980 as “elective mutism,” again meaning a voluntary lack of speech.
    17. An s was added to the name “elective mutism” in 1994. The new name, “selective mutism,” was supposed to avoid the implication that people with the disorder choose not to speak.
    18. In the proposed revision to the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders, selective mutism is listed as a subtype of social anxiety disorder.
    19. People with selective mutism usually say that they want to talk but either are too afraid to or feel like they physically can’t.
    20. Selective mutism sufferers almost never have control over when they speak normally and when they are silent, though it may look like they do.
    21. Some people with selective mutism appear entirely calm and confident in social situations, though they may still feel extreme anxiety about speaking.
    22. Selective mutism is not caused by trauma. It is said that some people who go through trauma suffer “traumatic mutism” in which they suddenly stop speaking in all situations for a relatively short amount of time. This is an entirely different pattern than selective mutism.
    23. Many people with high-functioning autism have selective mutism or symptoms of selective mutism, but the majority of people with selective mutism are not autistic.
    24. It’s thought that some people with selective mutism are highly sensitive, and when they become overwhelmed by sensory input, they "shut down" and are unable to interact with others.
    25. Some children with selective mutism have very minor speech or language problems, which make them more anxious about talking.
    26. Currently, most treatments for selective mutism emphasize that although the person needs to interact with people in situations they’re scared of, they should not be told that they need to speak.
    27. Pressuring someone with selective mutism to speak or punishing them for failing to do so is often counterproductive because it makes them more anxious, which reinforces the problem.
    28. Selective mutism is often treated like a phobia: the person slowly works through a list of anxiety-provoking things, from least frightening to most, which ends with speaking out loud to new people. (This is called desensitization.)
    29. Sometimes, a person with selective mutism needs to have their more general anxieties treated before they can think about dealing with their fear of speaking.
    30. Antidepressant drugs help some people with selective mutism, but even when they do work, they are unlikely to cure it entirely without being combined with therapy.
    31. Selective mutism can be completely cured, but this tends to get more difficult the longer it goes on before correct treatment begins.

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    berlingot's Avatar drinking Q.R.V.
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    sorry for bumping an old thread, i just wanted a place to vent.

    i've had untreated selective mutism as a child & teenager & i've read that it can result in chronic depression, which is true in my case. my old doctor used to think it was a mood disorder until i got a proper SAD diagnosis. whenever i get depressed about social anxiety-related things, my doc's response has been to increase my medication. i'm tired of just throwing more pills at the problem. i already take enough medication to stop most of the physical symptoms i used to get (abdominal problems, muscle tension, etc.), & i've been in therapy long enough to be able to open up & talk more, but i still have a lot of deep-seated problems with avoidance, motivation, procrastination, self-esteem, & frequent thought-blocking. my recent crying spells have more to do with grief & regret at a life not fully lived & i'm tired of loved ones accusing me just being "on my period."

    anyway, i wish we can do more than just congregate online & say "hi, i have/had selective mutism." most of the material regarding SM is directed at parents of children, so if you're an adult with SM it seems you're just [BEEP] out of luck, unless you can get intensive treatment for depression & SAD. sometimes i wonder if that's all we really need, or if we need something else more tailored to our situations. i wonder if there are people interested in researching untreated selective mutism. i've felt pretty useless thus far, the least i could with my life is contribute (to science! & SM awareness) by making it a case study.

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    Antidote's Avatar Rude & Shouty
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    I never saw Nelly's post until now. By that criteria I believe I probably had some degree of selective mutism as a child and still do today though it's less obvious now. I can speak when spoken to, but I usually say the minimum and then avoid the person. When I was younger I was a loud mouth in my comfort zones but I recall in other situations I'd only be able to nod or shake my head. When I was a teenager I could barely utter a word most of the time I was with peers.

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    I didn't see this post until today. I am loud if I'm comfortable with the people I'm with. It really just depends on the situation and the person. There are a few people who would never guess that I'm shy and struggle to speak in certain situations. Also I seem to have good days and really bad days. Then again there are people who think I'm totally horrible and retarded and monosyllabic.

    This is what is driving me to seek help. I really want to talk to someone and can't do it. I keep trying and failing and it's making me feel like I'm losing my mind. What is wrong with me? Tomorrow I see the counselor for the first time. It really took awhile to get in and see someone, I hope I can talk. It would really be bad if I couldn't talk.

    I have a vivid memory of hiding behind this propane tank in elementary school playing by myself. I called the tank itself Nancy and would talk to "her" or rather "it." I don't think I spoke much to anyone that year and had to see the school psychologist. I absolutely hated my teacher that year. She was so strict and yelled.

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    WineKitty's Avatar
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    Quote merc View Post
    I didn't see this post until today. I am loud if I'm comfortable with the people I'm with. It really just depends on the situation and the person. There are a few people who would never guess that I'm shy and struggle to speak in certain situations. Also I seem to have good days and really bad days. Then again there are people who think I'm totally horrible and retarded and monosyllabic.

    This is what is driving me to seek help. I really want to talk to someone and can't do it. I keep trying and failing and it's making me feel like I'm losing my mind.

    This is exactly how I am. With some people I can talk and even be quite animated.

    Other times I am unable to think of a single thing to say, breaking out in sweat, nearly shaking.

    It's horrible.
    "You can never really know a person and if you think you can, you're living in a fucking dream world!" David Fisher, Six Feet Under

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    L's Avatar
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    This happens for me with certain topics of conversation - I just cannot speak....
    life---> <---me

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    I have one teen in my group who never speaks to the other teens at our programs and meetings and she will actually use sign when around the teens. She has spoken a few words to me and I've heard her speak to her mother. Her mother is very demanding and never gives her a chance to talk. This list has helped me understand her better. Thanks.
    The Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about

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    compulsive's Avatar
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    I don't have selective mutism, but my Social anxiety disorder tends to swing between Low ,moderate and severe , mostly being moderate. I do remember using noises and pointing a lot rather than speaking. Simply its easier doing this because then you dont have to deal with the days full of 4 hour compulsions going back through what happened. I used to have no control over ocd, so that sucked. I think people with Social anxiety disorder also do similar compulsions due to social anxiety disorder. You end up being punished for speaking either by others or by your disorder.

    When SA is severe , I tend to become far more 'obsessive compulsive' , about how I speak and what I will say.

    -must think of several things to say in case someone else thinks of one idea first in group situations
    - must use the right words
    -obsessed about how it would sound
    - will it offend this person
    -will it make me look stupid

    and so forth, which means I cannot listen to the person. If I don't listen, I cant understand and thus cannot talk because I don't know what they said exactly. It becomes apparent that anxiety over what to say and the compulsions are a self fulfilling prophecy. Conversations tend to drag on about the same subject too, which makes it worse.

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