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millie
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27 Jan 2010, 6:58 pm

I had it in teen years and early adulthood. Off medication I had it again last year quite badly at times.

My son is very talkative in some contexts (at home) and yet out and about he is most often completely stony faced and will not answer questions from teachers and others. It is better with people he has gotten to know a bit.
I see it as a processing problem in both his and my case, where contextual overwhelm and too much unfamiliar stimulus overwhelms us and we cannot speak.



Tollorin
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27 Jan 2010, 11:54 pm

In 5th grade and later in secondary school, I didn't talk to anyone in school except to teachers and during class (asking/answering questions). I was bullied then and I think this was a way to "protect" myself. It's not neurological, it's really anxiety.



SabbraCadabra
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28 Jan 2010, 1:12 pm

leschevalsroses wrote:
Just out of curiosity, is it like a panic attack when you get that or is it just something you get with anxiety?


For the "try to speak, but can't" definition, it usually happens when I'm really nervous, or upset...but sometimes it seems to happen for no reason, and I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just overloaded or something.

For the "only speak to certain people" definition, it's all the time. I just don't like talking to people I don't really know.


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Aimless
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28 Jan 2010, 3:29 pm

I remember I had one of those awful moments many parents go through when you're sure your child is right behind you and you turn around and they're gone. I was stressed to begin with and ran around calling out his name at various places I thought he might be. I couldn't think clearly and I convinced myself that he had been snatched. Worst feeling in the world, I shook for hours after. Anyway, while I was on the phone to 911 and the dispatcher was trying to get me to stop hyperventilating my neighbor found him nearby. He was in our apartment which is where I called for him. I asked him why he didn't answer and he said he wanted to but he couldn't. Now I'm wondering if he didn't experience this selective mutism . I'm curious about the use of selective though. That seems to imply a certain amount of choice. Maybe there are different kinds of mutism?


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Ahaseurus2000
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28 Jan 2010, 4:50 pm

There's a UK documentary following 3 children with "SM" (selective mutism). It suggests a deep-rooted social anxiety, of how others regard the speaker's voice, is involved. One child moved to another school and found she could overcome her mutism in the new environment.

I suggest that "emotional investment" plays a role (The more a particular friendship matters to the speaker, the more they emotionally invest and the harder it is to speak).

There can be a similarity to other social anxieties (including with romance and dating).



Meadow
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28 Jan 2010, 5:02 pm

I 'can' speak but it isn't often effective and in critical situations can give others the impression I am less than intelligent or worse. For this reason I have to opt not to speak as much as a given situation will allow rather than lose face and place myself in a position where someone will draw erroneous conclusions about my mental status based on my lack of verbal communication skills.



mysassyself
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28 Jan 2010, 9:40 pm

Ahaseurus2000 wrote:
There's a UK documentary following 3 children with "SM" (selective mutism). It suggests a deep-rooted social anxiety, of how others regard the speaker's voice, is involved. One child moved to another school and found she could overcome her mutism in the new environment.

I suggest that "emotional investment" plays a role (The more a particular friendship matters to the speaker, the more they emotionally invest and the harder it is to speak).

There can be a similarity to other social anxieties (including with romance and dating).


That sounds interesting.

At age 4, I could speak yet when I went to kindergarten the teachers thought I had not learned yet. I was completely silent.

My selective mutism (it's not diagnosed but I call it that) is often related to the speaker's voice. I seem to be very sensitive to other's voices - they affect me greatly. I hear a lot if information in other's voices. When I am affected I can find it very difficult to talk. Words don't come out properly. There's not much I can do about it except remove myself from the situation or otherwise evaluate my options.

For me I think it' s related to shutdown, as well. I am about to read more about autistic shutdown. Even at a young age I would sometimes stop breathing if I fell over and often go into 'shock' easily with new people. I also think emotional investment can be a factor, though not always.

I now see my selective mutism as causing me to have lost some relationships in life. When I was younger, there was a romantic relationship that I lost because of it. This relationship was quite passionate and had taken about three years to come together. When it finally did, I could not cope. I completely lacked the ability to communicate in the relationship - within the bounds of intimacy. I did not know why this was happening. Of course, he did not know why this was happening and after offering to take me to see his father, a psychiatrist (a request I did not respond to in a definite way) he started to drift away and not long after got together with a different girl. The getting together with a different girl wasn't great, but I know for a fact he didn't know what to do in the situation and I personally don't blame him for that. He had asked me questions about my childhood, etc, tried to help.

Anyway, we didn't see each other for some time but are friends today. :D

Selective mutism is a topic I am processing at the moment (and I don't have a therpist, prefer that way I think, becuause of my selective mutism, ha ha) so I appreciate the thread. Thanks.


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