Do you go non-verbal/selectively mute comfortably?

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qwan
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01 Nov 2013, 5:15 pm

It;s probably a misuse of the word, because I'm using the words rather literally. But I'm the kind of person who would like to be selectively mute in that at times I lose the desire to verbalise any more but am forced by those around me to continue.
The thing is, it isn't to do with anxiety for me, the stress is more in needing to put in the effort, I just feel like I don't want to even though I have plenty of ideas I want to express. So I don't lose the will to socialise I just lose the desire to do so verbally. It seems tiresome and clumsy. (Like responding to a kid who says 'Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom,'; you don't want to keep saying 'Yes?' each time, eventually you want to stop.)

It takes a lot more effort to continue to during those times, and I also have to remember paralanguage, body language, actions, follow ups, etc. It's incredibly draining. I think when I'm reaching my socialising limits and I need to socially switch off I want to become selectively mute.

I've considered learning sign language or even just Makaton just so I could communicate while not speaking during these stages (although others would also have to learn too, I guess).

When I'm very relaxed with people I go into non-verbal stages and begin to communicate with either noises or just nothing at all just nudges. I love cats anyway so I just say I'm like at cat. >.> heh
But yeah, it's like I naturally go into that non-verbal, selective mutism.

I wish I could do it more in day to day life, it'd alleviate my stress levels. I'm thinking of making communication cards for when I'm having non-verbal stages, and just seeing if I can get by on those, but I still need a 'get out clause' to explain it, or I feel like I do... Although I'm getting to the point I feel like I have to follow everyone else's rules all the time with no reason given, so why not give them my rules and give no reason?

Anyway, it'd be nice to know if this issue is shared.


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Willard
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01 Nov 2013, 6:08 pm

I worked in a tattoo shop a few years ago, in which the owners absolutely insisted that all the tattooists had to be aggressive salesmen - they expected you to rush up to a customer the instant they walked through the door and start chatting them up, ask about their job, their hobbies, their kids, etc. and begin pushing suggestions on them for tattoo ideas. They thought this stimulated income, though I never saw any evidence to support that logic. All my repeat customers told me specifically they kept coming back to me because I didn't get pushy and make them nervous.

In the first place, I strongly feel that such a practice is unethical - it is not my place to push a stranger to make a lifelong commitment to marking their body just so I can make a sale. As an artist, I provide a service, I'm not selling a product.

That said, the owners were continually upset and frustrated with me, because even if I had wanted to adopt their tactics, I am literally unable to do so. When a stranger walked through the door (accompanied by a loud electronic doorbell chime), I was incapable of even speaking to them until they said something to me first. If they asked me questions, I could answer - the subject is one of my autistic obsessions, I love talking about it - but I couldn't walk up and just start prattling at them if you held a gun to my head. My brain flatlines and I can't think of a single thing to say. 8O

That's what I think of as selective mutism. I am not physically unable to speak, in fact, I speak quite articulately when I have something to say. But under the stress of an unexpected social encounter, my neurology temporarily prevents me from processing coherent thought - if there is no thought, there is nothing to express verbally. :hmph:



qwan
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01 Nov 2013, 6:38 pm

Yep Ive identified 3 types so far.
The anxiety type, in which your brain flat lines as you mentioned.
The overstimulation type, which is probably very similar and over laps.
And my type, which is more, I get to the point I kinda feel I need to do that but can be pushed to talk because I'm, I guess, higher functioning or something?

Like sometimes I go to speak and the only thing that comes out is a sigh, its more often impossible to speak when depression makes it impossible. But I know part of it feels like a sort of autism type thing, where I feel like I shouldn't need to, and that I don't want to. I don't think the world would benefit from the communication all being verbal. I mean look at the great bonds we have with animals. We never get into arguments and massive misunderstandings and mostly it's because we cut out the clumsy language. =.=


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Last edited by qwan on 01 Nov 2013, 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lostinlove
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01 Nov 2013, 7:06 pm

I get the anxiety type of selective mutism. At the moment I am having issues with my boyfriend, (I struggle to get close to people and start pushing them away when they get close) he has tried to talk to be about my irrational behaviour on the phone and I just can't speak. It's like my mind goes blank of words. I have feelings and I don't really want to push him away and I feel like I want to tell him that, but I just can't say anything. It's incredibly frustrating and I'm thinking that maybe I should write down how I feel.
I am the same as Willard in that in most other situations I am very articulate. I don't like going up to people and speaking, however if people speak to me first and its a subject I'm comfortable with I will talk excessively.



qwan
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01 Nov 2013, 7:32 pm

lostinlove wrote:
I get the anxiety type of selective mutism. At the moment I am having issues with my boyfriend, (I struggle to get close to people and start pushing them away when they get close) he has tried to talk to be about my irrational behaviour on the phone and I just can't speak. It's like my mind goes blank of words. I have feelings and I don't really want to push him away and I feel like I want to tell him that, but I just can't say anything. It's incredibly frustrating and I'm thinking that maybe I should write down how I feel.
I am the same as Willard in that in most other situations I am very articulate. I don't like going up to people and speaking, however if people speak to me first and its a subject I'm comfortable with I will talk excessively.

Why's he trying to confront you on the phone?
Ask him to do it online instead so you can write out your response.
Does he know you get anxiety or have this communication difficulty? I'd just tell him its a communication difficulty and to work around it you'd need to be able to communicate in a formate that doesnt fully rely on speech, so online is probably better. Writing him a letter might be nice but that can bring anxiety with long awaited responses, same with emails.

I think the anxiety one seems common. It's like the fight or flight mechanism. I wonder if my partner has it. He takes ages to reply sometimes so I think hes ignoring me but then he finally replies after like 15 minutes like he was on stand by. It's kinda cute but annoying. lmao


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y-pod
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01 Nov 2013, 7:50 pm

Nope. I'm very articulate. I sometimes wish I could. The more provoked or upset I am the more I want to talk. I'm a competitive talker and have to WIN an argument, because I'm always right. :D Of course this overall isn't good because I get myself all worked up and people feel hurt. In my experience most people don't really hear my reasons and explanations, all they hear is "I'm right and you're wrong! You're stupid and I don't care about you!" once arguments start. :)

My sons have selective mutism sometimes, one of them more than the other. Curiously I'm perfectly relaxed about that. I never argue with my kids and if they don't want to talk I just let them be. I make it clear that if they don't answer questions and make their choices, then choices will be made for them. They're fine with that.


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lostinlove
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01 Nov 2013, 7:57 pm

I know he is only confronting me over the phone because we are both busy people (I have two kids) and he spends a lot of time driving so it's easier for him to call me while he is out driving. I have a habit of disappearing when things get emotional, I have cut people out of my life or cut myself out of everything by becoming a hermit. He knows that I have trouble talking about my feelings, so he likes to just talk to me about anything else, like how my day has been or how the kids are. He says that he likes to keep the channels of communication open when I'm in a quiet phase. Today he just told me how he felt and I didn't reply, several times he thought I'd put the phone down I was so silent. I have told him that I think I have aspergers, I'm not sure if he has looked it up or has any knowledge of what that means other than what I've told him, but he does seem much more understanding than previous boyfriends, though he also has trouble talking about his feelings, so he understands that bit. When previously I struggled with words he suggested writing it down, so maybe I will write some thoughts down for when I see him tomorrow, thanks for the suggestion qwan :)



Kaede
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01 Nov 2013, 8:13 pm

I find that I can't get words out when I'm stressed but that stresses me out even more until I end up crashing. It doesn't happen often, thankfully! I'm not sure if this counts or not, sorry.



ChameleonKeys
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01 Nov 2013, 9:01 pm

qwan wrote:
I've considered learning sign language or even just Makaton just so I could communicate while not speaking during these stages (although others would also have to learn too, I guess).


I am Deaf and both sign and speak. Unfortunately when I am on the brink of a shutdown (or in a full shutdown), am stressed or overstimulated or just feeling like a deer in the headlights of oncoming traffic because I'm expected to say something but am unprepared to... I will have the same experience of being unable to express anything, regardless of language modality. I can sign for a little longer than I can speak under pressure but if the situation is bad enough then I become incapable of doing either.



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02 Nov 2013, 1:55 am

No Speak!
No Social!


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02 Nov 2013, 2:12 am

The only times I go selectively mute are when I'm under a lot of stress, either physically or emotionally. It's becoming increasingly common for me to wake up in the morning and find the thought of opening my mouth, feeling my voice resonate through my throat and hit my ears to be unbearably overstimulating, so I stay silent until I'm forced to speak, such as when someone says good morning to me. I hate going downstairs on days when I've lost my words because I know my family, who don't know about this problem, will unintentionally force me to speak, pushing me toward sensory overload before the day has even started.

The only other time I've experienced going mute was in the middle of panic attacks. They all revolved around public speaking, and when I found myself in front of the audience, all I could do was mouth silently while hyperventilating. Eventually I'd get round to sputtering incoherently what was wrong, but until then, I'd go completely silent, willing the words to come but feeling them stuck at the back of my throat.


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qwan
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02 Nov 2013, 6:50 am

StarTrekker wrote:
I hate going downstairs on days when I've lost my words because I know my family, who don't know about this problem, will unintentionally force me to speak, pushing me toward sensory overload before the day has even started.

I share a house and don't leave my room if people are in the house because I don't want to be forced to speak, so I'm choosing to isolate myself over having to be forced to speak or be selectively mute in a situation. I don't think I'm built with enough anxiety to actually have full blown selective anxiety, but I think my brain is telling me it would find it much more desirable if I quit speaking sometimes and I agree with it but everyone else around me doesn't. I don't like to test it out too much, so I just see how I can avoid people. Sometimes I go the opposite way and talk to much.

And I'm much more on the other side of the spectrum in that I'm a chronic over sharer, and have poor impulse control when it comes to speech. So I speak a hell of a lot. So sometimes, maybe I'm also just physically tired of talking and need a break. I mean, I'm only mortal.

People tell me to shut up all the time, and the one day I desire to not speak at all they're like 'no you can't do that either'. Unless it's an emergency I don't see why they have any right to force anything.

You sound like you're describing a similar thing to me, albiet with more anxiety. I have strong alexithymia so a lot of my emotional actions are done in a matter of fact way without me knowing I have any emotional reasoning behnd them. I only know my emotions because of deduction a lot of the time, not always because of 'feeling' them. I do get high anxiety, but I don't feel it. So it's given me something to think about with regards how selective mutism may or may not apply to me.


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qwan
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02 Nov 2013, 6:52 am

btbnnyr wrote:
No Speak!
No Social!

lmao don't be mean. I can still hit people over the head and try to force them to play games with me without speaking. It worked for cavemen.


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qwan
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02 Nov 2013, 6:56 am

ChameleonKeys wrote:
qwan wrote:
I've considered learning sign language or even just Makaton just so I could communicate while not speaking during these stages (although others would also have to learn too, I guess).


I am Deaf and both sign and speak. Unfortunately when I am on the brink of a shutdown (or in a full shutdown), am stressed or overstimulated or just feeling like a deer in the headlights of oncoming traffic because I'm expected to say something but am unprepared to... I will have the same experience of being unable to express anything, regardless of language modality. I can sign for a little longer than I can speak under pressure but if the situation is bad enough then I become incapable of doing either.


This is why I thought Makaton might work, as it's more simplistic. I worry I'd suck at Sign Language because of the importance of facial expressions. I went to a conference on National Deaf Mental Health Services, they had some interesting things on autism there, I can link it to you as I put the information up on my website and got the people to provide me with their powerpoints for that too. But I wanted to know how it was like for Autistics who were Deaf, how hard is it to communicate in Sign Language when you have difficulty using the face when it's probably more important than for spoken languages.
I found it very interesting how much of a culture the Deaf community has and learning why a capital D is used as well. Hearing people know so little about it, much less than they do about Autism or Mental Health in general, embarrassingly enough. Because we think, 'what is there to know?'

I'm not sure where I could learn Makaton. I might ask at my Autism place but they might not want me there any more, Ive missed a lot of sessions due to my Great Grand mother dying last month and it creating chaos in my life. And I'm not officially diagnosed so I feel like they don't think I belong there anyway...


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qwan
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02 Nov 2013, 7:00 am

y-pod wrote:
My sons have selective mutism sometimes, one of them more than the other. Curiously I'm perfectly relaxed about that. I never argue with my kids and if they don't want to talk I just let them be. I make it clear that if they don't answer questions and make their choices, then choices will be made for them. They're fine with that.

That's nice.
If they go non-verbal in an argument its an automatic win for you right? ;)
I don't think mutism is very offensive either, it can be unprofessional but otherwise people should be flexible enough to work around it. We're flexible enough with it when it's young children so I know everyone is actually capable of it, it's like they're choosing to be awkward. But then I think they see the mutism as the same thing.


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