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Buttercup
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28 Jun 2014, 8:34 pm

I have speech but it gets tired quickly. I am losing my patience with pointless questions and curiosity about the personal information of others.
I had to move in with a blabby family member and I like her caring and good intentions, however she has memory problems. She forgets I get tired of talking and I eventually end up thinking visually and can't find the words. My speech can quit mid-sentence sometimes. I think it must confuse her. (Low IQ)
Has anybody here indulged in selective mutism as an adult? How did that work for you? Was it really hard for NT's in your life? My psychiatrist said it was ok for me to stop talking to almost everybody. A second one told me to stop punishing myself. Speech often exhausts me & I am getting a very adult autie attitude about NT adults being entitled to conversations with me or recognition, or answers to hundreds of questions with answers that make not a bit of difference.
Before I moved I went months with hardly a word. I get hoarse if I talk too much, & it can give me headaches. Sometimes all the questions make me upset, sad or angry.
Is there a way to break the "I'm taking a break from speech" news quietly and respectfully?
I am at a loss for words and I don't mind at all! (Hm...good t-shirt idea? Lol)



Claradoon
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29 Jun 2014, 3:09 am

That really rings a bell with me. I often wish I could be one of those Tibetan priests that carries a chalkboard instead talking. Come to think of it, could you use your "electronic device" (whatever it may be) and type "Can't talk now" ? That might work for your relative if you explain it before. What to do with the rest of the world, I have no idea. I have a button I sometimes wear on my baseball cap - "I'm Not Ignoring You - I Have Autism" - that's helpful with cashiers etc. - it seems to take the edge off anything odd I might be doing.



BirdInFlight
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29 Jun 2014, 5:59 am

I'd too would like to know how to politely deflect chatty people, as this has become a problem in my life. There is somewhere I go specifically to get away from people and have a break from the people in my life that I kind of have to talk to. But this peaceful place has now become another thing I need sanctuary from, as several very chatty people who are regulars there too seem to have decided that if they see me sitting there alone, they just HAVE TO sit down and talk my freaking ear off for the next hour or more.

I find fast processing extremely, extremely challenging, and I get into such a brain fog that I don't even think of getting up and walking away, or of finding a way to tell them I'd rather be alone. I want to do that, but in a way that is friendly, polite, and considerate of their feelings, as they are nice people, and it's nice that they actually seem to like me -- it's just that the time and the place used to be my meditational sanctuary, and now it's ruined.

However, "selective mutism" isn't really the right name for this kind of seeking of not having to talk a lot. True selective mutism is more like a reaction that you almost can't help because it comes almost without a conscious effort, whereas deliberately choosing and wishing not to talk when you could, however, still be capable of talking, is more of a choice. Even though the first scenario contains choice to, arguably, it's more like blushing -- it's not entirely under your control, but just wanting to not talk is.

.

.



Buttercup
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29 Jun 2014, 6:07 am

Funny, I use a big chalkboard to keep myself on task and sometimes I draw on it instead of write! ;-)
I do have a small one. It's a clipboard I painted on one side with chalkboard paint. That barely works.
I have a clear clip board for dry-erase marker too, and index cards. That may be my best bet.
And I keep saying I need a button or t-shirt which says "please wait for mindful replies"!
I thought of using my phone notepad too, but I'd have to switch the whole thing over to large print for older relatives, and I don't like using my phone that way.
It doesn't help that I just moved (stress!) and most of my stuff is boxed up, and I have forms to fill out, and places to call, & important questions to answer, and my speech is "tired".



opal
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29 Jun 2014, 11:10 pm

As one who has the same issues I've been tempted to buy this.

http://www.cafepress.com.au/mf/87821621 ... 1268399422

As for more subtle or socially acceptable methods, I don't think I'm much use to you :oops:



Claradoon
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29 Jun 2014, 11:26 pm

LOL! That's a fabulous t-shirt!
:D



BirdInFlight
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30 Jun 2014, 10:46 am

I need that t-shirt, plus a version for hats, my umbrella, and my large bag I carry. :lol:



ToughDiamond
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07 Jul 2014, 2:00 pm

BirdInFlight wrote:
"selective mutism" isn't really the right name for this kind of seeking of not having to talk a lot. True selective mutism is more like a reaction that you almost can't help because it comes almost without a conscious effort, whereas deliberately choosing and wishing not to talk when you could, however, still be capable of talking, is more of a choice. Even though the first scenario contains choice to, arguably, it's more like blushing -- it's not entirely under your control, but just wanting to not talk is.
.

I think this is correct. I believe I have a smattering of selective mutism myself, in that sometimes when people talk to me, I'd love to be able to answer them but I just don't have the words. I also know somebody who officially has selective mutism, and (not surprisingly) we have said alarmingly little to each other, despite ample opportunity. When somebody asked her about that, she said "I just don't know what to say."

It's not something that you "indulge in." I often feel tempted to just switch off from talking, though I usually limit myself to staying away from situations in which I'd be expected to converse for too long. I think it's down to social fatigue and social anxiety mostly. I'm scared of deliberately being silent when a response is called for, probably because I know how alienated I can feel when I approach somebody and they seem to stonewall me in that way, and I've no wish to invite contempt.

On the other hand, these days I allow myself to be less bound by (what I assume to be) the social rules of verbal reciprocation than I used to be. Time was when I would always do my utmost to give a good, full answer to anything that was said to me. Nowadays, although I still feel that same imperative, I'm less likely to obey it, less eager to please. I still don't stonewall people completely, but I've begun to feel that there are times when it's OK for me to say less, or say nothing. Back in the day, I'd be afaid of my silence making the other person feel uncomfortable, but not everybody who talks to me always has my best interests at heart, and sometimes letting them feel a little bit uncomfortable isn't such a bad thing. As long as I don't take it to extremes, there's very little damage done, and sometimes I think I command more respect that way. I don't have to be nice all the time.

I don't know if that's similar to your experiences or not, but I thought I'd lay it out for you just in case it turns out to be relevent.



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13 Jul 2014, 12:45 pm

Yes I agree with the previous post, I believe it is like not being able to say anything without it being a choice.
In my case, if I am not given the space (if there is too much noise, if I don't have the attention or if I get too much attention abruptly- yeah it is complex) I freeze, I don't get the words right or worse I overreact. However, it does happen that I decide it is not worth talking out of exhaustion.


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Claradoon
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13 Jul 2014, 7:35 pm

I agree - "freeze" is the word I would use to describe it.



AmethystRose
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21 Jul 2014, 1:00 am

ToughDiamond wrote:
. . .
Back in the day, I'd be afraid of my silence making the other person feel uncomfortable, but not everybody who talks to me always has my best interests at heart, and sometimes letting them feel a little bit uncomfortable isn't such a bad thing. As long as I don't take it to extremes, there's very little damage done, and sometimes I think I command more respect that way. I don't have to be nice all the time.
. . .


^^^ THIS ^^^
It's really great to be open with people who are close to you, but you gotta watch out. I'm just amazed at how underhanded and mean people still are as adults; I thought we were supposed to grow out of that BS when we magically became "grownups" after highschool (LoL, JK. I don't believe that anymore. Now that I'm a "grownup," I think "grownups" are a myth.)



AmethystRose
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21 Jul 2014, 1:20 am

Buttercup wrote:
I have speech but it gets tired quickly. . .
. . . I get tired of talking and I eventually end up thinking visually and can't find the words. My speech can quit mid-sentence sometimes. . .
. . . Speech often exhausts me . . .


I'm not a trained professional, but I think you already have selective mutism, sorry. :(

I do, too. It's very frustrating in serious conversations. By "serious conversations" I mean that the topic is both important AND emotional.

The emotions involved in serious conversations can make my speech shut down (and WILL make my speech shut down if I feel confronted), and once that happens, even if I have important things that I need to or even want to say, the person who's trying to talk to me isn't going to get any response other than me not saying anything, and looking upset... I think you can understand how this might be a problem for me... :|

But I'm getting better. Realizing what was going on has helped. :star:



Buttercup
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08 Aug 2014, 2:12 pm

Ok, I've been looking at this term "selective mutism" trying to correctly define it as it may or may not apply to you and me. Some definitions say to have it, autism is ruled out. Others say it is a* children's *anxiety disorder, like a result of shyness.

I personally do not like the word "selective" applying to my mutism. I frequently do not select when true mutism hits me. This is not simply choosing not to speak, but more often a result of being overwhelmed (& my ageing parents assert shyness is not my problem!). I needed a descriptive wording for a potential employer, and others, and I didn't want the term I used to sound misleading. So I'll be calling it "autistic overwhelm mutism".

Often I do choose not to speak, but it's due to being exhausted in a general way.
Ex:
I have answered this question how many times now?
Is it any of their business? (Just nosy?) (oh and do they spread rumors?)
Will the answer help anything? Just curious?
Open questions tend to cause me to choose from too wide a field of potential answers..."do you have any questions for us?" Eeek!, or "What do you want to eat?"
Or those rapid fire people who ask another question while I am two words into the reply for the previous one...or the one prior to that. (Sigh)
But I think the ones which are most likely to cause me to "stonewall" somebody are the pushy nosy useless anxious questions. "What are you going to do about this, or that?!" (If you aren't helping solve the problem my plans are NOYB!)
It's useless chatter to me and often a lot of useless work to answer.



russiank12
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21 Aug 2014, 6:23 pm

Is selective mutism similar to going non verbal? I can't tell the difference. Also, I think almost exclusively in words and ideas and even I sometimes can't think of words, or if I can, I can't say them out loud because it feels like my tongue weighs two tons. Is this going non verbal?



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22 Aug 2014, 8:11 am

One way to think about this is to apply your sense of discomfort in speaking and imagine that there's a similar level of discomfort in an NT in not being acknowledged or being 'rejected'. For us rejection can cause a physical pain and our sense of well-being is enhanced by being with other people and we derive comfort from social grooming which in humans often involves conversations. Not being responded to can cause a great deal of social anxiety which is not something that we can control.

Your need not to engage is, in some cases, just as strongly balanced by an NT need to engage. Obviously for strangers on the street you don't owe them anything. By any normal calculation your comfort outweighs their discomfort - where there isn't an existing relationship.

But when you are in a relationship with someone, the balanced needs of comfort/discomfort have a different sort of calculus. If you are living in someone else's house and are receiving support from them in terms of shelter or otherwise, you need to think about their needs as well. They are just as valid as yours. Having someone in your space who will not (perhaps cannot) acknowledge you is a source of anxiety. (Believe me, I know!) The signals you are giving off, perhaps unwittingly, are of rejection and disdain - and these will cause physical and mental symptoms of distress.

It helps some to make that clear and to help your relative understand that this is not deliberate, but you must also understand that for some people the need for social interaction is as hard wired as your need not to have it.

I know this doesn't give any concrete suggestions to help you. But hopefully it will help you understand why people can get upset about it.