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Joined: 23 Jan 2017
Age: 38
Gender: Female
Posts: 286
Location: Ohio USA

15 Feb 2017, 12:19 pm

When I was in 7th grade I had a teacher that confronted me. He kept me after class and said he knew I was really smart and that I was capable of doing the presentation in front of the class. He demanded that I do the book report. Well, of course, I couldn't, and I didn't. When I've looked back over the years I've been very angry at that teacher, then kind of grateful that he actually took the time to do what he thought in his heart best. But he was misguided, and I was a lost smart child. The work I turned in was wonderful, but I could never do a class presentation, talk in class, most things like that.

In college I dropped the public speaking class 3 or 4 times. Now, at 34, I wouldn't think twice. I've been a teacher to people of all ages and I think that's what finally cured me.

I clam up now and then, but mostly by choice. When I was in school it was debilitating. Why didn't the teachers see, ask questions, and know it was more than just extreme shyness? I will never know the answers.

I was asked, "Do you EVER talk?" so many times as a teen that I came up with the witty equally rude retort of, "Do you EVER shut up?" which I allowed myself to say with smugness and then go straight back to what I was doing. It kept their mouths shut.

The teachers always told my mother that I was such a good student and so quiet. To which my mother told them that at home I never shut up.

I usually had one friend at school. They tended to be the brave, protective sort. I was always envious yet thankful of that quality. On more than one occasion a friend would fight someone for me, or in my defense.

I've been rather co-dependent in my adult relationships. Some find this a negative quality. For some, it works. I do need other people for certain things and definitely depend on my significant other for socialization. Without a partner, I'd never see anyone.

Well, us quiet folk do tend to ramble when we finally do speak.

Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

Joined: 30 Sep 2016
Gender: Female
Posts: 129
Location: Southeast USA

15 Feb 2017, 12:55 pm

I have selective mutism. I had to go to special schools for kids with behavioral problems because nobody in the school system understood what was wrong with me. I was punished there for not being able to talk. My life was absolute hell. I didn't understand why I couldn't talk. I wanted to so badly, but when I tried, I froze. And I was taught that I was a bad person because of it. Before institutionalizing me, the county mental health department had me take an IQ test. Even though I could not communicate (verbally or otherwise) with the test administrator, I scored in the top 98 percentile on the test. Since I qualified for a special program for gifted kids, they took me out of the abusive school for future felons and ignored the fact that I was non-verbal. I still never received any kind of help for selective mutism. They just thought that since I was "gifted" it didn't matter if something was wrong with me. All through school, I wet my pants because I couldn't ask to go to the bathroom. I couldn't cough, so I would sit there with my eyes watering terribly, holding back a cough. I would get diarrhea when we had a substitute teacher because I was afraid they would call on me in class, not knowing I was mute, and I would get punished for not being able to speak. I gradually got better, but never cured. Even as an adult, I could not order food at a restaurant- whether it was inside or the drive-thru. I didn't know anyone else with this condition until I joined this forum. I never even knew anyone who had heard of selective mutism.