A woman living with this.
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June 30, 2011 at 8:18 pm #1142
First, wow. Just wow. I came across an article on Yahoo about this this evening and read it and nearly had my jaw hit the floor.
I’m Brenda. I’m 34, married with 5 children.
I looked up the difference between being shy and this condition. It was like someone followed me around my entire life and wrote it down under the heading “selective mutism”. I’m still stunned.
Obviously I’ve never had therapy for this specifically, since I’ve never heard of it. As a child, I could talk to my parents and my mom’s grandmother. That was it. I felt as if I was choking is someone asked me a question directly as far as I can recall. My mom wrote in my baby book about many incidents where an aunt, uncle, cousin, etc would talk to me and I would be “frozen” and never say a word and just shake, as if in fear. She didn’t comprehend it. Everyone wrote it off as being shy. I grew up thinking it was shyness. I never made friends, they came to me. Oddly enough. I had friends that talked and talked to me. Their mom would call mine and they’d come over for the night. I never spoke a word. LOL they still stayed my friend! It was mindboggling. I remember my first friend staying over and thinking “why is she here?”
Teachers had no idea what to do. I was very very smart, so they put me in a really advanced class when I was in 2nd grade (I was working at a 6th grade level). The one thing this class had that the others didn’t – was speaking. You had to stand in front of the class and speak. I remember to this day as if it happened yesterday, standing there, choking, staring at people, the teacher became irrate becuase I couldn’t speak. She drug me out of the room, to the hall and pitched a fit. I went home and didn’t want to go back but couldn’t tel my parents. I choked around them when I kept trying. I’d open my mouth but nothign would come out. They eventually got the point after weeks of me freaking out when the bus came. My dad finally carried me onto the bus, I was pinching, hitting, kicking, as he walked away, I jumped out of the bus window (sprained ankles and wrists). That’s when they said “this isn’t right” and went in. that’s when the principal found out what happened and that teacher was put on leave, I was put back into a normal classroom with a teacher who was so very very kind and gentle and never asked me to speak at all.
things did get better for me. Once I had friends hanging around me for months, I’d slowly start to talk back, eventually after years, able to talk with no problems to them. I started writing at a young age and even joined our school’s dance team. I was wonderful at writing and at dancing. they were both ways for me to express myself.
I’m still known as the really shy girl from peers.
I went to college, but the fear was immense. Eventually I was looking for a way out. I was on teh Dean’s List (4.0) the entire time I was there (2+ years), but I was expected to speak more and more and more and just couldn’t handle the fear. I remember heading to one class, stopped at the door, and turning and running into the bathroom and just shaking. I went to my truck and stayed there until it was time to go home (I commuted – the fear of staying on campus was insane).
Having kids has sort of forced it out of me. Though, not completely. I find that I’ll turn down social events because of being scared and knowing there will be people there I don’t know and have to talk. Two great friends invited me for a weekend this month at the beach. I said Yes. I was so excited. Then one told me that there are three other ladies joining us – I don’t know them. I quickly found an excuse and used it. I was also invited to a friend’s cookout this Sunday. I also found an excuse not to go – though she may find out, she lives just down the road.
I don’t believe in lying, but I’ll do it to get out of those situations. I know I’m only hurting/fooling myself, but there are some situations I just can’t get past.
I also hate talking ont he phone – even with my own husband. the poor man has been ordering food for me for years – I won’t even call for a pizza. He has always found it “odd” but there was never an explanation for it – now I have one and cannot wait to tell him.
It took me 8 years to be able to talk to his parents after we were married.
I was searching ot see what could be done for me locally to help me get passed this last bit. I want to go back to college. I want to not miss out on trips and cookouts becuase of this anymore. I don’t know how. I have come really far myself, but don’t think I can go further without help.
the other reason I need help, is that I’ve managed to help my daughter. She’s 13. I knew when she was 9 months old she was just like me in so many ways, including this one. I became momma bear and threatened the school, teachers, etc if they embarassed her or forced her to talk or do anything she couldn’t. I told them they didn’t understand. It was shyness, but to the extreme (that’s how I always worded it). She won’t go into a store without me, she won’t talk around strangers, she won’t talk at all in class. She’s a 4.0 student and is now studying the French Horn with the Professor at the college I attended – yes, she’s only 13. She also plays on three ice hockey teams now and one of them is the women’s team for the same major university out here. But she won’t talk to her teammates at all. We have to be there early, she gets ready before they come and she sits with me in the lobby until it’s time to get on the ice – but she shines on the ice.
Everyone says without my guidance she’d be worse off and I agree. I was able to do things for her that I wish my parents would have known and done for me. But as I’m still suffering, I can’t give her completely what she needs and know that.
I know this is super super long, but I’m literally in tears that I know what is truly wrong with me and now her. Out of all my children, she’s the only one with this.
I’m hoping to find some technics to help myself and her to become more “out there in the world”. For the services within a two hour drive of me are very lacking in all aspects (I had a brain injury a few years ago and have to travel three hours to the neurologist – yep, we live way out in the country).
Thank you for these forums. I’ll be checking them and I am so sorry for the novel I’ve written. Obviously, writing is the way I express myself these days. 🙂
BrenJune 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm #1195
Thanks for sharing your story Bren. I cried too when I first read about Selective Mutism just last February. It’s such a relief to finally know why I’m like this and that I’m not alone.June 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm #1554
Thanks for sharing your story Bren. I cried too when I first read about Selective Mutism just last February. It’s such a relief to finally know why I’m like this and that I’m not alone.June 30, 2011 at 11:59 pm #1197
I also cried and I also just saw that article today and I ALSO thought it was like reading my whole life, except I’m 19 and still have it, I really don’t know what to do and I have no friends so I’m pretty much all alone. My parents said I was smart when I was little I learned to read at age 3 so I went to preschool at 3 yrs old and started first grade at 4 but when I was going onto 9th grade which would be high school, my counselor thought it was best for me to go back and do 7th grade again I was always really short and tiny and very shy so they didn’t want to send me with the big kids yet. My problem started in 8th grade I had to change school and I stuttered when I asked someone where the office was it was something like “where where where whe where are where where is the office” I felt so humiliated anyway that’s when my whole life just went downhill and to this day I literally have no friends, except for my chihuahua “Twinky”… I guess I kind of feel relief to have found people who understand me :]July 1, 2011 at 6:00 am #1198
It is a huge relief to know I’m not alone too. I pulled my daughter in here last night and told her about it. She was stunned and so excited as well. It makes sense and we both fall into every little detail about it.
Michelle – I am so sorry for what happened to you. I have friends (they’ve all come to me) but I have trouble talking to them at all at times and I always get extremely nervous when around them for a while. The only person I can talk to all the time with no issues is my Norweigen Elkhound, Thor. He’s just a puppy still. Before him it was my chocolate cocker spaniel, Daisy. I miss her still.
It is a relief to know what’s going on with me and my daughter. But now I want to know how to fix it. I don’t want to be like this anymore. I don’t want her to miss out on opportunities because of it.
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