I have been reading about selective mutism and believe I have had this most of my life.
I believe I had separation anxiety when I was 4 or so. When my mother was driving me to the daycare, I would start getting anxious. It would make me sick. As she took me inside to say goodbye, I would start crying. It happened for many months.
Then when I started kindergarten, I felt nervous and anxious, but don't remember the tears. I just remember the sick feeling. I didn't talk, but would try to play with groups during playtime/recess.
In first grade I remember my teacher not having the patience an elementary teacher should have. She would call on me and I would not answer. Too afraid. She called my parents in for a meeting. She told them that I was too immature for a first grader and that they should take all my toys, games and stuffed animals away from me for good. She thought this was the way and I would start talking. My family hid all my things from me and I started to panic. I had to get all my stuff back so I started looking for it, found it and claimed my stuff. To this day I really do get upset thinking back to that teacher.
I remember always feeling uneasy in all my classes in elementary school. I was scared. If I was called on in class, I would answer with "I don't know". Even if I knew the answer, I usually froze, and could not recall it.
I did not want the attention on me.
I remember feeling relaxed in one class -4th grade- I think. There was a reading area that had bean bag chairs and bright carpet. I was able to feel calm and relaxed in that area. Once reading time was up, it was back to the desks and I would get anxious again.
My school mates would call me "shy" and I thought that is what I was.
I somehow made it through elementary school and then there was middle school. There were more people in middle school - It was about six times the size of elementary school. New faces. I was excited because I was getting older, but scared because I would have to meet new people.
I took a speech class because of peer pressure. It was the most stressful because I obsessed over this class and it took over my life. Worried all the time. I made it through, but really was embarrased and did not want to see people from that class.
I had a bully that made fun of me because of my acne. I had horrible acne and was in such pain mentally because of this. The bully would greet me with "Hello Zit" each day. Could not avoid this person and this person was in a popular group so I did not know what to say. I would be in tears by the end of the day.
I would talk to close friends, but would not speak up in the classroom. That really scared me. I still did not want to be called on in the classroom.
I remember another bully walking behind me and swinging his backpack in his hand. His backpack picked up momentum and he hit my legs. I flew into the air and my books went everywhere. I landed in front of a crowd that was talking between classes. They all looked at me and laughed.
I did not know what to do. I couldn't believe this was happening to me.
I had never done anything like that to anyone.
I think my face turned red and I ran away in tears. The bully kept laughing.
High school was another story. I was merely trying to make it through each day. I could only think that things would get better after I graduated.
It was tough in high school, too. I was never in a group, but had 3-4 friends to rely on. We all had our problems like HS students do.
I had a line in a play that we were doing in a class. I knew my line well and to this day can repeat that line. When it was my turn to speak my line, my heart rate raced, mind raced, I got out one word. Then each word came out about 5 seconds apart. It seemed like longer. I looked at two popular people and they just laughed so hard at me.
I was so upset.
Somehow I made it through HS, but do not want to see any of those people again. It is sad.
Going to the university was even more overwhelming. I tried to pick the courses in the lecture halls so I could blend in. I was nervous when I was on campus, really nervous. If I had to present any project, I would speed through it so fast. I remember a class of about 40 students. Each of us had to research a subject and present it to the class. I did my research, and wrote a paper like I was supposed to. Then we had to present it to the class. I was so scared that I got up to the front, looked out and started reading from the paper. That was all I could do. I made a B, but saw the other students present with strength, using audiovisuals, etc.
I did not take a speech course in college, but if I go back, I may take interpersonal communication first. That might help me if I decide to take a speech class later on.
In the real world, I was working on a job, when I was still having the problem. Here is the story: My boss who had hired me was really great to work for. THis person had anxiety I could tell. This person was a hard worker and was a good person. I had worked with my boss for a few years and I really got comfortable with him. Well, the boss was offered another job and moved on. I suppose I had felt safe and comfortable working for that person and they left. I felt abandoned and felt I could not move forward. Anxious.
Well the Manager tried to have a meeting with a few of us that were still there. No one was really talking. One person up and walked out.
I was overwhelmed. The manager asked me some questions and I froze.
The manager said,"Do you not speak unless Ex- BOSS tells you to?" I could not believe this. I was anxious, was not used to working directly with the manager. I don't remember my reply, but it was prob. like 1 -2 words.
I have always had this and it seems to happen most when I am in a situation with an instructor and classroom of people or with an authoritative person.
Anyone have selective mutism?