Selective mutism - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-19-2008, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
 
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Selective mutism


I've been thinking about selective mutism recently, trying to work out if I have it or whether its just part of my social anxiety.
I can't talk in group conversations/class discussions etc, I think my teachers must think I've got a screw loose because even when they ask me a direct question I find it hard to answer them, or I'll mumble, talk very quietly, even for me, and probably come across as really slow as well. Yet when I'm at home I'm loud, confident and hardly ever actually stop talking!
Does this sound like SM to anyone? I know I really should just talk to a doctor and get it over with, but I'm really trying to avoid that for a lot of reasons at the moment.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-19-2008, 02:51 PM
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Re: Selective mutism


The Wikipedia article on selective mutism says: "Children (and adults) with the disorder are fully capable of speech and understanding language, but fail to speak in certain social situations when it is expected of them. They function normally in other areas of behaviour and learning, though appear severely withdrawn and some are unable to participate in group activities due to their extreme anxiety." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_mutism)

It sounds similar to what you described. I had it as a young child. Now I'm able to talk a bit, but I still feel extremely uncomfortable. Like you, I was always talkative at home.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-19-2008, 03:46 PM
 
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Re: Selective mutism


I honestly think its just part of social anxiety. When the brain is experiencing social anxiety, its concentrating most its resources helping the body survive the "dangerous" situation.

Imagine if you were being chased by a bear and someone asked you to explain the effect of the boston tea party. Thinking about an issue is the last thing your brain would be concerned with, so the least amount of concentration is given to it, resulting in you being unable to express yourself normally.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-20-2008, 03:50 PM
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Re: Selective mutism


Quote:
Originally Posted by Holz
I've been thinking about selective mutism recently, trying to work out if I have it or whether its just part of my social anxiety.
I can't talk in group conversations/class discussions etc, I think my teachers must think I've got a screw loose because even when they ask me a direct question I find it hard to answer them, or I'll mumble, talk very quietly, even for me, and probably come across as really slow as well. Yet when I'm at home I'm loud, confident and hardly ever actually stop talking!
Does this sound like SM to anyone? I know I really should just talk to a doctor and get it over with, but I'm really trying to avoid that for a lot of reasons at the moment.
That sounds just like me, except I don't talk a lot at home but certainly much more than I do in public. When I first started school I never used to speak at all, I can't remember much about it really but apparently I overcame it to a certain extent.

When you're in a situation where you'd be expected to talk, what happens if you try and force yourself to speak? I've tried before and sometimes I literally cannot get any words to come out.

I used to get hassled by the people I worked with because I'd sit there all day and not say a single word if I could help it

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-20-2008, 04:41 PM
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Re: Selective mutism


Same here wouldnt ever talk in class always refused to go to school really felt too nervous butterflies and too timid to ask questions or talk in class from grade school to the end of high school. Im not sure If i have SM but finding out the root of SM or sa is complex.

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence and than success is sure," Mark Twain

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-20-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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Re: Selective mutism


Sounds like me, in most of my classes I avoid answering questions at all costs, and get panicy when someone asks me one, and desperatly start trying to come up with any old rubbish if I know one is coming my way. I also think my teachers must think I'm stupid in some classes, which makes me kinda down, since I genuinely know most of the answers.

At home though its a different story, I talk about anything really confidently. Personally I think I'm like that just to make up for the fact that I don't have too much conversation at school.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-20-2008, 06:25 PM
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Re: Selective mutism


I am a mute... to me SM is about not being able to get words out of your throat no matter how hard you try. Like ice in your throat. At least that's what it's like for me.

I'm leaning towards SA... the impossibility of saying things like "hello" or "goodbye" are usually a red flag of SM. At least you're mumbling and stuff... I guess it depends on how you feel when it happens, is it like just a fear or reluctance or like your voice just disappears? SM is just extreme SA anyway...

It's like even when I don't feel nervous or embarrassed, my voice is completely nonexistent. Even if I'm ready to speak, I just can't... ugh I forgot where I was going with it. But yeah, it's usually really really bad past the point of anything that might be considered normal anxiety.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-22-2008, 06:04 PM
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Re: Selective mutism


I could have been the poster boy for selective mute when I was younger. I'm still a little selective mute in certain situations. Selective mute and social anxiety go hand in hand so you probably could be classified as having it. Being totally quiet in uncomfortable settings but being talkative around close friends and family should be a good indicator of selective mute. As for myself I couldn't say ANYTHING in class but talked freely around friends and family. While in uncomfortable situations I remained totally quiet for fear of drawing attention to myself. Sound familiar?
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-22-2008, 07:09 PM
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Re: Selective mutism


Quote:
"Children (and adults) with the disorder are fully capable of speech and understanding language, but fail to speak in certain social situations when it is expected of them. They function normally in other areas of behaviour and learning, though appear severely withdrawn and some are unable to participate in group activities due to their extreme anxiety."
i thought that was part of having social anxiety? why is it considered a different disorder? I've come across this plenty of times.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-09-2011, 03:05 PM
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How does anyone manage to cope wth a job if they have selective mutism? How do you get by wiv work colleagues. And doesnt it make you feel lonely sitting at lunch on your own whilst everyone else has company then being bullied or ignored by workmates and bosses?
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 07:15 AM
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I'd like to know this too... I'm struggling with even just studying at uni with this.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 03:24 PM
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I had selective mutism when I was in kindergarten. An embarrassing first day caused me to be mute almost the whole year of kindergarten until the day that I forgot my backpack from inside my paternal grandpa's car. I was compelled to tell my teacher out loud with my classmates present before I walked outside my classroom to my paternal grandpa's car to retrieve my backpack. From then on, I continued to speak out loud because my teacher and classmates heard me speak that day. Before that event I whispered my answer to my teacher when she asked me a question or nodded or shook my head or pointed. After kindergarten I still rarely spoke when I wanted something. I would only speak if someone asked me a question. I wouldn't comment or ask questions for others to answer. I only said, "Yes" or "No" when someone asked me a question. When someone asked me an open ended question, I answered with as few words as I could. However, as long as I can remember I was always talkative and animated at home and in public outside of school with people I was close with. I still have social anxiety, not the disorder because I don't experience panic attacks. I still don't answer questions that professors ask my classmates and me to answer by raising our hands to speak or speaking without raising our hands unless I'm confident with my answer or the number of people in the class is small. If I have to discuss a subject within a group, I let other people talk and only speak if someone directly asks me a question or asks me to talk or I'm confident with an answer. I can behave and talk naturally when I'm comfortable in a social situation. In contrast, when I feel uncomfortable my body tenses and becomes stiff, my facial expression is emotionless, my voice is in a monotone, my throat is dry, I sometimes sweat, my heart beats rapidly, my mind goes blank so I can't form an answer or I use simple vocabulary and sentence structures as opposed to complex ones, sounding dumb instead of eloquent.

Meditating, exercising, feeling good, feeling excited about something, writing down all the things I'm proud of having done or the good things I did for today or yesterday, writing down what I'm grateful for, engaging in hobbies, being with nature, listening to music, reading a book for leisure, doing something and being in the moment such as washing dishes, cleaning the car, folding clothes, eating, drinking tea, juice, or a smoothie, walking, observing the sky, stars, moon, or clouds, etc. helps with feeling comfortable before a social situation.

To separate yourself from your thoughts, focus on your surroundings and people. Look at them, paying attention to their sights, color, texture, scents, sounds, think about their tactile qualities.

To have something to say after someone talks, pay attention to what the person has said so you can ask a question or comment by making associations from what the person said.

From my personal experience, if you, a child you know, or an adult you know has selective mutism, to force the person to talk, he or she has to be in a situation where it is an emergency or he or she is in danger or someone else is in danger and the only option is to speak to save the person. Examples: Yell at someone to wake up if there's a fire, yell at someone to run away, warn someone if there's a shooter or bomb, tell someone that you forgot something and need to go get it, ask for help, get someone's attention.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-05-2015, 10:10 PM
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I dealt with this exact problem all throughout my childhood. At home I could be loud and goof off. But as soon as I got to school or had to deal with any other social interaction I immediately shut down.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 04:33 PM
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I have this.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 05:08 PM
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Do I still have this?


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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 07:17 PM
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I have this.
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-07-2015, 10:36 AM
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-07-2015, 09:09 PM
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SM sucks a lot. I used to be extremely selectively mute as early as preschool age up until elementary school age and then a bit of it in high school only to a group of guys I didn't get along with. Thankfully, I'm not mute anymore after finally realizing there is no point of being mute on purpose even though I have SA but I'm working hard against it. It's still progress and I'm damn proud of that. I'm hopeful that some people who have SM will be able to conquer this unnecessary burden.

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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-08-2015, 12:06 AM
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Yes, I had this, I didn't talk in school from kindergarten to high school(I would only talk in special classes in high school towards the end) Now I just hardly talk to anyone, I only talk when someone talks to me first, and even then I only say a few words.

Hang my head
Drown my fear
Till you all just disappear
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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-08-2015, 05:44 AM
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I don't think I had selective mutism, but I can kinda relate.
Being quiet around others just because of the fear of embarrassing yourself and the worst thing, every ******* in this world will take advantage of it, just because it builds up their fragile puny self esteem for the next week.
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