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Just passin' by
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Discussing this is a little iffy in my mind because a lot of what I pull up online is in the context of little children who, for some reason unknowing to their teachers and parents, are unable to speak. I believe that I have suffered from this before, but it was acute, and wasn't something that happened at a particularly young age, despite being highly anxious and intensely shy growing up, I dont know if I was ever "mute" - only in very select situations has this been a problem, but has varied with intensity at various periods.

Throughout primary school, I was always known as the quiet, introverted type, not really caring to speak up, sometimes afraid to approach my teachers for particular reasons, afraid to ask questions during class/bus to the point where I would avoid doing things such as going to the bathroom. I had a few friends though, and didnt have a very hard time talking at, say, lunch, or recess. One time in particular I remember the bus passed my house, and I was too afraid to speak up to tell the driver to stop, so others had to do it for me. Later, I turned into more of a mumbler, but things grew worse when I hit late middle school and had to deal with bullying issues, onto high school where I grew even quieter and it became a living hell. In certain situations, as with certain groups, I nodded my head a lot to gesture an answer, afraid to speak. I literally could not do certain things, but I wouldnt just nod my head if I was called on, for instance, although very hesitant to speak, I would. Presentations were hell, too, one time I uttered the first line of my presentation and just froze, unable to speak - the class laughed, I bombed it.

In one particular class, for the course of several months, I grew so intensely anxious around my peers that I couldn't muster the breath to speak to them. This progressed for a month or so with simple questions, followed by me nodding or pointing, but in a fit of trying to cope with me being so quiet, they started to pick and jab at me. One kid in particular called me a "mute" in a manner where he was poking fun at me, and other kids were like "What does he do in restaurants, point?". I remember finally caving in and uttering a few words to this one guy, who then mocked me, and others were like "What, he can talk?", which was humiliating. In my senior year, I ended up getting the superlative for "most quiet". :clap

Flash forward to now, in some situations, I am deathly, deathly afraid of speaking e.g. in Mumble(a program for online game communication), I find it nearly impossible to initiate conversations, especially with girls I may like, or people I may know in my classroom, sometimes barely being able to afford a wave. I guess this is leaning more towards Avoidant Personality Disorder which I am certain I have too but symptoms may have manifested from earlier selective mutism, I dont know. I can readily chat with strangers, its people which recognize me that I avoid, unless were good friends, then I dont. In fact, I find that meeting girls for this reason is very difficult, I almost always avoid situations in which they are present, unless I have to be there, or am with a friend.

I suppose the bottom line is how I can differentiate among SM and other conditions with similar symptoms i.e. SA and AvPD. SM seems to be basically a condition among children where the symptoms alter themselves later into adulthood. I am not seeking a formal diagnosis clearly but can anyone identify with a situation similar to mine? Could I have Selective Mutism, even if a mild case, do you ever "grow out" of it, only to have it shapeshift? Thanks!
 

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SAS Member
8800 blue lick road
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Uh, I mean there's a vague line. I've suffered from both so I know selective mutism is more severe. Can you talk to people if they initiate the conversation? Or is it that in these situations you seriously cannot talk at all?

E.g: once when suffering from selective mutism was so scared to ask the teacher about where my exercise book was that I just sat outside by the draws searching for it the whole lesson, hiding and crying.

Other very embarrassing things happened because I was too scared to speak up so it's like literally going through anything is better than speaking when you have that disorder.

It is mostly little kids though yeah, usually they'll either overcome it with or without help or it will just develop/'improve' into general social anxiety like mine did. For obvious reasons it's difficult to continue to have selective mutism long term, so most people are forced out of it in some way or another or people will finally realise and get them the help they need.
 
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