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Therapy for the selectively mute

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Therapy for the selectively mute

Postby Manners73 » Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:33 pm

I've said it before somewhere that I have selective mutism.

I've been in a lot of trouble in my life. I don't know if it's related the mutism but I used to think it was and that fighting, causing damage, stealing and being promiscuous was my way of expressing myself without having to talk.

When I was a young teenager I was locked up for my offences. Whist I was locked up I had to see a psychiatrist. I saw him once a week and the only thing I remember saying to him during this time is that: when I get out I'm gonna get high. This is where I think I got labelled BPD.

The problem was was that was all I could say. I couldn't speak the words that needed to be said so I just said what was easy to say.

When I did get out I had to see a probation officer for three years. I went to see him every week and I can remember that not a word passes my lips. He used to give me money for food and bus fair.I think this was in an attempt to make me talk but it didn't work. He gave up on me in the end and I was assigned a different probation officer. I didn't talk to him either.

Later on in my life I found my voice through using illegal substances but this only caused a further rift between myself and the rest of the world because as well as me having quite a long history if crime and being locked up I was also a druggy.

So I stopped doing drugs and yet again retreated to a silent world. But I was older now and a lot more angry and violent.

I ended up back in the mental health system.

I'd see councillors but I couldn't talk to them.

I am fortunate to have a psychiatrist who prescribes me Ritalin these days and that helps me a lot but I had to almost jump through hoops to get that.

I'd love some therapy and I'd live to ask my psychiatrist for what I need. I'd love to be able to talk all this out loud (it's not a lot) and I'd love to be able to speak out loud to another human being about all the things that have happened in my crazy ######6 life but the truth is, I can't.
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Re: Therapy for the selectively mute

Postby Johnny-Jack » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:26 pm

Would it be possible for you to compose what you'd want to communicate to a therapist, just write out some notes, print it if electronic? Then you could take it with you and hand it to the therapist and bypass speaking. I might think about this as "stuff you'd want a therapist to know about what's going on" rather than "what I want to divulge to a therapist" because the former might be a little less scary than the latter.

I happen to have a dissociative disorder and some parts of me have been mute, all for reasons that have become understandable over time. Mutism may have served a vital protective purpose for you in childhood, it definitely did for me. I think you can imagine circumstances for a child where remaining silent was the only safe choice.

You might want to consider whether you'd be able to say anything to a therapist after handing them written words. It would be completely fine, as a use of therapy, to do that and never say a word after that. Your lack of an ability to speak would communicate volumes to most therapists. Do you think you'd be able to answer yes/no questions, like nod or shake your head? If so, you could say that in a printout. Could you write down short answers on paper and show them to a therapist rather than having to speak them?

Selective mutism can be worked out, it's most likely psychological and treatable. You can get better, much better.

For me, I had to hold on to the knowledge that what was real for me back then (in childhood) isn't the same now. That doesn't necessarily flip a switch so you can chat about anything but it was a start for me.
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Re: Therapy for the selectively mute

Postby MuteGuy87 » Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:50 am

I have selective mutism and social anxiety disorder that I have received no adulthood treatment for. Nobody is willing to assist me, not even family, despite asking for help for over 14 years on and off. When I was a young child they tried to help me, but I wasn't ready to help myself then. Now I am an adult and I want treatment, it just seems nobody cares anymore. It is quite sad.. I am unable to get federal help, state help, family assistance or anything. No real life friends, no job, no car, no phone and no outlook towards having any of these assisting tools any time soon. You should know that you are lucky that people haven't given up on you. As you get older you start to become less anxious generally. However if you have no guidance/assistance in the recovery process, you have to resort to your own survival instincts that you have lived by all your life and avoid change. We all need 1 close friend we can communicate with without worry or guilt. Finding that friend is next to impossible with SM so we struggle alone.
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Re: Therapy for the selectively mute

Postby Johnny-Jack » Tue Jan 21, 2020 1:51 am

Do you have health insurance? Do you have a general physician you could see? Referrals for psychological help often happen through speaking with a medical doctor. It may help knowing how your mutism plays out in real time, as each person will have slightly different symptoms. Are you able to write down your concerns?

I have a dissociative disorder and a few of my parts are mute. I have an adopted son, who grew up with similar bad parenting, and some of his parts have been mute as well, though they're no longer so. We became mute due to trauma, and some of the muteness was protective. Do you have any idea how yours arose?

There are answers and reaching out in any way, such as on this forum, is a start. There is help to be had, even though it may seem out of reach at times.
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Re: Therapy for the selectively mute

Postby Manners73 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:35 pm

Johnny-Jack wrote:Would it be possible for you to compose what you'd want to communicate to a therapist, just write out some notes, print it if electronic? Then you could take it with you and hand it to the therapist and bypass speaking. I might think about this as "stuff you'd want a therapist to know about what's going on" rather than "what I want to divulge to a therapist" because the former might be a little less scary than the latter.

I happen to have a dissociative disorder and some parts of me have been mute, all for reasons that have become understandable over time. Mutism may have served a vital protective purpose for you in childhood, it definitely did for me. I think you can imagine circumstances for a child where remaining silent was the only safe choice.

You might want to consider whether you'd be able to say anything to a therapist after handing them written words. It would be completely fine, as a use of therapy, to do that and never say a word after that. Your lack of an ability to speak would communicate volumes to most therapists. Do you think you'd be able to answer yes/no questions, like nod or shake your head? If so, you could say that in a printout. Could you write down short answers on paper and show them to a therapist rather than having to speak them?

Selective mutism can be worked out, it's most likely psychological and treatable. You can get better, much better.

For me, I had to hold on to the knowledge that what was real for me back then (in childhood) isn't the same now. That doesn't necessarily flip a switch so you can chat about anything but it was a start for me.


Well the good news is is that I've had a break through. I've set up some therapy for myself and he did this relaxation thing at the start because I was struggling. It was a bit like hypnosis but it was something else. And I couldn't believe how much I spoke. I've never been able to verbalise my life like that before. I can't wait to see him again. I'm gonna ask him to do the same trick on me to get me talking.
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