When I was around the age of 8, my parents found out that I had Selective Mutism.
Selective mutism is a severe anxiety disorder in which a person is unable to speak in certain social situations. These can be with classmates in school, or maybe to relatives which they do not see very often. Selective mutism usually starts during childhood (as it did for me).
A person with selective mutism does not refuse to speak to others, or choose not to speak at certain times. They are physically unable to speak in certain situations. Individuals with selective mutism suffers from feelings of panic and anxiety. Talking will become impossible for them when they are in certain anxiety induced situations. Some individuals with selective mutism feel as they are constantly on a stage in certain situations.
Selective mutism began for me when I started preschool. I didn’t speak to anyone except for my sister and two of my friends at preschool. It puzzled my parents that I didn’t speak at preschool because I always talked at home. I stayed quiet for quite a while at school before my parents found out that I had selective mutism.
This is one of the first times that I have shared with anyone about selective mutism, and I have decided to share bits of it now, to not only raise awareness for it, but also to connect with others with a similar experience.