November 28th, 2023 | 2 Entries

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2 Entries for “mute”

  1. Mute:

    What I am, sometimes. What I may become again.

    It’s annoying when people think it’s a choice. It’s annoying when people say it annoys THEM. – It annoys THEM? What about me?

    I have had fewer incidents of mutism since I got a pet. I talk to him and interact with him all the time. Not talking and not interacting with someone does not CAUSE mutism. It doesn’t work that way. But if I’m having difficulty, and losing my ability to speak, sometimes being prompted to talk, and practicing that, helps keep me talking. Accidentally. It’s not like I intentionally practice talking. It’s reflexive. Exercising that reflex, if my brain is starting to shut down, sometimes helps keep full mutsim from kicking in. If my brain is not starting to shut down, then whether or not I “practice speaking” is irrelevent. Not speaking does not cause mutism. Not with me anyway. But reflexively being prompted to speak if mutism is starting to set in, can often keep it from happening.

    Once that part of the brain is shut down, however, and switches off, it doesn’t work. That’s all there is to it. It’s not a choice. “Practicing Speaking” does not help. Speech therapy does not help. It’s not a “speech therapy” problem. It’s not a “speech” problem. It’s a brain function problem. My longest period of mutism lasted more than a year.

    I can hide this from people when it’s shorter episodes. Weeks etc. Most people never know I have this issue. When it lasts a month or more, it gets harder to hide. Because I can text people, and email, and make excuses about how I’m too busy or tired to call or go by, people usually don’t notice that we haven’t verbally spoken on the phone in a while. And later, when I’m better again, no one ever knows that I lost speech for days or weeks. Since we were still in touch (texting, emailing), most people didn’t feel like we were “out of touch” and they didn’t think much about HOW we were in touch or communicating. No reason to. Also, because I don’t go out much, not seeing someone in person for a month or so, doesn’t usually set off red flags. But at around 2 or 3 months, if there’s been no phone contact, and no in person contact, some people start to notice, and my mutism becomes more difficult to hide.

    Usually, episodes don’t last long enough for anyone to notice. I prefer it that way. I don’t want to explain. I don’t want to deal with their discomfort or annoyance (I’m annoyed by other people’s annoyance.) But I don’t have much of a choice. It happens how it happens. It “un happens” how it “un happens.” It is not a choice. It just “is.”

    I think one of the most problematic things while being mute, is “business” related things. Anything that involves talking to or communicating with a business. Needing to call an office or customer service. Communicating with someone in a store, or a taxi. That kind of thing. Nowadays there’s more help availble through chat or email, but it’s not as good or quick as phone help. Sometimes, in person I can write or type things out. – Then people think I’m deaf. I mean, I get it. But when I tell them I can hear, I just can’t speak, they get confused.

    I can sign, which you’d think would help in these situations. But I signing only helps if the other person knows sign language. Signing must use another part of the brain.

    First speech goes with me. Then writing can become difficult (but not always and not usually right away). When my writing ability is affected, I start writing with spelling and grammar errors. But I don’t think it’s very obvious to people. They just think I’m writing in shorthand or “text speak” because I’m writing quickly and in the moment. But that’s not actually what’s happening. If you gave me an hour to write out simple sentences, I’d make the same errors at that point. People generally don’t realize that I actually cannot write better at those times. – Which again is fine. I prefer to hide that in most situations. – Oh and as to the reason I give for WHY I’m writing instead of speaking? I often tell people I have laryngitis. – From a concert. So people don’t freak out and think I’m sick.

    I have all kinds of excuses I’ve used over the years, to make this seem perfectly normal in the moment, so other people don’t get too weird about it. Sometimes I just need to do what I need to do, and I don’t want to take time to explain “I can’t speak right now. I go mute sometimes. It’s a brain thing. I can write. I can also sign if you know sign. I dont’ know how long this will last. No I’m not sick. I did not have a stroke. No it’s not a choice, I can’t change this. No I’m not deaf. Yes I’ve seen a doctor…” – Sometimes I just want to say “I’d like a burger and fries. Thanks!” or “Which way is Main St.? Thanks!” or “I’m having an issue with my mail/plumbing/computer can you help me with this please?” – I just want to get things done. It’s easier at those times to write “I was at a concert and now I have laryngitis. Dont worry, I’m not sick. Anyway… about what I was asking…” – Then THEY don’t act weird, I dont have to explain… it’s easier and less stressful and faster. Google “Masking.”

    As for signing, I can almost always sign, which I think is interesting. But again, unless someone else can read sign, that doesn’t help much. And interestingly, I often start to verbalize, out loud, when I sign :) First sounds, and sometimes words.

    ASL is more pictoral than spelled. I wonder sometimes if that’s part of why I can usually still use sign language. But then again, I don’t spell when I verbally speak, so that can’t be all of it.

    It occurred to me about halfway through writing this, that another way to go with this prompt would have been the mute button on a remote. I suppose that would have made for a more normal post. But no. With me, if you say “mute” I’m going to go with “mutism.” It has been, and will always be, a part of my life. Maybe less at times, like recently, but it can always happen again. There’s no “cure.” Just more like remission. And I still struggle with it a lot, even if I don’t go totally mute. I feel it coming on sometimes, but it hasn’t fully taken hold in several years. Close, but for now, I speak. Sometimes with difficulty. But I speak.

    by NQ on 11.29.2023
  2. He was making all sorts of accusations about her. But she didn’t want to intensify the discussion by responding to his false charges, so she remained mute, knowing that his accusations were things he had done and were projecting on to her.

    by Chanpheng on 11.29.2023