We tell our own truths. Our truths are never representative of the whole. In no instance can we guarantee one hundred percent. Which is why I write this with the intention of open-ended clarity.
My experience with Selective Mutism does not equal everyone else’s experience. We were all born with traits that make us unique. We were all born or adopted or under the care of families who held different ideals. Some of us blend into society better than others. Some of us have certain childhood or life traumas that others do not have. Some of us have speech impediments. Some of us speak more than others. Some of us can handle crowds. Some of us can’t leave the house. Some of us drink or do drugs. Some of us are adults, others are children. Some of us don’t appear to have a chronic case and will get better over time. Some of us get worse (perhaps before we get better). Some of us aren’t officially diagnosed. Some of us have multiple diagnoses. Some of us survive and unfortunately, some of us don’t. But I hope one day all of us will survive.
If you’re a mental health professional, you may not see us in your office. You might either for other reasons and/or when we have reached a certain level of desperation. You might see children more than adults due to concerned parents and teachers. Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you see us all the time.
I’ve almost returned to therapy several times. My parents sent me the first time and never thought I needed to go back. Now I’m an adult who has no one to force me to go and who certainly can’t afford it anyway. I’m one of the few who now lives on my own and holds down a full-time job. I’m one of the few who thrives on a stage or on a mic, but who has rarely, if ever, successfully performed in front of a crowd of over thirty people. I am one of the many who are over-sensitive to rejection or criticism. I am one of the many who writes so much more eloquently than I speak.
I am reminded of a quote from the Rescue Heroes (2003) animated movie, “Out of many, one.” While the quote was referring to a single case of lightning strikes, I want to make one thing clear. Whatever makes us unique as individuals, makes us the one out of many. We all possess an exception to a seemingly uptight rule. And that exception (or exceptions) makes us different – a good different. It makes us who we are.
“My disorder ‘shouldn’t’ allow me to (fill in the blank), but here I am (filling in the blank).” Even if that blank is a small thing, maybe one day that small thing will turn into a big thing. Sometimes we just have to be patient. Out of many tries… one will prevail.
I live for those moments.
And for the possibility of more moments.
I can’t speak for anybody else, but I don’t want to be defined by that I cannot do, only by what I can.