Guest post by Natasha Dale
After struggling with Selective Mutism for many years, I finally found the courage to film and post a video of my story (see below)
What is Selective Mutism? – Selective Mutism is a severe anxiety disorder where the sufferer displays persistent failure to speak in certain situations. I do feel that the label ‘Selective Mutism’ isn’t very accurate, as for me and many others it isn’t purely about the inability to speak in certain situations, it’s the inability to use many aspects of communication.
Selective Mutism took control of my life for many years and resulted in me feeling extremely trapped, unhappy and guilty. During this period of my life I could only wish to be able to sing happy birthday to my parents, to give eye contact to those I cared about, to eat in public and enjoy social family gatherings, to walk to a nearby shop independently, to clap and congratulate people who deserved it, to be able to cough when I desperately needed to, to cry when in pain, to laugh when happy, to be able to ask to go to the toilet, to answer the register, to say thank you when I was given help, to tell someone if I felt unwell, to make friendships and to live my life as myself; instead of a tiny bit of myself with a huge amount of the disorder that is Selective Mutism.
I began my journey into recovery at the age of 18 when I joined an agricultural college and worked alongside animals. Here I was given 1:1 support every second I was on the college grounds. This intense support along with being around animals, seeing a counsellor once a fortnight and of course the constant support from my family, allowed me to begin to recover.
It is now my passion to help those with additional needs and my ultimate goal is to be able to work with people struggling with Selective Mutism. I am not fully recovered yet, but I am so very close. I am happy to be able to use my experience with the disorder to raise awareness and to help others going through what I did for all of those years.