What is selective mutism? | Jade’s Mental Health Story | Mind

Hi, my name is Jade, and this is my mental
health selfie for Mind UK. I’m going to talk about my personal experience with selective
mutism, how… and how it’s affected my life and the aftermath of it, even today. For those
of you who don’t know, selective mutism is an anxiety disorder which can sometimes prevent
people from speaking in certain social situations. I started suffering from selective mutism
when I was around three years old. This became apparent because when I went to nursery, I
wasn’t a sociable child at all – like, I never socialised with any other kids, I never
talked to anyone, not even the teachers or anything, I was always quite reserved and
isolated – which put me back years of socialising, obviously. And, obviously, because of this,
I had no friends really. My… obviously, nursery is probably a difficult
time for anyone to notice any issues, I’d say, but I think they just… a lot of people
just thought I was shy to start with, so my condition took quite a long time to get, kind
of, noticed and diagnosed. It wasn’t a very well-known condition to be honest, in my county,
because only myself and this other person had been diagnosed at the time with this condition,
so there wasn’t actually a lot of support available, or a lot of acknowledgement of
the condition that I had. Because of this, I was, kind of, in and out of, like, speech
therapies for the majority of my years at primary school. Anyway, when I was around six years old, I
managed to break my silence to a teacher that I trusted and, obviously, as you can imagine,
this was quite a big time for myself and my family, and for anyone else who’d never heard
me speak. It’s put, obviously, selective mutism… it’s obviously had its aftermath still today,
because I’m still quite a socially anxious person. I haven’t got the social skills that,
possibly, some people my age have got today, because I lacked it when I was younger. So
I still say I’m socially anxious, say, when ordering food, like, I can’t go and order
food on my own. I’m not very confident with approaching new people and I struggle in big
groups of people. Having said that, though, I’ve come quite
far from where I was. This is purely because of the job I’ve got now. Like, I work in a
retail store, which I know to some people with an anxiety disorder seems terrifying
– which, to start with, it was, I’m not going to lie to you – but, obviously, I’ve
been… I’ve been there about three years now, and honestly, it’s probably one of
the best things I’ve ever done because being around people every day gains your confidence
so much. Obviously, I know that’s not the same for
every single person who’s got an anxiety disorder, everyone’s got their own experiences, but
the only advice that I’d give, personally, to someone who’s got an anxiety disorder is
to take things one step at a time. I know that probably seems quite obvious, but I know
a lot of people, including myself, who compare themselves to other people, which is the worst
thing that you can, honestly, do, because it will get you down so much more. At the end of the day, you are your number-one
priority. Priorities yourself, focus on yourself, and eventually you will get there in the end.
Anyway, thank you for watching, and please subscribe to Mind’s YouTube channel to check
out other people’s mental health selfies.


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