I know how important my previous video turned out to be for a lot of people, so I thought I would make another one and talk a bit more about the struggles you can experience when you’re getting rid of the anxiety, as well as other thoughts. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll be so happy if you leave a comment and subscribe ❤
I thought I would share some of the comments/questions about Selective Mutism that I receive from others struggling or from people knowing someone struggling. I think it’s important just seeing and feeling that you’re not alone and getting that support from others. I often feel very sad and frustrated hearing what people go trough, it’s very tough. At the same time I feel so honoured that you guys want to share this with me and others! I mean, you are so brave. I didn’t talk about my SM when I was younger at all, first of all I didn’t want anyone to know because I didn’t feel normal, and secondly I guess there wasn’t the same opportunities out there – I didn’t see anyone sharing their story and I felt very alone which for sure made it feel even more like something you shouldn’t talk about. But yet here I am receiving messages from 10 and 13 year old’s sharing their story with the rest of the world. So brave and strong!
I’ll share some of the messages/comments that has been written to me on my channels, mostly on my videos, and for the ones that has questions I’ll share my response to those as well!
I don’t have any professional aspect in this with education, but I do have my own life experience and personal story with Selective Mutism and it is from that I am answering questions or giving advice to anyone. I do my best to help in the way I can.
My 7 yr old daughter says that the only thought that goes on in her mind while answering a question in school is how will people (teachers and classmates) react as they have never heard her… Can you please tell us how you overcame this aspect of SM…she’s now comfortable talking to strangers , ordering in restaurants etc…but not while talking to people with whom she has not spoken to before for the fear of their reaction…pls give some tips how to overcome these thoughts which stop her…
Thank you so much for your comment. I remember feeling like that, and it’s not easy… For me it was about realising that I need to do it for me, that I deserve to talk and use my words just as much as everyone else. Take one step at a time. Maybe decide together to answer one thing a day, and so on… I think it’s a lot about gaining that confidence in yourself. It’s very very difficult and frustrating because the worst part is the attention, but it’s so important to start thinking that you need to do it for yourself. If people look, they look. You are strong and it will only make you stronger and more secure in yourself… It’s a fight but it’s worth it!
Thanks so much for this Marte, it’s really good to see people talking about this now. As a former SM child myself I can completely relate and understand. Especially the pain you feel when questioned as to why you don’t speak, how frustrating and embarrassing it was to be introduced as someone who ‘doesn’t speak’ or shy. And also how talking to strangers is easier as you don’t feel judged. I particularly loved how you talked about the good sides to it. I too feel I read people very well, have more sensitivity to others than most and understand a lot about people through trying to understand myself .The more videos and posts I think people can do the better. Well done for getting to where you are today and thanks again xx
This means so much. I do think it’s important for people struggling right now to know that even though it all seems bad, we do have some very good things come out of it that makes us who we are, and makes us see the world in a pretty understanding, different way that I know other people usually don’t. And we are very strong!
I have a friend who has selective mutism and im doing everything I can to help her however its nothing is working and I doubt I have even the slightest chance however I dont care if its the last day of school I refuse to give up on her and im wondering if you had any advice that could be of use
It’s so amazing you want to help. Just be patient and understanding – I think that’s the most important thing. Be normal around her as much as you can, maybe talk about challenges she can do to start taking small steps, and just support her through it the best you can!
I’m 13, and I have selective mutism. I only just recently just found out what is was, and iv’e always just though I was weird. I was always known as the “weird kid” the “quiet kid” and iv’e always felt like I wanted to talk, but I couldn’t. All of this prevented me from making new friends and joining clubs. The only person I ever talk to is a friend a met last year, and even though it is usually just whispering and writing stuff down on a paper to him. He’s the only friend iv’e ever had. My parents never understood, and they always ridicule me say i’m weird for not talking, and how it’s embarrassing for them how I don’t talk. This video really help me, and reading the comments and listening to your story really makes me feel not alone.
Thank you so much for sharing your story! You’re such a brave and strong person, I know for a fact when I was your age I couldn’t even share what I was struggling with. I am really happy to hear that you have a friend, and even if it is writing things down on a paper or whispering – it doesn’t matter, you have someone and that’s so important. I’m really sorry that your parents doesn’t understand, it shouldn’t be like that. If you are able to, I think you should show them this video, or even just write them a letter or an email explaining how you feel, and adding some links for information about SM, including this video so they can understand more how you feel. Sometimes that is easier than just saying it, and often it might make them really read and properly receive all the information – hopefully realising they are wrong in the way they put you down, instead of being your support. Parents shouldn’t say those things, no matter what’s going on. You are never alone, and I’m so impressed by your honesty and strength!
Here’s more from people sharing their stories:
I’m 17 almost 18 and I currently have selective mutism…no one really knew what it was while I was in public school so I was always just labeled as the shy girl that doesn’t talk, people would always confront me on why I wouldn’t talk but I couldn’t bring myself to tell them so they’d call me weird and ignore me.
I had selective mutism until I was 15 years old. I’m now 19 and I can now speak to most people. I still have anxiety while speaking on the phone to strangers and my anxiety stops me from leaving my flat sometimes. But I am so proud of how far I’ve come. You are not alone and you can get through whatever you’re going through. Stay strong Thank you Marte for sharing your story xx
I’m 11 years old I have it too it’s hard and makes blood pressure go up and I get really nervous.
I relate to you so much, I’m 21 and have had SM since I was In Kindergarten. It’s been tough. Thank you for explaining the positive side of having SM , because you made me realize the truths on the positive aspects of having SM that I’ve never thought about before.
I wish a could give you all a hug! I can’t believe how strong and brave these people are, I truly admire your openness and if I could just give you the perfect advice to get completely rid of Selective Mutism I would… The truth is there’s no easy path and there’s a lot of ups and downs, but it makes you grow – and you learn so much about yourself, life and others along the way. The most important thing is to stay strong and don’t lose hope. Teach yourself to be ok even though you are uncomfortable, it’s something that will always help you out in the long run – putting yourself in situations you might feel uncomfortable feels like the worst possible position when you have SM, but the more you do it the more you learn that it helps, it works. You grow and you’ll be able to overcome more and more as time goes by. Thank you to everyone sharing their stories, and also to anyone watching and learning about SM from my videos because their friend is struggling – you are so amazing!! It’s because of people like you guys we get through it.
I’ll add the two videos I’ve posted so far ❤
Dan and I went to see this movie the other day “Eight Grade”, it was a good movie – but most of all was the meaning of it, the message and what it could mean to others. There’s certain things that the main character “Kayla” said that I feel resonates with how I felt as I was trying to put Selective Mutism completely behind me. Mostly in my teens when I did talk to others, but found it really difficult. The movie is not about Selective Mutism, and even though the main character finds it difficult to be herself and talk a lot to the people at her school she does not have Selective Mutism, but I know there’s certain things and feelings being explained in that movie that you for sure have felt yourself if you struggle or have struggled with SM, most likely on a different scale – but it’s just a nice thing being able to listen someone speak and explain things in a more childlike way, somehow it becomes more real and honest.
This was said in the movie;
“I’m really like nervous all the time. … It’s like I’m waiting in line for like a roller coaster and that stupid like butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling you get. I get that all the time. And then I never get the feeling after you ride the roller coaster.”
I remember walking around constantly feeling this way. There was never a moment to relax and not think or worry about anything and everything. And it just kept on going like that.
She also talked about confidence.
“A big part of confidence is being brave, and you can’t be brave without being scared”
At the end of the movie she said these words, amongst others like “pretend you have confidence and that will somehow generate real confidence”.
That is something I felt I had to do as I was trying to get rid of my anxiety when I was younger. I believed in myself, always, but I did not have a lot of confidence in doing anything or saying anything when I was around others. So I just started pretending. It sounds so easy, but it feels like the most difficult thing in the world for people struggling with Selective Mutism – pretend you have confidence? How are you supposed to do that when you can’t say a word, right?
Like I said this is what I started doing after I had challenged myself for years with the little things, that I’ve talked about previously – the small steps that matters the most. After getting through it I was able to be myself a bit more, or at least answer and have short conversations. I knew I had to challenge myself on different levels if I wanted to get to where I one day saw myself. I was in my teens at that time. I saw people around me daily do and say things and not even think twice about it, so I started saying to myself I could do it to – I should do it because then one day I might even be like them – just fully be myself and not be one bit concerned or worried about it, because I knew in my heart there really wasn’t any reason to be.
And just remember it’s not always going to be comfortable, nice feelings, a safe environment… In the moment it might feel worth it to stop challenging yourself so you don’t have to face those feelings, face the unsafe and scary – but it’s so important to keep telling yourself this is what makes me grow, makes me better and stronger. Like I always think – people are just people, who cares? We won’t be here for long so just be yourself and enjoy the great things in life, share your opinions and be proud of who you are. Life’s too short. Take on the challenges and don’t be too hard on yourself along the way. You can do anything. You just have to believe it yourself.
Jeg skriver oftest bare på engelsk her, men jeg ville veldig gjerne dele en video fra da jeg holdte foredrag tidligere i år og fortalte min historie med selektiv mutisme, og i tillegg fikk møte utrolig mange flotte mennesker. Det var en helt spesiell dag. Selv om jeg ikke sliter med det lengre vil det alltid være en del av livet mitt, og bare det å ikke føle seg alene lengre var så utrolig fint. Det vet jeg at mamma kjente på også. I tillegg var det fantastisk å vite at det jeg har å si kan hjelpe andre. At min historie betyr noe. Da blir alt liksom verdt det.
Jeg må bare si tusen takk til Foreningen for Selektiv Mutisme som faktisk gjorde den dagen mulig, og for alt de gjør alle andre dager. Dere er helt fantastiske.
Håper dere liker videoen ❤
This is a video that was filmed the day I had my talk about selective mutism! It was such a special day, and I’m so grateful that both my mom and I got to experience it. From going through it all alone to meeting so many amazing people supporting each other was amazing. Even though I don’t have selective mutism anymore, it will always be a part of my life. Unfortunately the video is in Norwegian, but I will add my two other videos in English about selective mutism here as well. ❤
Listened to this podcast the other day and they randomly brought up something that made me think.
So many people today keep talking about social anxiety and depression, and it just seems like we’re all lost in what it really means and how serious it is. Nervousness is actually being mistaken for social anxiety. Sad and tough days, months and times are being seen as depression. Life isn’t supposed to be easy and I don’t think the first thought should be to diagnose yourself. There can (and should be, I think personally) hard times in your life. How did life turn into a bunch of diagnoses? I don’t think it’s difficult to find the answer. Hearing people throw these diagnoses around like it’s nothing can actually make you think that there might be something more to what your feeling, because of course – what you are feeling is important, but it doesn’t mean you have something more affecting you than just life itself.
There’s so many feelings and other sides to life than just happiness, bliss and motivation. Did we somehow forget these last years that nervousness can make your stomach hurt, hands shake and even make you forget everything you just did and say? Did we forget life comes with ups and downs, you can’t just expect one bad day – it’s very possible there will be more, or did we just never realise this until people started being open about depression? And finally we could explain our lack of motivation, not getting up from our beds and the bad year we had? We’re so focused on talking about what’s wrong with us and rather than telling other people why we are feeling like that, we talk about the diagnosis that makes us feel like that, but when are we going to realise the focus should be elsewhere? It should be on you and you understanding yourself. If you need to talk to someone you should, if you need a break take it – but feel your feelings and work on you the best you can, you don’t always need a diagnosis for the tough times and the tough situations.
Trust me, I do know that depression and anxiety is very real. I don’t want you to think anything else. I have had low times, but never depression. Anxiety on the other hand, I have experienced throughout my childhood as most of you guys know. It’s not like I judge every person saying they suffer from anxiety because it’s not the same as what I went trough, and I think being open and honest about our struggles is a very positive part of our generation. I still strongly feel like all the labels and diagnoses are too much the center of attention. If we just started being honest about how we feel and where we are in our lives emotionally I think it could change so much for all of us. We could stop questioning if our feelings are not serious enough, or too serious, and just be more open about the struggles we go through as a part of life.
Your feelings, your life and your mental health should be your number one priority – nothing is wrong, too much or too little… Work with yourself, figure our how you can help yourself – and even if that means receiving help and support from others in order to feel better, that’s what you need to do ❤
Photo by Saq Imtiaz and edit by me
So I have finally filmed my first YouTube video about Selective Mutism! In this one I talk about my story, but I did try to make it short and simple – just so you can get to know me a bit better, but the main thing was to reach out to you guys struggling right now… This video is more of an introduction and I would really love it if you could ask me questions or let me know of what you want me to talk more about in the other videos!
I really hope you like it and that you possibly can benefit from my videos, both this one and the next ones! Thank you for watching ❤
Skal du det, så håper jeg du tar deg tid. Tid til å forstå, hjelpe og støtte. Jeg håper du er villig til å ta til deg ny lærdom. Lærdom om de som plutselig en dag kan sitte foran deg bak en pult, på en lekeplass eller når de en dag kommer til ditt kontor for hjelp… Dere er med på å skape en barndom med inntrykk og utfordringer – en følelse av håp eller av nederlag.
Alle kan alltid gjøre litt – og jeg vil være med på å skape mer forståelse. Mer forståelse bak den stille jenta, eller han som ikke prater. En angst lidelse som ikke har fått den oppmerksomheten den trenger. Ikke en gang når den er der, så klart og tydelig, foran så mange mennesker.
Hvis du skal jobbe med barn og unge, eller gjør det allerede – vil jeg veldig gjerne komme til din arbeidsplass og dele min historie. Jeg vil prate om mental helse og selektiv mutisme. Jeg vil sette mer lys på den stille og rolige ungen som prøver å gjøre seg usynlig, fordi de trenger like mye hjelp og støtte som de urolige og høylytte.
Jeg vil veldig gjerne høre fra deg/dere, så har dere noen spørsmål eller vil at jeg skal komme til dere for å holde gjesteforelesning – send mail til email@example.com.
Håper å høre fra dere!
Are you going to be working with kids and teenagers, or are you already?
If you’re going to I hope you take the time. Take the time to understand, help and support. I hope you’re willing to learn. Learn about the kid that one day might be sitting in front of you behind a desk, at the playground or coming to your office for help… You are part of creating a childhood consisting of impression and challenges – a feeling of hope or hopelessness.
Everyone can do something – and I want to be a part of creating more understanding. More understanding towards the quiet girl, or the boy who doesn’t speak. An anxiety disorder that still hasn’t been given the attention it needs. Not even the times when it’s right there, so clear, in front of so many people.
If you are going to be working with kids and teenagers, or you’re already doing it – I would love to come to your workplace and share my story. I want to talk about mental health and selective mutism. I want to put the attention towards the calm and quiet one constantly trying to disappear, because they need just as much support and help as the loud and restless ones.
I would love to hear from you, so if you have any questions or if you want me to come to your workplace to speak – please send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope to hear from you!