Often when I develop selective mutism it is as a result of having a meltdown or an argument, and it comes the next day and stays for a few days, gradually fading and getting easier to handle. I am fearful of triggering another one, perhaps? Or I am mirroring something within the person I have had an argument with, I’m not sure.

Anyway, yesterday I spotted that I developed it for entirely different reasons and found it interesting to observe. It was a very stimulating day at work. I hadn’t slept well, I was on recovery from having a bout of insomnia a few days beforehand and something disturbed me in the night. The unit I was working on was busy, but just about in hand. The fluorescent lights were bright. The building was warm. The residents were being demanding. The call alarms were going off all over the place, making beeping noises.

When I finished work, I identified that all I wanted to do was curl up in the dark and quiet and for my skin to be touched. (Skin was feeling hugely hyposensitive from being encased in a uniform all day.) The boyfriend usually does like doing some skin touching, but for some reason he was not interested in the idea, so I did not get any rebalancing despite dropping some big hints, and the lights and noises in the room while low were still not low enough, and I eventually lost the ability to form coherent words. Everything was just too much, and it wasn’t one thing that set it off, it was just a little bit of everything all at once. And the next day, after I had slept, then it wasn’t there any more.

Trying to explain to the other half that when I lose the ability to speak it isn’t that I choose to stop speaking, it is that the anxiety of speaking becomes too much for me to bear and I just can’t do it. That did make me lose my voice a little bit, but I did manage to hold it together to finish the conversation. Go me.

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