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And so it begins...

My first personal memory of this disorder will always be the first day I went to school. Here I am, 30 years later, and I can still see myself getting into that classroom and freezing. Children surrounding me, laughing, and playing away and here I am frozen. I don't quite remember much after that but I can still clearly recall this moment on that very day.

To be honest, I was tremendously fortunate as that four or five year to have such sweet little friends. Maybe it was due to our innocence. Maybe it was due to our pure hearts. But truly the friends that surrounded me at that time I will never be able to thank enough.

Making friends was never an issue; as much as I was selectively mute I loved people. I know that sounds odd, but honestly you can still be a social person without being able to speak a word. I had a few little friends (who will remain anonymous for the sake of privacy) whom I can recall that during my first few years of school would allow me to whisper into their ear at school and they would relay whatever I wanted to say to either another student or to the teacher. I had a solid group of little friends who made me feel safe day in and day out, loving me unconditionally. Going to school started feeling safer as I was surrounded with them.

Lets talk about school pictures... I was just reminiscing about this the other day. Any photo you can find of me from pre-kindergarten until at least grade 2, I was absolutely miserable. It did not matter how many times the photographer would ask me to smile I just would not do so. When I say I looked miserable... it is truly not an understatement. I would give the most displeased face you could imagine. Funny story however is that I was a super photogenic baby and toddler... so the only reason I can see that I would have refused smiling would have been due to all of the commotion that was occurring in my little being. It is the only thing that makes sense. Think of it; who at that very young age would be able to sort and really understand all the deep emotions and spirals that come with selective mutism? Anxiety. Discouragement. Fear. Depression. Self-hatred. Odd-ball. Internal mental and emotional prisoner. These are merely but simply a few and to vocalize what I was feeling back then was out of the question (this is what I would tell myself for years).

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