For the majority of the time, Selective Mutism is usually viewed in a negative way, and understandably; it’s not exactly the most pleasant thing in the world to live with. But did you know that although it is often hard to think about because SM is a very terrible thing to live with, there are some positives to it? Let me explain…
- You become a fantastic ear wigger
Living with Selective Mutism is very boring. Listening to conversations all around you and not being able to contribute to any of them, leaves you with nothing else other than to listen in to people’s conversations. You will develop excellent listening skills and will be able to listen to multiple different conversations all around you all at once. This is especially brilliant in school as it means that you can be one of the first to find out all the latest gossip! Though, you do have to be careful as there have been many times when I’ve been listening in to someone’s conversation that has been absolutely hilarious; you may find yourself getting very strange looks when you seemingly randomly burst out laughing!
- You are extremely empathetic/accepting of others
Selective Mutism is a fantastic example of not judging a book by its cover; quiet on the outside, but often extremely loud on the inside. Living with Selective Mutism can make you a lot more accepting of others who seem different as you know that you seem different on the outside, but on the inside you are just like everyone else. It allows you to put yourself in others’ shoes and try to imagine what it’s like for them since you know yourself what it is like to live with something that is very difficult to live with. You may even find yourself befriending people who are a bit different quite often! I have found that a lot of the people who a lot of people judge for being different are actually some of the most interesting people.
- You make a pretty good Agony Aunt
As you are good at trying to understand others and putting yourself in their shoes, you become very good at giving advice to others. Even if you don’t completely understand what the other person is going through, your empathetic side can give you a pretty good guess. I have been told countless times that my advice is really good!
- People with Selective Mutism tend to have above average intelligence
Did you know that supposedly Einstein may have had Selective Mutism until the age of 6? Clearly we’re all geniuses in the making, right? The reason for this could be that not only do we have fantastic listening skills but also, because we can’t talk, and often can’t communicate in any way at all, that often means that we have nothing to do other than listen to what the teacher is saying, unlike a lot of the others who spend a lot of time messing about. Of course we’d often love to join in the fun and mess about too, but at least we get good grades out of it, right?
- People with Selective Mutism often have some sort of creative talent
Art, crafts, dance, music, photography, writing etc are all things that people with Selective Mutism can be extremely good at. I personally absolutely love writing and photography. Often being unable to speak, means many people with Selective Mutism often have to find other ways of expressing themselves and this can lead to them discovering their creative side.
- You are extremely observant
Since being unable to speak is very boring, this means that you may either spend a lot of time daydreaming to pass the time, or you may find yourself taking absolutely everything in that’s around you. You notice so many different things that many people would never even notice. It makes you take things in and appreciate things for what they are in ways that many others never would. Even after overcoming SM, it teaches you to carry on doing the same. Since you know what it’s like to struggle so much with for example, not being able to ask for any help with anything, it teaches you to be more observant in each environment that you are in to check to see if there is anyone that’s upset/struggling with anything. This allows you to notice and help people that are struggling that many others may not have ever noticed.
- No awkward conversations with the hairdresser
- You don’t take things such as being able to talk for granted
For many people, talking is just part of their everyday life, it’s just something that they do and they don’t really think about it much. When you have SM, you get such a thrill out of every word that you are able to say and you feel so grateful for every word that you are able to say. Even when you start your SM recovery and are able to talk in many of the situations you go into, you still get that thrill, even years after you’ve overcome SM. You know what life is like without the use of your voice so that makes you appreciate being able to talk so much more than anyone who doesn’t have SM ever would.
- You have incredible inner strength
Anxiety can make you think pretty negatively so often you may not realise this one. You go through so much on a daily basis, being unable to speak, dealing with overwhelmingly high levels of anxiety, the mean comments that are thrown at you every day, but yet even though it does get you down, you still manage to pick yourself back up and carry on. You never ever give up trying to speak even though you know that nothing will ever come out, but you still never give up hope that one day you will be able to speak. Many people with SM don’t ever give themselves enough credit for this, but there are not many people that could cope with what you cope with on a daily basis.
- You get to chat to people who are just like you on the internet
One of the hardest things about living with SM is the fact that even if you try your best to explain it to people, they’ll never truly understand exactly what you’re going through, even if they’re an extremely empathetic person. When you chat to people online that are going through exactly the same things as you, they will be able to say the words, “I understand” and you will know that they truly mean that as they have been through exactly the same things as you have. Not only that, you will find that not only are they great for sharing experiences with, they are also some of the best friends you’ll ever have. So although SM may have been the biggest hindrance in your life, without it, you’ll never have been able to have met all those amazing people!
If there are any other positive things about having SM that you can think of, feel free to post them in the comments!