Quite often, and for long periods of time, I go mute.
I’ve been doing this since I was a young teen. I’d go days without really talking. My friends knew I wouldn’t respond to them verbally, my teachers knew I wouldn’t / couldn’t answer the register in class, and I just wouldn’t talk. I was quiet at the best of times, in class especially, but out of this selective mutism I was noisy and fun-loving with my friends.
Depression would change that, drastically and often, and people accepted this.
The silence has clung with me over the past decade, and even with my partner there will be periods of hours or days where I’ll say barely a word.
Being silent feels wonderful. It feels like hiding under a duvet from the world.
It’s not that I don’t want to communicate with people, especially my partner who I love and trust…it’s more that it’s too much effort, I don’t have the strength, and I worry about every little thing I say. Depression hits me that way.
On top of that there are days where I’m disassociating, days where my psychosis has my tongue tied and unable to get what I want to say from my brain and out my mouth. Most times I can write or type, so we’ve often used that as a way to communicate, but outside is tough.
Over the last year we’ve kind of invented our own language, our own sign language.
We have dozens of words and phrases; two different ways of saying I love you!
We can’t talk easily or quickly, but I can answer questions, ask for things, say yes and no, or tell him I need help.
Not only does this REALLY help me in terms of depression, when I’m just feeling the need to be quiet, or if my brain-to-mouth is befuddled, but it’s great for my paranoia too. I tend to talk in codes when we’re out in public, and my partner often gets confused about what the hell I’m talking about…
I get frustrated at the time because I think I’m being so obvious, and I’m so anxious someone will hear what I’m saying if I don’t make it code. With sign language, we can talk about a lot of things without me worrying, even in public.
And the really great thing is that, as some of the signs are subtle or very hard to interpret, I can make them around other people, family members or friends. Even in the company of others I can tell my partner I don’t feel good or I need help.
Very handy 🙂