Sometimes I go mute

Although my speech was initially borderline-delayed, suddenly one day, I started talking fairly clearly at age two.  My mom marvels that my sentences were clear and “complex, compound” (whatever that means; I’m too “lazy” even to Google it tonight).

And ever since then, I’ve been verbal.  Poof, just like that.  And if I’m really comfortable with you, I’ll talk a lot, probably too much.

But sometimes, my words fail and I can’t get them out.  We’ve been through that before, so I won’t repeat myself here. 🙂

And other times, less commonly but like tonight, I simply don’t feel like talking.  I can write out my thoughts, at least most of the time, but speech is a no-go, and, as I have realized more recently, so is online communication.

It has been an exceptionally stressful week.  Beginning a couple weeks ago with financial stresses that continued into and throughout this week, the week in earnest began with issues on multiple fronts.  I won’t belabor the social fiasco again (I think I’ve beaten that one to death already), but there was more going on that if you weren’t staring at Twitter all day, you’re probably not aware.  All geared up (mentally and physically) to travel on Monday and have two full days back home before attempting to navigate through a hectic and loaded schedule at work, my flight was cancelled, a fun-fact I only found out once I’d already reached the airport.  Although this gave me an extra bonus evening with a dear friend, it also threw me for a mental loop.

Tuesday consisted of Let’s Try Traveling Round 2, in which I was in for a 12-hour haul involving longer flights and longer layovers at unexpected destinations.

And now I only have one day to prepare for that upcoming, looming busy day.  That busy day consisted of twice the number of meetings with clientele as I’m used to, and one of the people on that schedule was someone whom I dread meeting with, for a whole list of toxic reasons.  And my prep day involved prepping for this person.

My mental spoons were entirely spent by 11am that morning, which is about 10-12 hours earlier than usual.  As in, after only about an hour and a half of work, I was done–already spent.  Since I was not quite finished with the work on my plate, I couldn’t oblige my brain.  The remaining work, which normally takes about 15-30 minutes, took another hour, after which I mumbled to my partner that we needed to go home at that point.  Luckily, we could; our schedule was clear.

The next day dawned, its overwhelming schedule now close at hand.  The dreaded person was sandwiched in the middle, and although they were book-ended by sweet souls with sunny, can-do dispositions, my brain obsessed over the dreaded person in the middle, who cast a dark shadow over the whole thing.  I tried to console myself, reminding myself that the rest of the people were pleasant to meet with, but my brain wouldn’t hear of it.  I was so anxious that morning that I tried flapping my hands to see if that would indeed help (unfortunately, it didn’t).

The meeting with the dreaded person was both a success and a failure.  The failure involved the constant vibe of pulling teeth and scampering around a virtual playing field, attempting to move from a position of defense mode into one in which I could seize a little control over the conversation and assert myself into the rightful place of leadership from which I would have to operate if there were to be any hope of helping this person (and despite the lack of enjoyment I felt about meeting with them, I still did indeed want to help them).

The success came through unfortunate further interaction, during which the person ultimately ended up being dismissed from the practice.  I rarely have to do this, which is encouraging and fortunate, but when I do, it’s an absolute last resort, a hopeless situation in which I have exhausted all other options and I see no other alternative but to let them go; they’ve done so much damage to multiple people and have already caused an incredible amount of stress.  Frankly, it was a relief.  But it was still quite taxing; it’s never a fun situation.

On my breaks, I checked in with the Asperger’s/autism spectrum community and I realized, sadly, that the aforementioned Twitter battle continues on, and although both entities appear to remain connected with and OK with me, there are supporters of those people who are not, and I think I lost a few, which is the last thing I wanted to have happen.  But life has the nerve to rage on, and it did happen.

This on top of my best friend’s dad’s broken leg and subsequent hospitalization, my aunt’s terminal cancer, another friend’s divorce and his mom’s terminal cancer, changes at work and a to-do list that won’t stop growing, and the persistent thin layer of financial ice.  Oh, and both parents and myself all have PTSD, except that I can’t afford insurance premiums (while the Affordable Care Act was a godsend for many, it did hurt a significant number of us badly with runaway independent insurance costs for people who can’t get in on a group plan or government assistance), so I can’t afford the counseling I need right now.

So tonight, it hit. Right about the time that my partner retired to bed, my mutism struck. I have been spent, I’m all out. Even with today’s apparently much needed long-ass nap, I still prefer not to speak.

OK, so that’s what I can’t bring myself to do right now.  I’d rather focus on what I can do (instead), which is probably a subtle reassuring and positive sign that I’m starting to pull out of my funk.

  • I can read a book.
  • I can surf the internet.
  • I can learn things (my brain hasn’t shut down, just my mouth and vocal cords).
  • I can watch TV.
  • I can browse Twitter and retweet things I like and consider useful, helpful, or constructive.  I can even tweet and retweet a little, because Twitter’s 140-character limit keeps things short and sweet, preventing me from overextending myself, draining my energy further and potentially also saying something wrong.
  • I can listen to music, even if I don’t feel like singing (mouth and vocal cords shut down for that, too).
  • I can brainstorm for ideas, either for personal or professional use.
  • Interestingly enough, I can laugh, even if it’s just a short, good-natured chuckle.
  • I can clean (but who wants to do that?  Well, maybe some lucky people do; I wish I was one of them…) 🙂
  • And I can blog!

If I can’t bring myself to speak, then I know (from years of experience) that my words are on thin ice, too–I’m going to lose them sooner rather than later, at least for a little while, until I can recharge, reset, and re-balance.  At that point, all language composition and creative writing, too, will (temporarily) go out the window.  So I use my written words while I can to try to turn things around, which is what this blog post is partially intended to do.

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14 Comments

  1. I didn’t speak until I was nearly three years old – and then quoted a whole page of my favourite (Beatrix Potter) book. Then I was silent again for a good few months.

    I wonder if this is something common in HFA individuals? My own son was an incredibly watchful silent child, until one day – he wasn’t!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your comment! 😊 I think it is indeed common. I don’t have hard numbers, but it’s definitely a “thing” that is frequently mentioned in the autism community 😊❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ms Wave, I suspect it is a ‘normal’ act of self preservation for some of us. I go through very regular phases of mutism. Physical and written. Both my sons too. It drives my very verbal mum nuts! 🙊

    I hope the next few months ease back for you, and I. But, the storm generally clears out the rubbish, right??

    Liked by 1 person

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