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Old 04-09-2019, 10:42 PM #1
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Default Can't communicate at all

I hope this is the right place for this as it doesn't directly tie into a particular relationships but I didn't see another place for it and if not, I'm assuming people can probably move it to the appropriate forum?

This is something that's been bothering me for a long time, mostly because I have no way to relay how it feels to others in a way that other people can understand. It's worth noting I did spend a significant portion of my life with Selective Mutism as it might tie into this I suppose. I dissociate as well and I don't know if this ties into it. I physically can't have conversations with people. At all. It doesn't feel like shyness, I just physically can't. The worst thing is everyone just tells me to stop saying 'I can't' as if I'm actively preventing myself from doing so by saying that but I don't know how else to explain that I am physically incapable of communicating with people for reasons beyond my understanding. People talk to me, joke around with me and tell me stories and even if I have a response to it in my head I just end up responding with 'ok' or 'yeah' and that's it. If people ask me questions that I clearly know the answer to and have opinions on I usually respond with 'I don't know'. It's automatic and happens beyond my control. It's killing me to not be able to talk to people.at all because I don't have friends and would very much like to have relationships with people that I can let down those barriers around and be real with. I'm just hoping maybe someone here might know what this is or what I can do to fix it beyond people telling me to 'not care what people think' or 'just say it no matter how scared I am' as if that were the problem at all. I just can't. Oftentimes when I'm around people, I'll be running through what I want to say in my head and just trying to say it but I just don't and the minute I walk out of the room by myself, I start rattling off out loud all the things that I was thinking about saying as if I were actually talking to people. I feel like I've exhausted all my options.
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:58 AM #2
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Default Re: Can't communicate at all

What have you tried so far? I wonder if regular practice with someone you felt safe with would help? Is it just talking out loud that feels impossible? If you were sitting with someone in a room passing a notebook back and forth, writing stuff down, would you be able to communicate that way?
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:02 PM #3
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Default Re: Can't communicate at all

There's not really anyone I feel comfortable with. I'm completely alone. As far as trying things to bypass it, at this point it's just been me trying really hard to force myself into social situations and doing my best to not say 'I don't know'. This just leads to me awkwardly sitting there when people ask me questions. If it's something maybe more professional, I have an easier time. If you were to ask me something about work I could probably answer you really easily but if you were to ask me something I more personal I wouldn't be able to respond at all. I can do okay by text until I know you. Here, it's real easy but the minute there's a person on the other end of the conversation, I can't even bring myself to text anything that's not professional. And regardless of any circumstance even in a professional setting, I can't initiate at all. At work, if I need to communicate something to a manager, I'll just stand there and wait for them to ask me what I need before I'll be able to respond.

I understand I'm probably not explaining myself real well so it's hard for people to help but it makes so little sense to me as well and I can't relay this to anyone in real life so no one can really help me there either. That's part of the reason why I mentioned Selective Mutism, which it may not even be. It's been mentioned to me by my therapist but that's about all the knowledge I have on it, that it's a trait common to ASD and PTSD, both of which are things I've dealt with but I have no knowledge on how to fix it.

edit: Like fairly recently, an employee came up to me and asked me what my favorite color was because they were making something to give to different employees and they would correspond to those colors (mine's blue), but I couldn't say that. I just kind of sat there and just said 'I don't know.' The more they persisted about it, the more frustrated I became but I just ended up repeating those same words over and over again.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:48 AM #4
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Default Re: Can't communicate at all

Im sending hugs. I realise they may not help or even offer any comfort (I do like online hugs personally) but I just want you to know I read your post. If I can, Ill write a longer reply tonight.
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Old 04-13-2019, 12:45 AM #5
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Default Re: Can't communicate at all

I appreciate it, Fuzzybear. If you do decide to eventually write something longer I'd be interested to hear your insights but the support is welcome enough. I also appreciate the help hvert has offered. I understand it's a very difficult issue to understand and have even started looking into books on selective mutism but most seem to relate to it in childhood, the same as is the case with ASD.
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Old 04-14-2019, 08:45 AM #6
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Default Re: Can't communicate at all

I think many of us here can appreciate the quandary you have found yourself in; to participate or not participate. It sounds to me as though you have avoided doing so for so long it has become habit forming and thus all that much harder to break out of the cycle.

Perhaps, I realise this might sound rather nutty, practise conversations before hand. I will actually rehearse those conversations I have a hunch are going to come up - even different responses for the possible variations and directions a conversation might take. I used to do this a great deal but I have noticed it needs to happen less and less as my ability to converse with people has become more spontaneous. This might be all the start you need. Give thought too to your body language. What is it communicating? In short, consider what message you would yourself like to hear and how it is conveyed. Put some thoughts then now into your communication and the style you wish to convey. Put then some work into achieving this. Eventually new habits are going to arise out of this. Please believe me when I say you can in fact make improvements that will come easier with time.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:20 PM #7
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Default Re: Can't communicate at all

I actually do this, Wishful Thinker66. I'm constantly running through conversations in my head but I can' never really predict what will need to be said and it just goes away the minute it comes to talking to people. I have put forth a lot of effort into body language and posture and I'm generally a very warm and welcome person. I never really get angry with people, when people joke around I smile or laugh but I just can't talk to them back. And no one really puts forth even the slightest effort into talking to me either, I think because they've assumed I just don't want to talk to them but I can't really relay that to them.
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Old 04-18-2019, 06:11 AM #8
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Default Re: Can't communicate at all

I wonder if treatments used for stuttering would help - it's not the same thing, but seems similar in that you can't get the words out in the moment and then anxiety gets layered on top due to fear of that happening.

If you haven't already, I'd try to consult with a speech language pathologist.
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Old 04-18-2019, 09:00 PM #9
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Default Re: Can't communicate at all

It's actually kind of surprising I hadn't really considered seeing a Speech Language Pathologist into adulthood as I was forced to see one as a child in school. That could hypothetically be worth looking into. I'm working on getting in to find a General Physician and maybe some kind of doctor that could prescribe medications for mental illnesses, might they be able to refer me to an SLP?
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