Just say hi. Easy, right? Wrong. 

All my mom wants is for me to be polite. She and I both know that I am too old to not have basic manners. She is not asking me to have a conversation; just to say hi. But when I am faced with having to speak, my body won’t let me. I get butterflies in my tummy and I get really anxious. Anytime anyone asks me a question or even if I just have to say hi, I feel like I want to run and hide.  It feels like I am warring with myself. I tell myself to talk, but my mouth won’t open. No matter how many times I go over what I want to say, I just can’t. 

Here’s an example: my mom just wants me to say hi to a girl my age who I see four times a week at the barn where we ride horses. I know that she is nice and I know that we have a lot in common. We could talk about horses or other things we both like that make me comfortable. I know that if I just SPOKE, I could be better friends with her, but my mouth JUST WON’T OPEN. Normally she ends up being the one starting the conversation and I am barely able to get out ‘hi.’ Even once I get over that, I normally can’t get out more than a few words. I feel really frustrated with myself because I want to talk to her, but I can’t.  

Many people think I am rude, but that is not true. I know I come across that way but I can’t help it. Others think I just don’t have a lot to say. Also not true. I actually have a lot to say. But no amount of begging my body to speak will make it obey. I try to talk with motions and body behavior, but there is only so much you can say without actually saying anything. Plus, at ten years old, most other kids are able to have normal conversations. That makes me want to speak even more, but I just don’t know how to get my voice to cooperate. 

I don’t even want a bunch of friends. I just want a handful of close ones who I feel really comfortable around. It makes it even harder for me that I am homeschooled, because I spend most of my time in my room at my computer. I do not get much social time. In my online classes, however, I can get really chatty. It is easier for me to speak online because I am not face to face. 

Every day is a chance to get one step closer to being able to talk. 

About Us – Gabriel and Milana



Hi. I’m Milana, and I was 10 years old when we started this blog, in January of 2022. I have always struggled to speak in public settings for as long as I can remember. Everyone always thought I was just VERY shy, and that exposure would help me get over it. They did not understand that it was more than that. It was only when I turned eight that one of my therapists discovered that I actually had SM, and I was not just shy. I started this blog so I could share my experiences and how I handled them. I also started it because I know there are other kids who are struggling with SM, and I think it helps them to know that they are not alone. I also wanted to help make people aware about SM, even though there is such a small number of people who suffer from it. 

Gabriel, Milana’s older brother

Hi, I’m Gabriel, co-writing this blog. I was 12 years old at the time of starting this blog (I am 13 now).

Selective mutism is basically somebody like Milana being very shy and not very willing to speak in public. People with selective mutism are generally overall shy people. It is generally caused by a fear of public embarrassment or any other type of shyness. Many times this can happen not only with strangers, but even people you might see up to 4-5 times a week! They will generally want to speak, but feel mentally restrained, even knowing that nothing less than positive will happen when they speak. This type of fear, however, manifests mostly from ages 11-13, while the beginnings of selective mutism can happen as early as 3-6 years old. For these children, there is a much weaker version of this social phobia, and children may be less aware of it in these early years than in their later. Sometimes, children will speak in a some select scenarios, but in other cases they will very rarely speak, overall depending on the amount of anxiety that they have in social circumstances.