En dag tok en barnehageansatt moren til side og sa «Marte prater ikke.» Da skjønte moren mer, men kunnskapen om selektiv mutisme rundt om var liten. Det var en skolegang med lite prating, mye frustrasjon og sterke følelser. Som Marte beskriver; Jeg ville så gjerne. Jeg svarte alltid i timene. Inne i hodet mitt. Jeg klarte bare ikke å få det ut. Det var en sperre der. For hver gang jeg gikk hjem fra skolen uten å si det jeg ville, uten å få ut et ord, gikk jeg hjem å følte meg mislykket. Den følelsen var helt forferdelig. Vondt i magen og så veldig sliten av å gå med skuldrene opp til hodet og alle tankene som hadde gått igjennom hodet mitt.
Det som endret meg mye vil jeg si var reising. Det var et stort vendepunkt.
Jeg begynte å se ting annerledes. Alle er bare mennesker, hvorfor skal jeg bry meg så mye? Jeg må være stolt av hvem jeg er – og kunne vise det. Det er ikke noe dumt at mennesker er interessert i hvem jeg er, å få oppmerksomhet. Jeg må prate.
The model Marte has won over her silence
The model Marte Fredriksen is 21 years and semi-finalist of this year’s Miss Norway. This chance she uses to inform others about the diagnosis she was given as a three-year-old, namely selective mutism. She has fought a long battle and won over her silence.
As a child, Marte went to kindergarten and she was the quiet girl. She was always silent when her mother came to pick her up, but as soon as they were in the car she talked like a waterfall. The staff couldn’t hear her voice, only when they stood outside the door listening to Marte talk to her two best friends.
One day, a kindergarten employee took the mother aside and said «Marte doesn’t talk.» Then the mother understood more, but the knowledge of selective mutism around was small. It was a schoollife with little talk, much frustration and strong feelings. As Marte describes; I would love to talk. I always answered in calss. Inside my head. I just couldn’t getthe words out. There was a lock there. Every time I went home from school without saying what I wanted, without uttering a word, I went home feeling unsuccessful. That feeling was absolutely awful. Pain in my stomach and so very tired of going with my shoulders up to my head and all the thoughts that had gone through my head.
What changed me a lot I would say was traveling. It was a major turning point.
I started to see things differently. Everyone is just people, why should I care so much? I must be proud of who I am – and be able to show it. It’s not stupid that people are interested in who I am, to get attention. I have to talk.
Here are some of Marte’s best tips for getting out of silence:
When I was younger I had selective mutism. My stubbornness has helped me tremendously along the way. In addition to my mother who always made sure I kept challenging myself, and that I also understood why it was so important.
Every little victory helps, every little challenge. Like asking for water or cocoa at the cafe myself. I wanted to ask my mom, and I did, but she always made me understand that most of all it was something I needed to do for myself – and my future. Even such a «little» thing. No matter how much time I spent trying to persuade her to do something for me, I was always so happy when I finally did it myself. It is a very important and strong sense of mastery. Small steps mean everything when it comes to this disorder. Small steps and challenges in a safe environment.
There was never enough knowledge and information about selective mutism, not in school and not in the mental health professionals. So we managed it on our own. It is not the way it should be, one should not be forced to fight through something like this alone – and that is why I am working very hard today to get more knowledge and information out when it comes to selective mutism. The biggest and most important step you can take is to step out of your comfort zone, and it doesn’t just apply to this disorder – it applies to everything here in life. Nothing will change unless you change something. You can’t change anything if you want to be comfortable for the rest of your life.
It’s a tough journey, but it’s worth it. You get a better life for yourself in return. A life you never thought you could have. Maybe you just dreamed about it, as I did.
Now I work as a model, and have lived in Athens, Milan, London and Los Angeles. I meet lots of new people and continue to challenge myself – even more than people who have never struggled with a disorder like selective mutism. I love to talk, I would love to be heard and seen more – because what I have to say is important. Everyone should be given the opportunity and help to use their voice.
I’m cheering on you guys!