So quiet I can’t be heard

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m not a normal person. I have no friends, and no one that I can call a friend. I’m always pushing people away from me and I can’t create any relationships, male or female. I’m a boring person. Whenever I talk to someone I respect, sometimes I pray I’m not the only person in the room with them because I have nothing interesting to say to them. But my voice is also extremely quiet too. It’s so quiet. A lot of people I’ve noticed have an audible voice when they speak normally, but when I speak normally, it’s like my voice is below an audible barrier. When I try to speak up, it’s like I’m shouting and I don’t think clearly when I shout too. That seems to turn people off. In a group situation, I can’t speak audibly at all. My voice is drowned out, and the thought of how quiet my voice sounds turns me off from saying anything at all because no one can hear me so people talk over me.

I can’t hold a normal conversation with anyone or don’t know how. I always have to either be asking them a question, agreeing with them, or challenging something they say. All my roommates that I’ve ever had can speak to everyone normally and get an “excitement” response, but when I talk it’s like dull. I can sit quietly in a room with someone for the whole day and it’s awkward. I have a “caveman ridge” on my forehead, and my eyebrows are bent, so it always looks like I’m angry even when I’m making a normal face. Maybe this turns people off because whenever I talk with anyone, the reaction I always get from their body language is that I’m not approachable.

Even the biggest, most depressed “nerds” have a step up over me because they seem to have audible voices. And I wonder why they even lack confidence, when I’m so much worse. My voice is just too quiet. I absolutely hate social networks like facebook because I have to see old high school mates that I’ve tried avoiding and I’ve spent a year doing nothing after high school so I can only imagine they’re all working now or finishing grad. school while I’m still in school doing nothing.

For my whole life I’ve never approached anyone. I’ve always had people come to me ever since I can remember. All my old friends have approached me, talked to me first, called me. I’ve never called anyone. Therefore I can’t make friends, I can’t talk to anyone. I know some people are receptive and will be friendly when I talk to them, but I can’t get myself to do it.

I used to play games all day to escape my life. I study all day now to escape all of this. I get pretty good grades, but it takes me a long time to comprehend things, I feel like I’m slow in the head. I can’t think clearly on the spot. I can’t improvise or answer questions when the professor asks anything. My life is not organized at all. I spend too much time studying on things that are so easy, and I spend a lot of time in bed, maybe that’s a sign of depression?

I know that I can and need to change things, but I can’t be able to do anything about it because there’s something holding me back. It’s like I’m not meant to live that lifestyle. My socioeconomic situation is that I was raised by a single mother, 1 brother 1 sister, in extreme poverty. No money at all. My house is messy, I’ve always been embarassed to even tell anyone where I live because I don’t want anyone coming over. I’m a very prideful person. I’m ashamed to tell anyone all about myself because I have nothing to be proud of. No accomplishment I can be proud of. I can’t even get a part time job, pass an interview.

I feel like I’m depressed and can cry. It feels like I’ll be alone for my whole life. I’ve never had a girlfriend. My mother is extremely religious and forces abstinence on us. I use that as an excuse, but in reality, what’s holding me back is myself. I can’t relate to girls. I will never have anyone to love me. Part of that is because I don’t want to inconvenience anyone. What makes me special? Why would someone want to live with me or be my mate? It’s like a trap I’m setting, if you become my mate you’re trapped.

I’ve been thinking about this for months and these are the things I’ve gathered about myself.

A: You’re right. What you are describing goes beyond shyness. Somewhere along the line you lost your voice. This can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes people are silenced by a traumatic experience; sometimes it’s a family style; sometimes it’s a symptom of depression; sometimes it’s a characteristic of Aspergers or some other syndrome. Without meeting you, I can’t help you sort it out.

Fortunately, there are people who can. You made a terrific start on the journey to healing by writing your letter. I suggest you set up an appointment with a mental health counselor and bring your letter. That way, you won’t have to talk to get started. A counselor will not only help you figure out what is wrong but will also help you set goals for change and support you while you work on them.

I did a web search of your city and was pleased to find that there are many clinics and services there. Please don’t worry about how you’ll come off when making that first contact. People who answer the phone at agencies are very used to people being a bit awkward or hesitant when they first call. You are only 22. Find the courage to take charge of this situation now and you could live your entire life much, much differently.

Your letter shows that you are thoughtful, smart, and insightful. You will probably do well in therapy once you get started.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Nov 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). So quiet I can’t be heard. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/11/06/so-quiet-i-cant-be-heard/

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