for verbal or semi-verbal autistics, what does a nonverbal episode feel like to you?
Sensory Processing Disorder
Anxiety (Including GAD)
Pervasive developmental disorder NOS
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
For me it feels like I want to be able to get my point across and I know what words I want to say but I just can't get them out.
Talking feels almost scary to do. Or like a task. Painful?
There's been silence for so long that I just can't break the silence- or feel the vibrations from my voice or else I'll freak out. It's like a panic of not wanting to hear or feel myself talk
Other times it feels really calming not to talk. And it's safe to feel like I'm keeping my voice inside. If that makes sense?
it definitely feels like a task and is coming from exhaustion for me. I feel like I just force myself to talk and it only makes me more exhausted. honestly it’s a running theme for me, I’ll force myself to do things and suffer later. sometimes it can feel calming/safe not to, I guess, like I can just chill. but other times it makes me panic a bit.
I don’t remember it super well, but I needed speech therapy to start talking in the first place. in general, I shifted from benefitting from what supports were available to me early on to then desperately trying to be “normal” and masking heavily until I crashed.
this seriously makes so much sense and is so relatable for me but I couldn't put it in words
words just don't work. i can usually sign but words just straight up don't happen vocally, it sucks
Like im underwater and if I breathe ill breathe in water. Or I got so stressed I just stare into space unable to answer the people around me or move. I thought I was just a sort anxious person, but really I was low needs autistic this whole time.
yeah I kind of get this underwater feeling…but maybe more like pressure around my throat. it’s not like a choking feeling, it feels more tense?? but it’s not like my throat is tight or my breathing is shallow either.
I think the headaches that usually accompany the feeling (because burnout triggers it lol) are what adds to the underwater feeling for me.
I can't speaking about 50% of the time, and I think it's increasing due to multiple factors. I have an aac device I use and well as sign lanauge.
It feels like someone is physically holding my mouth shut sometimes. Other times it feels like my teeth are glued together and I just can't pull them apart. Sometimes it feels like my throat physically can't make the sounds
Kinda like the words are there in my mouth, but I can't no matter how hard I try get them out
Trying to get words to come out of my mouth is almost excruciating and takes soooo much effort when I'm at that point..
like there’s something in my throat, the words, and they can’t come out no matter what I do.
Non-verbal feels like I want to talk but I can't. It strangely makes me feel in control, when I feel overwhelmed or overstimulated.
Speaking feels super exhausting or just not preferable... Like I just don't want to speak even if I need to ...
I end up getting very frustrated that people want me to “just talk”
I'll have the words in my head, but I physically can't break the silence or make my voice or my mouth work
for me, I only really go non verbal when I'm really upset about something, so for a long time I didn't know that I was actually going non verbal, I thought I was just not talking bc I was angry. it's like I want to talk and I have all the words ready to say but I can't physically open my mouth or make them come out
trying to talk when i’m nonverbal or semi-verbal feels like eating sawdust in reverse (not that i’ve ever eaten sawdust, but the simile stands). i have thoughts i’d like to express, but my verbal speech is stuck - i’ll use ASL to express anything and everything.
what tools helped you learn ASL?
I feel stuck in my own head
I lose the ability to put my feelings into words, or I give up on being understood, so I just shut down. Talking become exhausting and feels pointless.
i relate to this
It feels like I’m saying everything I want/need to say, but my mouth is glued shut. I can’t physically get it to work. I can only usually make small sounds
Talking can feel like a task, almost painful. Sometimes it's like somethings stuck in my throat, like a little bubble that if I let out something bad will happen or it'll hurt, something along those lines. It can also be calming not to talk like I saw one person say, sometimes I hum to self soothe and sometimes I need to do the opposite, just not feel any vibrations in my head, throat, jaw, to feel okay.
I was nonverbal for a lot of the time at the last in-person school I went to, and it was a mix of it being painful to talk because of how overwhelmed I already was, and an added fear that if I talked I'd throw everything off. It's hard to explain.
like my physical ability to speak has been completely shut off and i can't and when i do i end up squeaking or sounding like a small dumb animal.
I guess I'm semi nonverbal at times. For me it's like I can talk if I have absolutely no other choice, but I'd rather go with people not knowing what I want/be misunderstood than talk because the amount of energy it takes is ridiculous. At that point, I'd much rather just shake my head yes or no, or point to things or type what I want to say. It takes physical effort and almost feels like a workout to speak. When I feel like this, just a few words out loud can be physically exhausting and have me drained for the rest of the day.
Also like others have said, it's almost painful
I can speak for myself and am very intelligent, but at times I find that I'm mixing up words or that I'm so overstimulated I can't think of what I want to say. I usually require a quiet break alone to collect myself before I can really speak. I seem to do better solo most of the time though.
it feels like words are stuck in my throat and i cant force them out and i cant form actual words
it's hard to describe, but i just feel when words aren't working. like glue on the mouth or something. sometimes i can force them out, but it physically pains me, like something picking at my brain.
it depends why it is happening!!! i have had various nonverbal shutdowns at varying levels, or if i am triggered i freeze and cannot say anything or move it hurts i just stare in frozen fear sucks, but when i’m nonverbal it’s like words are so far in my head from my mouth like i know what i’m thinking and can show emotion but talking just feels like a lot of effort when i can just be quietly content for a little while until i get comfortable enough to talk again
i’ve had them before i knew what they were called, i was calling them anxiety attacks and maybe they were those and meltdowns and/or shutdowns with anxiety attacks rolled into one :/
personally, it feels like i am too weak to speak. there is no fear or anxiety, but its a way for me to take a break and regenerate.
Its like i know what i want to say and i have the words in my head, but its like my mouth is sewn shut or my voice has been taken away. Feels like im completely unable to make any kind of noise as much as i try.
A lot of these replies resonate with me perfectly too. I wish i could show these to the people in my life who don't understand my non verbal episodes.
For me a nonverbal episode makes it physically impossible to talk. I can make sounds (like a whine) but the actual words won't form in my mouth, no matter how hard I try. Thankfully I'm partners with someone else who is autistic and has nonverbal episodes. We use discord or the notes in our phone to communicate when that happens
☝ This content is generated by our users and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision
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