Personal · Political/Social Issue

One of My Worst Experiences with Clinical Depression: Temporary Mutism

I am Marlina Carlos, 22, diagnosed with Mixed Anxiety Depressive Disorder (MADD).

When they say that mental illnesses aren’t debilitating like other illnesses, I have always disagreed. Having a mental illness is physically and mentally exhausting. Your brain takes over your body, and your mind prevents you from living a normal life; My recent experience has made this even more evident.


Within the two years of having been officially diagnosed, I thought I already knew the ins and outs of my illness. An anxiety or panic attack here and there, endless crying, no crying, no feeling, emptiness, self harm, suicidal tendencies, and not having the will to do anything; Much less live.

But last month I got rushed to the ER because I couldn’t speak, and we didn’t know why. That day, I was in shock over something that happened earlier in the evening. I held myself together enough to be able to drive home. When I got home, I bursted into tears; But suddenly, I just stopped, my face froze, and all of a sudden, I could not speak. I tried but I couldn’t even make a sound. I was answering in my head but nothing was coming out of my mouth. I lost control over my body in a way that I have not experienced before. My family was concerned and didn’t know what was happening and how to handle the situation. The more I tried to speak the more I couldn’t breathe.

When I got to the ER and the Psych Resident interviewed me, I only answered through paper and pen. She said that what I had experienced was “conversion disorder,” resulting into being temporarily mute. She said that it was because of the shock, the many things that were happening, and the many thoughts rushing through my head and I couldn’t possibly air all of them out. So instead of being able to express everything, I just shut down. At first I didn’t believe that that was the reason, because that’s usually how I am, it was nothing new. But apparently, the shock, triggers, and all of my struggles, confronting me all at once, was too much for me to handle; Too much that my body resorted to just shutting down completely. She said that I would be able to speak eventually and true enough I was able to, the morning after I got home from the hospital. She said that some patients go through this for hours, days or even weeks, and this is an unfortunate reality.

The next time we doubt if mental illnesses are debilitating, let us think again. The brain is the most powerful part of the body, and it being where our illnesses lie, anything is possible.


(Featured Photo not mine)

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