5 Weeks Nonverbal, What Have I Learnt?

Week 5 begins of being Nonverbal. Friends and chosen family have taken it in their own stride to adjust while we all have learnt how to help me communicate still.

We’ve learnt I have really quick thumbs so now I look like im hooked to my phone at the moment even though i’m just relaying messages to be part of a discussion.

I thought after another month being nonverbal it would be good to jot down how it has been going for me with this experience. In this time I did have another hospital admission, and sometimes I can manage a whisper or two, but i’m still in this cPTSD crisis.

  • How your mind thinks of words, changes. I’ve been nonverbal long enough to notice a subconscious change in thought patterns to match more my current top speed, restricted vocabulary for pace of communication etc.
  • The amount of thinking about what your going to say next is a lot less but when you know, it’s still not enough words.
  • You learn how close friends remember your regular go-to stories when they share them for me.
  • You enjoy the immersive moment during conversation more. Without the worries about what to say next, you can get lost in your own imagination about what the person is talking about and fully engaged as a listener.
  • Your other senses do get dialed up, I feel like my hearing has been ramped up even more. Whether that’s a good thing or not is hard to tell yet
  • There’s a difference to listening to a discussion and being part of a discussion that many verbal folk don’t realise. Even if its a 1 on 1 chat.
  • Body language becomes an important form of conversational communication that it is no longer seen as communicating any appearance of poor or good mental health.
  • Even after 5 weeks, if I could have my voice back, I would in a heartbeat. I don’t think I could ever get used to this. And while it has been a big learning experience, if my brain is ready to heal and carry on, I’m ready when it is.

1 Week Non-Verbal, So Far

My disability has progressed to the point that I can no longer talk *gasp*. Specialists say its not permanent so I am trying to keep hopes up and to keep trying to get my voice back. But I thought I would share what I have learnt so far after a whole week being nonverbal:

  • You definitely can’t communicate as much in your body language without speech in conjunction. I may be getting better at charades but I still can’t tell someone urgently to stay in the room.
  • Speech-based conversations are usually moving too fast to contribute to as a nonverbal person.
  • You can’t set personal boundaries in conversations like you would if you were verbal.

  • You communicate a fraction of a fraction of what you could when your verbal, you spend the attention span on others wisely with few questions.
    • But still need to remember to crack a joke once in a while.
  • Sharing how your feeling becomes a moot point when you need someones attention to get the dog to stop chewing something he shouldn’t.
  • When you communicate with the world differently suddenly, your outlook and interpretation sure changes too.
  • Going from being verbal to nonverbal is like being made to live in the loneliest hailstorm in a teacup. You can only daydream so much until you are stuck with forced self-contemplation. No matter the revelations about yourself and others, no one’s gonna hear you scream internally.
  • Journaling becomes so much easier when literally everything you have said is already written down.
  • Other people by default speak quieter around nonverbal people for no reason at all other than social assumptions.
  • Text-to-speech apps are essential to make sure car rides are not in weird silence.
    • There definitely isn’t enough options for these kind of accessibility apps than you’d expect.
  • Every “friend” who doesn’t like text-based messaging will disappear from your life.