| Teen Diary Serial |

The Voice Within: Chapter 5 

       She kept me busy, that’s for certain. But the real question remained. Was it helping me at all?



ikky gave me a couple of CDs to take home with me. “Listen to them every night before you go to sleep. Relax and just let it all out.”

I liked the CDs. They were encased in pretty pink plastic covers and had a cartoon of a little girl on them. For a few weeks, I listened to the audio tracks as I lay in my bed every evening. It was Vikky’s voice with some background music, telling me to “take a deep breath in… and out” and other kinds of relaxing techniques.

My therapist also gave me a laminated chart with a sheet of colored stickers. The chart had the days of the week across the top row, and entries like, “I spoke today in the grocery,” “I spoke today in school,” etc. Each time I passed a milestone, I would place a reward sticker on the card.

She kept me busy, that’s for certain. But the real question remained. Was it helping me at all?

The last I remember of Vikky was in a fancy milchig restaurant where I ate an entire pizza. She thought it would be a good idea to have a session in a fresh setting outside of the therapy office walls. It was more of a casual meeting than a formal appointment, and she talked to my father while they watched me eating pizza. That was the last time I ever saw her. I assumed I had finished my therapy, even though my thumb-sucking was still going strong.

I was recently enlightened, though, to the real reason I stopped going to Vikky. Apparently, the hypnosis wasn’t going as planned, and it wasn’t showing any definitive results. Vikky claimed my parents were the ones holding me back from overcoming my selective mutism and she would therefore have to hypnotize them, too. My parents thought that was a bit much, and politely but firmly backed out. They were left to find an alternative way to get me the help I needed.

My teachers had given up on me, but they were kind and that was what mattered most to me. My parents, though, were still adamant that I needed to talk.

It was arranged with my principal, Mrs. Gordon, that my mother would give small reading sessions for my class. She came to school every Monday and pulled me and a couple of other girls out of class. She would bring little story booklets with her, so we could read out loud. Of course, it was a great idea to get me to speak within the school walls, as I had no one to be afraid of. It was only my mother and a few girls my age in that cozy little office. No intimidating school staff.

I remember clearly how excited I was to go to school on Mondays. Each time, I questioned my mother with enthusiasm, “Are you coming to my school today?”

It felt really cool at the age of seven to have my mother as my teacher. I chatted animatedly to her and the girls with me in that small room and read the books out loud beautifully.

After quite a few of these sessions, my mother was ready to take the next step. The classroom. She began doing the reading lessons for the entire class and getting me to read the stories out loud in front of everyone. It was a bit daunting at first, but I was soon okay with it. My mother was my teacher, and she wasn’t in the least bit scary to me. Little did I know that my “real” teacher was standing right outside, ear firmly pressed to the door, and marveling at the sound of my sweet little voice.

This went on for weeks and my parents and teacher were pleased with my progress. Then they decided to do something a little more exciting.

to be continued…


(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 971)

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