Discussions By Condition: Mental conditions

catalepsy

Posted In: Mental conditions 7 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • August 18, 2006
  • 05:37 PM

Imagine my shock and joy at finally having a real name for my terrifying experiences!!! Unfortunately, this naming didn't come from my physician but from, OF ALL PEOPLE, Sylvia Brown. She is a psychic who makes regular appearances on the Montel Williams talk show.
She happened to tell a woman in the audience that what she was experiencing is called "Catalepsy".
I immediately looked for this condition online and found this website ("WrongDiagnosis.com"). What a wealth of information I've found!

One symptom I have that I didn't see a reference to was my inability to speak or call out for help. If I could make any sounds, my husband could usually shake me and the episode would pass; my body would return to normal and I could go to sleep.

I also noticed that, just prior to sleep, I could tell if I was about to have an episode because I'd get a loud buzzing in my ears.

Like other things I've read, I am awake and aware of my surroundings during the episodes but am totally helpless to move, speak, or call out. Even sounds were nearly impossible to make without extreme concentration.

I'm really hoping there are others out there who are experiencing these episodes so we can share information.

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7 Replies:

  • Well I have had episodes similiar to yours as you decribed it but it is not as severe. What is interesting though is shaking takes you out of these "episodes" at least for me.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • January 17, 2007
    • 02:14 AM
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  • Yes, I have the exact same symptoms as you. I am 26 yrs old now but this started happening to me ever since I was probably a teenager. It happens randomly, but when I usually have one, then I have another episode not too long after. Sometimes months, years could go by and nothing and then all of the sudden, it happens. To me, it always happens when I'm asleep, never during the day or when I'm active, and yes! I also know when it's about to happen! I also get that buzzing type noise in my ears and my body starts feeling tingly... It is terrifying, even though it's been happening to me for quite a while I still get scared when it happens...I usually try to fight it but it is very hard, and when I'm finally able to shake it off by moving a finger or a leg, I am extremely exhausted...I went to my doctor who then sent me to a neurologist but he could not tell me anything! he said that because it happens so randomly it is hard to get a pattern on it and it would be too dificult to pin point-he did a few tests there and said that everything seemed to be fine and that the best I could do was to record it when it happens, kind of making a journal and maybe in the future we could do something about it...I found out about Catalepsy through a book that I was reading about the history of death and the men's fears to death and one of the stories that the writer tells about it is about an episode of Catalepsy that he had very similar to mine and he said that back on the day, before all the technology, it was very easy to missdiagnose a person with catalepsy and pass it for death b/c apparently when the attacks occur, breathing and pulse slow down significantly to the point that it is hard to detect it to the touch. That was kind of scary to me and that's why I went to my Dr. but I guess there haven't really been too many studies out there about Catalepsy and Dr.'s don't know much about this condition, even trying to look up info in the internet about this condition is really hard....hopefully soon they can come up with a particular kind of test that you can get done to diagnose this condition....Good Luck! :-)
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 11, 2008
    • 11:13 PM
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  • The episodes described are very much like mine. Mine have progressed to daytime and are very hazardous. I am narcoleptic and these episodes are called cataplexy attacks. They are sometimes accompanied by hallucinations. I cannot move, or call for help; every muscle is paralyzed.
    glynda 3 Replies
    • February 25, 2008
    • 04:49 AM
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  • I don't know how these forums work, I know its been awhile since the original post & some of the responses, but there is some misinformation here and I really want to help you guys out! This is a long post but hang in there... and to give myself a little credibility, i have been in health care for several years and I am currently working on my medical doctorate. Neither cataLEPSY nor cataPLEXY are related to the state you have described as experiencing when you are falling asleep or waking up. What you are experiencing is NOT CATALEPSY. Please remember that Sylvia Brown is a self-purported psychic, not a physician. This may have been confused with CATAPLEXY (an episode that happens when the person is up, awake and going about their daily business, usually related to narcolepsy, as glynda mentioned). ***glynda: I'm sure you're aware that this does not apply to you, as you are narcoleptic & I have not doubt that you are experiencing true cataplexy****As a student working on my M.D., I am lucky enough to have access to great medical literature to help me get a diagnosis. My doctor didn't recognize the symptoms I described right away, but DID recognize the problem when I mentioned it by name: SLEEP PARALYSIS.Here is a summary of my research on the topic:Sleep paralysis is a common & harmless condition characterized by temporary paralysis of the body shortly after waking up (aka hypnopompic paralysis) or shortly before falling asleep (aka hypnagogic paralysis).It is very common in all types of people all over the world. Many, many normal, healthy people will experience sleep paralysis at some point in their lives. It can sometimes be brought on by physical stress on the body, such as flu and the like, or by emotional stress. It can also occur with some medications or discontinuation of medications (in my case, I experience it when I change doses or discontinue my SSRI). It is also thought that it is inherited in some people.What basically happens is this: It is normal for the body to be paralyzed while we are sleeping (so as to get optimal rest and not to let us hurt ourselves). We are usually not aware of this paralysis because our brains also turn our thinking & awareness off when our muscles are turned off. In sleep paraylsis, however, the brain sometimes allows the two processes to occur out of sync (your body falls asleep before your mind, or your mind wakes up before your body). This is generally found to be very scary for obvious reasons, we are used to being able to make our bodies move at will.In some of the most commonly reported experiences a person may feel like they cannot breath or as if something is crushing their chest (have a look at all the great folklore related to this aspect), they may feel that someone/something is in the room with them, they may attempt to cry out for help or struggle to open their eyes. A panicked feeling (our "fight-or-flight response) may result from either the fear of not being able to breath or the feeling that they are in danger of being attacked.It is comforting to educate yourself about what is going on so that you can help "think yourself through it" and stay calm when it happens. Some people do report that it helps to concentrate on opening their eyes or wiggling a finger, or to make their sleeping partner aware of the condition so that they can recognize when you are trying to yell or move. There are also lots of other forums online to talk with others who have similar episodes. As for myself, type I experience is when I wake up, but the symptoms are the same as what you all have descirbed. I am paralyzed but can hear & feel the things around me. I want to try to scream for help or to try to wake myself. I sometimes think that someone else is nearby (luckily I have never felt a dangerous or evil presence, but I often think relatives or friends are in the house and would be able to her me if I screamed). I strain to try to will my fingers or toes to move or to open my eyes. When I do fully awake I am groggy and usually shaken by the episode.What I have found most helpful has been making my partner aware of the process. He now knows to wake me up if he hears me making a clicking or gurgling noise when I am "trying to yell," or if he sees my eyelids or fingers moving. Because I tend to have several episodes in a row, I will even sleep my hand wrapped around a few of his fingers so he can wake me if I try to squeeze... although I will say this backfires when I have normal twitching while falling asleep :) There is a lot of great information on the net if you have a look through a search engine, but do be cautious of where the info is coming from or who it is written by (i.e., a medical authority site vs. a paranormal site) here are is some pretty accurate info: http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/paralysis.html (sleep paralysis)http://watarts.uwaterloo.ca/~acheyne/S_P2.html (sleep paralysis)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalepsyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cataplexy
    Jr. Doc 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • thank you very much for all this information. i am currently undergoing tests for catalepsy and wanted to find out some useful information about it as im very much in the dark at this persent time. i am 21 yrs old and work in spain as a kids rep but have been collapsing while i am going about my normal duties in my clubroom. this can happen any time of day but once i was in the middle of a session with children around me and i collapsed. i go really sleepy and feel as if i am about to go to sleep, my eyes start to role and then i fall, this is the only indication i get however and its hard to tell if feeling sleepy or if it is just the heat getting to me. when i do fall i go as if im asleep and when i come round i am unaware that i have even been there, just shaken up by the fact that i am obviously on a heap on the floor. After the episode i am very thisty and have pins and needles in my right hand i feel groggy and just want to sleep, days before and after the event i will have constant migranes that will last for hours and all the time all i want to do is sleep even if i have had a goodnights sleep the night before. I went to the doctors in spain and they would not carry out any tests as i wasnot classed as living in spain, just working there so my company flew me back to england to have tests. thinking it was just the heat and i was only going to the doctors as a precaution as my job is very strict, i was very shocked when the doctor told me they were sending me for tests as they thought i had a form of epilepsy. they told me to try and tape it if i had another episode and booked an appt with a neurologist. the word catalepsy wasnot mentioned, i only found out about this when i had another episode while staying at my grandparents down south 2 weeks after my visit to the doctors. one minute i was talking to my friend who i was also visiting and the next i was on the floor. i had not told my friend about what the doctor had said as i did not want everyone knowing so she did not tape it but is writing down the details. she called an amblulance and i explained the situation to them, they told me to visit my doctor again when i got back home. it was only then, when i saw a different doctor that they explained what they think i have is catalepsy. As of this moment my clinic appt is next week and i am very scared as this could effect not only my job, but my life as i travel with my job and as my job is with children they have a very strict policy, so all i can do is keep my fingers crossed.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • To anyone who is willing to help me.I have a rather strange, if not arrogant request to make. I am currently writing a Murder Mystery story in which my main character gets mistaken as dead and locked in a trunk. My main problem, unfortunately, is that I know very little about the condition "Catalepsy". Before I ask my various questions, might I just say that after reading your posts about the condition I feel the deepest of sympathies for you all, as I myself suffer similar episodes. I am an epileptic, and find myself terrified when I wake up to another fit. Like you, I am completely aware of my surroundings, but can not move or scream. Anyway, if you wouldn't mind, here are my questions:Is it possible to fall down a flight of stairs and then go into a Cataleptic episode?Can an episode occur after having found out some terrible news?Can it be triggered by stress or depression?How long does it take for one to recover from the episode without anyone else intervering?Is it possible to be gently picked up and layed inside a trunk without being taken out of the episode?I understand that some of my questions may be a little difficult to answer, and might I just apologise for my bad spellings (it's not really my strong point). If anyone can answer my questions, I would be most greatful.Thank you.FromYug(P.S I am new to this website... so excuse me if I get something horribly wrong... )
    Yuggy2000 1 Replies
    • December 27, 2008
    • 01:18 PM
    • 0
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  • I too may have cataplexy... I become paralyzed for up to 5 hours just from maybe using albuterol for my asthma, or the dye from a catscan. Sometimes I just can't talk, sometimes can't swallow. I get kind of "stupid" and silly like I've had a stroke or have brain damange after a paralsis... it's terrible and scary. No one knows what it is... just keep testing and looking into this... I'm afraid to do most things along... what if I'm driving and become paralysed... will I be able to stop the car... and where will I be... yikes fran
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 3, 2009
    • 08:28 PM
    • 0
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