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royalty

677d

Lately I've been having these "staring spells" and when I come out of it I go mute (caused by selective mutism). Does anyone know what this could be? I don't want to freak myself out.

    • anemone

      677d

      yes actually and i am SO glad you asked!! i've been having that sort of episodes (including the mutism) for at least the past 8 years and didn't know what they were until a few months ago. it sounds like you're probably experiencing the same thing as me! it's a type of catatonia that is seen in autism - supposedly in 10-15% of autistic people, but i think i've only personally known one other person who has them? i've heard of others who do, though. don't think i've yet met a doctor to whom i've disclosed that i experience autistic catatonia who also knew about the existence of catatonia in autism, though i've also not yet seen an autism specialist. it's also called "catatonia-like shutdown" and i have a link with some info on it here: https://autismawarenesscentre.com/autism-related-catatonia/ it seems there's also a wikipedia page about it, but i've not read it to know the contents. you may want to bring it up to a doctor, and they will likely want to do other testing to ensure it's not any type of seizure or other neurological issue - i had an mri and an eeg done for mine, with inconclusive results - and they may also not be aware of that specific presentation of autism. the big suggestions i have on managing it: - learn to notice yourself going into that state and then keep yourself moving. kick your legs, fidget with something, stand up and pace around. if you're like me you're probably feeling pretty depressed and overwhelmed when the episode starts, so that may be hard to do, but it's easier than letting the episode happen if you can avoid it. i manage to keep them from happening about 50% of the time this way - if you have someone you can trust, the easiest way out of the episode is to get them to help you improve your mood if you're overwhelmed (special interest works best for this); it also helps with the mutism if you can get excited enough about the topic - once you're feeling enough better, you can have them physically help you get moving or doing something engaging. i end up unable to move anything voluntary, but with high enough mood and physical help i can slowly get back into moving. - if you're able to cause yourself to blink, you may be able to use that as a way to communicate too. if someone who's around you often enough is willing, you can let them know about the episodes and ask them to ask you yes or no questions to which you will respond by blinking once for yes or twice for no. you could also warn them when you feel an episode coming on and ask them to help you get moving, since verbal and physical prompting can help that difficulty. please let me know if you have questions that i might be able to answer, or what results you get from trying those suggestions, if you implement them. because it took me so long to find out what it was, and because i've met so few people who are aware of it, i'm pretty passionate about sharing any info i have on it.

      • emoryw

        658d

        @anemone thank you, this is really helpful information. i recently discovered what catatonia is and that it can be related to autism. this is exactly what i experience

☝ 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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