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sometimes

What does cataplexy feel like?

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Is it just a simple loss of voluntary muscle control or is it more complex than that? Is one's mental state altered in any way? Does the feeling at all resemble sleep or sleep paralysis? Are there odd sensations, in the mind, that go along with it, like dizziness, light headedness, or dream-like surrealness? Do you loose your sense of touch or have numbness?

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My mental state is not altered. I'm not asleep and am totally aware of what's going on around me. I can't talk and I can't move... so in that respect, it sort of does feel like sleep paralysis. Sometimes, it's sort of spastic as in a stop and start... like trying to put a cup down but your muscles have different ideas and it jerks up instead. Many years ago, I learned to automatically shut my eyes fast while I still could. The horrified expressions, on the faces of those I was with, made me never want to see those expressions on anyone ever again.

For me, it is FAST and of short duration normally, then I pick myself up and carry on. If coming off any REM suppressant abruptly, you are vulnerable to cataplexies that can be back to back to back and leave you utterly exhausted.

When you learn what your emotional triggers are then you are able to quickly move to protect yourself. Triggers are SUDDEN AND UNEXPECTED in nature. So there is no dizziness, light headedness or anything dream like... you just go down like a ton of bricks. There is no numbness or loss of sense of touch.

 

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It varies by individual and situation. I know for me it's usually gradual. I'll feel weak and usually I'm able to stop, close my eyes, and regain my composure; if I can't compose myself I either slump over (if I'm sitting down) or fall down (if I'm on my feet). Also my head will feel like I let blood rush out of it too fast. Basically, it sucks 

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What are your triggers Bella1904?

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I usually only get a cataplexy attack whenever I laugh and when I do I can't control my facial muscles, my mom says it almost looks like I'm drunk. I also can't keep my head up so I end up having to put it on the table. If I'm standing my legs will collapse on me. I'm totally aware of my surroundings, I even try to gain back control over my muscles. I've only had 2 severe attacks where I could not keep control and ended up just completely giving in. The first time I got up and got ready for the day and while I was standing in front of the mirror I suddenly could not keep my upper body upright and I was hunched over the counter. I don't think emotion triggered that attack however cause I started recently taking a night medication and it had not weared off yet. I ended up staying at home for another hour and after that I was fine. The second time was very severe. My younger brother had done something funny and I started laughing while walking and I felt the cataplexy attack come on so I tried to control it. I could not keep control however and I ended up falling to the ground and having to lay on my stomach till I could regain control of my muscles. It took about a minute for the attack to end. Pretty much you just learn to know situations where an attack will occur. That means knowing what emotions will trigger an attack. 

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I have found that I'm in a peaceful for of state during a full C. I'm not sure why that is. I hear everything and I'm aware but I feel pretty zen about it. Realizing this has been helpful because one of my true fears was having a full 2-3 min C while panicking or being terrified. Last fall I had a crazy drunk try to smash my car window while I was parked. I was scared enough to have C and I could hear him trying to smash the glass but I still felt peaceful. I was still calm when the police arrived. But afterward, I felt the fear. It was a setback for me and I felt very vulnerable but I learned a lot from the experience.

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For me, no to all your questions.  I am completely alert mentally, and the body totally relaxes into a lump of mush (when full on C).  Mild would be my facial muscles relaxing or hand grip on something getting weak, for example.  I agree with Hank - it is a very peaceful state!  Mine is brought on most by laughter and sex, though also from crying/sorrow sometimes.

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I can often talk during the beginning and end of a long full body attack. I speak like a ventriloquist without moving my lips. I've been panicked by the thought of being trapped inside a body that won't move. And I was almost killed once (way before diagnosis) with a 200 foot fall down a rocky snow field. But even then, it was very Zen. The emotions hit me later, but not in the moment. Ive been told that physical sensation is tied to emotional experience and that makes sense.

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Usually its only laughing that does it. Especially if I say whatever it is thats funny. My legs give out, but I dont usually fall, if theres something to hold onto. I kind of bounce up and down where they let go and I keep catching myself. I can see and hear fine. I definitely have a feeling though. One I cant really explain. There is one thing that it feels closest to, but Im not sure I should say it on here. lol Nothing bad, but its a "grown up" feeling. Should give you a good idea, if your old enough. lol Fairly intense one as well.  Yeah, imagine that in a crowded room.lol

*Edit

Oh yeah, my voice sounds like it skips in and out if I cant talk at all. Absolutely dont want to talk.

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On 02/04/2017 at 2:56 AM, sometimes said:

Is it just a simple loss of voluntary muscle control or is it more complex than that? Is one's mental state altered in any way? Does the feeling at all resemble sleep or sleep paralysis? Are there odd sensations, in the mind, that go along with it, like dizziness, light headedness, or dream-like surrealness? Do you loose your sense of touch or have numbness?

For me, it's just my body. It becomes a heavy sack I'm inside but can't move with 'me' stuck inside. Giggles & sobbing floor me, chuckles and sniffles just a sensation/weakness.

 

The surreal dreamy 'distance' from the world I occasionally get is at different times,  and fades in and out within about 10 seconds...it distracts from what I'm supposed to be listening to (if I'm listening to a person speak, or radio.tv) 'cos I tend to think "well, this is weird...but why is it weird..." and focus on the 'distance' rather than what I should be.

 

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