Catatonic episodes

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by angular, Dec 28, 2009.

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  1. This is a bit of an odd one, but I'd like some advice if anyone has any experience of this kind of thing.

    I recently got a late-night phone call from a previous Mrs. A., who I haven't spoken to for 15 years. She said she had had 3 catatonic episodes, of 14, 7 and 3 hours, and had lost lots of her memories. Based on names in her address book and a google search by friends and family, she thought she used to know me? She did have lots of memories, and wanted me to fill in the gaps. As she retained her same old manipulative manner, and she could be vicious is crossed, I went along with it for a while, but pushed the conversation to a close when she started to lose track of what I was saying.

    My question is, is this memory loss possible with catatonia? All the searches I've done don't mention it, certainly not as extensive as it appeared. Is this likely to be gen, or can I expect more encounters with my new stalker? I don't want her anywhere near my family, and I can't change the contact information on me that can be found on the internet, as I need it for my business.
  2. Late night phone call over the Christmas period from a manipulative ex wife. Hmmmmm......
  3. Next time she calls, either put the phone down on her immediately or tell her in a firm manner your sorry about her episodes but want nothing more to do with her due to you having a bad past.

    Her reaction and frequency of phone calls from there will alert you where you need to go from there and where she ranks on the stalker scale.

    Personally even without any medical training I say it stinks of bullshit and you've got a potential problem brewing.
  4. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    "Remind" her of the thousands of £s that she still owes you. That will probably stop the calls.
  5. American Journal Psychiatry publishes useful info:

    Also found some research from 1960s showing string association between "catatonic delirium" and amnesia; there is also an association with mood disorders and schizophrenia (but this seems to be with greater catatonic behaviour than she described to you).

    Are you still on terms with any intermediaries who can tell you more about what's going on? Especially if she persists?
  6. Long time lurker here.

    Is the ex wife on medication such as SSRI antidepressants?

    A relative of mine tells how she was catatonic or asleep more often than not during a five year period. She believes that her condition was made worse by the antidepressants she was on. She had memory loss, though not of past events but functional and short term memory loss. She claims to have gone from a compulsive reader, writer and thinker to being unable to process information and she could not read, write or do simple arithmatic. Sometimes she left dry pans on the on the hob of the cooker which led to small fires on more than one occasion. A careful driver became a liability on the road. At times she said she couldn’t speak beyond uttering gibberish or angry profane outbursts. I believe you lot would have called her a window licker.

    Certainly, watching from the outside she became a totally different woman a month or so after she began the medication. Her expressive eyes became dull and expressionless. After five years she decided to come off of the SSRI’s and then the transformation back to her old self (or to her new self) began. She had to teach herself to read and write again (from constructing simple sentences to remembering and relearning the meaning of common words). After a year or so a lot of it came back to her. She said it was terrifying.

    She can’t remember many specifics of this period (she said it was a dark blur) she says it was a living hell and that she’s fortunate to still be alive and was regularly suffering from whats called suicidal ideation or something like that. Though the transformation after coming off the medication didn’t occur immediately. She described it as having to rewire her brain back to normality and according to her it took a good couple of years before she began to feel ‘normal’ again (or not so abnormal). She is convinced that she experienced madness and her behaviour at the time certainly points to a period of insanity. She began to exhibit compulsive behaviour and sometimes criminal behaviour that was totally out of character. She would steal things from friends such as books, pens, magazines and air fresheners from bathrooms (crazy I know lol). She is still unable to explain this bizarre behaviour but says that typically compulsions would build up inside which could only be released by acting on the compulsion. After the release she would feel deep remorse, regret and shame. After coming off from the medication the compulsive behaviour gradually disappeared.

    We considered the idea that the medication turned her neurosis into an organic condition as SSRIs do alter brain chemistry or so I read in a magazine. I remember seeing her sobbing and repeatedly crying the mantra that ‘I’m brain damaged’.

    I didn’t talk too her much about the catatonic episodes as there was not a lot for her to understand as it was all a blur. She did say that she thought it was her brains way of shutting down due to overload and was self defence. During the catatonic periods she she said she would sit for long periods, where time would not exist (which makes me suspicious about your ex-wife’s claims to be able to put a time-scale to her episodes), and where she would hardly move or blink. She suffered from involuntary motor tics, such as her arms or legs moving violently uncontrolably. She regularly felt painful electric shocks in her head everyday. Fortunately this no longer happens to her.

    Fortunately, they’re is hope as she is nowhere near as bad as she was and she can cope a lot better now, though their is still progress to be made (and she is the first to admit that). Shes not as mad as she used to be though is still a little eccentric, though she always was a bit dotty. Her sense of humour has returned and she now smiles again. From the outside she is the old sister I used to have, but the change would never have been possible without coming off the medication and without the support of her family and friends. Shes very grateful for the support she got.

    It’s easy to look from the outside and evaluate the situation from your own perspective. Doing so will not provide an understanding of the situation because their is such a great chasm between an outsiders view and the sufferers experience. And everyones experience is different I guess.

    Babs xx
  7. There appears to be some sort of support group for people like this:
  8. bad man you are
    i quite liked catatonic
    i'd have given that cerys one up the ricker
  9. Edited.
  10. Thanks for (most of) the replies. The catatonic delirium bit was very interesting, and closer to what she'd told me than mere catatonia. No further phone calls, so I think I clarified the situation to her well enough before Christmas.

    Isn't it funny how we find that the road to the NAAFI is paved with good intentions...
  11. Stay low and keep moving!