I spent waaaay longer than I expected trying to find this, but anyway, here you go. I really don’t think I have autistic catatonia, but this is the closest thing I’ve ever read to something I’ve experienced. I’ve talked about it a little in the “general consensus reality” tag, and I’m writing a more specific post but it isn’t done yet.
Here’s a quote:
Catatonic excitement is basically where you run around in a frenzy, and you can’t stop running, you can’t stop moving. It’s a danger to your health because people have been known to keep running until their body is physically unable to run anymore. This can lead to collapse, hyperthermia, asthma attacks, and worse.
I was running in circles around my apartment, jumping up onto the furniture, bouncing off the walls, and my mouth was making strange whooping noises now and then. Every time I passed my staff person in the kitchen, I would yell. I was trying to get her attention so that she could help me slow down. The best thing for me at moments like that is for someone to guide me to the couch and lay heavy blankets on me so I can’t get up easily.
Instead… it sort of happened how it was supposed to, but mostly it didn’t.
The staff person came up to me, grinning the grin she always had at times when I wasn’t able to communicate in words. It’s the grin an adult uses with a small child.
She stood in front of me and put her hands up in front of her. Knowing that, with my echopraxia, I would mirror her hands. I mirrored her hands.
Then she told me to run towards her. I ran towards her. I was running in place. She giggled. I giggled.
Nothing was funny. I was in what I call Cute Client Mode. I may feel like shit inside, but something about me turns on and performs cuteness for the sake of staff.
She thought she was making an important connection with me.
So I ran in place, towards her hands, and she walked me backwards towards the couch, and got me onto the couch, and covered me in weighted blankets and other heavy stuff, and I stopped running around.
Mission accomplished, right?
I could just see us in a training video, in my mind’s eye, as doing the perfect thing. Her doing the perfect thing. Her being the hero who saved the day, maybe even saved my life (catatonic excitement can be lethal).
But here’s the thing:
She was controlling my movements.
When she pushed, I pushed back, when she pulled I pulled back. So she learned exactly how to push and pull on me, so that I went where she needed me to go. I felt completely empty. She laughed, I laughed. I was trapped somewhere deep inside myself. I had no connection to my body and its responses. No connection to my apparent emotional responses. I was a robot. I was a cute, giggling robot.