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My strange 'freeze' response when I try to focus on something - anyone else?

Messages
75
Hi everyone,

Part of my autonomic dysfunction seems to involve a strange kind of freeze response. I haven't seen it mentioned by other people - maybe hints of it - but not anywhere a description that maps onto my own situation. I wanted to describe it here and see if it is familiar to anyone else.

Whenever I try to focus on something (I,e. direct the spotlight in my mind to some external object - it could be a book, text or video, or a person I'm talking to, etc), I get an immediate tension/freeze response in my muscles. In particular there will be a slight contraction of the muscles in my shins/lower legs and in the muscles of my forearms.

I also believe there is a contraction in my eyelids (interesting given that the German researchers Scheibenbogen and Wirth have noted a continuous contraction/relaxation of muscles in the eyes, which they attribute to the ANS dysfunction).

I know that some people talk about some kind of primal freeze response in ME/CFS and that there are different ways to relieve this (often involving wiggling around!).

My own belief however is that the problem I experience stems from a very weakened faculty of sustained-attention in my brain, i.e. that that part of my brain that would normally be able to place 'the spotlight' on an object and keep it there is so weak that it isn't up to the task, and so 'gives up' and instead I get a tension response.

I did read some research paper once that suggested that the part of the brain responsible for sustained attention is weaker in ME/CFS patients.

Also, when I have engaged in meditations more aimed at increasing attention span, I have found that I can soften this freeze response to varying degrees. But without that practice, it can come back with a vengeance. And I've never been able to remove it completely as of yet.

It took me years to identify that this seems what to be going on.

Is this phenomenon familiar to anyone else? Thanks.
 
Messages
75
I've had twitchy eyelids before. Autonomic stuff can be strange. I'll keep a watch for the type of thing you mention. It sounds familiar though maybe not quite the same.
Thanks for response. My eyelids can tense up continuously at times - it is very uncomfortable. I feel like whatever problem I have in this regard, it is probably something that my body has taken to the more extreme end.
 
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