Cerebral Palsy & Movie Theaters — Scope | Disability forum
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Cerebral Palsy & Movie Theaters

golucky252 Community member Posts: 35 Connected
edited June 2022 in Cerebral palsy
Hello, I’m 25 and I have mild cerebral palsy.I am a wheelchair user.  I’ve been knowing this guy for almost 2 years . We recently started back talking to each other. I really like him. He seems to like me. He invited me to the movies but I declined because of family issues. But mostly I declined because of my startle reflex that comes from cerebral palsy! The last time I rolled into a movie theater  was nearly 6 years ago! (Yikes.) I have tried to stay away from movie theaters because of overwhelming anxiety from jumpiness. When I visited a movie theater it felt as if someone had turned a light switch on and I couldn’t stop jumping… -sigh- Cerebral Palsy really has robbed the whole  movie theater experience. Is there any medications or home remedies that would be recommended? I would greatly appreciate it! I’ve heard seizure medications help. Is this true?


  • Biblioklept
    Biblioklept Community member Posts: 4,180 Disability Gamechanger
    Is it possible for you to suggest doing something else for now, while try and find solutions to your difficulty with movie theatres @golucky252? If you like him it would be sad for you to miss out on going out together and getting to know each other. If he invited you to the movies, he wants to spend time with you so I'm sure he'd be happy with an alternative. :)
    I don't have any answers from the Cerebral Palsy side of things but I suffer greatly with anxiety about things and one thing I always point out is the more you don't do something the harder it becomes. Could you arrange to see a movie with someone you feel totally comfortable with, with the agreement you only stay for 15 minutes? It sounds silly I now but doing it in bite size pieces with a view of building up might help the anxiety over triggering a startle reflex. 
    Is it okay for me to ask why having them upsets you? Are they painful or uncomfortable or is it about what others might think? Or something else?  
  • golucky252
    golucky252 Community member Posts: 35 Connected
    edited June 2022
    @Biblioklept Thanks for the advice! I will try this. And actually it’s just the embarrassment of it all. Just what would he think of me? Just embarrassing. And some years ago I went with a so called “friend” they were making fun of me the whole time. I never went back.
  • Biblioklept
    Biblioklept Community member Posts: 4,180 Disability Gamechanger
    That's so awful @golucky252!! They definitely aren't much of a friend! I honestly don't see what's to be embarrassed about but I do know having my own insecurities that there isn't much I could say to make you feel different. Do you have the same issue when watching a movie at home or is it more being at the cinema and all the different stimulus there? 
    You mentioned trying to make them stop and I wonder if you should instead try and learn to love and embrace your startle reflex? I know that's soooooo much easier for me to say as it isn't me, but I've certainly had to learn to love some of the quirks about myself that come with my disabilities. 

    Life is too boring for everyone to be the same and there will be people that love you and your uniqueness and find you charming and endearing. <3
  • golucky252
    golucky252 Community member Posts: 35 Connected
    @Biblioklept I guess the movie theater stimuli is too noisy and “exciting” for my nervous system lol. When I’m home I’m more comfortable and calm. Although there’s an occasional startle when someone walks up from behind lol. Or comes around the corner suddenly. But it’s just who I am. You’re right maybe I should embrace. There are people that will love me for who I am. Do you have  Cerebral Palsy too?
  • Richard_Scope
    Richard_Scope Posts: 3,614 Scope online community team
    Hi @golucky252
    I'm very familiar with startle reflex, I live with CP and I get asked this question a lot. There is no clear answer yet as to why the Moro or startle reflex stays in people with spastic CP and about 3% of the general population. 

    The Moro reflex is a baby's 'fight or flight' mechanism and usually calms around 2 to 3 months. There are things that can make it worse e.g. illness, tiredness, menstrual cycle, dehydration and caffeine. G.P.s tend to prescribe Beta Blockers but I'm yet to hear of any positive outcomes from this treatment in terms of reduction in startle. I'm sorry I cannot give a definitive answer to this.
    Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead

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  • golucky252
    golucky252 Community member Posts: 35 Connected
    @Richard_Scope wow, that’s interesting 🧐. Thank you for the information 


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