I have a lesser form of Autism (that generally doesn't really manifest much unless people actually live with me or in specific situations) and sometimes I can have a meltdown.

I write a journal in Latin so as to practice my Latin daily. But I have as of now not found a word for meltdown. It isn't really a tantrum, it isn't being "enraged". It's more like a breakdown. So I have no idea what word is more appropriate to use in this case. If needed, I accept constructions derived from Greek (and actually encourage if it is more precise and there be no normal attestation of such a word in pure Latin). Maybe something like ruina animi or collapsus animi?

Thank you in advance for your help!

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    What an excellent question! My little brother is autistic, and very low-functioning (as the jargon was when we were kids). You are obviously extremely high-functioning (as we'd have said then). Thank you for asking this, and for spelling out exactly what it is you are seeking to describe. I don't have an answer to propose yet, but I will be thinking about this until I, or another community member, come up with one. – Figulus May 30 '20 at 1:24
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    Thank you very much for your kind words. Thank God I am truly high-functioning. My wife is very patient with me though, because she sees right through my facade of normalcy :P I can't really pretend as well with her, since we literally live together. It took me a long time to learn how to "act normal" and most of the times I don't even know why I have to do X or can't do Y, but I just know that if I don't do X or if I do Y people will get mad at me so I do it/don't do it accordingly lol – Victor BC May 30 '20 at 1:44
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    Let us continue this discussion in chat. – Jasper May May 31 '20 at 5:15
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    I cleaned up most of the comments, as they were no longer about improving this question. The messages were automatically moved to the chat room @JasperMay created, so nothing was lost. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jun 1 '20 at 5:55
  • Thank you Joonas! – Victor BC Jun 1 '20 at 16:56

The best word I can think of is furor. It has translations such as "rage, madness, fury" and has a range of uses. I find it to be a suitable for a meltdown as well, although it may or may not be the most suitable word.

  • Thank you for the suggestion, Joonas! Would you have any suggestion for a proper adjective to use with it so as to make it clear one is speaking of a meltdown instead of just a rage? – Victor BC Jun 3 '20 at 23:23
  • @VictorBC Good question! An adjective would indeed be good to have. What adjectives would you use in English to describe this kind of a "rage"? I don't think I know well enough what I'm aiming for. (Note that furor also means positive things like fierce passion. The English translations I listed don't give the full picture, which is why I gave the dictionary link.) – Joonas Ilmavirta Jun 4 '20 at 7:31
  • Hum... I'd say it is a feeling of dispare and of being completely lost. It's more of a panic than anything. I usually describe it as "my brain rebooting". "Autistic rage" sounds too much like something else. Maybe "collapsing rage"? "Breaking rage"? Because you kinda feel like you "broke" when it happens. Like I said, it feels like your mind doing a reboot. – Victor BC Jun 4 '20 at 13:42
  • @VictorBC Sorry for taking so long! I thought about that a few times, but I was unable to find anything I was happy with. Perhaps the best I could think of was collapsio furiosa, roughly "a furious collapse", but I'm not sure if this kind of a collapse could be meant by that word. I would expect the Romans to have a word for a mental collapse of some kind, but I've never seen one. – Joonas Ilmavirta Jun 13 '20 at 22:15
  • I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't, because although the Romans were sophisticated, they rather paled in comparison to modern psychology. Maybe one could find an example of such a word in the Renaissance or maybe on early modern (still in Latin) books on psychology. Unfortunately most people aren't interested on that time frame of Latin so we might be reinventing the wheel on a number of topics when a person of the Renaissance would blink at us confounded at how we did not know X or Y word or expression lol – Victor BC Jun 14 '20 at 15:31

In angustias esse.

I haven't really found a spot-on equivalent, and angustiae obviously has a wide range of meanings, some of which might be appropriate, and others of which are most definitely not appropriate. But then, of course, the same could be said of meltdown, so I have convinced myself to propose it.

To be in angustias typically means you've been driven into a corner, or some other tight space, and are in a bad situation. It has a range of other meanings too, using that as a metaphor.

Two other derivatives of the verb angō, angere, anxī, anxus might also be worth some consideration: angor and anxietās. Do not be put off by their English cognates. These two nouns can cover the same meaning as angustiae. There is also the less common synonym anxitūdo.

Of course, there is also something to be said for coining a new word to mean exactly what you want it to mean. The angō derivatives anxūra, anxūrae, and anxio, anxiōnis, and anxus, anxūs are not taken, and can be made to mean whatever you might want.

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    Shouldn't that be in angustiis? – TKR Jun 1 '20 at 22:49
  • @TKR I prefer the accusative. It's more idiomatic, and it implies that you've moved into the corner recently. – Figulus Jun 2 '20 at 22:49
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    But given that in with the accusative means "to, into", it presumably would not be used with esse, but with a verb of motion. – TKR Jun 2 '20 at 23:09
  • I certainly don't object to using it with a verb of motion. Agi, mitti, or even the pleonastic angi come to mind, but given the temporary and abrupt nature of meltdowns, I don't see why esse or fieri could not be used. – Figulus Jun 5 '20 at 18:51
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    Are there parallels for using esse with *in*+acc.? I would think that the accusative requires a verb of motion: you can be in dire straits, or you can be brought into dire straits, but you can't be into dire straits. (You can be into Dire Straits, but that's another story.) – TKR Jun 5 '20 at 22:41

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