Betty Gilpin had involuntary muscle spasms for six days, which were cured by a witch

I know Betty Gilpin from her work on Glow and she’s in a new movie with Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista called Stuber. Apart from brief red carpet interviews, I’ve never seen her interviewed before. Betty was quirky, endearing and vulnerable on Jimmy Kimmel. She told a story about how she had muscle spasms which caused her shoulders and arms to jerk involuntarily for six days. It happened at a very stressful time for her, right before she was set to film Glow and when she was working 18 hour days on Masters of Sex, planning her wedding and doing physical training for Glow. Doctors couldn’t help her and she finally got help from an alternative practitioner. She knew it was a psychological disorder.

My shoulder just started to do this thing… it turned into dad at a rave, it was the craziest thing and I wasn’t controlling it. I went home, I was like ‘ok my dream’s supposed to come true next week. I think that this will certainly go away.’

I went to the hospital, the doctor’s face went white and he came back with ten medical students. ‘I think this is a psychological thing. I think I’m learning to believe in myself because my dream’s coming true.’

[It lasted] six days. It seems so fake. I shot a day on Masters of Sex with this happening. To fix it I went on Yelp and I found a witch. I’d been to many doctors they were all like ‘I don’t know. That will be 500 dollars.’

She was like a massage therapist. The witch was like ‘I think your inner child is trying to tell you something.’ We talked to my inner child and let her know that she was safe. The muscle spasms stopped. I think we [have] weird ways of protecting ourselves.

[From Jimmy Kimmel Live]

There’s a condition called psychogenic movement disorder which can happen at stressful times for people. It’s what Betty described, involuntary movement that doesn’t have a physical cause. As weird as this sounds, I give her so much credit for telling this story. It’s brave to reveal that you had a psychological movement disorder and that it was a way of coping. She’s taking a really rough situation and making it sound funny.

Here’s Betty’s interview:



Photos credit: WENN

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17 Responses to “Betty Gilpin had involuntary muscle spasms for six days, which were cured by a witch”

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  1. Jen says:

    Wow. I know that when I get stressed out, exhausted or a mixture of the two, my one eye starts to twitch. I can’t imagine if it was my shoulders and arms. (Starts googling witches near me).

    • ChillyWilly says:

      I get the eye twitc Very annoying. Who knew you can find witches on Yelp?!

    • Elizabeth says:

      For sure! My eye/eyes do that too. I think it would be a very dark place for me if my arms, shoulders, etc did that. Glad she was able to overcome it!

    • isabelle says:

      Same!!!!! The one eye twitch when stressed.

    • lucy2 says:

      I get the eye twitch too. Sometimes up by my eyebrow, which feels extra noticeable!

      I occasionally get an involuntary thumb movement twitch as well, but that doesn’t happen often, and occasionally other weird muscle twitches. Long story short, mine is caused by anxiety…which comes from worrying that stuff like that is something serious. It’s a vicious circle.

  2. Nicegirl says:

    Starts searching Yelp

  3. Yup, Me says:

    I am a “witch” and I regularly get recentered and lovingly supported by my community of fellow “witches”. I think a big part of it is the encouragement to be authentic and real with our feelings and fears and then being loved and seen and held in the face of whatever arises while so much of our society is toxic and inauthentic and forcibly false.

  4. Cupcake says:

    She is absurdly gorgeous. She has the hourglass figure I’ve always wanted and her physical strength is mind blowing in GLOW.

    • Bebe says:

      I think her body is wild, you can tell she works hard for it too.

    • lucy2 says:

      She is really stunning, and a great actress. I hated her character on Nurse Jackie but absolutely love her character on GLOW, and I’ve always like her herself.

  5. Jo says:

    She is AMAZING. One of my favorite people ever!!!
    I can’t believe she isn’t more famous, she’s funnier than most working comedians nowadays… and she seems so earnest!! I hope her spasms never come back.
    I can see how all that stress and pressure combined with the intense trainning would put her body in defense mode.

  6. tealily says:

    I love her so much. Honking for Betty Gilpin!

  7. ojulia123 says:

    The first time I saw her was on Nurse Jackie and she was so funny. She’s insanely talented.

  8. K says:

    She’s weird and smart and honest. I like her.

    It’s nice to find out there’s a name for random stress-induced twitching–I’ve experienced muscles spasms in an eyelid, arm, or thigh that continue for a few days and then fade away. When under a lot of pressure to perform, or if I’m broke and very stressed about money, etc., an irregular heartbeat pattern re-emerges, which can be quite scary. Almost never occurs when things are great and I’m relaxed, and doctors say it’s no defect of the organ, so I have to remind myself that when the period of high anxiety passes, it will too.

  9. Jem says:

    I love her and I absolutely adore GLOW. Google her article about buying an old farmhouse. She’s an incredible writer.

  10. Jay (the Canadian one) says:

    Are muscle spasms ever not involuntary? 🙂

  11. malkachite says:

    I grew up in a tiny town (700-800 people at most) in the 80’s. My best friend in preschool and early elementary school is the sister of Gilpin’s husband! I knew Cosmo only as her older, annoying brother. Wild.