This may be a somewhat archaic word, but I recall learning it from Nabokov's Lolita. It has that 'vortex','spasm' sort of phonetic similarity lying on the tip of my tongue...

2 Answers 2


Maelstrom :

  • situation in which there are a lot of confused activities, emotions, etc.


  • Closest, it was actually paroxysm! *It was a formal word, I forgot to mention this Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 10:34
  • 2
    @silenceislife chasly's suggestion is actually a better fit for your question; it references the situation rather than the outburst. Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 11:05

Tailspin may suggest it:

  • (Informal) A loss of emotional control sometimes resulting in emotional collapse.

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