Harry Styles fan at Auckland concert claims 'As It Was' song 'paralysed' her for a month

A Whangaparāoa-based Harry Styles fan has claimed his 2022 song 'As It Was' left her temporarily paralysed by causing her body to shut down when she heard it for the first time.

Catherine Lycett, 17, told Newshub she fell ill the moment she heard the song when it was released in April last year. 

She is one of the thousands of fans who've snuck out of school on Tuesday to wait at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium for early entry to Styles' New Zealand concert.

"I was actually listening to it when it came out in history class," she told Newshub of first hearing 'As It Was'.

"I should have been learning and the song just made me feel so overwhelmed and excited and I was stressed about getting caught.

"It basically just caused me to shut down; it shut down all of the movements in my legs - it's called functional neurological disorder and it took me a month to learn to walk again. But I'm doing OK now."

Lycett told Newshub she "went into North Shore hospital that night" where she stayed for a month.

"I had musical therapy and lots of physio, hours and hours to rejuvenate movement. It was horrible, so many scans, MRIs to get an answer," she said.

She said she was eventually diagnosed by two physiotherapists and a neurologist who were brought in from Auckland Hospital.

In mid-April 2022, Lycett said the feeling began to return to her "really really slowly, just in my toe" and after a further two weeks she was able to move with the help of a walker. 

Lycett brought a sign to the Styles concert emblazoned with the message: "As It Was made me paralysed, but look at me now", along with a photo of her in a wheelchair.

She said she'd been camped out overnight at the venue to ensure she was at the front of the queue.

"[It was] cold, I didn't sleep - I'm running on coffee and Harry vibes," she told Newshub.

When asked why she had been prepared to do that, she said she just loved "the way that he just connects all of us. No matter where you are in the world, someone somewhere is going to be listening to Harry Styles, therefore you guys are connected."

Lycett said her favourite Styles lyric is in the 'Keep Driving' line "Cocaine, side boob, choke her with a sea view", which she said is "so much fun to scream"

She said she was supposed to be at school on Tuesday, but had hoped for a little leniency from those in charge.

"I think most of the people here are as well but I mean it should be fine - my school's fairly chill. Fingers crossed."

The Mayo Clinic says Functional Neurological Disorder is a condition that "features nervous system (neurological) symptoms that can't be explained by a neurological disease or other medical condition. However, the symptoms are real and cause significant distress or problems functioning."

"Typically, this disorder affects your movement or your senses, such as the ability to walk, swallow, see or hear. Symptoms can vary in severity and may come and go or be persistent."

Some 40,000 are expected at Tuesday night's concert, Styles' only New Zealand show as part of his Love on Tour world tour.