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All About My Seizures

Posted Nov 27 2006 12:00am

A lot of the time when people think about seizures, they get this mental image of someone dropping to the floor and flailing around like a fish out of water. I blame television and the movies for dramatic effect. Not that this can’t happen with a tonic-clonic seizure but seizures come in many flavours. They’re wild and wacky and I find them just fascinating! Yes, I want to be a neurologist when I grow up. But for some, they can be really debilitating and that’s not good. For me, I’ve never really had any problems.

EDIT: July 2008–first very debilitating Postictal state experienced–extremely unpleasant; lasting between 48 and 72 hours?

Simple Partial seizures happen while you are still conscious (or you might lose just a wee bit of your awareness.) They are also called “auras” as they can lead to seizures where you do lose consciousness. Therefore, they really should be investigated even if you don’t think you have a problem. I am generally aware enough to tell you that I am having one and can speak to you but I have difficulty keeping track of time in order to figure out how long the seizure is lasting–if that gives you an idea of how impaired I can become. And a lot of the time, my seizures have just made me feel really tripped out or kind of stoned so I haven’t really minded them haha!

As a child, I experienced the following:

As I grew older, a lot of these issues just sort of seemed to resolve themselves. They just went away and I guess I “forgot.” But when the Bipolar started to hit in my early 20s, some of them started to come back a little bit. I find this very interesting due to the fact that Bipolar Disorder is treated with the very same drugs used to treat Epilepsy. Now of course, not every person with bipolar has a comorbid Seizure Disorder but with some trigger and rapidly misfiring neurons, had this awakened my sleeping seizures?

Also, with the beginning of Anticonvulsant treatment, my seizures were definitely affected. This is not unheard of as with new treatment or a change/titration of a med, your brain can get hit in an affected area and it just might take a bit of time to adjust. Theoretically, if it’s the right med, things should even out.

As an adult, now with Bipolar, all of the above came back, pretty much minus the trunk spasms and not so many scintillations but also:

  • Depersonalisation/Derealisation (Woo Hoo! I’m floating away!)
  • Body Image Disturbances (more specifically called micro/macrosomatognosia–aka, my hands/feet are too small or too big!)
  • Jamais vu (that’s my stuff but it doesn’t look like my stuff and just where the fuck am I even though I know this is my desk…)
  • Micropsia (why does my keyboard look so small–great when in conjunction with macrosomatognosia!)
  • Epigastric rising
  • Rapid eye blinking
  • And my all time favourite, Gelastic Seizures

Now a bit of explanation about what the hell these things are. And no, you don’t turn into a big rubber band or a gymnast. Gelastic Seizures are rapid rushes of emotion (any kind!) out of nowhere. With me (luckily) it was humour. I’ve only ever had two but they were hilarious–literally. I would get all spaced out with some DP/DR and then, just start laughing uproariously out of nowhere and nothing was funny. I mean, nothing.was.funny. And wow, I was doubled over, uncontrollably laughing, busting a gut, drooling and then, *snap!* I was back to “normal,” straight faced, like nothing had ever happened. Spooky, huh?

Now, there was one other rather “exotic” occurrence that befell me but it’s unconfirmed. I’ll add it anyway because hell, it’s a great story and I believe that it really was “epilepsia partialis continua.” You can read about it
here.

Now, not to worry, I have neither any lesions nor Rasmussen syndrome haha. But the introduction pretty much lays out what I went through and if you scroll down to how it presents, that’s a match too. This was, I believe, in large part due to my old arch-enemy Effexor and probably its partner in crime Wellbutrin. I was on them at the time plus a sub-therapeutic dose of Lamotrigine.

So, I’m on my way to work and the eyes start flickering. Okay. Is this going to turn into a “big deal” or will it just resolve itself? By the time I get into the building things have rapidly progressed (about 5 minutes) to my jaw thrusting and jerking. Soon, my neck joins this to make a trio. I begin to call my doctor but by the time I grasp the phone, my tongue starts drooping out of my mouth and I can’t speak and I’m drooling like crazy. I’m not aphasic, mind you–I just physically can’t speak because I’m twitching and jerking uncontrollably and my tongue is literally falling out of my face. Then the jerking starts to move down my right shoulder/arm and my hand starts to twitch.

At the time, the GP I was seeing was a mere couple of blocks away so I walked to his office and boy did I make quite a stir! I tried to write “Tardive Dyskinesia” with my left hand (I’m right handed haha) because no one could get a word out of me and this was prior to my whole seizure diagnosis–not to mention that I had been arguing with this doofus about whether or not I even had been having seizures. He did not believe me and said they were merely manifestations of “stress.” Yeah.

He was just about to reach for the Cogentin but then decided to send me to the hospital instead. I rotted away in the ER for hours when someone finally looked at me. By then (about 6 hours later) things had settle down a fair bit and I didn’t appear in such dire straits. They made me walk a straight line and push/pull against the doc’s hands and pronounced me “fine” and said “go home.” I collapsed in a heap of Postictal exhaustion and just slept. I can’t even try to recreate what I looked like. It was seriously like being possessed like a demon. And it hurt! I was in so much pain! I didn’t know your body could do that against your will! It’s no wonder people feel like such utter shit after tonic-clonics!

I said TD because in post marketing, some stuff came back about Effexor even though Wyeth doesn’t want to tie it to the drug. Yeah, no doubt. It’s in the PI sheet (or at least one I read) and on RxList. And Wellbutrin? I don’t think it’s got the greatest track record and supposedly can “unmask TD.”

I’m not sure about any other stuff Effexor did to me but when I drank on it the myoclonus sure got worse, I fell down a lot and even got a concussion once. And I would frequently wake up in a puddle of urine–a sure sign of nocturnal seizures. No neurologists were in bed with me *snicker* so no one can be sure, however. Still, I’ve never been so drunk in my life I haven’t been able to make it to the bathroom so I’m pretty sure I was seizing then too.

Okay, guess that’s it from seizure central.

EDIT: first Complex Partial Seizure experienced in December 2007.

EDIT: possible new Olfactory Simple Partial Seizures experienced in June 2008 and major Simple Partial Motor Seizure in July 2008 resulting in the lengthy debilitating Postictal state mentioned above.

All can be searched on my blog via the Archives.

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