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How Do You Like Your Seizures? Rare, Medium or Well Done?

Posted Apr 25 2010 12:00am

I’d like mine well done.  With the emphasis on the “done!” No, I order my steak rare and if you want anything to do with that word regarding my seizures (or my entire brain for that matter) rare it is! All you have to do is look at my long list of comorbidities beyond epilepsy.

I finally got around to doing some research regarding something I wrote in this post about one of my worst seizure episodes ever.  It was a vague reference to the possibility of seizures acting as a “release valve” to alleviate a previous build up of neuronal activity.  Perhaps you could say your brain was a pot of boiling neurons in water.  The seizure was its lid.  The temperature got too high and the pot shot the lid across the kitchen to let the steam escape.

What I’ve found may come into play with my seizures–both of the ones I have had in the past, and just recently.  I’ve had six separate episodes within this past week.  is definitely a record for me! And, as I may be able to demonstrate here, it could be the whole, damn pot flying across the room!

I started looking into something called “Forced Normalization.”  This term was coined in 1953 by a Swiss Psychiatrist named Heinrich Landolt who also trained in Neurology.  His concept of Forced Normalization was that basically, people with epilepsy who also had psychoses, would suddenly experience a cessation of ictal discharge via EEG during their psychotic episodes.  Now, you must bear in mind this was in 1953.  That said, there are some things to consider.  Not all bad, however.  We just need to realize this is 2010.

First, this certainly got the ECT ball rolling! However, it also paved the way for medication.  Also, notably, the patients he worked with were of a limited demographic–they had very severe forms of mental illness.  He seemed to be a fair enough researcher and not too biased, but up to present day (despite how much arguing there is about everything) more rigorous testing is done.  That is only to be expected.  You may hear the term tossed around in general parlance, but it really shouldn’t carry so much weight due to its historical basis.

In one abstract I read, one possible portion of an entire realm of hypotheses (did you get that?) suggested there is almost something like a “neural loop.”  This is good.  I’m liking this.  However, the psychosis (in whatever form), and the epileptic neuronal activity may even be happening at the same time!¹

Nonetheless, there still is a great curiosity surrounding those of us with psychiatric illnesses and disorders who also have epilepsy.  Though the question obviously to be asked: is it remaining just a mere curiosity or is anyone actually paying attention to it?

While continuing along my research path, I realized I had forgotten something entirely! Perhaps something gleaned from Landolt after all? They are called Reflex Seizures.  This is where I now make my grand appearance.  Nothing is ever certain, but it makes a whole lot of sense.  With parts of my brain, my types of seizures, even with a manifestation of what happened in the post I linked to above.

As the name suggests, Reflex seizures result from a response to a stimulus.  One of the most common is a photic seizure–those that occur when people are exposed to flashing lights etc…  Well, not me.  Mine are a bit more rare.  Although, not as rare as brushing my teeth.  I’m serious about that one.  I recall reading about that poor woman a long time ago.  It made me think what on earth would happen when she went to go see the dentist!

What’s going on with me? Thinking.  Again, I’m serious.  By thinking, I’m having seizures.  Yes, it may sound completely bizarre, but certain types of higher order, mental processes can trigger a Reflex seizure.  There are a whole bunch of other things, too.  As for the post above, it was pattern recognition that caused my jaw to twitch.  I’d never had that happen before, but I was trying to keep my head from exploding and staring straight ahead, focusing on a man’s coat–with a pattern on it! Okay.

Lately, though? I’ve been under so much stress.  Also, it’s not “overall” stress.  It’s been very intense.  It’s been about something specific.  It’s been precise.  Also, due to the type of Reflex seizure involving these cognitive aspects, the exact types I’ve been having completely match! I’ve also been screwing up my terminology, because I’ve been writing about everything when I’m post-“ick”tal©.

I’m having myoclonic seizures! My legs are going nuts and falling apart all over the place! Those are generalized seizures! They’re affecting my whole brain! Whether they’re occurring as Primary Generalized (immediately on their own) or Secondary Generalized (having a Simple Partial first), it doesn’t matter! And a large per centage of the higher order thinking, Reflex seizures are myoclonic! Not to mention, bilateral! Both of my legs are going crazy!

I know, I probably sound quite excited about this.  Thrilled even? Well, I’m not thrilled that I’ve had so many seizures lately.  Hardly.  In looking back and seeing how many times I was under such extreme stress, what was going on, the types of seizures…it was amazing to read things my “Seizure Dossier.”  So, what “excites” me the most, is that I may have some sort of…”answer” here?

Reflex seizures are still “idiopathic,” just like my epilepsy is across the board.  However, if I’m correct here, I might be able to somehow evade these bloody things? I know we can’t “control” our thinking, but maybe if I can adjust mine, modify it?

¹ Wolf P. Acute behavioral symptomatology at disappearance of epileptiform EEG abnormality. Paradoxical or “forced” normalization. Adv Neurol. 1991;55:127-42. Review. PubMed PMID: 2003402.

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