Inside My Mind When I’m Having a Seizure


A lump gathered at the base of my throat; I presumed it was just some random, unexplained ailment, which you get from time to time living with a host of chronic illnesses. Then a sudden panic rushed through my veins, and I hurried to seek comfort.

“I’m having a panic attack,” I whined as I curled up into a ball in the arms of my partner. I don’t remember anything that happened after that. When my eyes next fluttered open, I found myself lying upon a pillow on the floor and saw my parents through a film of blurriness standing at the doorway.

“You had a fit,” he informed me. “I thought you were being dramatic at first, digging your fingers into my body and making strange sounds. Then I looked down and saw that you were convulsing and frothing all over my shirt, and your eyes were crossed!”

Apart from a mild headache, there wasn’t much physical pain, but I have never been so confused in my life. My mind felt like scrambled eggs.

I don’t remember getting dressed with my father standing there, and I didn’t know what day it was or if I had eaten my dinner. I couldn’t for the life of me remember my age or how I had gotten into the ambulance.

Your short-term memory takes a special blow, which can be quite frightening — a partial erasure from the timeline of events that define your personal history.

I recall the process of being pumped out of the ambulance at the hospital, like how I have watched so many others being deposited. The memory of the paramedics counting to three in a coordinated effort to transfer me onto a bed is embedded in my mind as well. How was that even important? It is strange what the mind chooses to filter and retain with such specificity.

I was dumped at the Accident and Emergency area after a CT scan, among the hundreds of sick people waiting to be attended to. Deemed an urgent case due to my complex medical history, I managed to get a bed in a proper ward after a 29-hour wait, which would have otherwise taken 33 hours.

The paramedic said she knew I had antiphospholipid syndrome and lupus because I had repeated it to her many times, yet I could not recall telling her at all.

It’s as if there are certain thoughts your brain judges to be of prime importance, and when you start slipping, that primal knowledge or fear rises with vehemence in a bid to keep you alive.

A few hours later, the opposite of confusion occurred. My thoughts were crystal clear, a computer that had been rebooted to speed up the RAM.

I was charged with alertness, lucid, my smarter, subconscious mind splashing and spilling over to the confined realm of consciousness, answering all sorts of questions.

I regret not jotting them down while I could, because my mind has now returned to its socially acceptable, subdued state.

The wiring of my brain still feels as if it has short-circuited, which is the probable case. You seem to recall vague thoughts you once had, or fragments of knowledge you used to know, but they have all been buried beneath a thick layer of brain fog, with no available tools to retrieve them with.

It feels as if the marbles in your brain have been given a good shake and their positions have all been shuffled, within the many compartments where memories are stored and organized. A literal losing of your marbles.

Even if you do manage to sort pieces of them out, the hinges of these drawers still feel somewhat rusty. There is a slight lag when retrieving information, such as where things around the house have been stored, or places you visited a day ago.

I am unsure how long the brain will take to rewire itself, or if it ever will — would anyone with more experience care to share? I hope it can be recovered, as I feel my life would be quite meaningless without any memories.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Seizure Disorder

When You Have an Undiagnosed Seizure Disorder

When we are just young children, someone teaches us to look both ways before crossing the street. As we grow into bigger children and eventually adults, we find ourselves face-to-face (metaphorically, of course) with oncoming obstacles almost constantly. The definition of pedestrian is: “A person walking on a road or a developed area.” Simple, right? But the adjectival version of the word is [...]

When I Had a Seizure in the Middle of a Sporting Goods Store

I can’t believe I made it this long. About three years ago (1,045 days to be exact), I had my last seizure. In the middle of a sporting goods store. So embarrassing. I can say this because I kind of remember it. Parts of it, anyway. It wasn’t one of the kind where you’re on [...]

When My Child Couldn’t Handle Formula, a Nurse Offered Her Own Breast Milk

My daughter Casey was born in 2006 with many medical issues, including no ability to gag, suck or swallow. Not being able to use her mouth to eat, she had a G-tube placed shortly after she was born. Although I was never able to breastfeed in the traditional sense, I knew how beneficial breast milk can [...]

When Your Life Before Chronic Illness Is Like an Ex-Lover

Three years ago, I left work early due to intense back and abdominal pain — the type of pain that makes simply lying down difficult. The emergency room doctors informed me that a bladder infection (which I was unaware of) turned into a severe kidney infection. My kidneys were not working properly, and a strong [...]