My Experience With Pseudo Seizures
Pseudo seizures are a physical manifestation of an emotional disturbance. They resemble epileptic seizures, but, unlike the seizures caused by epilepsy, they are not caused by electrical disruptions in the brain. People experiencing pseudo seizures often experience loss of consciousness, grand mal seizures-like twitching or jerking, and aggravated emotional states. These episodes may last for 20 minutes or more.
What Are Pseudo Seizures?
Physicians believe that pseudo seizures are psychological defense mechanisms, and may be brought on by episodes of severe stress or emotional trauma. The seizures tend to occur when patients try to suppress the trauma, often taking the person suffering with them by surprise, as do epileptic seizures.
Effect Of Stress And Emotional Imbalance On Pseudo Seizures
Pseudo seizures are a physical appearance of an emotional commotion. When they happen, they look quite similar to epileptic seizures. However, the cause behind such seizures is not the electrical disturbances in the brain, which happens in epileptic seizures. The experiences people face from pseudo seizures are:
- Grand mal seizure like jerking
- Intensified emotional states
These episodes can last for 15 minutes or more. According to the physicians, pesudo seizures are more based on psychology of a person and arises when a person is having stress or emotional trauma. Often, it comes as a surprise when patients try to conquer the trauma they are having because of stress and other emotional issues.
A Personal Story On Pseudo Seizures
Here is a personal story shared by Marlaina Eldey on her experiences with pseudo seizures. Please have a look and let’s analyze what we learn and how we can help others with pseudo seizures.
My Experience With Pseudo Seizures By Marlaina Eldey (@PseudoSeizures)
I began to have pseudo seizures during my last semester of Grade 11. My family was experiencing very stressful and traumatic events, and I was under extreme stress from school, and my own events.
The seizures unfolded the same way, every time.
First, there was the “trigger”. This could be literally anything. Random sentences would be the cause, random thoughts, even certain numbers. As well, I would have a seizure every time I said, or thought, the following sentence: “(the name of my sister) is 15, (the name of my youngest sister) is 13 and is in grade 8, (name of my little brother) is 9 and in grade 4,”
The next stage was an intense feeling of reja vu or jamais vu: the feeling that the situation I was in had happened before, although I knew fully that it never had. My brain would then try to unravel its own explanation of the situation, and I would be overcome with random images flashing through my head, and random conversations. The only way I can explain it is by comparing it to being in the light and initial stages of sleep, where you are just starting to dream, but are still not fully asleep.
Third Stage Of Pseudo Seizures
The third stage was the worst. As the feelings of confusion and mental imagery wore off, I would be filled with an overwhelming, and irrational feeling of dread, and fear. It was so terrifying that it felt like I was going to die. I would begin hyperventilating, and then would begin to dry heave involuntarily. Then the episode would be over.
The episodes would only last up to a minute, but I would sometimes have up to three per day. They drained any energy I had out of me, and gave me headaches.
I was hospitalized for the remainder of the school year and throughout the summer, and was excused from writing my final exams. I had a vast number of tests done, including a CAT scan, MRI, and multiple EEGs and ECGs. Every test came back normal.
I became extremely depressed, and suicidal. I slept for the majority of the day. I withdrew from friends and family events.
Finally Getting Over With My Pseudo Seizures
The day my pseudo seizures stopped is still a day and event I do not fully understand. I was at a family reunion with my boyfriend at the time. He brought up the fact that his mom (who was a nurse) thought that I was having pseudo seizures. When I asked what those were, he said, and I quote, “It just means that you need way more love and attention.” He then hugged me.
I have never had another one since.
Personal Advice On Pseudo Seizures
If I could give one piece of advice to someone going through this, it would be this: ask for someone to hold you, or even rub your back. Physical touches of affection or reassurance made the episodes so much easier to get through. NEVER believe that it is all in your head, or that you are crazy. These happen involuntarily, and your body is trying to tell you that you need something. Don’t give up hope.
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