Broken brain

Sometimes my brain tries to kill me.

It sounds melodramatic, but this is precisely how epilepsy works. It explodes in an electrical storm, and I might die.

Sometimes my brain doesn’t bother with the killing, instead choosing to give me a powerful, reality-bending experience which I am told many pay money to induce.

There are times when I am overwhelmed by a delicious tug of deja vu. It is not nostalgia; nostalgia denotes a painful yearning. For me, it is like a hazy feeling that I had been to this place before in an endless childhood summer; bright sunshine and the smell of cut grass mingle with offices and faceless hotel rooms.

There are times when time distorts itself, and I am falling calmly. A big, shit-eating grin crosses my face.

There are times when I feel entirely at one with nature. I can feel every atom in my body connected with every atom in the universe; I am a child of the stars, made of grass, fleetingly conscious. I am but a small part of something unimaginably huge. I see the fabric of reality and how I am woven in.

Then there are times it intensifies. I hear a sound; a high-pitched squeal, electronic angels singing. A peace descends, a lull before a storm. I know what will happen, I do not care. A big, shit-eating grin crosses my face.

My amygdala joins the party. The peace is replaced by fear, and my chest tightens.

Then there is nothing until I wake up somewhere else, tongue bitten to ribbons. I know that my brain has tried to kill me once again.

It has failed again.

Usually by this point I do not feel much; often I have been pumped full of diazepam which steals emotion.

It has been almost a year since my brain tried to kill me. I am sure it will again. For now, though, I embrace the spkes of altered reality. They are as much a part of me as all of my brain that works.


6 responses to “Broken brain

  • Sciamachy

    Wow, your epilepsy’s quite interesting. My sis has epilepsy too, both petit & grand mal, but she never reports anything quite so, I dunno, filled with different nuances & effects. With her, it’s like she gets a nasty smell in the back of her nose & then… nothing – she wakes up, either on the floor covered in bruises & occasionally missing teeth, or she comes to after a few seconds absence, having gone into a sort of holding pattern if doing something manual.

    Apart from the obvious damage of falling down, is there anything inherent about the epileptic fit that’s likely to kill you? Is it damaging your brain further with the electrical storm, or spiking your blood pressure?

    My friend Frank Kumahor died of a subarachnoid haemorrhage at university. He’d had epilepsy a long time, but I never found out if it was due to him having bashed his head during an earlier series of seizures, or whether it was his blood pressure that had spiked & done it to him.

    D’you find you get more seizures when you’re stressed?

    • James

      Reading that, I kind of feel guilty, because (to date) my brain has never tried to kill me, but I still get to enjoy the sense of spacing out with a sort of fuzzy feeling of deja-vu… Kind of like a sudden head spinning as if the world is turning around me and lining itself up into a more familiar configuration.. Kind of hard to explain..

      I had always assumed that my “flashes” were a product of good luck, but now you’ve got me wondering if they’re a serious undiagnosed neurological condition biding its time – thanks for taking the shine off!!

      • James

        No idea why that replied to this comment, when that wasn’t the button I clicked :o\

      • stavvers

        I had that feeling since I was young, but don’t worry. Some neurologists believe epilepsy to be a sort of spectrum disorder: most people get deja vu occasionally, and “hypnagogic jerks” (those twitches just as you’re falling asleep) are basically a little brain spike. Most people, therefore, experience epilepsy-ish abnormal brain activity occasionally. It only becomes a problem for some people!

  • stavvers

    For me, it’s my temporal lobe that’s fucked which is why I often get the little spikes of strange reality-bending stuff.

    Epilepsy can kill by causing brain damage, accidents and the blood pressure. There’s also a risk of just dropping dead for no goddamn reason whatsoever http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/sudep-sudden-unexpected-death-in-epilepsy

    I tend to get more seizures when I haven’t slept, so it’s sort of related to stress. The sleep is a big dealbreaker though.

    Sorry to hear about your sister, I hope she’s OK with living with it, and really sorry to hear about your friend.

  • Happy birthday, NHS « Another angry woman

    […] the NHS, I would probably be dead of broken, murderous brain. Today, I wish the NHS a happy 63rd year, and think with pride and gratitude about all of the lives […]

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