Full Moon Crazy


It is the October Full Moon, the spookiest of all full moons.  You can’t help but think of witches and werewolves.  I am drawn to both on a psychological level.  I believe that people who were once called witches and werewolves were really just people having seizures.  It’s a terrible way to view mythology and history, through the eyes of an epileptic.  I just know that I would have been killed if I lived in Salem during the Witch Trials.  The “fits” described in “The Crucible” describe my life.  Screaming, falling down, and becoming entranced. Those aren’t signs of a witch, they are seizures.  I am thankful that we are mostly past that time in history.  But the fear and sorrow linger like smoke.  Those people that were killed, they were epileptics.  They were just like me.  It could still happen at any time, my bewitching spells.

In some cultures even today, seizures are still viewed as possession of a demon spirit.  I get it, seizures are scary and terrifying and otherworldly.  If you don’t know any better…  No human being usually makes that sound, the scream of a seizure.  It doesn’t make any sense.  Staring and blinking and mumbling and picking lint off of your shirt.

I desperately fear that at any time I could fall down and people wouldn’t know how to react.  I am afraid of hurting myself.  I fear spilling boiling water on myself.  I stare off into space and don’t respond.  I am treated like I’m on drugs or drunk.  No I’m not drunk; I’m just having a seizure.  Yes, sometimes they do look the same.  No, I haven’t taken any drugs.  I can’t even explain it all.  Sometimes words aren’t enough.  You have to see it to believe it.

Every now and then, my children will ask me, “Why are you looking at me that way?”  I almost always have to ask, “What way?”  I have begun to suspect that when I am “looking that way” I am having a seizure.  It always surprises me when they ask me that.  It jerks me back to wakefulness.  I wasn’t looking at anything.  Because I am never really looking at them, I am looking past them.  When they ask me that, I try to remember what I was thinking, but it’s lost in a haze of smog.  I never have an answer to that question.  My daughter asked me that today.  It’s an ominous sign.  The Full Moon is an ominous sign.

My children can readily recognize some of my seizures, nobody can mistake a convulsion.  But some seizures are much more subtle.  The auras, or simple partial seizures, can’t be seen at all.  They are only a terrible, terrible, feeling.  If it doesn’t progress to another worse type of generalized seizure, nobody knows anything has happened.   Only my insides feel rotten and bruised; my head that feels stuffed with cotton.  Nobody knows.

The moon is growing fatter and my mind is worried.  The full moon pulls at me, my seizures rise with the full moon tides.  It’s a hard to believe, seems too witchy or hippie to be true, but I’ve kept a record.  I have more seizures during the full moon and the days just after.  Full moon waning is a scary time of the month for me.  I have to be oh-so-carefully with everything I do.  My plans are rearranged.  Just to be safe.  I can’t explain the why, but I can’t deny the effect.  The full moon hates me. I hate it.  This is a shame, because I used to love to bathe in the light of the Full Moon.  Now I lock my shutters tight and stay in for a few days.

If you ask anyone who works in a hospital or jail, they will tell you, the full moon effect can be seen.  More people show up in the ER on the night of the full moon.  More people are arrested.  More people get committed.  The moon draws something dark out of us.  Sometimes it’s subtle, a weird look that disguises a seizure.  Sometimes it’s a full mental breakdown.  Those aren’t werewolves howling at the full moon.

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve gotten a lot of multiple lettersssss thrown in at the end of the words…  I’m not sure how that is happening, I’m afraid they are small seizures, not sticking keys.  It seems that my hands are working like normal, my keyboard feels fine.  But whyyy am I typing extra letters?  It frightens me.  I am home alone now.  I enjoy my alone time immensely, but sometimes it worries me.  On days like today it is extra scary.  The moon is almost full and these extra letters keep coming up.  There are not the same letters.  There is no pattern to the repeating letters.  I don’t think it’s my keyboard.  I think I am zipping in and out of consciousness faster than my fingers can move.  I don’t even feel like I’m seizing, but I have no explanations.  This does not happen often.  My keyboard seems okay, so it must be me.  I will spend my day carefully, close to my bed, ready to stop, drop, and hopefully not roll around too much.

My hands are starting to feel heavy, my eyes are less focused.   More warning signs abound.  I wish someone was here with me now, at least to tell me if I had a seizure, to tell me I’m not a witch.



Filed under Living w/ Epilepsy

6 responses to “Full Moon Crazy

  1. Mary

    I know.
    I’ve never written about my seizures before.
    I remember being asked to describe a seizure, I had no words. My bruised brain could not produce anything to answer that question.
    22 years later, I can describe a waterfall like feeling from the top of my brain going down, out before I hit the ground. I know exactly what happened as I break through to consciousness again. But they still always tell me…it’s ok they need to know I’m back.
    These days I don’t have gran mal seizures, like you I have petit mal. People are so kind.
    Their warmth doesn’t melt the ice left by the black hole of the seizure…only time does that.
    I wish you and your family peace

  2. angela stimson

    “bruised brain” is a wonderful term. It resonates with the feelings and the exhaustion I feel after both petit mal and grand mal seizures. I remember once doing a massage on someone once,while experiencing petit mal seizures but pretending not to of course, (my repetitive hand movements might even have helped!). But I looked at the follow up notes I’d written afterwards, complete gibberish and written all over the page.
    I also feel a seizure lurking today on the periphery of my consciousness.
    Time to lay down. My dog always sits on me when I’m feeling like this, don’t know what it is he picks up on, but he’s always right.

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  5. Thanks for reading and sharing your story too.

  6. Thanks for reading! I hope you are feeling better today. I am amazed by seizure dogs, how can they tell???

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