Tag Archives: Ecstatic Seizure

Purple Rain for Epilepsy Awareness

Purple RainAs we mourn Prince and await the results of the autopsy, I want America to know something about his life, and maybe his death.   Prince had epilepsy.  As a child he suffered from seizures and was bullied as a result of it.

Prince claimed that he was “cured by an angel.” Unfortunately, some seizures can seem like religious experiences.  It’s called an ecstatic seizure.  It’s rare, but real.  I’m glad that Prince believed he was cured of epilepsy.  I’m glad he went decades without having a seizure.  Do I believe he was cured?  No.

Once an epileptic, always an epileptic.  Even if you haven’t had a seizure in a looooooong time, surgery, medicine, medical marijuana. You will always be an epileptic. Even after 40 years of seizure-free living, at any moment a seizure can snatch away a life and leave no evidence.

I’m not saying that a seizure killed Prince.  But it is a real possibility.  Every time I hear the radio or TV say “unknown cause” I want to scream, “Not for an epileptic!”

We have our own special death: SUDEP Sudden Unexplained Death in an Epileptic Person.  Prince was an epileptic.  It is a life-sentence.  If there is no cause, then it’s SUDEP.  I want the news to say SUDEP when they say it could be the FLU or an OD.  Just say the word.  Let the world know ALL the possibilities.

Whenever anyone with seizures gets sick, the risk of a seizure is increased.  When you end up in the ER after a seizure, the first question they ask is, “What drugs did you take?”  The second question is, “Have you been sick?”  Anything could cause a seizure.  Any seizure could kill.  It’s a possibility.

If I am found dead and unresponsive, don’t call my death unexplained.  Call it SUDEP.  Even famous people die can die from epilepsy, for no reason at all.  That’s epilepsy.  It’s cruel and it’s heartless.  I don’t believe that there is any amount of time that may pass before I am “cured.” I might enjoy a long seizure-free stretch of time.  But there are no guarantees with seizures.

I love you Prince.  I don’t believe you were cured by an angel but I’m glad it gave you peace.  That’s all we can hope for in this thing called life.


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Ecstasy Isn’t Just A Drug


It is a reaction between neurochemicals and electrical impulses in your brain.  All of our thoughts and feelings are.  Ecstasy is defined as “rapturous delight! An overpowering emotion of exhalations; a state of sudden, intense feelings!”  That could describe a seizure.  Seizures happen whenever there is too much electricity buzzing around.  Things begin to rattle and to go awry.  It heats up and the lightning can strike anywhere.  There are over 30 different types of seizures!!  Not all seizures end with bruises.  There are even “musicogenic seizures” that are brought on by music or sounds!

Sometimes having a seizure can feel slightly pleasurable.  It depends on where the seizure occurs in the brain.  There is no pleasure in a full-blown, whole brain, “Grand Mal” Tonic-Clonic, Convulsive Seizure.   That shit HURTS!!  A lot!  But there may be some pleasurable feelings during a simple partial seizure or “an aura.”  This may happen when the seizure activity is highly localized and I don’t lose consciousness.  This is very uncommon for me.  But, occasionally, the very beginning of a seizure can feel good.  I begin to tingle and pulse with a rush of emotion.  Usually it’s a terrible feeling, a stinking, rotten flesh emotion.  But every now and then it’s not.

Once I had an “ecstatic seizure.”  It is a very rare experience, a rarely seen type of seizure.  It has only happened to me one time.  It was very intense.  It was ecstasy!  It was a brain orgasm!  It was rapture!  It started like the others, the usual swelling, and electricity flowing and pulsing to my fingertips and beyond.  But then, instead of feeling nauseous, I felt purely wonderful.  It was an epiphany!

It was only for a second or two or ten minutes.  There is no time during a seizure.  I was floating, suspended in time and space, surrounded by the amniotic fluid of the universe. The secrets of the universe were revealed to me without asking.   All my depression and fear and worry were instantly gone and I was brilliantly, truly, happy with all of my being.  I was lit up, every pore glowing, for a just a brief glorious moment.  It was the happiest I have ever been in my entire life.  I was a rare flower in full bloom and the scent was intoxicating.

Then I came back down from Heaven and was back to having a seizure and feeling sick and tired.  I remember briefly thinking, “Oh seizures aren’t so bad.  Why have I been so afraid?  Maybe I don’t need to take meds.”  I hate that I actually thought that.  It feels like a betrayal to have thought it even once.  Silly, tricksy brain.  I have not experienced joy like that before or since.

Renowned Astrophysicist Carl Sagan said, “An epileptic attack is actually what happens when 100% of our brain is simultaneously used.  In other words, it’s the overwhelming effect that superhuman intelligence has on our frail minds.”

Now I view religious experiences as possible seizures.  There are over 3 million Americans with epilepsy and many do not know it.  If you are having unexpected transcendental moments of bliss, it might be a seizure.  I’m not trying to make light of it.  You might want to get that checked out, just in case.  Brains do crazy things.

My own brain cannot be trusted.  It requires constant maintenance and repairs.  I must turn my motor off and sleep more than other people.  I don’t want my brain to overheat.  I must keep well hydrated.   A seizure can happen anytime, anywhere.  There are rules I have to follow to minimize my triggers.  My brain tried to trick me into ignoring the severity of my seizures.  Seizures are no joke.  They can be life threatening, including ecstatic seizures.  50,000 people a year die from epilepsy-related causes.

I had hundreds (thousands?) of seizures before I experienced pure bliss.  I don’t feel like waiting around for another chance at it.  Even if my brain once showed me Nirvana, it’s not worth the admittance fee.   Man, was it a wild ride though!


Filed under Living w/ Epilepsy