By Casey Freeman
Colorado Daily Columnist
I don’t see the future. I don’t see the past. I don’t get omens.
I have epilepsy. There are many types of epilepsy, but mine is probably different than what you see on TV or have heard about. I don’t always collapse onto the ground, roll my eyes back, foam at the mouth and bite my tongue apart. That still happens to me, but usually only once a year.
Epileptics like me suffer from “absence seizures,” which is similar to zoning out. After an absence seizure, I might go back to doing whatever I was doing and not notice. These absence seizures may last for a minute or longer. I might stare dumbly into nothing. I might talk, but I might not say anything related to our conversation or I might repeat myself constantly. I could just burst out laughing for no reason.
Sometimes I’m the only one who notices that I’ve experienced a seizure. Because of this, I’ve heard, “If you’re not hurt. What’s the big deal? Quit whining so much.”
But it’s much more complicated than that.
The seizure isn’t always terrifying, but I’ll wake up confused. I don’t know where I am or how I got there. I don’t know what day it is. I don’t even know if it’s day or night.
Here are examples of the conversations that go in my brain after seizures:
“Is it 6 a.m. or 6 p.m.? Well, I never wake up that early, so it must be night. Unless I went on a major drinking binge. But I didn’t, because I’ve got money in my wallet and don’t smell like booze and I’m wearing gym clothes.”
“Did I get hit on the head and robbed? If I got robbed, how am I going to get home?”
“I was doing something, now I’m doing something else. But I don’t remember doing that something else. What happened?”
“Am I going to my girlfriend’s house or coming from there? How did I get here? Did I ride my bicycle? I must have if I’m wearing these biking clothes. If I had a seizure while cycling, I could have been hit by a car! Or hit a person!”
“Where am I? Am I at work? Did everybody see me? Was this a big seizure or a small one? Will people call me ‘Seizure Idiot Guy’? Again?”
Needless to say, the aftereffects of a seizure stress me out. I may be angry but not violent. Usually I’m just depressed and want to be alone. I’ll take an extra pill to calm down if I experience a panic attack — which often happens.
Understand that some of us with different neurological wiring experience things differently. Even if I could see omens or the future, I would not want to have seizures.