by Tab Moura
I was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2019. I was 29, married, a mother, and I dabbled in MLMs and influencing. I’ve always loved writing, but those days I felt like I was slipping into oblivion and It felt so comfortable that I didn’t even think to stop it anymore.
I was hosting one of those online parties for the book company I worked with, where you have images in a queue, and you post them at specific intervals, actively answer questions, share product links, etc. You aren’t just watching the minutes, you’re watching the seconds. It goes fast. When I was a few minutes into a party, I felt tired, but that didn’t feel like a good excuse to interrupt things. I powered through.
I thought, “I’ll just navigate over to this tab and grab that link I need to give Jane, and then–”
What was I doing?
Oh my goodness, I have so many notifications.
Oh my gosh, where did those 3 minutes go?
And then 5 minutes later I stood up to grab a power cord, and as I stepped into the hall it happened again.
*poof* What was I doing?
I didn’t have the mental capacity to understand that I was having seizures. I finished my party, it wasn’t amazing (not that I can remember anyway), and then I passed out on the couch watching a show.. I woke up the next day, barely able to move my right side. We thought it was a stroke, so I saw a doctor. MRI was clear. When we reflected on the day of my party, with my doctor, we could tell I’d had a few other events as well, but they seemed like seizures. If I’d known then what I know now, I would have canceled my whole evening. It took months to get an EEG, but we eventually found that I had right frontal and right temporal lobe seizures, secondary generalized as well. These are lobes associated with personality, impulse control, perfectionism, depression and emotionality, etc… you know, all of my buddies. So things were beginning to make more sense.
When I reflected, I could trace back memories of these sensations to when I was 5. I was homeschooled, we didn’t have a strict schedule, no bells, no anxiety to get from A to B independently. I never would have known if I was missing time, what was time? My seizures have never been fully convulsive, some as innocent looking as daydreaming or fidgeting.
I still experience compulsive and intrusive thoughts when I am early-seizure, but it tells me when something is wrong. It used to be impossible to get me out of a compulsive process, now I am able to break away to medicate. If I push my brain too hard, it eventually crashes; even doing things I enjoy, like puzzles or cleaning. This is why I can only do these things while medicated. I have nights where all of the trains of thought are moving at the same time, it’s so busy and startling, as though being slapped in the head from the inside, with no point. I understand now why I just thought this was normal. I am an excellent example of how there is a lot we don’t know about the cross-over between neurological disorders and psychological ones…but we do know that they both (frequently) enjoy cannabis. Without my mental health awareness, I wouldn’t be able to break my cycle and grab my medicine… but without cannabis, I wouldn’t be able to escape for more than a few moments. Same organ, same team.