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Living with simple and complex partial seizures of the temporal lobe

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First steps. What's wrong with me?

Finding out you have temporal lobe epilepsy can be tricky. You may have very strange symptoms and cannot explain them well to doctors. If you experience simple partial seizures these symptoms can easily sound like mental health conditions and you might have to work very hard to find the right doctor for you. If you believe you are having partial seizures it would be wise to state that to any doctor you see.

You need a neurologist! Someone who specializes in epilepsy.

You will have an EEG and will have to answer numerous questions, maybe even starting from birth, on your health history. Finding temporal lobe epilepsy on an EEG can be lengthy, depending on where the seizures are happening. You may need repeat tests and you will also most likely need to do at least one sleep deprived EEG. If your case is severe, or your test results keep coming back "normal" you may need to be admitted into the hospital to have a VEEG.

I was put on a very long waiting list to get a VEEG done but other life circumstances came up so I took myself off the list. This would probably be the only test for me that could find the problem, as all my EEG's were normal. I didn't have one seizure, no aura's at all, during any of my EEG's. When you have a VEEG done you are admitted to the hospital, your medication dose is taken way down, and you are monitored on camera the entire time. You will stay for however long it takes for you to have seizures. At least that is what my neurologist told me. It didn't sound pleasant...


Accepting you have epilepsy

For me I was in denial for quite some time. I just couldn't believe that I could have epilepsy, especially when no one, and I mean not a single person, in my family had epilepsy. It didn't make sense to me. Where did this come from?

I needed to take many deep breaths. The diagnosis of temporal lobe epilepsy was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I finally knew what these "attacks" were that I was having and I knew how to treat it!

If you have recently been diagnosed with epilepsy you may be going through some denial as well. Look on the bright side. You now know exactly what the problem is and you can now treat it.

I didn't tell anyone I had epilepsy for a while after my diagnosis. I couldn't, not until I believed it as well, but I did buy a medical keychain that said "Epilepsy" in big letters on it and attach it to my purse. That would do for now.

Once I did start to full accept it I felt nothing but amazement. For me I had been having seizures most of my life without knowing they were even seizures. Now, I could actually treat them and stop them from happening. And what do you know! Medication worked, and still works to this day! I could finally take a break! Also the fact that anti epileptics worked for me helped me accept the fact that I had epilepsy. The medication wouldn't have done anything if I wasn't really having seizures.

What do you think?

Living with epilepsy unmedicated

I have simple and complex partial seizures of the temporal lobe. I do not have convulsions. I get my seizures in clusters usually lasting 3 days, unmedicated.

I would wake up in a fog on the bad days, knowing something was wrong, something was "off" with me. I couldn't snap out of it, I was groggy and confused. I felt strange. Then it would hit like I had just been hit by a bus. I would get a massive complex partial soon after waking up then more as the morning went on, but they would get weaker until I was just having simple partials. But this could go on for days, and it was frightening. I couldn't leave my house in fear of having one in public or walking into a busy road. When I wasn't on medication I was undiagnosed and had never seen a doctor in fear I would be considered "crazy". Living life with these seizures, without medicine, was hell.

There were a few times when I did go out, not knowing I would be hit by a seizure, where I ended up crossing busy intersections while having complex partials. My body must have gone on auto pilot because I made it across, although not remembering actually doing it.

The fear from these seizures was enormous. Not knowing what was going on was hell. And the fear actually got the better of me and that's when I finally went to my doctor.

  • Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
    The temporal lobes are the sites of one of the most common forms of epilepsy. Complex partial seizures with unconscious actions such as lip smacking, and rubbing of the hands, are the most common seizures in temporal lobe epilepsy.


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Living with epilepsy medicated

There would be nothing, ever, that could ever make me decide to stop taking my anti epileptics. I can finally relax, and breath and I haven't had a complex partial in a very, very long time. The massive fear is gone completely. I know what is wrong with me now and am treating it.

I look back sometimes on life before my diagnosis and cringe. I went so long without seeking help. I suffered for so long. My life now is completely different.

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I never wake up having complex partials anymore. I never have 3 day long clusters of non stop seizures anymore. But, I do still get some activity here and there.

I do have seizures in my sleep and although the medication helps with my daytime seizures it sometimes doesn't do the same great job with my sleep seizures. I have many through the night and usually don't ever get a good nights sleep. But this is something I'll need to work on with my neurologist.

And every now and then I get "brain zaps", which I call them. Just a quick zap of deja vu, remembrance, dreams or lost memories. It's usually over within a second. They catch me off guard a bit but since they stop so quickly I don't need to take 30 minutes to recover from them, like my complex partials! I can deal with these little zaps.

I use to get strange smells and tastes out of the blue as well, which have also stopped.

It did take me some time to get to the correct dose for me, though. I am extremely sensitive to medications so going on them and increasing the dose every now and then can be hard on me. But it is worth it!

My brain zaps

That's me

Here I am having my small brain zaps. This was a bad day though where they just wouldn't let up. I was under a lot of stress at the time and getting ready for a move. Usually the zaps are few and far between for me under normal circumstances.


Living with epilepsy is never a walk in the park no matter how well your medication is working. There will always be surprises, every now and then. You will always need to see your neurologist and follow up and possibly tweak your medication, change medication, or go on more medication.

All you need to do is find something that works for you. You don't want or need to suffer your whole life with seizures so do what you need to do in order to become as seizure free as possible.


Heather on October 18, 2019:

Thankyou for posting yourself during absences

Ive had them since I was a child and always wanted to know what they looked like

I have been on medication most of my life that allows me to drive and work

Thankful for that

I have complex partial absence seizures

Always looking for more information


Jenna (author) from Halifax, NS on April 01, 2014:

Lol Michael... They're just partial seizures.

Michael on April 01, 2014:

It is possible that this is some form of parasomnias ...

Michael on March 27, 2014:

Sorry then Jenna. My situation is not like yours. My neurologist told me that I have not epilepsy. I was in other two neurologist and they all confirmed it too. They told me that it's not deja vu, it's something else .... Maybe something with anxiety and feelings... Alcohol? I can drink a lot and when I drink, sensations NEVER happen ... :-)

Jenna (author) from Halifax, NS on March 24, 2014:

extreme deja vu, weekly, is not normal.. if you are having a lot of deja vu michael you should see a neurologist. deja vu is a major part of my seizures and usually associated with temporal lobe epilepsy. i've read on the silent migraines and yes there are similarities but its not all there. i've seen a neurologist for years now and he's always stuck with the TLE diagnosis, and i agree with him after years of research! i don't have to be having any anxiety to have a seizure. sometimes just the change in seasons can cause them to happen. i cannot drink alcohol because that causes seizures as well. it's all typical epilepsy stuff.

Jenna (author) from Halifax, NS on March 21, 2014:

i was diagnosed by a professional.. how can you just say i don't have epilepsy?

Michael on March 16, 2014:

Because I am person who have anxiety, panic atacks, sleep paralyse and these strange Dream Flashback thing for years... Jenna, you are sensitive person, also very creative and smart person with high anxiety and stress. And anxiety can make many trick... I think it is form of silent migraine caused by stress... Sorry for my bad English :-)

Jenna (author) from Halifax, NS on March 16, 2014:

and why do you say this?

Michael on March 15, 2014:

You do not have epilepsy.

You probably have silent migraine and antiepileptics med. help with migraine and sometimes with anxiety ...

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