What Time Travel Feels Like (Epileptic Absence Seizures at a Glance)

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And How to Prepare for It

Imagine you’ve been sitting in a lecture that is dragging, you can’t wait for it to be over. A wave of nausea hits you as the room suddenly spins when you look up to see everyone leaving, you can still hear the professor’s voice loudly bouncing around the room, but he is no longer speaking and you’ve forgotten where you are. Time, gone, just like that. You sit in your seat for a minute or two trying to ground yourself and slow your pounding heartbeat, and it all comes back. You remember why you’re in that lecture hall, and now you have to leave that room. Also, that girl next you just called stared you down because you were staring at your watch for 5 minutes without moving like those people who pretend they’re robots on the street. Now how do I stand up? I remember. You stand, and just like that, you’re back in the present world. Now you have to figure out what your professor was about to say just before you jumped forward in time. And then the vomit comet comes. Welcome to the future, you’ve just time-traveled.

Ok so it’s not real time travel. Or is it? Spinning rooms, random bouts of nausea and little 2-second mental deficits like how to stand up or knowing where I’m at among other confusing feelings are common in my life. Here’s a bit of background on me, I have left temporal lobe epilepsy with myoclonus. Now, I don’t have the Grand-Mal AKA tonic-clonic seizures that everyone associates with epilepsy where someone is having a “fit” on the floor. One of my main types of seizures is called absence seizures. Meaning, I go to a blank space in my mind and when I come back it’s anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes later in time than I remember being in. All of this because some electrical wiring in my brain, so to speak, is defective.

Along with the absence seizures, I also experience sudden feelings of extreme anxiety, fear, sadness, nausea, and deja-vu. Along with those, I have fallen a lot, without provocation. My neurologist calls those drop seizures. I am fully conscious when those happen. The nausea is usually my body’s go-to signal that something is about to happen or has happened. If vertigo also accompanies it, well then I just time traveled. These are called auras, and they vary greatly from person to person. You’ve probably searched through pages and pages of medical websites referring to auras. These are not what the psychic sees when you’re asking about your future relationships. Some people are very lucky and don’t have as much disorientation. But if you do, I feel you.

Now that you’ve got the gist of my situation, what about yours? Do you know your warning signs or auras, if so, could you have been better prepared? Let me know in the comments below. I have some tips to help you with that.

Here are 5 tips to help ease you into the world of being a time traveler much easier:

1. Get a handle on your meds.

If left untreated epilepsy and seizure disorders can get worse. Don’t go untreated and not everyone tolerates the same medications.Side effects can cripple you, if they do, let your doctor know right away. Depression is the biggest side effect and a very serious one that needs to be in check. Keep track of every seizure you have when starting a new medication, write down what triggered it and what you were doing at that moment. Don’t get discouraged if the first few don’t work. It has taken me 7 tries to find the right medication. Even if you are medicated properly breakthrough seizures can still happen, epilepsy is still an illness that has no cure. These medications are like putting a band-aid on a stab wound. Shit is going to leak out.

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2. Find a neurologist who understands you.

Neurologists have it rough, and their patients even worse. Sitting in those waiting rooms gives you perspective on your own life. You will see people who can’t walk, write, feed themselves, speak, or just plain look like they are having the worst day of their life. But don’t think that because they can’t visibly see what is wrong with you that your disease isn’t serious. I had a neurologist who wouldn’t give me a moment to speak, even after a severe allergic reaction to a medication. She just said, “here try this instead, and I will see you in 3 months”. There are good neurologists out there who will take the time to listen to you, and even laugh at your awesome Star Trek jokes.

3. Prepare for emergency commode hugging.

This can apply to anyone epileptic or not who experiences nausea on a regular basis.I have personally thrown up in every one of my friends’ houses, at almost every dinner, in 5 Las Vegas hotels(all in one trip), 1 male strip club, in my work bathroom, a strip mall between Phoenix and Tucson and the list goes on and on. So here’s what you need to carry with you, so you can spew and get back to business.

1. Make yourself a Kissing The Can Kit (Clever, I know.)

-Wet wipes, you know why.

– Hair ties or a good friend.

-Deodorant and dry shampoo because technicolor yodeling makes you sweat.

-Hand sanitizer, you should have this anyway you filthy dirtbag.

-Some kind of medicine for nausea/upset stomach diarrhea etc. I recommend chewable tablets or dissolvable forms of these because they are fast acting and can be carried anywhere and look like you’re popping some gum in your mouth, or drugs. No judgment, it’s 2016.

-Perfume, body spray, cologne, yes you stink now.

-Gum and mini toothbrush kit if you can manage.

-A sense of humor, because you know that spit bits make you laugh just a little.

2. Just let it happen.

Don’t fight that feeling. Your body is telling you that something needs to get out so let that flood escape, and the relief will come.

3. Make it a game!

Games can be fun or terrifying. I chose the terrifying game thinking that a dementor was trying to take my soul, but it worked and I made it to the bathroom on time every time and spewed my patronus into that throne. If you need something a little happier, maybe try making a bet to yourself to see if what comes up looks like how it went in! Spoiler alert: mac and cheese looks the same.

4. Educate those around you.

I am guilty of not doing this sooner. Let those around you know what the fuck is up with you. Your illness is invisible, not written on your forehead. Just because they can’t see it, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be prepared to answer your questions like “where am I?”, “what was I doing?”, and “bitch, will you hold my hair?”. Wear a medical ID tag or piece of jewelry that clearly identifies what you have and what you’re on, and use that medical ID tab in your health app. Mine is a rose gold bracelet that matches my iPhone, turning 25 has turned me into a basic bitch. Let them know that you have that on your person along with any medications you may have on you, legal or not. Unless that person is a cop, then just the ones with your name on it. You’re holding the others for a friend.

 

5. Wear flat shoes and know where the nearest bathroom is.

Just do it. Vertigo and nausea in heels is a living nightmare. And when you land in the future you will realize that heels are useless. See, you’re already smarter than everyone else. Always have a plan in place. Flat shoes will help you navigate much quicker to that room of stinky porcelain thrones.

 

So now what?

Now you are prepared for time travel and have a few more great ways to say vomit. Not what you were expecting when I said time travel? Just think of your absence seizures as a really shitty super power. It has its perks, just hope it happens when that drunk person at a party is talking at you loudly and won’t leave you alone. The moment your time travel starts you’re going to look like a crazy person. They’ll leave you alone after that. If they don’t, the vomit that sometimes follows definitely will.

Just remember, in the future, there will be puke and a lot more questions. Also drugs, lots of drugs. If you are feeling discouraged, don’t sit around and do nothing. Talk to a stranger, read shit, go for a run(or eat that doughnut instead, just a personal preference), and most importantly, talk to your doctor.

*For those who are curious. I time traveled during the writing of this article.

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