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a person with this disorder suffers from repeated absence seizures. this disorder almost always begins during childhood where it is quite easy to misdiagnose as attention deficit disorder (ADD). this disorder tends to run in families due to partially defective genes. this disorder usually stops at puberty.

  • blank look or staring at nothing.
  • eyes may roll up
Absence seizures are not typically preceded by an aura, and do not usually leave the sufferer with tiring side effects which are common with other types of epilepsy. usually normal activity is regained shortly, and often the epileptic may not be aware that they had a seizure at all.
I used to have absence seizures when I was young. I'd be playing as usual, and all of a sudden - whoosh. Everything's gone. It wasn't blacking out; it was just leaving. There was some of my conciousness still observing what was happening (usually a gray void with some spinning lights in it); and then, when I finally came out of the seizure, I would be exhausted. And I don't mean "I just went swimming for 6 hours" exhausted; I mean so exhausted, even breathing was an effort. This happened a few times before school in the mornings, and of course my parents thought I was faking. It's pretty annoying to be told to "get off the couch and stop pretending" when you can barely move yourself! Fortunately, I was able to get some medication that controlled them well with no side-effects, once I was diagnosed. (As opposed to ophie's writeup, my eyes did not roll up; instead, they tracked from side to side. And, once I reached roughly 18 years of age, they stopped entirely.)

One of the more memorable seizures I had was on a Saturday afternoon when I was about 8 years old. I was walking down the stairs from my bedroom and, sure enough, one hits me. Now, I rarely saw things when I had seizures; but this was a rather stunning exception.

I was in hell, and Satan was standing right there.

I was in a dark cavern, standing on a blackened and sooty stone island amid a great lake of glowing lava. Stalactites hung from the ceiling. Opposite me, on his own island, was Satan. He was many feet taller than any human I had ever seen, cloaked in a black cape that reached from his chin to the floor, and glaring at me angrily. His face was what you might picture: bright red skin, a black vandyke beard and pencil-thin moustache; and red horns jutting up from a crop of black hair. Smokes and eruptions of lava would occasionally emanate from the lake of fire, and damn, I was scared.

And then, it was over. Just like that. I was exhausted, of course, and a little shaken - but not too badly. I sat down on the stairs for awhile and leaned my head against the wall, which was very cool.

Later, when I was in college and studying to be a history major, I was reminded of this incident while studying Hildegard von Bingen in a history of music course. It made me wonder; had I this vision 900 years ago, would I have been condemned by the Church? Would my parents? As an adult, I am agnostic; but this seizure I had when I was 8, which probably lasted no more than ten seconds, has given me an insider's view on what religious visions must be like, and how life-altering they must be for the true believer.

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