When I wake up I'm looking into Nick's eyes. Something is
definitely wrong, I didn't go to sleep opposite this man and now he
is looking at me with that oh too familiar frame of face. Part
sympathy and part fear for the convulsions he has just
How did I get into this vulnerable position? I cycled and
travelled for 9 months through 11 countries without a problem, why
now, why here?
Because in true Indy fashion I have taken on too much, too fast
and without caution. Most people wouldn't attempt to learn a new
language, in a new country, in a new job, in a new culture, in a
new studio apartment with two new friends and try to be the life of
the party (putting most 20-year-olds to shame) ... all in one
What did my body do in retaliation? It hit the SHUTDOWN
Since I was in my late teens I have occassionally suffered from
epilepsy but only in my sleep. When I pile on too much stress and
stimulation on my sleep-deprived body, I have a nocturnal seizure.
The seizure itself normally only lasts a minute or so but it's
effects can be felt for at least a fortnight.
The scariest bit is straight after the seizure, when I have what
feels like a dagger sticking out of my temple and as the pain dulls
I slowly become aware that I am completely lacking any short-term
memory. I recognise the people huddled around me but I couldn't
tell you what day of the week it is or what I had for dinner last
It makes me realise that losing your mind is not the worst
thing that can happen, knowing that you're losing it is much more
The day after one of my nocturnal episodes I am pretty much
bed-ridden, sleeping it off until the afternoon, waiting for my
nightmare to pass. As my memory returns, muscles I never knew I had
ache with a dullness you only feel after extreme physical activity.
My neck, ears, jaw and shoulders seem to cop it particularly badly,
I guess all that dribbling and foaming at the mouth counts for
But at least I know I'm in good if not slightly wacky and
Vincent Van Gogh, Prince and even one of the Popes suffered from
big E but hopefully I'll hold onto my right ear, my last name and
Today I did a weird thing. I decided to watch some tonic clonic seizures on the web. Thanks to youtube you can
name your medical condition and see it in much greater detail than
ever before. Watching people convulse, without emotion, in stiff
frozen shapes brought a tear to my eye. Trying to imagine my body
playing that part, devoid of any personality, completely frightened
the bejesus out of me.
Fortunately over time I've identified a pattern. Unfortunately,
I tend to be mindful just long enough to forget the nastiness of
the affliction so approximately every year or so I get a reminder
to slow it down.
During my research today I learned that 1% of the worlds
population suffer from some sort of epilepsy and that doesn't even
scratch the surface of all the neurological bizzarities going on in
our heads. I have never shared all this with my friends and
followers before so it takes a deep gulp of guts to post this.
However if this online social world is good for anything it's good
for sharing information that until now has remained hidden.
Not to be all gloom and doom, this Flight of Conchords 'song for epileptic dogs'
is an absolute cracker because somewhere there's a golden retriever
having a seizure!
Does your body have a special way of telling you to slow down,
chill out or take it ham and cheesy? Feel free to share the