View Full Version : Not sure if its SAD, related to epilepsy?

10-08-2008, 02:19 PM
Hi all,
I am 31 yrs old and suffer from some form of anxiety.

background (not sure if it means anything)
when i was a young teenager, i had 2-3 seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. I was put on medication and since than have not had another seizure (except 1 time when i was OFF my medication)

Reason i mention epilepsy, is because in the situations where I experience anxiety, it can get to a point where I feel an "aura" that is very similar to the feeling i rember having before or after a seizure.

situations where I have anxiety are:

Extreme Anxiety:
Meetings at work, especially if I am required to speak
any situation with several people, especially if I am at any point the center of attention, or even if i suspect i "could" at some point be the center of attention
I seem to be ok 1 on 1 with just about anyone.

managable anxiety:
some other cases that give me a little anxiety are situations such as being stuck at a read light, with several cars behind me. If there are no cars around, I am absolutely fine.
line ups at grocery stores etc...
all social events

now, here is how it effects my life:

I have gone to extreme measures to avoid a few types of situations. Unfortunately, one of them is being stuck in a situation with alot of people. This includes visiting inlaws. This is a huge problem in my marriage. My wife often takes the kids to see them and I stay at home.
However, it is 10 x more manageable if they visit us in our home. ( i beleive that is because I am not "stuck" in my own house)

I hate driving in cities, and have to do so regularily due to work. My anxiety goes through the roof as soon as I reach city limits, and disappears as soon as I leave the city.

even in town, i will take longer traffic routes in order to avoid certain intersections that create anxiety for me. IE: I hate turning left onto a busy street at an uncontrolled intersection, so i turn right and find a way to turn around to go the other way. this particular anxiety is pathetic, and I have often times thought that during the time and said the heck with it and turned left and just sucked up the little anxiety.

I just started a new job, I hold a high senior management position and am expected to report to a Board of Directors. Well, umm, yea that just isnt gonna fly. Ive told my boss I would like to report to him and be excused from all board meetings. He says it wont be a problem. but still...

i can attend staff meetings at the locations I am responsible for, but my anxiety prevents me from taking the lead which I should be doing.

instead, i make notes and deal with things i leanr at such meetings on a 1on1 basis with the according employee afterwards.

I have always had a propblem, i think.
i can remember as a young teen I hated going over to certain friends houses for supper because there parents or grandparents were very "open" and often tried to spark discussion with me at dinner, so I avoided it.
i was never social in school
i always had things like stagefright

now, when I suffer anxiety, well, i will explain 3 situations:

My wife and I invited our new neighbors over for coffee. I expected to ahve anxiety, and i did have a little. What i cant figure out is, "am I being shy because of my anxiety, or am I just simply a shy person and having to sit there saying nothing and looking stupid causes my anxiety?

Formal job interview for me current job, in the meeting were my boss, the CEO and 4 board members.
I was shaky, found myself trying to end conversations as quick as possible instead of answering correctly.
for example, the CEO asked "what do you think is your weakness?"
my answer - "Safety"
OMG what the heck was i thinking!!!

Board meeting about 2 months into the new job, and I am expected to report on my area of the company.
After 30 minutes of suffering anxiety and anticipation of it getting worse, it was my turn...

i began to speak and even though i had practiced what i was going to say, my brain went blank.
i began shking, heart poiunding, voice fluttering as I speak.
twice i had to stop and take a deep breath, restart etc...
face felt like it was hot red.

by the time i got out of there, not only was i sure i didnt say anything I had meant to say, but i didnt remember most of it either.

there have been a few occasions where the anxiety got so bad, its like i blank out for a second.
then, i sit there wondering if what I was saying had naythign to do with anything, and quite frankly am never really sure what i exactly just said.

this brings up the possibility of small type of seizure,
but to my knoweledge (after research) those types of seizures are nto triggered. and all occasions where it has happened to me is when I am speakind and am the center of attention infront of several people.

please tell me someone has this same problem.

10-08-2008, 05:00 PM
I don't know a thing about epilepsy so I can't comment on that but the rest of it certainly sounds like classic social phobia. The unbearable fear of being scrutinised, and the awful feeling of being trapped somewhere where you are being scrutinised. When I was at school I had a saturday job in a shop. I was behind the checkout the whole day and the anxiety of waiting for someone I knew to maybe come in and for me to be trapped behind the counter and unable to escape was awful. At university it was fear of seminars and presentations which I ended up skipping because I couldn't bear being stuck in a room full of people looking at me and ready to scrutinise me. But of course avoidance is the absolute worse thing you can do. Only by facing the fear will it go away. Learn to love yourself and be positive about yourself and you will find it easier to have others judge you. By now you have probably become more fearful of the feelings and reactions you get under scrutiny than the consequences of the scutiny itself. You can conquer social anxiety, you just need determination.

10-09-2008, 09:29 AM
well, I used to beleive that if I faced it enough it would go away. And to a certain degree it works, but not nearly enough.

It works in a sense that if I were in lets say a meeting with the same 5 people every week for a year, by the end of the year, those meetings would be easier.
however, at the end of the year, if 2 new people attend the metting, I am at square one.

just a note,
it does seem as though I dont have anxiety if I am around people who I wouldnt really care what they thought.
or, maybe thats not quite right...
maybe its that i dont care if they were to see me have a seizure? heck i dont know.

my anxiety has stages it seems.

Stage 1 - Anticipation
I have anticipation of situations (like a planned meeting 2 months away) that more or less stresses me out to a point where I serioulsy consider finding a different job.

Stage 2 -
the begiining. such as, right when we are all sitting down for the meeting, or when I am first entering a city (driving) etc... my heart begins to pound rapidly, face gets warm, and anticipation of having the spotlight put on me drives me insance. I often just sit there and focus on something, and re-focus about every 2-5 seconds. its like I feel as though if I dont keep focus on something, my anxiety will increase and I will end up at stage 3 and even stage 4.

Stage 3 -
I am the center of attention, it is my turn to speak, or I am stuck at a red light with heavy traffic etc..
heart continues to poiund heavy and fast, face burning, whole body trembling, cannot speak without stuttering, memory capacity goes down to about a 3 second memory, lose focus as I am speaking, quite often start a sentence then cant remember where I was going with it and or why i brought it up.

stage 4 -
loss of time or extreme uncertainty?
on a few occasions, always when I am speaking OR if I have JUST finished saying something, I feel as though I have just said something that may have been waaaaay off topic. then i try to remember if i was on topic, but the instant anxiety increase that happens makes it impossible.
then the obvious thoguhts, "was that a seizure?", or "did i just have a mini-seizure and roll my eyes in the back of my head or something?" what the heck do i do now...
and ... crap, is it going to happen again if I dont get outta here?
why is everyone looking at me, did i do something or is it my turn to speak?
what are we talking about?

Now, with all that in mind,
there have been situations where the "lost time" happens out of the blue and before stagees 1-3. but in all cases, it is in situations infront of more than 1 person where I am speaking or it is the short period between the time that I finish saying something, and the time that someone else responds.

sometimes, if i am in semi-comfortable social situations where i feel all is good, or atleast manageable, stage 4 happens.

10-09-2008, 09:35 AM
and just to clarify...

i think that I have always been nervous in meeting type situations.

however I think this has all gotten this bad since the few times i have truly got to stage 4 where I feel like i may be off topic and just crash.

its my opinion that i have anxiety, which is triggeredt by social situations as mentioned, but my ultimate fear is reaching stage for and/or for stage 4 to one day be a full out seizure.

but if I had never experienced the "lost time" , i dont think i would being avoiding as much as I do now.

its like the uncomfort of speaking infront of people and such, and the anxiety that it causes has taken a second seat. maybe its not the fear of the situation,. its the fear of stage 4.

plus the anticipation essentially ruins my ability to be happy day to day.

medications not an option.
i have been on these meds to control seizures for 16 yrs, and when on the meds I have never had a seizure. I went off 1 time for less than 2 weeks and i had one.

my neuroligist said he would like me to try a new med (due to side effects of current med) and maybe it would help my anxiety IF it is a small level seizure (stage 4)
BUT, he cant by any means guarantee that a new med would be as effective as my current med, so the heck with that.

im not going to start testing and finding a med that works. If I were to lose the confidence in my medication I would be even worse off in social situations, because i dont "trust" my meds.

as far as faking or hiding the symptoms of my anxiety, it is impossible.
as far as it being a fear of looking stupid or saying something stupid, well, thats interesting, here's why

ive read of lot of people who fear saying something stupid, and it cuases anxiety.
well, my anxiety cause my heart/brain to go into overtime, saking, stuttering etc... and very quickly lose focus of what I am talking about, my sentences to meet up, i never answer a direct question properly etc...

so yea, i hate looking or saying something stupid, but my anxiety is the "cause" of it, not the other way around.

10-09-2008, 01:57 PM
What you fear is your reaction to the fear - i.e. shaking, stuttering etc. So your fear of your fear symptoms becomes worse than your fear of the actual situation, until you probably can't even remember why you are really fearful of meetings. This is an outcome of social phobia. the fear of the symptoms far outweighs the fear of the actual event. For me it was blushing. I spent years before I realised I had social phobia thinking that I had been cursed with an over active 'blushing' action. I would be so scared of people seeing me blush and looking foolish (because its not just the fear of saying something foolish, its looking like a fool too) that any situation that I knew I was going to blush in would send me into a frenzy of stress for weeks before. Now I realise that I blush just like any other person - and that's hardly at all now - but my fear of it made me think about it so much that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I would blush all the time. Have you tried hypnosis?

10-09-2008, 02:55 PM
Have you tried hypnosis?

i have not. does it have a good success rate?

12-10-2008, 08:02 PM
My goodness we are the same person.

I get the same symptoms when having to attending meetings or being interviewed.

Some of the answers that I come up with are ridiculous and make no sense at all only because my mind simply shuts off for a few minutes while experiencing "Fight or Flight".

I sometimes draw a complete blank if a conversation or person makes me nervous and then I find myself trying to "recover". When I say "recover" I mean I fill in the blank with the first thing I can come up with that might remotely make sense. Other times I completely change the topic as if we were not having the conversation while blushing uncontrollably which likely lets the other person or persons know that I'm aware of the redirection from the question or conversation. I make out like I was not asked the question which I can only assume would look hard of hearing or seem strange to the people I'm talking to or who are listening or waiting for an answer.

If I'm at a total loss of words sometimes I simply give up trying. I can't calm down enough to carry on a conversation therefore I point out the obvious by simply saying "I'm sorry, I've forgotten what we were talking about?". This doesn't fly well during an interview as you look as though you can't stay focused or obviously don't deal well under pressure.
When becoming nervous I also have difficulty hearing or following conversations and find my self tilting one ear towards the person who is speaking to compensate for the muffled disorientation I begin to encounter. I'm sure people notice this and just pass it off as hearing loss.

As a teenager I suffered a dozen seizures which were misdiagnosed as Childhood Epilepsy. It was only after my Social Anxiety become severe in my 20's and after dealing with many episodes of depression that I was properly diagnosed with Social Anxiety and my doctor realised that my Panic or Anxiety Attacks actually caused my seizures. Each seizure always occurred when I was overwhelmed by something in my life or my anxiety level was very high.

Is your Doctor aware of your anxiety? It is quite possible that stresses in your life in fact caused a seizure resulting from a Panic or Anxiety attack.

From your post I'm not sure if you are on medication for seizures or on medication for anxiety. It would be worth discussing this with your Doctor though as you may be taking a medication for Epilepsy when in fact all you need is treatment to help you with your anxiety which will then illiminate your seizures.

This "Aura" was it a feeling of being light headed, slow loss of hearing followed by ears ringing, then cloaded vision, at some point complete blackness and then........ The seizure.

If it is take a look at my post Anxiety: My Story (Novel)..
Perhaps you experience similar symptoms as a yound teenager or adult.