“How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another.” – Alice in Wonderland
The list of things to avoid if you have a “sensitive brain” is long, and getting longer each day as technology keeps coming up with new and horrible ways to trigger seizures. There is, however, an old enemy that rarely shows up on the seizure trigger lists. It’s weather.
At this point, some of you are nodding your head. Weather has always been a huge issue with those suffering from migraines. As one of those individuals who has migraines and seizures, I noticed from an early age that weather often affects migraines. When I worked at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, I was surprised to find a rather large number of co-workers with migraine issues. I soon discovered that the fluctuating barometric pressure of the Gulf leads to hard days at work, stunned expressions on the faces of many of my co-workers, and the abundant use of Imitrex.
Studies conducted on weather fluctuations can measure the range of change that is responsible for triggering neurological problems, but that information is fairly useless in a practical sense. If changes in weather and barometric pressure affect you, you are going to feel it, regardless of what the studies say. And worst still, there is apparently nothing you can do to prevent the changes in either the weather or your brain.
My most recent experience with this issue included a tropical depression, bands of storms, and a nasty change in my personality that left me feeling like a misunderstood adolescent whenever I spoke to a family member. The lesson learned here is the same as what occurs when you have seizures all day, every day: be vigilant and aware of personality changes.
Many of us have poor seizure control for one reason or another. But that doesn’t stop the need to exercise some control over the emotional changes so characteristic of TLE, which are the result of seizure cycles, unrelenting pain, or simply the seizure being in that area of the brain.
Before I experienced my meltdown and all around bad behavior, I saw the warning signs and ignored them. CBD oil does a fairly good job controlling my seizures, so experiencing visual and audible hallucinations, false memories, and skin sensations were discounted. I chalk that up to the ever-present denial of the condition. Let things move to normal for a short time and I still try to convince myself that I was wrong, that it was all in my head. It is, yes, but not in the way I want to believe.
So the result of all of this was that I ignored the signs and experienced a whole round of seizures, had an emotional meltdown, and struggled, yet again, with the issue of whether this was really happening to me. In retrospect, there are a few things I could have prevented.
When I saw my husband sitting on the couch looking at his computer and walking to the bedroom from the shower at the same time, I should have pulled back and eliminated any potential stress or exposure to other known triggers until things calmed down.
When I sat on the couch reading a book and realized I just had a false, but very detailed, memory, I should have stopped what I was doing and protected myself.
When feeling the electricity crawled up my skin like an army of ants, I should have taken it seriously.
I didn’t respond correctly to any of these signs and symptoms, and since I also could not control the weather and other parts of my environment, I had the mother of all meltdowns. I didn’t see it coming because I had thought I was beyond it. Next time will be better. I have to believe that and allow myself to make the mistakes and start again, because, yes, it is really happening to me . . . and the thing is, you can’t control the weather.