One year ago today, my skull was open, and my brain was being operated on (a brief synopsis of my experience with epilepsy).

I wasn't on meds at the time I was inpatient; only on a low dose of topirimate for migraines. They stopped that anyway, and while it was a bit of an emotional hell (mood swings, agitation, etc -- made worse by being stuck in a hospital bed, of course), it didn't lead to any seizures.

They weaned me off of my Tegretol, phenobarb, and Lamotrigine

Now I'm on Lyrica (for migraines) and lamotrigine (for seizures / bipolar), and if they stopped either/both of them in a hospital, I'd probably go insane and try to kill people. I'm pretty stable on the meds, but given how horrible I felt the one time I accidentally missed 1/3 of my Lyrica dose..... yeah, no thanks. I'm also not keen to go back to that hospital where I had the horrible experience, and I think it's the only one that does inpatient EEGs; at least, it's the one that my private neuro can send people to, since it's in his area. Also, yeah, they kept me awake for a full night, on top of everything else, and it was pretty hellish, but no seizures or activity. It's pretty silly though, my seizures are most likely to happen if I am a bit sleep deprived (like, slept half my normal time), and they happen around mid afternoon or early evening. I don't think I've had any seizures after waking up but before like 3pm; although I have had some around 3/4am on the times when I've stayed up way too late + other triggers. Another one of my triggers is fatigue/exhaustion, so generally the perfect way to induce one is to sleep like 3-4 hours a night for a few days, and spend all of those days being up and about doing strenuous things for like 14 hours a day. That's pretty much guaranteed to give me a seizure. Lying in a hospital bed for a week, not being allowed to get up except to go to the toilet... it's pretty much the opposite of that. Have you considered getting a VNS implanted? I don't think they'd consider any of that sort of thing until they've got some evidence that I have epilepsy; the number of times the seizure clinic have insisted that I have PNES rather than epilepsy has made me doubt myself pretty seriously, so I don't really want to do anything until I get some sort of confirmation. I didn't even want to go on meds until they could be sure I had epilepsy, but then my seizures got a whole bunch worse and I had a cluster for the first time in four years, and my neuro was like "no yeah we're going to do meds now" I have very long auras though; the shortest has been about 10-15 minutes, and the longest was about 2 hours. My neuro thinks they're migraine auras which turn into seizures, or something? All I know is that they feel like I'm tripping on drugs for an uncomfortable period of time -- it starts with a sudden hit of deja vu, which stops me mid-sentence and I feel all dazed, and generally move from wherever I am to sitting on a chair or the floor, because it hits me so hard. After that, I "feel weird", which is the best I can describe it -- it's this distinctive weird feeling that I get every time I have a seizure aura. Often I get the shimmering rainbow lights that I get with basically all of my migraine auras, too -- it's like, rainbow shimmering light starts off in the corner/peripheral of my left field of vision, and it kind of builds into a circle? and then fades away. this repeats over and over for up to ten minutes? and I can also sort of "hear" the shimmering too (like, it makes a sound as it blossoms... hard to describe other than "the sound that the shimmering lights makes" :P) As the aura progresses, so usually after 10-15 minutes of feeling weird, I start to feel like everything is warping around me -- like I'm really huge, or really tiny, and everything is all weird sizes; often it feels like I'm really tiny and someone has moved all of the walls/ceiling several metres further away, but sometimes I'll look at my hands or see my body or whatever and be surprised by the fact that it seems giant. It doesn't look distorted so much as... it's a very strong feeling of wrongness? I can look at things and go "okay this is just an aura" and I can "see" that they're normal, but they feel really off, in a perceptual sense. Towards the end of the aura, my spatial stuff starts distorting -- it's like, if you closed your eyes, you'd still know how far away the walls and chairs and people are. But when this happens for me, it feels like that distance is distorting, so the space between me and my surroundings feels like it's growing and shrinking and kind of turning around and generally being weird. That's how I know I really have to lie on the floor (if I can still move despite the weirdness) so I don't fall off something. Right before the seizure happens, I can feel my heart start pounding (like probably less than a minute before), and then I feel this weird seizure-y feeling build up inside me, it kind of rises from my abdomen up through my stomach and chest towards my neck/head? and I start to feel absolutely terrified... and then I remember nothing until I wake up on the floor in pain. Generally I can't remember any of the later aura stuff until a good few hours afterwards, and it takes me maybe an hour to be able to get up and walk around after a seizure; usually I'm completely out of it for maybe 5 minutes, then I slowly wake up and open my eyes a bit, but I'm way too exhausted to talk or anything; then slowly I kind of come back to my body; I have no idea where or who I am, but I'm too out of it to be scared or to notice; and after maybe 10 minutes I'm able to open my eyes, look at someone, nod/shake my head, etc. So, yeah -- heaps of warning with an aura, although it's hard to say whether it's a partial seizure the entire time (because it's awfully long), or whether it's a migraine aura that then turns into a partial seizure (the part where it rises up and my heartrate picks up; although I'm not able to move or respond or cry out when that happens). It's also weird about the shimmering lights thing, because as far as I know, the rest of it is all temporal lobe stuff, but the lights are occipital? idk. I'd really love a magic button I could push before a seizure that would stop it right away. Sometimes I take benzos and that stops it, but not always, and I hate taking benzos so much. They're better than a seizure, of course, but... they just suck. Lamictal I'm really enjoying it; I have comorbid bipolar -- the kind where you're mostly just a bit depressed all the time, with semi-regular episodes of super bad depression, and occasional hypomanic episodes, and very very very occasional manic episodes [I've had one in my entire life]. So my neuro was happy to start me on lamotrigine, because of the bipolar thing, so even if I didn't have epilepsy it'd at least be a mood stabiliser. And it's been a very effective mood stabiliser. I feel really stable, but I also feel really great -- not hypomanic, but it's like the little bit of depression I've always constantly had has lifted and now I'm feeling "normal" like everyone else does who's not depressed. So, yeah, it's been super great for me, and I'm really really really REALLY not keen to stop it while stuck in a hospital for an EEG, ESPECIALLY if I'm at the hospital where the head of the seizure clinic is this guy who I really REALLY am not okay with. I gave my father temporary power of attorney My parents live overseas (well, I live overseas to my family), so that sort of thing probably wouldn't work. I'd probably trust it to my ex-partner -- we're still very close friends, we were together for about four years, he knows me very well, he knows my medical history very well, and I'd trust him to be able to make important medical decisions for me. The only problem is he's pretty.... unreliable? unstable? So he probably wouldn't be okay with spending a week hanging around a hospital not letting them violate my consent; he's generally even more uncomfortable in hospitals than I am, to the extent that he couldn't even come and visit me during my last inpatient. Has your neurologist ever discussed the possibility of going onto Tegretol/carbamazepine? Yup, he definitely considered it. I was meant to talk to my psychiatrist about his thoughts on that, but I haven't been able to get in touch with him; I have an appointment scheduled for about a month and a half away, so I'm hoping that will happen (I've missed my last two scheduled appointments :( ), and I can discuss it with him then. I'm on, I think 250mg of Lamictal a day? And I'm still having seizures at about the same rate as I was. I've had a bunch of partials recently, but I fucked up my Lyrica dosing (who the hell makes 25mg and 150mg pills look the same??!?!) one day so that's probably what knocked me off. I'm not really sure what an effective/normal dose of Lamictal is supposed to be; I think I heard 200-450ish a day, so maybe there's a lot of room to increase it before things settle down permanently. The only thing that's stopped my seizures has been going on Frisium for a week; during that week (well after the first day), I don't have any seizures, no matter how many I was having before; and then I don't have any seizures after that for quite a while (my record was 26 days?) I don't want to be on benzos long term, though. Also, I'm not sure whether benzos would stop psychogenic seizures... like I guess they're an anti-anxiety thing too, but... so is Lamictal? I've been feeling a zillion times better on Lamictal but still having seizures. I'd have thought that if it were just a placebo thing, then Lamictal would've been just as good a placebo as the benzos, anyway. idk. I'd love to know for sure that my seizures were epileptic. My ex-partner is building me an EEG that I can wear while at home, to hopefully get some evidence that satisfies us, at least, even if it doesn't satisfy the seizure team at the hospital. long post is long :P

/r/Epilepsy Thread