Understanding Pseudoseizures

Understanding Pseudoseizures: What are they?

Pseudo seizures are a type of seizure disorder where there is no physical cause. They occur when the brain produces abnormal electrical activity which causes the body to react abnormally. These seizures can be caused by many things such as head trauma, infection or even drugs. There have been cases where these types of seizures were triggered by psychological factors such as anxiety, depression and psychosis.

The main symptom of a pseudo seizure is that it occurs without any obvious physical cause. A person may experience them during sleep, but they will not necessarily wake up from their slumber.

The person may feel unwell afterwards and go through the usual symptoms such as feeling tiredness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Some people may also suffer from headaches or other problems with concentration or memory after having one of these seizures.

There are different types of pseudo seizures and each one is classified into two categories. There are classifications based on the cause of the seizure.

For example, if a person experiences a seizure due to an infection then it would fall under the category called viral seizure. If a person experiences a seizure due to stress, it would fall under the category called emotional seizure.

There are also two classifications based on the physical symptoms. One is called a focal seizure and the other is called a generalized seizure.

In a focal seizure, only the area of the brain that is affected physically has a seizure. In a generalized seizure, both sides of the brain have a seizure. The difference between these two classifications is important when trying to identify what is happening with your body, and how to treat the problem.

One of the main reasons why pseudo seizures are dangerous is that they trigger the body to react as if it was in danger. Even though the danger may come from within the body and not from anything else, the human brain still feels like it needs to protect the body from harm.

The brain also doesn’t know that it is causing the seizure, so it will react by trying to stop it from occurring again. It does this by suppressing different parts of the brain. This is why people have problems with concentration and memory after they have had one of these seizures. If the problem continues then a person can start to suffer from other mental conditions such as anxiety or depression, and this can be very distressing for them.

It’s easy to understand why so many people suffer from pseudo seizures because there are many things that can trigger them. If you think you are having these types of seizures and they are affecting your life in a negative way then it is important to see a doctor.

They can run tests to see if there is a physical cause, and if nothing shows up then they can refer you to a specialist for further investigation. With the right treatment you can minimize the number of these types of seizures and return to living a normal life.

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LOGAN: That’s great. Enjoy your meal.

And thanks for coming in… come again!

You smile as the two shamblers leave. Once more you find yourself staring out the window at the sun, still shining brightly, not yet halfway through it’s descent.

“I’m doing it, I’m changing! I’m improving!” You pick up your cup and take a sip of the cold coffee, feeling the bitter liquid rest on your tongue as you contemplate how much you’ve changed in just a few hours. Just a few hours and you’re already enjoying the bite of black coffee, the taste of meat, the feeling of the warm sun on your face. Just a few hours and already you’re harboring thoughts of murdering your friends and turning them into shamblers. You are a harbinger. A god to the infected, a fever to the infected, a virus to the infected.

You’re doing it right, just like the man said. The world is yours.

But you need to eat. Hunger burns inside of you.

The two shamblers won’t be enough, not for the transformation and not as a snack once you’re out there. You’ll need more food than that.

You reach into the bread bin and grab a fistful of doughy yeast doughnuts, swallowing them down as you look around the shop for more food. The fridges are locked, so are the freezers, so you grab a knife from the block and using it to smash open the till.

Once you’ve got a few dollar to yourself, you head to the door only to find yourself blocked by two police officers.

“There she is,” one of them says, aiming their gun at you, “Put the knife down and come quietly with us.”

You have two choices:

You agree and come quietly.

You go for the police officer’s throat.

You have to admit, you’re a little surprised that you’re even considering this option, but part of being a harbinger means trusting your instincts and your instincts are telling you to attack now: NOW!

The police officer’s eyes widen as your arms extend towards him, your fingers moving like serpents towards his neck. Your teeth are clenched, but you’re not even biting down, instead you’re focusing on your fingers.

They find their mark and thrust into his throat, slicing open the major veins and arteries in the neck with ease. Blood gushes into your mouth and you reflexively swallow as you grab his gun and turn it towards the other officer who’s already bringing his own to bear. You fire at the same time, both of your shots hitting home. You watch as he falls, his blood staining your clothes and his.

You drop the gun and kneel down beside him. “

Why?”

You ask quietly, as if hoping the answer might somehow save you.

“They’re dead! They’re all dead!

It’s over!” You hear a voice coming from outside. Then you notice the bite on your arm and realize what it means.

“I’m sorry,” you say out loud as you bite into your arm, “I tried to help.” Once you’ve cut off the necrosis you tear into your flesh with your teeth, hungrily swallowing mouthfuls of your warm living flesh.

It only takes a few minutes before you feel the changes starting. Your mind blanks, your humanity is gone, all that is left is the instinct. You push forward, heading outside.

You see a small girl and set off after her, you need prey. You need meat.

You walk down the street, heading towards her house. It’s only when you’re about ten feet away from her that your mind suddenly latches onto something and you realize: this girl is the one from before, the one who led you to the people in the first place! She’s also badly hurt… and not a normal.

“Hello again,” you say softly through your blankness, you don’t want to spook her after all, “Looks like you’ve had an accident.” You gesture towards her arm and the blood seeping from it, though your attention is really on her eyes.

They’re changed somehow.

“I’m a harbinger,” she says quietly, “I have powers now.”

“So I see,” you say softly, “You can do something with blood, from what I can tell.

Is that right?”

“Yes… it just comes to me.

Do you want to see something neat?”

She asks, smiling. You nod, curious to see what she’ll do. She raises her hand and clenches it into a fist, as you watch the wounds on it simply… close. The skin stitching itself up before your eyes, before finally she opens the fist again and reveals unbroken, unmarred flesh.

This is wonderful,” you say quietly, “May I ask what you’re planning on doing with these powers?”

“I’m going to pick a bunch of people and teach them. Then we’re going to take over the world!” She says happily. You nod slowly.

“That sounds like a wonderful plan. I’m sorry to interrupt it, but I need to take you back to my place so I can harvest you.”

She frowns, “Harvest me? Why?”

“If I don’t eat you then the infection will. You’re wounded, and around here that means death for you. I, on the other hand, have a place where I can store the meat safely and feed off it for weeks. If I take you there, then I can teach you too.

Would you like that?”

The little harbinger nods her head enthusiastically, “I would!

But what about my plans? What about taking over the world?”

You smile, “That sounds like a second or third agenda plan. Once you’re strong enough to teach others we can go ahead with it. For now though, let’s get you to my place. You’ll be safe there. It’s this way. The only other thing you need to know about is that I have a pet with me.”

A pet?”

“Yes. He looks scary but he’s really friendly if you’re nice to him. Let’s go meet him.” You turn and begin leading her back to your house slowly. You can sense the nervousness from her, which is perfectly normal, so you take your time, “Don’t worry. You’ll be safe with him. He’s already agreed to help me teach you.”

After a few minutes you arrive at your house. You open the door and quickly rummage through the cupboards, pulling out a bag of blood you’d stashed away earlier, “Here we are!

I stashed this away earlier. It’s for you.”

The little girl looks at it suspiciously, “What’s it for?”

” Food of course! You must be starving getting hurt like that. A bunch of supplies were dropped off recently so there’s plenty more where that came from.” You say reassuringly.

You watch as she unscrews the top and takes a sip, then drinks eagerly, “Go ahead and drink all of that,” you urge, “It’ll help with your wounds too. Once you’ve had enough then we can get started.”

The girl nods and drinks the bag dry. You smile as she wipes her mouth and yawns, “I haven’t eaten since yesterday…

I’m not feeling so well…”

You nod understandingly, “I would advise you to rest then. We’ll start teaching tomorrow.

Now that you’re safe with me, there’s no need to worry about a thing. Everything will be alright. Get some rest, little one. You’ve had a long journey.

Would you like to sleep in a bed?

I can move you into one.”

You nod to the pile of blankets you’ve been sleeping on, “I have a lot of beds here. You’re welcome to use any of them.

I’d recommend the one I slept in if you want company though, my pet sleeps there too and he doesn’t trust strangers. Pick whichever one you want though.

I’ll be back in the morning to talk some more, but for now just get some rest, alright?”

The little girl nods sleepily and makes her way over to one of the beds. You begin moving away to your own when you realize you’ve forgotten something very important, “Oh! I forgot to tell you what I called you. I’ve been thinking of names for you and I think Elaia is a good one. It’s a type of tree in the forest where I lived for a while. I think of you like a ray of sunshine, brightening my days even though I spent most of my time in darkness. You seem to bring life and energy everywhere you go, so I though Elaia was a good fit.”

The little girl smiles, “I like it. Thank you, Mr.

Fenrir.”

You nod with a smile and wave, “See you soon, Elaia. Sweet dreams.

You leave and quickly make your way up to your own bed, where your pet is still sleeping. You think for a moment before shaking his awake, “Pet, she’s in a safe place now.

Time to move on to other things.”

He nods and grins at you knowingly, “Can I eat her?”

“Not yet. Maybe soon. For now though, let’s go meet the pack.”

You grin back at him and head outside to greet the new day.

If everything goes right, tonight will be the best night of your life.

] You have reached a turning point in your life. What comes next all depends on the choices you make from here on out…

You are about to fall asleep for the night when you hear a quiet voice from outside, “Fenrir? Are you awake?”

You quickly rise to your feet and head closer to the bars, just in time to see Elaia’s little face appear. You grin at her as she crawls through the bars, “I couldn’t sleep, so I thought I’d come say hello.”

You nod eagerly, “So…

What did you want to talk about?”

She shrugs at that, “I don’t know. Anything, I guess.

Have you always lived in a cage?”

“Pretty much. It’s not so bad. I go outside sometimes and get to do what I want, so it’s alright.”

She nods slowly, “It just doesn’t seem right that you’re kept locked up all the time.”

“It’s no big deal. So…

Why are you here?”

“I told you already. I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to come and visit you. I don’t get to spend much time with you.”

You don’t?”

She shakes her head, and looks downcast, “No… Mom says I need to stay away from you. That you’re a bad influence.”

You can’t help but laugh at that, “Me? A bad influence? Why? What have you heard about me?”

“Mom told me you used to kill and eat people. That you’re dangerous and should be avoided at all times.”

You laugh again, then stop abruptly, realizing that she’s already been told that you’re dangerous. She looks at you expectantly, so you just try to explain yourself the best you can, “That’s just her being over protective.

I do hunt and eat meat, but I only ever hunt animals. I’ve never hunted or eaten humans. I’ve never even met one until I met you.”

“So…

You’re not dangerous?”

You mull that over for a moment, then give her the best answer you can, “I suppose it all depends on how I’m treated. If you approach me with kindness, I’ll never harm you. If you treat me like your mother does, I might just scare you.”

She smiles at your serious reply, then continues with her own questions, “Do you dream at all?

I don’t really understand how you can sleep so much and not dream at all.”

“I do have dreams every once in a while, but they’re rare. I usually only get to dream if I sleep in between hunting trips or after a large feast.

Why do you ask? Do humans only dream?”

She shakes her head, “That’s the one thing I can do that my clan doesn’t. I have powerful dreams that often tell me what will happen in the future. They’ve never been wrong yet.”

You raise an eyebrow and lean forward, interested in what she has to say, “Tell me your fortune then, if you know it already.”

She smirks, “I don’t know everything. I can only see pieces of the future.

Right now I’m having a hard time seeing my own future and the world’s, but other things?

Those I can do. Tell me the number of siblings you have.”

You raise an eyebrow, “One. A sister.”

She nods, “Continue.”

“That’s it. I have a brother and a sister.”

You give her a chance to change her mind, then continue, “Would you like to know about them? Where they are? What colors are they?”

She laughs, “No, no. I just wanted to make sure you weren’t a Silent Jaw- that’s what we call the people of the town you lived in, for their leader, Mayor Jaw-Walr.”

“Oh.

Why would he care if I had siblings or not?”

“It’s not so much that he cares, it’s more that… some people take it too far for their own good. He’s convinced that believing in more than the Mother will destroy the world, so he tries to get everyone to follow him. A bunch of stuff that goes against everything I believe…”

She continues to ramble, and you sit back. You’ve learned more about her and this town she lives in, but none of it seems important enough to remember.

You drift off until she wakes you up herself by nudging you in the side.

“We should go soon. The day is already beginning to fall, and while Mother said she wouldn’t tell the Mayor about you, I don’t want to risk it.

I should be able to sneak out with you in the day time, but if I’m caught… Well, I don’t want to think about that.”

You stand up and stretch. “

Where are we heading again?”

She looks at you and frowns, “To my house. You’re staying with me for the time being. It’s closer than the graveyard, and we should be safe enough there. That is, if you still want to stay with me.”

You smirk, “Of course I do. Let’s go.”

The two of you take your leave of the graveyard and begin walking. You drift closer to her as you walk, and she doesn’t seem to mind.

Can I ask you a personal question?”

She suddenly stops and turns towards you, making you do the same. When you nod your head, she continues, “You were abandoned as a baby.

Don’t you want to know who your family is?”

You stop and think about it. You never really thought about them before, but now that she’s mentioned it… “I suppose I do. I don’t really remember anything before I was in the graveyard, though.”

She smiles, “That’s alright. Mother Azuli at the Church of Joachim should be able to help you.

She’s a very powerful seer, and she should be able to tell you who your parents are, where you’re from, everything.”

You raise an eyebrow. “

Are you sure? What about what you said earlier? About not trusting religious places?”

She bites her lip in thought before replying, “While it is true that the Church of Joachim is responsible for the subjugation of our people, Mother Azuli is an exception. She’s a bit… eccentric, but she’s never been a Joachimite. I trust her.”

You shrug, “Alright then.” After a moment of silence between the two of you, you continue on your walk to her house.

You arrive in about ten minutes, “This is it.” She points at a plain wooden door.

How can you tell?

All of the houses around here are the same brown color. I bet if I knocked on a few, someone would let me in.”

She laughs, “I hope not. I don’t think they’d let you back out.

Now, come on, I’ll show you inside. I warn you, it isn’t much.”

You enter through the wooden door and are surprised to find that the inside of her house is even more plain than the outside. There’s not much to look at besides the bare walls and dirt floor.

“Sorry if it’s a bit…

boring. I don’t get many decorations because people always steal them.”

She notices your gaze roaming, “What is it?”

“Your house has a lot of entrances.” You point out. There are doors on all sides except the back, which is solid stone, and the ceiling, which is just plain open space.

“It does. Lizards tend to steal anything that isn’t nailed down, so I have to be careful.” She walks in a over to a chest of sorts and kneels in front of it.

“I’ll put your sword in here for now. If you want, you can sleep on that mat over there. There are some changes of clothes for you in the chest as well.”

She stands and closes the chest, then turns to you with an expectant gaze.

Is there anything else you need?”

she asks.

Everything’s been taken care of, then?”

You reply.

She nods and smiles, “Of course.

I promised that I would take care of you, didn’t I?”

You return her smile, “Yeah, you did.”

With this assurance, you head over to the corner of the room and find a wooden chest. You open it to find clothing practically identical to yours, as well as a pillow and blanket.

You quickly change out of your wet clothes and into some dry ones, then lie down on the mat for the night.

You awake to Lenne hovering over you. “Hey, wake up!

It’s dangerous to sleep outside!” she says while nudging your shoulder.

You yawn and stretch, then get up to face her.

“I wasn’t sleeping outside. I was sleeping on this mat.” You say.

“Same thing. Now come on.

We need to be up early for the hunt.” She says, walking out of the room. You follow her outside to see the dozens of people waiting in a line. Lenne goes up to a short man and whispers something into his ear. He nods and goes through the crowd, whispering to everyone.

“Alright, everyone! Our newest member of the Axegang has requested that we have a big hunt today to help him celebrate becoming one of us!

Now, who can go hunting with me?”

You raise your hand along with several others.

Sources & references used in this article:

Psychodynamics and psychotherapy of pseudoseizures. by D Kalogjera-Sackellares – 2004 – psycnet.apa.org

The diagnostic significance of video‐EEG monitoring findings on pseudoseizure patients differs between neurologists and psychiatrists by CL Harden, FT Burgut, AM Kanner – Epilepsia, 2003 – Wiley Online Library

Epilepsy, pseudoseizures and perceived family characteristics: a controlled study by PM Moore, GA Baker, G McDade, D Chadwick… – Epilepsy research, 1994 – Elsevier

Pseudoseizures by MR Trimble – Neurologic clinics, 1986 – neurologic.theclinics.com

Pseudoseizures and other nonepileptic paroxysmal disorders in children and adolescents by M Andriola, A Ettinger – Neurology, 1999 – insights.ovid.com

Repetitive pseudoseizures incorrectly managed as status epilepticus. by M Levitan, J Bruni – CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal, 1986 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov