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The Speak Up blog features essays and poetry by people living with neurologic disorders and their caregivers. Readers can also find letters to the editor.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
This Thing Called Seizures

Invisible shackles on my psyche,

thrown into a dark dungeon of mental despair,

hoping light will seep through the cracks and crevices,

providing a new outlook.

This thing called seizures.

They strike unexpectedly with the audacity of lightning

traumatizing my mind with the force of a tsunami

traveling with the speed of light across my brain,

doing irreparable damage.

This thing called seizures.

They represent a padlock on my brain

in which no one has discovered the combination

that may unlock hidden secrets

stored away in the attic of my mind.

This thing called seizures.

I think of ice that has formed into thick bars hanging from my window,

distorting my view of the outside world,

much like a prisoner who may receive a guarded glimpse of the sun

when he receives “good time” for excellent behavior.

This thing called seizures.

They threaten to sap the very energy

that once fueled my ambitions and dreams,

taking up residence in my mind,

accumulating like a one-inch layer of dust.

This thing called seizures.

It can make a sworn optimist see the glass “half empty”

even when it's running over the rim,

once alive with promise and conviction

to find its niche in the grand scheme of things.

This thing called seizures.

They can alienate you from yourself and loved ones

who can eventually become strangers,

much like the gradually-eroding effects

of Alzheimer's Disease.

This thing called seizures.

I have been diagnosed with complex partial seizures.

An aura or sensation comes over you as an initial warning sign.

You temporarily lose consciousness and become disconnected from reality.

Your speech and memory are restored after a few minutes.

This thing called seizures.

They make you want to surrender in defeat

to a war that hate did not produce,

invading a territory of the brain

that makes you feel like an impending casualty.

This thing called seizures.

They are no longer private

when displayed in public,

much like a journal that is wide open

for someone to read your innermost thoughts.

This thing called seizures.

Pumping loads of medication into your system

that still provide no guarantee

that your brain will be free

from the “invisible shackles.”

This thing called seizures.

They inhabit the mind and body.

I think of an uninvited guest

who wears out their welcome,

and then some.

This thing called seizures.

They really torment the mind

like a nightmare that plunges you into an abyss,

waking you up with a chilling effect,

as if you had just viewed a horror movie.

This thing called seizures.

The word “disability”

becomes cemented in your brain.

Driving privileges are suspended.

Your mobility becomes limited in more ways than one.

This thing called seizures.

I have developed a profound interest

in watching people go by

while riding a bus, or sipping on a soda in the mall,

for movement tends to indicate progress.

This thing called seizures.

They can rewrite your script in life,

and you transform into someone other than yourself

I think of a trained actor who can embody a character so well

that you forget it's fiction.

This thing called seizures.

You look in the mirror

and the reflection bears witness

to another image

bouncing off of the glass.

This thing called seizures.

They will inspire you

to consult with God and the angels

to see if there is a broader purpose

in your existence.

This thing called seizures.

They truly cause a battlefield in the mind.

One does not have to dress for combat

or be armed to protect against the enemy.

There is a militant invasion that is profoundly silent.

This thing called seizures.

They literally “seize” the mind and body

holding a person hostage while debilitating the brain.

It's like they relinquish their grip between each stanza of sheet music,

each occurrence belting out a more bitter refrain.

This thing called seizures.

They will leave you in a holding pattern.

I think of an ice floe that doesn't melt with the passage of time,

even with the onset of global warming.

Stoic facial expressions are hidden behind a contrived smile.

This thing called seizures.

They will shake you at the epicenter of your faith,

leaving you disillusioned by their magnitude.

Winter becomes the perennial season.

All others are merely an illusion.

This thing called seizures.

Mapping their own destiny across the frontiers of the mind

until medical research discovers a cure

that will cause seizures to stop rearing their ugly head

from beneath the depths of obscurity.

By Asta Corley

© January 2013

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