Being epileptic, and consequently having ‘memory blanks’ because of this is one of the most revitalising feelings I could possibly ever have. I realise this is quite a strange, and pretty odd thing to put across but bear with me. I’ve often nattered on about this once or twice in other blog posts, but this feeling has been really prevalent with me over the past few days so I’d really like to just dedicate a post entirely to this.
Anyway, as most of you know, I’m epileptic. A common misconception of me telling people this is that they instantly think ‘ZOMGZ FLASHING LIGHTS’ and shine a torch on and off in my eyes for an extended period of time (I’ll level with you, that’s never happened in my life before) – but the epilepsy I have is somewhat different (and a little strange too). First off, flashing lights don’t get me. I’d literally be crushed if it were the case – imagine my life and then imagine throwing light-sensitive epilepsy at me. I’m awfully lucky that that isn’t the case. Anyway, the case of epilepsy I have seems strangely linked to tiredness and sleep – and rather than seizures (which I do get, but it’s been a long time since I have had one), I get these things that the doctor describes as ‘absences’, though I like to call them ‘memory blanks’ because that’s almost effectively what they are.
Anyhow, these memory blanks seem to occur if I haven’t had a lot of sleep/I’m exceptionally tired and I haven’t taken my tablets. And what happens when I have one of these memory blanks is that I’m usually ill beforehand and I’m perfectly aware of what’s going on – and then BAM. Whatever happens during the memory blank is completely lost on me. Effectively I’m passing out and waking up a few minutes later, because what goes on in that time frame is neither in my control or at all memorable. I’ll talk about things that have happened years ago, I’ll call whoever’s with me by a different name (though it’s usually always the same one), and I’ll speak incoherently and randomly. This is all taken from people who’ve been with me as I have one, incidentally. But then, after a certain time I’ll ‘wake up’ so to speak (unless I’ve had a seizure, which thankfully doesn’t happen half as much as it used to), with no recollection of what happened during the blank, or of a lot of other things as well. And that’s the odd thing, because the time frame of things that I’ve forgotten after the blank can vary wildly, though it’s usually just events that have happened in the past few days or weeks that I need a little reminder of.
So what can be so good about this, I hear you ask? Where’s the upside in something that’s probably effecting my long-term memory and randomly incapacitating me? Well I’ll tell you. After the blank, I can look at a totally new world. Suddenly, when I go outside, I’ve never felt air before, never seen sunlight – and it’s amazing. Literally. I’d imagine people would need to take drugs to feel like this. And of course, it’s no upside to the fact that I actually have epilepsy, and I’m not downgrading the condition at all – but I love that there’s that feeling after a blank. It’s honestly one of the best feelings in the world.
I mean, I had a memory blank not too long ago and it’s still there. Today’s the first time it’s rained in my entire life. I tasted spicy food for the first time yesterday. It’s honestly amazing. I’m obviously completely not thankful for actually having epilepsy, it’s crap that I have it and I wish I didn’t – but I could honestly say that I’d just be a tiny bit upset if I stopped having it. The feeling of experiencing everything for the first time is both so bewildering and revitalising it’s unreal. And even then, it’s not really a feeling of experiencing everything for the ‘first time’ – it’s more a combination of already seeing it and never seeing it. So it’s like a strange kind of deja vu.
I mean, today’s the first day it’s rained since I had my last blank, and I honestly think that I could’ve just walked about in it all day. It honestly, without trying to be horribly cheesy makes you appreciate those little things so much more. The feeling of air and rain and sun after technically forgetting what it felt like is one of the best feelings I could honestly feel. And I really, really wish I didn’t have to worry about epilepsy, or have it at all, but because of it I’m really thankful for being able to experience this revitalising feeling whenever I blank, and truly appreciate things I normally would just overlook.