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Does this mean I have Epilepsy?

The past few days have been strange and confusing so I decided to come here and ask those who are living with epilepsy if this sounds familiar. 

A few days ago I found an old cartoon that I loved to watch as a kid.  I decided to watch a few episodes alone, well that is until the cartoon did that stupid rapid flashing thing that the older episodes of cartoons like Pokemon once did (I had forgotten about the cartoon doing this). I became transfixed by the flashing black and white scenes. Seconds before I was fully transfixed, I felt like everything was spinning around me, and my head hurt (a lot!). Yet I could not take my eyes off of the screen. I don’t really remember how long the flashing scene lasted but it seemed like only moments. Afterwards I felt dizzy for a few minutes. Also colors and lights seemed to be brighter than before. After some thought I realized that I may have lost some time during this, as the cartoon no longer seemed to follow the same train of thought?   I did’nt think of telling my husband about this because I thought it was normal.  As a kid I used to frighten my mother if I did not look away from the screen before the flashing began. Sometime she had  to shack me for a few seconds before I snapped out of it...  After this happened a few times she began watching the cartoons (all of them) with me and instructed me not to look at the screen seconds before the flashing began. It was a very simple cartoon so as I got older I learned when it was time to look away. Sadly I had forgotten about this until today when it happened again after husband stumbled upon the cartoon and decided to play it.  Remembering how sick I felt the last time I watched it, I decided to sit across the room on the couch a good 7 feet away from the monitor. The video was only a small square on the screen so I thought it would be ok. When the flashing scene started sharp pains ran through my forehead and behind my eyes, I started to become transfixed, but thankfully my husband noticed this and stopped the cartoon. As a nurse he went into what I call “nurse mode” only this time he looked really worried as he asked how I felt and other questions.  I told him that my head hurt and felt like there was electricity running through my brain  (I know that sounds strange but I'm not sure how else to describe it).  I saw strange lights in my vision, and colors seemed to be much brighter than they normally do. The lights seemed so much brighter and it hurt to look at them. I also told him about feeling dizzy, and sick to my stomach. He asked me if this had ever happened before, I told him yes as a kid it happened any time I watched that cartoon until I learned to look away right before it happened.  I also told him about how I learned to close my eyes in the Halloween haunted houses when entering the rooms that have bright flashing lights, and about having to close my eyes if I’m near a fire truck or police car with its flashing light on.  For the next 30 minutes he watched me very carefully and often asked how I was feeling. After I felt better he told me that he thinks I may be susceptible to Petit Mal seizures/Absence seizures, and that most likely I had this type of seizure as a kid only my mother did not realize what they were...  When I asked him if this means I have epilepsy he looked very worried and replied “I’m not sure, since you have never had a full blow seizure”.  As to said this he had the look he always gets when he hopes something is not true, but knows that it likely is.

Any thoughts or advise is welcomed. Thank you for your time.

P.s I hope this is posted in the right section.  I'm new and unsure were this topic should be posted.



What you're suffering from is photosensitive seizures, caused by certain types of flickering or flashing lights. The trigger could be exposure to television screens due to the flicker or rolling images, computer monitors, certain video games or TV broadcasts containing rapid flashes, even alternating patterns of different colors, in addition to intense strobe lights.

And surprisingly, seizures may even be triggered by natural light, such as sunlight, especially when shimmering off water, even sun flickering through trees or through the slats of Venetian blinds.

You need to see a neurologist and get tested.  Eforum members have recommended these neurologists in Florida, based upon positive personal experiences.

Dr. George Dmytrenko, Sacred Heart Hospital, Pensacola, FL

Dr. Hal Pineless, Winter Park, FL

Dr. Jean E. Cibula, MD Shans Medical Clinic / University of Florida Gainesville, FL  

Please don't put this off.  Phylis Feiner Johnson


DO NOT SEE Dr. Pineless!!!!!!!!!!!! He is a complete jerk! He threatened to take away my children if he caught me driving, even though my husband was there and driving. He also got in my three-year-olds face frightening her, he prescribed medication without checking to see what I was currently taking, and told me he did not have time for me. This was my one and only visit with him. My GYN knew better than to mix the pill I was taking with Lamictal. My husband is a very calm and even tempered person. Even he wanted to put a stake through Dr. Pineless' heart.


My first seizures took place when 17y.o. a few months or a year after beginning to smoke pot and snort coke. I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I knew nothing of seizures or epilepsy, I began to take medicines, since I didn't have anything for them to prevent. That always in my system started me to have infrequent (3-5 months between)seizures since '74. Maybe the first seizures were due to drug abuse. That got misdiagnosed because my seizures were due to drug abuse. Maybe prescribed anti-seizure drugs for the last 36 years have caused them, they can't be uncontrolled with me being abused on these drugs with their side effects. Maybe no drugs will stop them like in my first seventeen years before I took any drugs or medicines.

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