Famous People with Epilepsy

February 24, 2007 at 9:40 pm (Uncategorized)

Wow–I’m definitely “post-happy” tonight, it seems…

After six hours of on-and-off seizures last night (clusters), plus about two hours more this afternoon, I thought I’d post a list of famous people whose lives were affected by recurrent seizures–people who, no doubt, were also somewhat high-maintenance and occasionally needed the extra support, tolerance, and patience of someone at inconvenient times (such as in the middle of the night).

(Some) Famous People with Epilepsy:

Blaise Pascal
Sir Isaac Newton
Alfred Nobel
Vincent van Gogh
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Abraham Lincoln
Charles Dickens
Lewis Carroll
Edgar Allen Poe
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Alexander the Great
Julius Caesar
Napoleon Bonaparte
James Madison
Harriet Tubman
Joan of Arc
Saint Paul
Soren Kierkegaard
George Frederick Handel
Peter Tchaikovsky
Ludwig van Beethoven
Niccolo Paganini
Jonathan Swift
Edward Lear
Lord Byron
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Leo Tolstoy
Gustave Flaubert
Agatha Christie
Phillip K. Dick


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Craig Ferguson “Gets It”

February 24, 2007 at 9:05 pm (Uncategorized)

Compassion has finally gone mainstream. Bravo to you, Mr. Ferguson! And thank you…

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Next on the List: Iran

February 24, 2007 at 8:52 pm (Uncategorized)

Dick(less) Cheney sez “All options are open” with regards to how the US intends to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. Banging the drums of war–again.

Myself, I’m almost at a point where I’m thinking that if this administration is Hell-bent on attacking Iran, have the Israelis do it. The US will probably blackmail them into doing it anyway.

The IAF/IDF have been making more fuck-ups in recent years, but they still do things a hell of a lot cleaner than the US. Their plan is already complete, the IDF has drilled and practiced it, and, at the time it was making the news a couple of years ago, Sharon went on record stating that there would absolutely be no occupation. The plan was hit the nuclear sites by air, send in ground troops to sweep for intelligence/tech/etc, then high-tail it out of the country; I believe he said it would be a two- to four-week operation.

I don’t want anyone attacking Iran; I want this done diplomatically. But dammit, if it’s gonna happen, I honestly believe far fewer people will die and far less damage will be done if the Israelis do it. Bush would simply have all of Tehran flattened, as “Shoot ’em all and let God sort ’em out” seems to be his policy.

God help us all.

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“Spears” in Our Hearts…

February 21, 2007 at 1:24 am (Uncategorized)

From Democratic Underground:

The hell with Britney Spears

“Britney checks into rehab”

THIS is a headline? She shaved her head. Begging pardon, but so fucking what! Can she still walk on both legs? Did losing her hair, unlike shrapnel, cause brain damage? Her children still have a mother, (albeit children raised by nannies) and that mother still has a job. As per Nance Greggs’s post earlier, why have the priorities of American news gone down the drain? Who in their right mind can feel sympathy with this talented, albeit spoiled child-woman, when many others her age, and younger, face REAL problems? (i.e., limbs blown off, kids losing parents, parents losing their kids) Have raw statistics gone out of proportion? (300 million people mean that .001% dead in a war based on lies and obsfucation pale in importance to a pop star’s hair)

My only faith lies in the true American’s ability to ferret out the truth.


I’m in my “right mind”…

…and I feel sympathy for her.

Take it from someone who’s been there: A breakdown warranting rehab is most definitely a REAL problem. And fuck you for suggesting that it’s not!

My compassion for Britney Spears in no way lessens my compassion for the wounded troops, the starving, the motherless, and so forth. There’s plenty for all who are in need.

To claim someone is unworthy or undeserving of compassion is to reduce the humanity of that person–AND YOUR OWN. Don’t do it. It’s the first step towards becoming capable of killing.

It’s a tragedy when anyone suffers.


I have never been impressed with Britney Spears. Never even heard one of her songs. When one of her antics came to my knowledge, my eyes would roll in “Oh brother”-type disgust.

But I was compelled to respond to that post on DU the way I did because, years ago, when the supermarket magazine headlines were abuzz with Britney’s first pregnancy, I thought, “Oh shit…” I knew it then; I felt it. Too much, too soon: She’s going to crash. And crash she did.

This past weekend, for the very first time, I actually devoted conversation-time with people about Britney Spears. Because I feel for her.

She’s 25 years old. She hit super-stardom as a kid. She’s doesn’t know how to be an adult. She needed guidance and structure during her teen years but instead was thrust into pop-stardom–and thus denied the chance to properly develop the maturity necessary for a successful adult life. Her life has been overwhelming…and her life has barely begun! Too much, too soon; there was no way she was going to avoid crashing at some point.

It’s high-time show biz execs stop plucking teenagers from their homes and stunting their psychological development with big-business contracts. And it’s high-time parents get the brakes put on them when it comes to shoving their kids in the spotlight. Children do not exist to serve our narcissistic needs; rather, parents exist to meet the needs of their children. And children–and teenagers–need good parenting. They need adults who will guide them, teach them, and help them stay on track, not adults who will exploit them, market them, and make money off of them. A child is not a service-provider, and a teenager cannot make adult decisions. And no Human Being’s psyche can hold up against what Britney Spears has been put through…the gossip, the non-stop photos and scrutiny, the high-intensity, high-drama lifestyle.

I hope rehab has the positive life-changing impact for Britney Spears as it did for me. The process is Hell…

May G-d grant her rafuah shlemah–a complete healing. I wish her well.

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“Emotionally Unavailable”

February 14, 2007 at 2:57 pm (Uncategorized)

God, I hate that term! Yeah, I know, one must use the correct adjective and most accurately describe what it is that’s being described, but there’s just something that BUGS me about the expression/term “emotionally unavailable”.

Perhaps it’s because “available” is generally used in an unfeeling context. “Server not available”, “Available services”, “Product unavailable”. “Emotionally unavailable” is no doubt the best way to put it (linguistically speaking), but it just has a creepy feeling to it.

I guess it’s sorta like (using obnoxious, phone-company-lady voice): “We’re sorry, the fellow you are trying to reach is emotionally unavailable at this time. Please try again later.” Weird, eh?

Or maybe not…hey–maybe men could be implanted with some chip or device that’ll automatically relay this message whenever someone like myself gets the major hots for a guy when he’s “emotionally unavailable” (now *there’s* an idea!)

The version for women would be, “rationally unavailable”! LOL!

Although some of us (yeah, myself included) never seem to get the point. Well, we do, but we don’t (or do we?)

Valentine’s Day’s a bitch. Oy.

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Valentine’s Day–Another Meaning

February 13, 2007 at 4:11 pm (Uncategorized)

Most people think of Saint Valentine, for whom Valentine’s Day is named, as the patron of lovers. But, the Third Century Roman Christian martyr also has a special place in history as the patron of people with epilepsy.

Seizures in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries were widely viewed as the result of a curse or work of demonic forces. The ravages of epilepsy were widely feared, especially by the aristocracy. It was known as “the great illness,” believed to be caused by the devil’s possession. The church’s official treatment was exorcism, and many people with seizures made pilgrimages to the Priory of Saint Valentine, a monastery on the border between France and Germany, seeking Saint Valentine’s healing powers for spiritual healing from the neurological condition. Saint Valentine himself was afflicted with epilepsy, and according to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1912), “In St. Valentine’s Acts it is recorded that he was both a priest and a physician and that he cured a youth who suffered from (seizures).”

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate the wonderful and life-saving advances made in the research and treatment of epilepsy–and of other medical conditions. Humanity has made glorious progress in the field of medicine since the days of Saint Valentine; our greatest accomplishment is having discarded the notion of “devil’s posession” as being the source of bodily affliction and exorcism being the official (or even acceptable) “treatment”.

If you would like to send a very special Valentine to the 2.5 million people in the United States who have epilepsy, you can make a donation of any amount to the Epilepsy Foundation of America by clicking on the link below. Helping others to help themselves is the highest form of charity (or righteousness) in Jewish tradition, and undoubtedly the most true and genuine
expression of love.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

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“Seizure” Later!

February 12, 2007 at 5:41 pm (Uncategorized)

Heh heh. Yeah, sure.

So the fellow I’ve been seeing since New Year’s is on his way back to town this past Friday, after eight days of being out-of-state on business, and yours truly treats him to a temporal lobe episode/seizure, in all it’s firery, raging glory. Via voicemail. Saturday, he gets to witness another one–live, in-person. Great.

Relatively speaking, these ones were pretty mild. Short-lived, no tears/uncontrollable crying, nothing broken. I changed medications back in September, 2006, from Depakote ER to Trileptal, and these recent episodes provide yet more proof that it was a wise move. I hadn’t slept much–or well–both Thursday and Friday nights, which (as usual) accounts for the problems. Stupid disorder.

This Thursday, 2/15/07, I see a doctor at UCSF to discuss VNS, or Vagus Nerve Stimulation, therapy. It involves surgically implanting a device which is much like a pacemaker for the brain; two leads wrap around the vagus nerve to stimulate it at periodic intervals. Minimal side effects.

It’s a major blow to the self-esteem, the thought that one must depend upon pharmaceuticals to stay in check with reality, to function normally. It’s frustrating, not feeling completely in control of oneself. And it’s distressing, wondering what effects the ugly manifestations of this disorder have on the perceptions of those I care about–and want to be with. Their perceptions of–their thoughts and feelings about–me as a person.

Way back when, before epilepsy was identified as biological in origin, episodes were pegged as “possession” by the Devil, or unknown, sinister force. Hence the term “seizure”–as though the individual were being “seized” by something. Temporal lobe episodes have always been particularly frightening, in the sense that the person does not go unconscious, and appears to be in control (language is intact, muscular control remains, etc), but a sudden, drastic change in temperament comes about, an inappropriately intense emotional response to an unforseeable trigger (which is more often than not a misinterpretation of another person’s words or behaviors).

Sometimes I feel that way…”possessed”, as it were. The rising tide, it threatens to overtake me, to immerse me in that which is not real, to drown me in irrationality. I shout, yell, sometimes scream when I have such an episode, as the flood of emotional intensity pushes against me physically, burning, leaving me in fear of bursting. It has to get out. And when it does, when it’s over, the pain in my temples (especially the left) leaves me in agony, an invisible vice crushing my head as I struggle to regain control, before falling into a wavering, troubled sleep.

I wrestle with this dark angel that is in me–that is me–as I strive to embrace that which gives me life, to fill my life with light. I long for the touch and embrace of another, the warmth and life-force of another Human Being beside me, to both keep me on Earth and bring me to Heaven, and to give grounding to this tempest of thought and emotion that is within me, that *is* me. Take me home; take me to sanity.

Touch me…and free me. Hold me…and save me.

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