Panel: Sharing Subjectivities
Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disorder as there are around 40 different known kinds. All forms of Epilepsy are induced by a chemical imbalance, or a structural abnormality in the brain which couId be genetic, or caused by physical damage at one stage of someone’s life. These impairments can cause electrical malfunctions sparking off uncontrolled and excessive discharges that spread to other parts of the brain, leading to temporal lobe epilepsy seizures. When the whole brain or large parts of it become involved in a raging electrical storm of signals, the result is what is known as a tonic-clonic seizure. Both types of seizures trigger a range of symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, hallucinations, flashbacks, deja vu, emotional outbursts, lack of awareness, limb jerking and so on. They can make a person hear or see imaginary things, have strange feelings and engage in involuntary actions which often resemble the symptoms of a psychiatric disease. Crude sensations of smell and taste, epigastric sensations, rapid mood swings, chewing movements, lip-smacking, spitting, and other forms of uncoordinated movements are not unusual. As well, tonic-clonic seizures also induce aimless physical wandering, followed by periods of total loss of consciousness, convulsions and amongst other consequences, more or less severe falls. A large number of people diagnosed as epileptics experience some kind of personalised warning sign previous to a seizure known as an “aura”. Some don’t.
The difference between a temporal lobe epilepsy seizure and the beginning of a tonic clonic one can sometimes be minimal and difficult to notice, even for the person experiencing the seizure. All the sensations experienced in the context of temporal lobe epilepsy seizures can constitute the aura of a tonic clonic seizure. Epileptic fits am not thought to typically leave brain damage but can definitely alter interrelating neuronal connections. Epileptic activities have a definite physical, emotional and practical impact on the lives of people subject to epilepsy, as well on the lives of those surrounding them. Long term effects include loss of self confidence, loss of trust from other people, personality changes, multiple medication side effects, and so on. There are as many types of seizures as there are individuals living with epilepsy. For each person subject to some epileptic activity, no one seizure is the same as another: mental and physical
environments always differ.
- Isabelle Delmotte, University of New South Wales, Australia. Previously a photographer, she has been using 2D and 3D computer graphics tools for the past six years. One project, Epileptograph: the Internal Journey, has occupied her for the past four years.
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