What it's like to have a grand mal seizure

Radio producer Jess Hill, who has been working in the Middle East, wrote an account of what the experience of having a grand mal seizure was like.

She wrote the post a week after the episode, and two weeks before having brain surgery to remove the tumor that caused it.

"At the time I was still having seizures every few days, and just the act of writing about the first seizure in such detail almost brought on another one," Jess explains. "I initially planned to keep this account private, but after two months, I’ve decided to share it, if only for the fact that it might be useful to others who have had or will have a similar experience."

It happened when she was in transit via plane from Yemen to Beirut.

My head resting against the window, I was swimming around somewhere between awake and asleep when I felt my mind fall through a trapdoor and into a vacuum. Suddenly, there was no ground for my mind to land on. No language. No concepts. Anxiously I grasped through the smothering black for an idea, a word, something I could articulate. Nothing. Just black.

Then I felt my eyes roll up in my head. On a slow, steady rhythm, they started jerking forcefully to the right. Language flooded back i’ve lost control! and jerk, jerk, jerk, further and faster my eyes pushed to the right. Breath quick and shallow now, eyes so far up and to the right they pushed painfully against their sockets. My head jerked too now, like it was being dragged by my eyes jerk, jerk, jerk, I tried to push out a sound, a grunt. Nothing but spittle.

In full seizure now, shaking uncontrollably, I could still see out of the very corners of my eyes. There was no-one sitting next to me, and the man two seats down was staring into his iPad.

Read more. Follow Jess on Twitter: @jessradio.