Thursday, March 5, 2009

Other Neurological Symptoms

Detailing every quirk my nervous system has thrown me so far:

First, Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS).

My experiences with space-time continuum distortions have been happening since I was very young. I can remember laying in bed as a child and feeling like the room was shrinking around me, or I was ballooning. It is accompanied by a buzzing feeling in my head. It's buzzy, or fuzzy... like an echo of a vibration. I don't know how to explain it. I didn't feel claustrophobic or panicky, and in fact rather enjoyed it as a kid. It was fun. My first memory of it was not alarming and it was very familiar, so I am assuming that it started in infancy. It goes the opposite way, as well. I feel as small as a speck of dust in the vast emptiness of my bedroom. It only happens in the dark, and as soon as I move or see light the bubble bursts and I'm back to my regular old size. But if I lay still and close my eyes, it'll return again in seconds. It's lulled me to sleep quite a few nights, the feeling of shrinking to nothingness. It comes and goes, less frequently as I've gotten older.

Hearing Voices

Along with the shrinking and vibrating brain, I would also "hear" voices. I was aware that I wasn't hearing them with my ears and that they weren't real. It sounded like someone was yelling from very far away, there were no words, just distorted vocal fluctuations. That I heard in my head. I'm explaining to the best of my abilities, really. It would gradually get louder and louder until I opened my eyes or heard a real noise. I stopped being afraid of it pretty young and would sometimes let it go to see how "loud" it could get. Mental illness has been ruled out as the cause, and it has been determined a neurological symptom.

Temporal Distortion

The time distortion was terrifying when it started. I don't know for a fact that it is related to AIWS, didn't note a reference to time in anything I read. But it feels similar to me. I get the same buzzy feeling and hear voices with it sometimes, so I know they have to be somehow related. The temporal distortions (I have fun making up my own names for things) started after my headaches did, as opposed to AIWS, which I've had my whole life. It only happens at night when I'm alone. One of the first times it happened I was on my front porch. The buzzy feeling started, warning me it was coming. Things around me started feeling unstable, like they might slip away if I didn't hold on. Then I noticed neighbors moving really quickly and really slowly down the block, simultaneously. In the movie House on Haunted Hill (the newer one), they used this jerky, fast/slow editing to make the ghosts scarier when they move. Nothing is jerky, exactly, but the feeling is the same. Or like the zombies in some recent movies, where they drag themselves along like zombies do, then suddenly move in a blur and back to dragging before you can even think about it. Yeah, it's like that.

Anyway, this temporal distortion happened and it was freaky, but I had the head buzzing that was familiar so I tried to ride it out, see what would happen. It just got worse and weirder and I started to panic a little, so I jumped up. I felt like I was moving sickeningly fast through the thickest molasses possible. I managed to reach the front door and scramble inside and stumble to the couch to lay my head on my very startled boyfriend's lap and start crying. He asked what was wrong, touched my head, and it was gone. Poof.

Every time it happens, I just have to talk to someone and it's gone. Talking to myself doesn't help, and neither does listening to voicemail. It seems to be triggered by lack of sleep, nicotine and sudoku on my phone. Any of these three have been players, alone or as a team, in these attacks. I gave up all nicotine over a year ago and I've been hyper vigilant about getting enough sleep. The sudoku I will never give up. But I haven't had any time warps in six months-ish, so I hope I never have to.

Stroke-Like Symptoms

I've seen information on basilar and hemiplegic migraine. They present with stroke like symptoms that can include motor weakness, aphasia, slow thinking and paralysis (to name a few). I get all the but the last, which is the biggie, from what I gather, for diagnosis.

Brain Skips

Another self-named syndrome! This happens anytime, anywhere, but infrequently. Suddenly, all of reality will seem to take a sudden, nauseating skip to the left. As if I had jumped, without moving. The buzzing feeling accompanies it, of course. Then things will slip back into their proper place, like a movie with projector issues. Makes me feel vaguely sick and unsettled.

Motion Sickness

I used to like to say that I could "Eat and read sitting backwards on a bus on a winding highway and never get sick." Well, that changed pretty abruptly once my head started up. I get motion sick so easily now, it's laughable. Elevators, television, dramatic hand movements, and of course, sitting in a car make me feel like I am a short moment away from vomiting all over everything everywhere. But I never do, knock on wood. I carry seabands and lozenges with me, and consume a lot of ginger when it kicks into high gear. The silver lining is that is comes in waves. I'll be nauseous for a month straight, but then I'll be 90% okay for the next six months.

This is another post that I'm going to be adding to. Things are always changing here in the land of migraine.


Tallis said...

thank you for the explanation :)
I hadn't heard of this before, someone has a blog that refers to Alice in Wonderland, but I hadn't given it much thought - here is the link to their blog:
I am not sure if they have this too, but maybe?

I have almost experienced the first thing you talk about (i think) several times, but when it starts I open my eyes or move and it stops. Next time I might let it happen since you didn't disapear or anything :P I would/will start to feel like the room is growing or I am shrinking (this is in a light room with my eye closed or in a dark room with my eyes opened)