Epilepsy 101: Do Epileptics get a Warning Before a Seizure?

I chose to be happyWhen I talk to people about my seizures, a common question is whether or not I get any warning before one happens. Most often, I get zero to little warning before my seizures. Sometimes I get a “funny feeling”, feelings of anxiety or extreme fatigue. These symptoms- which are called Auras- are difficult to differentiate between every day feelings of fatigue, anxiety, and random funny feelings. Other people living with Epilepsy have very clearly defined Auras, which makes it easy to get to a safe space before the seizure occurs. There are many Auras that people experience- ranging from tame to extremely odd. Auras can occur together or separately.

According to the blog Living With Epilepsy, by Phylis Feiner Johnson, here is a little list of Auras:


Visual changes

Kaleidoscope effects

Visual hallucinations

Shimmering sensations

Vibrating visual field

Distortions in size, shape or distance of objects

Bright lights or blobs

Zigzag lines

Tunnel vision

Blind or dark spots in the field of vision

Curtain-like effect over one eye

Blindness in one eye

Motionless stare

Dilated pupils

Auditory changes

Hallucinations — hearing voices or sounds that don’t exist

Being unable to understand spoken words

Muffled sounds

Buzzing noises

Loud or whispered volume

Temporary deafness

Physical changes

Weakness, unsteadiness

Changes in heart rate




Saliva collecting in mouth

Lip smacking



Strange smells

Problems speaking

Repetitive movements

Limbs jerking involuntarily

Numbness or tingling on one side of face or body

Feeling of being separated from your body

Needing to urinate

Psychological changes


Anxiety or fear

Physical detachment

Déjà vu or jamais vu, a sense of familiarity or unfamiliarity


Steven C. Schachter, M.D.

So as you can see there are a lot of Auras that people with Epilepsy experience. Some (like myself) experience zero to little warning before a seizure, and others get them with enough time to be safe. Personally, I wish I had warning before my seizures- as I would have less collateral damage. Ah, well. I am pooped as I have had a long day. Hope you’re doing well!! xox

One thought on “Epilepsy 101: Do Epileptics get a Warning Before a Seizure?

  1. Hi Sita, i’m lucky in that all of my auras only ever lead to a partial and I rarely have seizures while I’m awake. The Dr’s always ask what they feel like and its so hard to describe but its just a ‘feeling’, like a gut feeling. To describe it as familiar is probably the best way, I know I might have a partial and I may not. Its pretty regular so obviously very familiar to me. If I’m out and about they can turn into very anxious feelings because I’m always aware that a grand mal seizure might one day follow it.
    It would be interesting to hear how other people describe theirs if anyone is happy to share.

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