Epilepsy Talk

Auras without Seizures | June 15, 2020

Do any of these sensations sound familiar to you?

Suddenly you’re sweating, flushed, become pale or have goosebumps.

Your stomach feels queasy, like you’re going to puke.

There’s a foreboding or fear that something awful is about to happen.

You feel like a mess emotionally.

Maybe you feel an odd sensation, like a gentle breeze, buzzing or ringing sounds.

Voices that aren’t really there, a nasty taste in your mouth, weird smells, visual distortions.

You feel like you have zoom eyeballs.

Visual and spatial perceptions are off. (Sort of like “Alice in Wonderland” except this is NOT wonderful!)

There’s a distortion of time.

Maybe like an out-of-body experience.

Déjà vu. You’ve been here before.

You’re seeing people and places or experiencing events from the past. Yet, new places and things seem familiar – as if they’ve happened before.

Or maybe it’s the other way around.

You’re uncomfortable with your surroundings and things that are familiar to you.

Well-known places may suddenly seem strange.

It’s an aura, right?


Are you going crazy?

Are you imagining things?


You’re probably having a Simple Partial Seizure.

(I know, I was blown away, too!)

The aura IS the seizure.

An aura is actually a small seizure itself — one that has not spread into an observable seizure that impairs consciousness and your ability to respond. 

You don’t lose consciousness.

In other words, something is going on in your brain.

But it isn’t spreading.

Sometimes this abnormal electrical activity tapers off.

At other times, it spreads and leads to severe seizures.

Auras can occur as a warning that a bigger seizure is about to happen.

And sometimes they can occur just by themselves.

A way to distinguish between the two is if you have no movement at all, then it’s considered an aura.

If you have actual movement, then it’s considered a Simple Partial Seizure.

One person describing her auras said “The sensation is kind of like lighting a firework that turns out to be a dud. 

The fuse starts hissing, but then instead of the firework going off (i.e. having a full blow seizure) it just fades and stops after about 10-15 seconds.”

What are YOUR experiences?

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  1. I had a lot of simple partial seizures, auras with déjà vu. For instance the radio is on and I know (or ‘think I know’) what will be said.

    Dilantin wasn’t effective at treating the simple partial seizures but, in my case, worked well preventing tonic-clonic seizures.

    I kind of liked the auras sometimes–don’t tell anybody.

    With the proper mindset I could ‘lead myself’ to auras. It was documented through EEGs when I was under observation for two weeks at the Montréal Neurological Institute (not far from Avenue Docteur-Penfield).

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Stephen Smith — June 15, 2020 @ 1:35 PM

    • Well Stephen, the good news in my case was that auras were an immediate warning of an oncoming seizure. So, I could hit the floor, before the floor hit me!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 1:47 PM

    • Yes! I find that at times I can make myself have an aura. I do not like them and don’t want them, but at times feel like I can make them happen (not always, but sometimes). Glad to hear I’m not alone in that!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Jaclyn — July 12, 2020 @ 12:40 PM

  2. Goodmorning Phylis 😊. WOW YOU HAVE ESP I SWEAR!!!!! Well you seem to have “hit the nail on the head”!! For me anyways. The funny part is according to my (VERY DISMISSIVE ABRUPT ARROGANT neurologist) I was told it’s because of damaged nerves in my neck that is causing me to have problems!! That it’s not his purpose for seeing me and I would have to go back to my family doctor!! I think it’s time to TRY and go to my family doctor anyways. And maybe try acupuncture. What’s really weird about it is it appears what seems to stop the panicky feeling of fighting a seizure is halted with THE LOWEST DOSE of “lorazepam”!! It’s very discouraging and frustrating to try so hard to help myself only to be told “I AM UNHELPABLE!! (Sorry I know I spelt it wrong. My bad). I believe it’s a “focal seizure”, but because I refuse to try “keppra” and the “toperimate” (I’m allergic to generic medications and it did not help me at all!!) and my pharmacist told me only the neurologist could change it to the “BRAND NAME MEDICATION” which is actually “Topomax” and he never did. Maybe by no fault of his own I don’t know. Either way I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE!! It is the worst to be stuck in and I would LOVE TO GET OUT OF IT!! And get a new neurologist to! Funny how the people who are supposed to help us make us try to feel so helpless!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — June 15, 2020 @ 1:41 PM

    • Kathy, nerve damage causing auras is just not the case, as you know. As I said before, this guy knows nothing or else he cares about nothing. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 1:46 PM

      • I SINCERELY AGREE WITH YOU!! THANK YOU Phylis. It’s just VERY SAD, DISHEARTENING AND ABSOLUTELY FRUSTRATING to have to go through because I don’t want be labelled as a “BAD UN-HELPABLE OR COMPLIANT PATIENT by some one I’ve waited to see for a year a half for 2 ten minute appointments!! It’s pretty sad and upsetting when even our spouses are VERY UPSET AND VERY VOCALLY FOR US!! And even their not being heard either!!!!!!! It doesn’t make other “NEUROLOGISTS OR EPITOLOGISTS AND NEUOLOGICAL PROFESSIONAL” LOOK GOOD OR HELPFUL AT ALL!!!!!!! And it leaves a feeling a helplessness and hopelessness in the epileptic, their spouses, children, families, and friends FURIOUSLY STUNNED!!!!!!! I think that’s what’s even more hurtful and upsetting than actually having a seizure!! ALL ABOUT THE MONEY NOT THE HUMAN!!!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Kathy S.B — June 15, 2020 @ 1:57 PM

  3. My auras were “scared feelings”. If I felt scared for no reason, I knew a seizure was on its way. What I started doing was singing when I felt the aura. I was convinced I couldn’t black out if I’m using my brain at the time and I still say it worked 80-90% of the time.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Ed Lugge — June 15, 2020 @ 1:50 PM

    • How very clever, Ed. I guess each of us finds their own method of coping and if yours works, wonderful!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 1:52 PM

    • Hi Phylis and Ed,
      I do something similar. I try to divert my attention to reading when I feel the auras. I run to my chair or my bed what ever is close, if I’m home, and wrap up in a blanket to try and calm myself. Plus I read anything I can get my hands on
      It’s so good to get the confirmation that the auras are the seizures. I too have been brushed off by the “experts”. I knew these were not nothing.
      Hope you are having a good day
      Eve Quigley

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Eve Quigley — June 15, 2020 @ 3:46 PM

      • Eve, I think there’s something psychological as well as physical in cocooning yourself in a blanket. It certainly makes sense if you think about it. Real good sense.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 4:29 PM

      • It’s the “SECURE HUGGING AND WARMTH” effect 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Kathy S.B — June 15, 2020 @ 5:38 PM

      • I have a “weighted blanket” and if I’m not home I’ll try and stiffen myself and then loosen up or chinch my toes and loosen up. Lol 😂 or TALK TO MYSELF OUT LOUD AND HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH MYSELF!! Lol 😂 I know it sounds crazy, but it works for the grandmal seizures lol 😂

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Kathy S.B — June 15, 2020 @ 5:37 PM

      • It just makes sense to keep the brain working if you don’t want to see it stop.

        Liked by 2 people

        Comment by Ed Lugge — June 15, 2020 @ 10:41 PM

    • NICE!!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — June 15, 2020 @ 5:34 PM

  4. I only have partial (focal) seizures before medicine and they were exactly how you described, except all the symptoms would start like an atomic bomb in my stomach and then the symptoms would move upwards like the mushroom cloud.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Hety Eliot — June 15, 2020 @ 3:38 PM

    • Ugh. I used to get this disgusting metallic taste in my mouth. Not too tasty. But certainly not as radical as yours.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 4:27 PM

      • ME TOO!! I would end up biteing my cheeks to try and distract myself, but it hurt like bleep afterwards!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Kathy S.B — June 15, 2020 @ 5:40 PM

      • YES I also get a metallic taste in my mouth & what I call roller coaster drop stomach!

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Tracey — August 11, 2021 @ 10:28 AM

    • Lol 😂 mine used to start somewhere I would rather not say and then change over time.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — June 15, 2020 @ 5:39 PM

  5. My aura was a feeling going from my head to my feet. I would just stop and close my eyes until it stopped. It would affect my memory. If I had 3 or 4 in a day of be exhausted and take a 4 hr. Nap. Once I started on keppra they stopped. I’ve been seizure free for 3 years.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Mary k — June 15, 2020 @ 4:58 PM

    • Mary, my first seizure (in the shower), I felt like a “swish” going from my head to my feet. And an incredible weak feeling, as if my blood (pressure?) was running down through my toes!

      But look at YOU now. 3 YEARS being seizure-free. What a milestone. CONGRATULATIONS!

      (My epilepsy is also controlled.)

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 5:24 PM


        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Kathy S.B — June 15, 2020 @ 5:42 PM

    • Wow, i’m currently investigating if my current weird sensation episodes are partial seizures. And ive been trying to find another person who has this sensation! feels like a force runs from my head to my feet and leaves my feet super quickly! Super weird

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by J — July 6, 2020 @ 9:36 AM

  6. This sort of thing began when I was in my 50s and has increased with age. I think there’s a hormonal component, but haven’t found anyone who can discuss it intelligently.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by HoDo — June 15, 2020 @ 5:09 PM


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — June 15, 2020 @ 5:43 PM

    • Goodmorning HoDo 😊. You know that was EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING TOO!! Thank you for helping me NOT THINK THAT I AM A LOST CAUSE!! Please have a very good blessed safe day today and please take care of yourself 🙏🏼 🦅🙏🏼💗😊.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — June 18, 2020 @ 10:16 AM

  7. What an interesting concept. Because my seizures began in adolescence. Beats me if I can explain why. But many chronic and psychological conditions begin at adolescence…???

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 5:28 PM

    • I had unknowingly been experiencing auras two years before finally being diagnosed after suffering a granmal. In my 50s. I have focal seizures, an occasional complex but mostly simple partials and are pretty well controlled although not completely. I had a bad head injury age 11 that I’m sure was concussion but was never checked out by a physician. I had severe migraines and blank outs that my siblings noticed but laughed it off as me just ‘spacing’ out. When I entered my puberty years the migraines stopped and I had no indication of epilepsy until my 50s – when menopause kicked in and the seizures started. I truly believe it was hormonal although my doctor seems to disagree.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Regina Lovelace — June 15, 2020 @ 6:06 PM

      • Definitely. Aside from adolescence, for women, menopause is another hot spot. Some end their seizures. And some begin.

        Regina, you might find this article interesting:

        Have You Had A Concussion?


        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 6:22 PM

      • I wasn’t able to access that article from my end! Or I would have read it. Interesting though. Thank you

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Kathy S.B — June 18, 2020 @ 10:17 AM

      • In retrospect, I think you have to be a New York Times subscriber (which HoDo and I are), to access the article. Sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 18, 2020 @ 11:33 AM

      • That’s alright 😊. I have you and HoDo to TRUST!! 😊🙏🏼🦅😇💕

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Kathy S.B — June 18, 2020 @ 11:34 AM

      • I totally relate to people laughing you off as spacing out. My whole life people would say I looked like I was in a trance, I’m ignoring them, la-la land, and my personal favorite, that I looked drunk or on drugs. (I don’t think your siblings were that cruel 😄 I hope)

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Hety Eliot — June 16, 2020 @ 11:49 AM

    • There are many hormones besides estrogen and testosterone. They interact with each other, with your brain and with your meds.

      OTC melatonin does me in, nearly fatal suicidal depression. And the balance of your hormone levels changes constantly, making testing difficult.

      I also tried reading the Web equivalent of “Hormones for Dummies.” It is not for the impatient or the faint of heart, and that’s without epilepsy in the equation.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by HoDo — June 15, 2020 @ 6:29 PM

      • How about if you read “Hormones for Dummies” and then just translate it for us “dummies”! 🙂

        That way, YOU can do the hard work and we can benefit from it and be enlightened. (???)


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 6:35 PM

      • I didn’t say I understood it.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by HoDo — June 15, 2020 @ 6:42 PM

      • LOL! 🙂


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 6:49 PM

  8. My worse seizures used to be before that time of the month (it’s referred to as “SHARK WEEK” in my house lol 😂. Because SOMEHOW all three women of the house seemed to fall online together that week!!!!! Oh MY POOR HUSBAND AND SON!!😱😰). Now it’s changed to “PIRANHA WEEK!!” Lol 😂. There’s only my two girls left 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — June 15, 2020 @ 5:47 PM

  9. My auras come in all forms. Nasty smoke smells, deja vu, sadness, anxiety, feeling like I’m disconnected from my body and anger for no reason. I had a neuro tell me once that those were not related. I moved into another neuro however, she is leaving the practice. I have an appointment with a family neuro at a comprehsive center Specializing in epilepsy. I hope I become comfortable with the new one.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Emily Lewis — June 15, 2020 @ 6:19 PM

    • I sure do hope so too. You can have a myriad of auras and different kinds of seizures, too.

      Whoever doubted you was not doing their homework. 😦


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 6:26 PM

      • I AGREE!! Sometimes it almost feels to me as if we’re too much BRAIN WORK FOR DOCTORS AND SPECIALISTS OF ANY SORT!!

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Kathy S.B — June 18, 2020 @ 10:21 AM

  10. Very helpful information Phyllis. I am more positive than ever that I suffered a concussion all those years ago and the hormone changes are directly related to my seizures. Thank you for passing it on!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Regina Lovelace — June 15, 2020 @ 6:52 PM

  11. So glad to hear these descriptions of feelings and that they are seizures themselves. Diagnosed in 2015 with complex partial seizures (TLE) I’ve had nearly all the feelings you describe. I’m just now beginning to ‘cut myself some slack’—that is, stop thinking I’m hopelessly strange. These things are real, not my fault and I should give myself a hug. Its down-right necessary to have this forum because it validates and reassures. Heart attack victims have lots of that! We brain attack folks not so much. So, thanks and I’ll keep reading!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Dixie Phillips — June 15, 2020 @ 7:00 PM

    • If this is your first time here, welcome Dixie. If you want to subscribe, simply go to the bottom of the right column, enter your email address and click on “Follow”.

      Meanwhile, give yourself a great big hug, because you’re no more “strange” than the rest of us! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 15, 2020 @ 7:08 PM

  12. I get a sharp pain in one side of my head quickly, At other times I may feel as if I were shocked starting from my shoulders down to my toes, like lighting.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Barbara — June 16, 2020 @ 5:22 AM

    • YES!!!!! For me it’s sometimes comes as a VERY SHARP SHOOTING PAIN IN THE BACK AND/OR SIDE OF MY NECK BY MY RIGHT EAR!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — June 18, 2020 @ 10:23 AM

  13. Wow, Barbara. That’s sounds awful. Especially the lightning. Sort of like the misfiring of brain waves early before a seizure.

    The “perfect storm” comes to you all too soon. A nasty warning of what is to come.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 16, 2020 @ 10:01 AM

  14. I used to ignore & even tried to hide all these sensational, confusing & disorienting strikes until I realized that I get these auras before every time I ended up having grand mal seizures.
    Therefore my auras became warning alarms to the next incoming grand mal seizures, providing me with the opportunity to let the people around me know that “I think I’m going to have a seizure”, while I immediately move to safe place to sit & keep my brain active, diverting from the auras.
    The most memorable moments of my auras happened to be in Optomotrist’s chair while I was being examined for prescription glasses with a laser test.
    While the laser beams for my eye exam triggered my auras, the very few seconds of the auras before my imminent grand mal seizure helped me to avoid further physical injury warning the eye doctor.
    While my auras can turn false alarms for my grand mal seizures, I still consider my auras to be important signals to watch for the next grand mal seizure.
    Thank you for sharing this informative article, now I can see why all my auras don’t always end up turning into the obvious grand mal seizures I’ve come to expect.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by BahreNegash Eritrea — June 16, 2020 @ 3:19 PM

    • Lol oddly I grew up with my optometrist THANK GOD/GRANDMA!!!!! And it was actually between him and I that I figured out about the “TAC GLASSES” and to take an “ATIVAN” just prior to my eye exams!! Oh thank god for “SMALL TOWNS” sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — June 18, 2020 @ 10:26 AM

  15. Like you, I tend to think of auras as warning alarms, so I can hit the floor before the floor hits me. Or warn someone I’m with that a seizure’s coming.

    And if the seizure doesn’t happen, it’s all for the better. At least I was prepared.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 16, 2020 @ 3:47 PM

  16. I unfortunately get auras many hours and sometimes days before a seizure. While the alert is helpful, it’s even more unnerving regarding the “when” it’s going to happen. I try to comfort myself but there is more anxiety, for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by skolly9 — June 16, 2020 @ 4:10 PM

  17. It’s sort of like prescience is for me…

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 16, 2020 @ 4:41 PM

  18. EXACTLY!!!!! Once you know the definition of “PRESCIENCE”!! Lol that one took a bit of research and brain work for me to completely understand!! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Kathy S.B — June 18, 2020 @ 10:29 AM

  19. Alien presence or familiar memory connected to a sickning color that links to hearing problems and sucking air while experiencing nausea. Passes in 30 seconds, or shake head and tell it NO, and it relieves it for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Michael baxter — October 23, 2020 @ 9:44 PM

  20. I haven’t had them for years but last weekend I’d ended up having 6 one day and 8 the next day. A couple of days before I had been sick and had a bad head (pain mostly over right eye). I was feeling like someone was walking over my grave as the saying goes, a couple of time arms went cold

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Clare Armstrong — January 6, 2021 @ 6:49 PM

  21. My neurologist says that for those of us who are megrimous, auras without headaches are quite common. I haven’t had a migraine for maybe thirty years, but the auras still show up from time to time, as they did before the migraines commenced.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — January 7, 2021 @ 11:14 AM

  22. I got auras but after prescribed medicine
    Seizures happened. If you get auras which sounds like a partial don’t take medicine because big seizures will occur.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Danny o — January 7, 2021 @ 1:25 PM

    • Always follow the doctor’s instructions for your meds. And if there’s a problem, go to them and insist on a change post haste.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — January 7, 2021 @ 3:24 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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