A Different Kind of Self Possessed

*Trigger warning: mentions of seizures, demonic possession, death, and night terrors*

Halloween is approaching, and the veil is thinning.

Spooky season is upon us once again, so the time for ghost stories, scary movies, and witchy-workings. Last night, some friends and I had a Halloween Slumber Party (yes, even though we all in our late 20s and 30s). Our plan was to watch bad horror movies and maybe paint out nails and do some self-care. At the start of the night, someone made a joke about how the veil between worlds thinning, and how his Grandmother was concerned about him getting into some magical mischief. It turns out, his grandmother may have been right about evil spirits being afoot, just not in the way she thought. My inner demons quickly took us from watching bad horror movies, to being in horror movie.

I have seizures.

I have partial, non-epileptic, pseudo-seizures. The “partial” part means that I do not lose consciousness during episodes, and the “non-epileptic” simply means that my condition is not caused by epilepsy. Despite the name “pseudo-seizures”, this condition is very real. “Pseudo” in this case referring to the fact that these seizures are psychologically induced instead of having a physical cause. As bizarre as it sounds, the seizures usually annoy me more than they frighten me. Because I don’t lose consciousness when I start to convulse and spasm, I am usually able to get myself to a safe place to ride out the storm. And, as unnerving as it is to not have control over your own bodily movements, I rarely feel as if I am in danger of injuring myself. Generally, it’s others around me who are more freaked out by my condition than I am-

Except for last night.

My doctors and I have tried several medications to treat my condition. I, unfortunately, had bad reactions to all treatments so far. Finally, we decided to give marijuana a try. This medicinal plant has proven helpful in treating seizures, anxiety, depression, and PTSD- all of which are conditions related to my convulsions! This seemed like the perfect plan- so I decided to give it a try. Since friends were going to be around all night, I figured last night was the best time to give a dispensary-sourced edible a try. I though it might be a good idea to have people around to monitor my reaction, and I am so glad I did.

I never felt less relaxed in my life.

At first, my reaction seemed standard: I had a hard time accurately precieving time and space. Single seconds felt like hours, and everything seemed to be moving around me. This, I knew, was normal and would pass. But then, I felt my seizures coming. The familiar feeling that my nervous system was racing and my synapses were sparking, so I crawled away from the couch to lay flat on the floor. “This will be fine” I tried to assure myself as I felt my muscle coiling, but I knew I was in for a rough time. “Just enter your gray-zone, and let it pass.” I reminded myself, after issuing a warning to my friends about what was coming. The only problem was, I couldn’t find my liminal head-space. The gray-zone of half-consciousness I go to when the seizures hit, was gone.

I felt like I was being possessed.

I alternated between screaming, crying, and laughing. Instead of being nowhere (my liminal head space), I felt like I was everywhere at once, jumping through realities and memories at an increasing pace. Some memories I recognized as my own, but others I couldn’t place; as if they occurred to me in a different universe or a passed life. I became convinced that I died as a child and no longer existed. Instead, I was an inhuman spirit possessing the body. The seizures were my darkness trying to breakout. I was also convinced that someone (possibly myself, a childhood friend, someone from another life) had drowned. Those thoughts and memories brought pain and fear, so I’d try to find my way back to reality. Once I surfaced again, my screaming and crying turned to unhinged laughter. Ironically, I was most lucid when I was laughing. I could see my friends around me, and see their fear. I tried to lighten the mood, and joked about being possessed by myself and even made a TikTok inspired “No Bones” joke when my convulsions made me fall over like a sack of gelatin. I think I was trying to help my friends through this traumatizing experience, but in retrospect, joking about being possessed probably made everything worse considering the circumstances of:

A. Having violent convulsions

B. Slipping in and out of lucidity between bouts of screaming and laughter

C. We had just watched 3 horror movies

D. We were 1 week away from Halloween

This goes to show that my dark sense of humor is a fixture of my personality.

It took 2 hours for the seizures to pass.

My seizures can range from a few seconds to hours, depending on their severity. This one was severe. Usually, entering my gray-zone and surrendering to the sweet silence of half-consciousnesses calms me in a matter of minutes. This meditative state is like surrendering to a dream- but a dream where nothing exists, not even yourself. It’s like a factory reset; where the screen goes blank for a second before the reboot. Last couldn’t calm myself enough to reach this liminal space, so instead I kept resetting into a dark space of nightmares and terrors. I kept on repeating that cycle of jumping between nightmare and reality until my visits to reality became longer and longer- and I finally felt calm enough to sleep.

This was probably the most terrifying experience of my life.

Overall, I’d rate my “trip” as a 0/10. I do not recommended. It was the definition of a living nightmare. Being unable to control my own body is something I’ve come to terms with over the last 9 years. Being unable to control my mind, to the point of being unsure what was a memory and what was a twisted fantasy is terror. Despite marijuana’s wonderful track record for other patients with similar conditions, I can confidently say that I will not be adding marijuana to my treatment plan. I have spent the entire day today recovering from last night, and am still unsure how to start processing the mind-fuck. I am fairly certain I traumatized my entire friend group, and myself, with a single bad trip. At least no one can claim that our Halloween party was boring.

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