Auras : What Mine Are Like and Why They're Important - Epilepsy Foundation Texas

Auras are the feeling one gets before having a seizure, a warning sign. There are different “types” of auras, but the ones I have are visual. Not everyone experiences auras before having a seizure. I am glad I do.


I’m not sure how auras ‘feel’ for other people, but mine are a bit like I’ve stepped out of my body. My vision gets blurry, and it’s hard to think straight. It is somewhat of an unreal feeling, and this is why I can sense auras when my eyes are closed, even though the primary sensation is blurred vision.

There are a couple of things I try to focus on when an aura arrives. Finding a safe place to lie down (the center of a bed, the floor, or a couch) is my first priority. I also make sure I locate my phone in the event of a seizure, for when I wake up. I always let my family know when I have had a seizure, and I want to make this process as easy as possible when I wake up.

Timing is Something, Severity is Everything

My auras don’t last very long at all. I estimate they are far under a minute long. Approximating their length is important because I am able to guess how long I have to act in the event that an aura does result in a seizure.

The timing is much less important to me than the severity of the auras.

There is a bit of a fine line with “bad” auras. They are more difficult to describe, but they are different experiences. My vision is worse. I am more panicked, and as a result I make worse decisions. I tend to pace around a small open area rather than lie down in an effort to stay calm. My breathing is heavier and my thoughts are more scattered. It is during a particularly bad aura when closing my eyes does not help the “unreal” feeling disappear.

I feel more certain of a seizure during these auras even though a seizure is still not guaranteed, so despite my decision to pace, I know I need to and I eventually do lie down.

Seizure Avoidance Techniques

There are a few ways to I try to “stop” auras while they are occurring. First, I try closing my eyes to eliminate the feeling of blurred vision. This can reduce symptoms and in doing so will keep me calm, which is of upmost importance. Breathing deeply also helps a lot. If these techniques have been effective in stopping the aura, I take a pill from the next dose of my medication in order to fully relax and (in my mind) prevent it from returning.

While it isn’t something I do every time, it is a good idea to call someone and let them know that I had an aura. I am grateful for my auras primarily because they are a warning for seizures. And because of that, it is important that others know they have occurred.

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