Religious seizures & TLE

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Hi folks,

My epilepsy is generally well controlled but I also suffer from the occasional psychosis. I live in India(Kerala) currently so while I've heard people with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy(TLE) frequently suffer from religious seizures and hyperreligiousity I have yet to find a support group here to discuss this with possibly due to the stigma attached with epilepsy here.

If possible, I would like to know more of the religious experiences of other TLE'ers here, if there are any. I will start with mine. All my spiritual experiences have taken the form of a voice 'in my head'. Not an auditory voice but more like a thought I don't think is mine. My psychologist has called them pseudo-hallucinations.

My first one changed me from an agnostic into a believer. It also led me to seek a more holistic path in religion. My second one led me to hear a 'voice' telling me the Socratic paradox "The only thing you know is that you know nothing" and that from on "You must live life from moment to moment". I am summarizing these experiences extremely briefly here as the conversations lasted for several days and my main goal is to hopefully find some support groups in Kerala --- preferably Kottayam.

Thanks for listening,
Hi I have temporal lobe starts for my seizures. It is odd that whenever I have one i immediately feel this overwhelming need to stay on my knees and elbows with head down, facing east (for some unknown reason) and talk to god. I have no idea but it is very interesting.
I definitely suffered from hyper-religiosity and what you call religious seizures in my twenties, and, after growing up in an atheistic home, I became religious as a result. Then I got some control and had a good look at my experiences and became an atheist again. I no longer have those delusions, or hallucinations, if you like. I guess mainly because my epilepsy has never really been quite as bad as it was before I was diagnosed. So today, I'd say epilepsy would prevent me from ever becoming religious because anything I experience must be called into suspicion. I am one of the rare atheists who says if god came down and showed himself to me, I still wouldn't believe in him. Or them. You can look into Geschwind's syndrome, if you want to know more about it. You can also read The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong. She's a TLE sufferer who had strong hyper-religiosity and the book is about that. I'd say if you found a TLE support group, you'd definitely find support for hyper-religiosity there. It's a common thing. It'd be less common to find a support group purely for TLE patients who are hyper-religious.
Hi I have temporal lobe starts for my seizures. It is odd that whenever I have one i immediately feel this overwhelming need to stay on my knees and elbows with head down, facing east (for some unknown reason) and talk to god. I have no idea but it is very interesting.
Janus, wow, your experiences seem way more emphatic than mine! I just hear a 'voice' but you seem to have specific motor effects. Maybe you face east because that is where the source of all light in this world starts. At least, I think the sun rises in the East....
Kirsten, I currently suffer from doubts just like you did since I realize any untoward activity in the brain can affect our perception of reality. I'll admit I'll never say I know it is god talking to me but that I choose to believe it is because I like what the voice told me and it helped bring me out of a period of depression in my life.
However, if possible, I would like if you could give me a short description of what form your experiences took....
I, too have temporal lobe epilepsy originating from the left side. I've had many CP seizures and a few TCs with auras where I heard voices, like someone calling my name. But never thought it was god talking to me. It was more a scary voice and I felt like someone was going to chase me. I wanted to run. It was more devilish than god-like for me.

In addition to the book by Karen Armstrong that Kirsten suggested, check out this website. It's about TLE and God, done by Dr. Ramachandran:
When I was a teen, I used to see evil faces everywhere, and where today I have hallucinations that things move, in those days I attributed those movements to gods and devils. I guess nothing in the actual hallucinations has changed. I just interpret them differently. We see what we want to see is not quite right--we interpret what we want to interpret. So when stuff happens, like doors slam when there are no doors to slam, I know it's just a seizure. In those days, it was god doing that, and he was telling me something by slamming that door, and I was absolutely certain that that was what he was trying to say. I also used to hear terrible hatred and fury in every sound but that was a seizure thing that was there because I wasn't being treated then. It's been gone for at least a decade now and, thank The Flying Spaghetti Monster, it has never returned. Also, in those days my hallucinations were wilder. The wildest of those was when I came home one evening to find football-sized pink bubbles floating a metre above the ground all over my garden. I decided it was god telling me I'd done something good. Today I know that can't be the case.
Wow, Kirsten, I never saw or heard anything like that. Mine were just voices, scary sounding, muffled voices that sounded threatening at the same time. But I knew it was part of the "aura" to my TC seizure.
Cint, remember that I hadn't been diagnosed with epilepsy yet, so I didn't know very much about seizures at all. I couldn't attribute my experiences to auras.
Wow, you folks seem to have had more emphatic and frequent experiences than mine. I only had weak and infrequent experiences but they were strong enough personally to make me change my theological stance. After all, each person interprets their experience their own way...
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