People who have simple partial seizures do not lose consciousness during the seizure. However, some people, although fully aware of what’s going on, find they can’t speak or move until the seizure is over.
They remain awake and aware throughout. Sometimes they can talk quite normally to other people during the seizure. And they can usually remember exactly what happened to them while it was going on.
However, simple partial seizures can affect movement, emotion, sensations, and feelings in unusual and sometimes even frightening ways.
Emotions: A sudden feeling of fear or a sense that something terrible is about to happen may be caused by a simple partial seizure in the part of the brain which controls those emotions.
In rare cases, partial seizures can produce feelings of anger and rage, or even sudden joy and happiness.
Sensations: All five senses — touch, hearing, taste, smell, and sight — are controlled by various areas of the brain.
Simple partial seizures in these areas can produce odd sensations such as a sense of a breeze on the skin; unusual hissing, buzzing or ringing sounds; voices that are not really there; unpleasant tastes; strange smells (also usually unpleasant); and, perhaps most upsetting of all, distortions in the way things look.
For example, a room may suddenly seem narrower, or wider, than it really is. Objects may seem to move closer or get farther away. Part of the body may appear to change in size or shape.
If the area of the brain involved with memory is affected, there may be disturbing visions of people and places from the past.
Sudden nausea or an odd, rising feeling in the stomach is quite common. Stomach pain also may, in some cases, be caused by simple partial seizures.
Episodes of sudden sweating, flushing, becoming pale, or having the sensation of gooseflesh are also possible.
Some people even report having out of body experiences during this type of seizure. Time may seem distorted as well.
In many ways, our usual, comfortable sense of familiar things and places may be disrupted by a simple partial seizure.
Well-known places may suddenly look unfamiliar. On the other hand, new places and events may seem familiar or as if they’ve happened before, a feeling called déjà vu.
Simple partial seizures can also produce sudden, uncontrolled bursts of laughter or crying.