During my 1st cannabis intoxication at age 17, I had a terrible experience which changed my life and resulted in my acquiring recurring major depression, dp/dr, agoraphobia, a permanent mild head tremor, popping and clicking in my ears, floaters in my vision, frequent ocular migraines and other psychiatric symptoms. I also suffered "spells" for over 20 years. I would describe the spells as a loss of mental integration, a feeling of my mind coming apart, fear of becoming non existent. I had an EEG shortly after the incident, but I was a minor and under the care of poorly educated parents. My mother told me my EEG had one lead off, but it was normal. She told me my only option was psychiatric treatment and begged me not to go there. That lie would sentence me to 40 years of suffering without understanding or any real help from the mental health industry.
I never stopped searching for an answer as to how I became mentally ill at age 17. A neurologist once told me the British have done more research on migraines than the US. I was browsing a British Neurological Journal when I found a case history that matched my own. I recognized the symptoms I experienced immediately after smoking the cannabis at age 17 as the unmistakable sequence of events known as "epigastric aura" (or abdominal aura).
Epigastric aura is a seizure that foretells an impending temporal lobe seizure. Without losing consciousness (barely), I seized every 5 seconds for almost 3 minutes. I suppose I then suffered post ictal psychosis as I would not sleep for 10 days. I had DR, horrible anxiety and it segued into my 1st major depressive episode. I would experience 3 more in my lifetime, and each was a long (18 months or more) and epic struggle for survival.
Once I had solved my riddle, I ordered an MRI with epilepsy protocol and an EEG. The MRI was fairly normal, but the EEG showed significant pathology in my temporal lobe. 38 years later, I still had "one lead off", but MY neurologist didn't think it was normal at all. Thanks, Mom. I had ECT in 2013 and it did wonders for my mental health. At 62, I feel like I am really alive for the first time since I was 17. Not sure how I did it, but I served (honorably) in the military. I got an education (top of my class) and had a decent career. I married and fathered a child. From my experience, the symptoms of dp/dr and epilepsy are common. I believe pathology in the temporal lobe is responsible for dp/dr. The temporal lobe is the focus of the majority of epilepsy. One does not have to lose consciousness to have had a seizure. There are many milder forms of seizure.