Do flickering / flashing lights bother you?

alisande

I have a real problem with flickering or flashing lights. My daughter Jill was the same way, but not my other kids. It has something to do with brain waves, I think, but I really don't understand basis for it.

Driving home with the sun low in the sky, flashing at me over and over from between trees, I have to hold my hand up to shield my eyes. A flickering fluorescent light over the meat case in the supermarket will have me holding onto the cart for support (and closing my eyes). I could never enter a nightclub with strobe lights!

I have to up the refresh rate on my computer monitors. I've even done this on the computers at the library; otherwise I wouldn't be able to use them. When we got new computers at my last job I immediately adjusted my monitor and was surprised when I heard the bookkeeper in a discussion with some other employees, talking about the "terrible flicker" on her screen. It was terrible for me, too, but the other people didn't see it at all. (I fixed hers for her.)

When I see celebrities on TV being flashed by a crowd of photographers I have to turn away. Just one more reason why I'm glad I'm not famous!

Does anyone else share this phenomenon? Can you tell me anything about it?

Thanks!

Susan

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bigack

Driving with the sunlight flickering through trees really bothers me too, but most of the other things don't.

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lynne_melb

I don't notice the flicker on computer screens, but the other things bother me. I don't recall these things bothering me until I got migraines. Perhaps there is some relationship.

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suebdoo

Everything you've mentioned also bothers me.

I am prone to migraines and these flickering lights always trigger one.

When ironing a striped shirt or a plaid shirt (some plaids)
I get the same sensation as with the flickering lights.

It's as though little fireflies are flying by.

I don't like it cause I know what's coming!

Sue

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mcmann

Susan - My daughter has commented on the same problem. A few years ago she was even tested for a non-seizure epilepsy. She had to stay awake all night and of course I had to also just to make sure she was awake and then they put electrodes on her and tested her with different lights.
I think it was called a stress induced EEG. Luckily they didn't find anything significant.

She's never mentioned the computer monitors but she cannot stand fluorescent lights. She has described the same problem when she's in the front seat of the car and the sun keeps flashing in and out of the trees. She doesn't like sitting in my husband's study when the ceiling fan is running because it has a strobe like effect when the hi hats ceiling lights are turned on.

She compares it to a motion sickness feeling. She is also sensitive to the lack of natural light in the winter. She was miserable her sophomore year of college when her dorm window faced a tall brick building and she never received daylight in her room.

It doesn't seem to bother her as much now as when she was 12 or 13.

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rosebudms

When I used to have migraines they were often triggered by flickering or flashing lights. Not quite as bad as you describe, but bad enough! Just sunlight glancing off a car's windshield or mirror would set them off. (I now take propanolol for irregular heartbeat and it also keeps the migraines away.)

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wildchild

YES! Let me add that I think flashing cameras should be outlawed in places like restaurants. Seems everyone has a picture phone or camera on them these days. I was out the other day an a group were just taking pics of one another to while away the time. Not to commemorate something just randomly snapping away.

I can't stand flickering cfls,fluorescents or street lights either. I used to ALWAYS get into fights with DH when we went into a certain Sears store. I finally figured out it was the lights. "Light Rage" LOL

I am ok with strobe lights though.

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azzalea

Yes, what you describe is very common among migraine sufferers. Even if you don't actually get the headache and vomiting many do, I'd be willing to bet, if you discuss this with your dr. he'll mention the possibility of migraines. Some people have abdominal migraines--no headache, just hours of uncontrollable vomiting. Others have optical migraines (visual disturbances) Some have a combination of those things--or can have one type of headache one time, and another type the next timea around.

I have to be really careful to avoid strobe lights, the flash of light on chrome when I'm driving, glare from the sun reflecting off windows, and I've been known to turn down a side street if I see a police care with its lights flashing. Yes, some computer and TV screen settings can bring on a migraine for me.

This obviously bothers you enough that you posted it here. Do a little research about migraines and maybe try some over the counter meds. Some people are helped by them, some aren't, but it's a place to start. Good luck

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alisande

The migraine connection is very interesting! Gillian suffered terribly from migraines, starting at age four. I've only had one full-blown migraine in my life, but it was memorable. And then once last summer and once this spring I got an optical migraine.

Actually, I was more curious than bothered when I posted about this. The thing that got me thinking about it was seeing Tom Cruise and his wife on TV being swarmed by photographers. FlashFlashFlashFlash......they were smiling for the cameras, and I was thinking that if it were me in that situation I'd probably be falling down or throwing up. LOL

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. And I figured somebody at the KT would come through with some information. And a bunch of you did!

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ann_in_florida

This can be a sign of some really serious problems. I have seizures and the "strobe: effect of passing through trees with the sun shining was the first thing that alerted my mom to the fact I had a problem. I also have problems with flickering lights, some computer monitors and video games. Please see your doctor about this problem and I'm sure he will order and EEG.

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nan_ar

YES and can trigger a migraine!

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glenda_al

Remembering those flashing balls at high school dances and dancing cheek to cheek :o)

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alisande

Ann, I'm reluctant to open the medical can of worms with this because I've been like this my whole life and no serious problem has emerged as a result of it. The bookkeeper, BTW, is 80 years old, and she's always been like this, too.

But speaking of seizures, when I had the surgery on my hand this week they wanted to numb my entire arm and give me the drug Versed. I'm opposed to Versed for a couple of reasons, and told the anesthesiologist I didn't want it. Then I asked him why a drug like that (a memory eraser) was needed when my arm would be numb anyway. He replied that the drug they would have used to numb my arm carries a risk of seizures, and the Versed would raise my seizure threshold.

I was floored to think they would have put me at risk of a seizure in a procedure to remove a tiny foreign body from my hand!

They went with a much less risky Plan B, and it worked out well. And now that I'm reading your posts I'm doubly glad I nixed the Versed and Plan A.

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lilliepad

Yes! Years ago I would have panic attacks quite often.There was this one grocery store that every time I would go in there I would get sweaty,heart would race and my eyes would do funny things.LOL By that I mean I would see flashy things out of the corner of my eye.It had a black and white tile floor and I thought that maybe could have something to do with it but I finally decided it was the lights.I stopped having the panic attacks long ago but once in a while I will go into a store and start having those same feelings so I really think it was the lights that bothered me back then.I have never had a migraine though.My small bathroom has white purple and green striped wall paper and I can't stand to go in there for any length of time.Makes my eyes do weird things.LOL

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jemdandy

This problem has been noted in human psychology books. Its usually connected to a particular frequency, the frequencies being different for different individuals.

There is another dangerous effect and that is the steady flashing in your vision of the dashed centerline on the highway. At night, the dashed line becomes the dominant item in your eyesight and you are concentrating on it to aim your car. It can become very hypnotic and cause one to dose off.

There is another phenomonem and that is motion sickness. Automotive suspension designers are aware of it. If a person is jostled up and down at a particular frequency, his stomach may become upset. The frequency is in the range of 3 hz.

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tami_ohio

Flourescent lights always bother me. I have gotten motion sick since birth. The light sticks that the kids play with, you know, the ones you break to activate? My kids learned years ago to play with them where I can't see them. The gaurd rail along the road can make me sick. The only time I've ever gotten a migraine was when my BP was sky high.

Right now, DD is getting migraines. She was drinking the flavored water, and had to quit. The computer at work triggered one last night.

Looks like you are not alone! My sympathy.

Tami

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FlamingO in AR

I know they can cause seizures in some people. We have a flickering flourescent light in the ladies' room at work and André and I joke about finding one of us on the floor having a seizure. We've asked to get it fixed, but it's a hard to find bulb and it's taking forever. I just close my eyes when I go in there, because it's that annoying.

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sandy_in_ia

Oh yes....flickering lights and flashes of sun through objects or sun flashing off of something shiney...IMMEDIATE Migraine! I have to have sunglasses on at all times when I am outside...unless it is really cloudy...and then I usually wear them anyway! I am very light sensitive!

A couple of weeks ago I was in a large grocery store in Ames, walked into one aisle and the fluorescent light was going so it was blinking...BADLY! There was another lady in that aisle and said that what if a person with seizures came into this aisle!?? I decided I didn't need anything that bad in that aisle and got out of there FAST!

Both Caryn & I started migraines at the age of 7...thankfully we are both on good preventatives and are able to keep them under control....unless we are 'flashed' bad!

Everyone thinks I am nuts...but my favorite day is a cloudy day!

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tami_ohio

How do you change the computer screen? If you can tell me, it may help DD, if she can fix the ones at work! She is getting new glasses, had her appt on Wed. We will see if they help.

Tami

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alisande

Tami,you go to Start --> Control Panel --> Display --> Settings --> Advanced --> Monitor, and then you'll see Refresh Rate. Most computers are set at 60 hertz. I changed mine to 72. I read somewhere that it's not a good idea (from the computer's standpoint) to go too much higher than that.

Hope this helps.

Susan

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tami_ohio

Thanks, Susan! I am printing this to give her. She has been miserable the last couple of months. She had some in school, off and on, then didn't get them for several years. Now, she's started having them again. Some were caused by flavored water a few weeks ago. Quit drinking them and quit having the migraines. Then got one from the computer. Poor girl, now the fuel pump went on her jeep.

Tami

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dances_in_garden

Flashing lights, odd opposing patterns, vibrations.

The layout of a restaurant can make me dizzy if it has a lot of opposing odd angles. There is one near here that has really dark grout lines on the tiled floor and the tiles go diagonally, but the tables and booths are opposite. Plus there are various levels, but all the same flooring. I can't even walk to my seat without help LOL. We don't go there any more.

I can feel low grade vibrations that other people can ignore. And it makes me feel ill.

I am also sensitive to repetitive or buzzing noises. I couldn't watch Deep Space 9 or Babylon 5 even though I was interested because there was a background noise that made me nauseous.

Also get motion sick in anything that moves.

Don't I sound like fun ROFL?

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dorothy_oahu

I have been in dark restaurants with flickering candles in a bowl that I have had to blow out. One waiter tried to relight it and I said no, no.

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jannie

When i was a kid, if we were driving anywhere and I looked outside, like at the stripes painted on the road, I got nauseated. That's the closest I can recall.

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Barbara Kennedy

I've had this issue for years and it has increased as I've gotten older (I'm 56 now). It started with not being able to watch things that moved in a circle, like my kids on a merry-go-round, and the flickering lights while driving. Now it's someone flipping through channels on the TV, scrolling down pages with pictures on the computer, different colored lights (I took the grandkids to some caverns and had to leave the tour because of the flickering lights set to music), the circular motions, fluorescent lights when they turn on or flicker, etc. I work in an autism program and some of the sensory items bother me even when they're not moving. I think I am anticipating the spinning and getting anxious from that anticipation. I considered that this might be something serious, but never addressed it with the doctor. I'm glad I found this post because I have never met anyone else who understood this when I mentioned it. It's always good to know you're not alone in your weirdness!

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Debby

They don't bother me, but they give my sister blinding migraines. When she see's a bicyclist with a flashing light on it, she has to look in any direction but the bikes and she has to get off the street as quickly as she can. If she stays behind the bike, her migraine sets in quickly and she literally can't see. She's had to pull over before. My son in law will have a seizure when lights flicker. Sometimes the flicker from florescent lighting is so minimal to people without issues, but people who have seizures can sense them and bam, seizure happens.

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lukkiirish

Yep, my eyes are very sensitive to flickering, bright sun and so on and I've been a migrain sufferer since my teens. I also see spots and feel a strain in my eyes when I look at white snow on a sunny day. I've always thought it is because I have blue eyes as opposed to brown. I've heard that people with blue or light colored eyes tend to be more sensitive to light in general.

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tami_ohio

Barbara, you are not alone! I had totally forgotten about this thread. Now it is making me wonder if that is what some of my balance issues have been in the last year. New glasses didn't make a difference, my wonderful chiropractor keeps the fluid out of my ears, and my BP is where is should be, with meds. And most places where my balance is off, is where there are some form of florescent lighting. Or the TV is on. Now I will have to pay attention to the lighting when I have a problem.

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Kathsgrdn

They're annoying. I remembering going into a nightclub in Spain when we were TDY there. I stayed there for a few minutes and had to leave. It was giving me a headache, the lights. I'm going back to Spain this summer and am sure my old exchange student will try and get me and my kids to go clubbing with her. I may just sit home and let the kids go. Don't think I could handle it.

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Alisande

Interesting that this old thread of mine has been resurrected now, because Lyme disease has made all of it so much worse for me: flickering lights, bright light, TV screens, computer monitors, movement on any of them. I had a number of ocular migraines and two horrid episodes of vertigo--until I learned to wear a visor in any store with fluorescent lighting. (That's all stores, in my experience.) Even with the visor, I try to avoid fluorescent lighting as much as possible.

Last summer I met a couple of friends for lunch, and while we were standing outside the restaurant I started feeling awful. After a moment I realized it was the striped shirt one of them was wearing. Inside, I had to sit next to her in the booth so I couldn't see her shirt.

These days I'm living like a bat. I bought a new TV with a 120-Hz refresh rate on the LED backlighting, but I still have to close my eyes at cop chases and other times. The intro to Jeopardy bothers me. Gave up on The Office early because of the jumpy camera work.

Ticks suck. I suppose literally.

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watchmelol

Yes they do. DD gets migraines. I used to get migraines but never made the connection back in the old days.

I remember the first time I connected florescent lights with anything negative. In the 70 my DH and I would invariably have a fight whenever we went to Sears together. It was and older store and the lights were horrid, flickering, some would go out and made everyone look orange. We used to say the store simply had bad juju or something. I would be the one who generally got cranky and started in.

One day I read an article about the effects of florescent lighting on brain activity. It all became clear. We avoided that Sears and if we absolutely had to go there we made sure we didn't linger. No more fights in Sears.

In the 80s with the disco craze I stopped going to most public skating sessions at the rink due to all the strobe lights and disco balls. Could never understand why people enjoyed them since they made me very uncomfortable. I could tolerate them but it was not fun.

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petra_gw

I have something called silent migraines where I get the aura but no pain, and flashing lights, bright lights, fluorescent lights all trigger it. During perimeno it got so bad, I could not go into a home depot or lowe's because of their flickering fluorescent lights. Very annoying and also dangerous while driving.

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Yayagal

I'm another with the problem and it's more than annoying, makes me feel sick and dizzy. I suffered with migraines all through my life until I was 30 and had to have a hysterectomy. I never had the migraines again. I went to ONE casino and the lights flashing from the machines ugh, I sat in a corner looking at the wall while waiting for my friends. Dr. said I have light sensitivity. I wear sunglasses all year round.

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lily316

I never had a migraine but am light sensitive. I can't read in a car when the sun is flashing between tree branches as we drive, As much as I Loved rollercoasters when I was young, I could never go on one again. Flashing lights and movement would make me quite ill.

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riverviewdogs

Wow, I have been taken off work since June because I could not keep my balance at work. Just read a post of someone having to face a wall while at a Casino due to flashing lights. I have one of the top 5 migraines out of 150 varieties and guess where I work? A Casino! Started when I left for work and basically didnt know where I was and didnt remember getting ready for work...Stroke ruled out. Emg rm said it may be an onset symptom of migraines. Called it GTA..Global Transient Amnesia. Now I cant keep balance and after every test imaginable are no closer to a conclusion. I thought it was crazy colors/patterns at Casino. Someone mentioned lights flashing on the machines. I have to grab on if under a ceiling fan, used my Mixer and had to hold onto the counter, traffic and trains moving in opposite direction I hold steering wheel for dear life, I constantly slam on my brakes thinking I am moving but I am in park. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone in this...

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Alisande

Riverviewdogs, how awful for you. I can relate to your symptoms, but on a much milder basis. A casino sounds like one of the worst places to be.

I hope someone can come up with a solution. I've read that Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), 400 mg./day, can reduce migraines. I bought some, but haven't given it a fair trial yet. I wear a baseball cap in all stores with fluorescent lights (just about every store), and that has made it possible for me to shop without getting dizzy.

Keep us posted on how you're doing.

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JoAnn_Fla

Since my cataract surgery all light bother me! Those high beams are killers!

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HU-505538331

I cant handle strobe lights, police lights, or the fire alarm flashing lights at my job, the make me super nauseous. I will gag to I throw up or look like I've been bawling my eyes out, does anyone else have this problem?

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Alisande

Sounds like several of the people who posted to this thread (including me, the OP) have a version of the problem.

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marilyn_c

Lights don't bother me. I can't stand repetitive noises.

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watchmelol

I was recently tentatively diagnosed with Meniere's. The doctor also wants me to be tested for Lyme Disease to eliminate that possibility. I am lucky that my symptoms are relatively mild but both certain types of light and stress are triggers to veritigo and disorientation.. It is why my house is lit only by incandescent except for the bath and kitchen and those have a blend of lighting types. I had to ask the city to dim the awful LED streetlight shining into my home when they replaced the lights with LEDs. I also requested the neighbors to point their security lights away from my front porch. Nothing like stepping outside at night to be blinded and disoriented. Those stupid security lights make my life more dangerous, not less. Since I am profoundly deafened I need to use my eyes and be aware of my surroundings.

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Meme Moma

I was diagnosed with ocular migraines, one of my triggers is glinting sunlight off vehicles. Starts out as a gray/blind spot which progresses into vivid moving zigzags,usually black/white, till it moves to the outside of my vision. Usually lasts from 30 to 40 minutes. Certainly scary the first ones I had.

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Lars

I went to an art exhibit that had strobe lights (It was a "Creative Be-In") at the Museum of Modern Art in Houston, and in one room, it was totally black except for a strobe light that someone controlled so that the flash rate varied, while people held a tarp in which someone else was being thrown up into the air and caught back in the tarp. While I was watching this, the flash rate got to a certain point that I became completely hypnotized (or something), and I fell asleep instant and fell to the floor. While asleep, I dreamed that I was in my bedroom sleeping, and when I finally woke up, I had no idea of where I was or how I had gotten there. I felt afterwards that when the strobe light synchronized with my brain waves, I was put to sleep instantly.

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Debby

They don't bother me, but they cause blinding migraines for my sister. If a cyclist is using those flickering lights on their bike at night, she has to pull over and stop to cover her eyes or she will be blinded for a few minutes.

My son-in-law has to be careful as they cause seizures for him sometimes.

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graywings123

Lars, there are with glasses with built-in lights and set programs designed to help you sleep, help you dream, help you relax, etc. A friend of mine had them several years ago. He said they helped him.

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Lars

Graywings, I have absolutely no problem going to sleep or relaxing, and I dream much more than I want to. The problem with my dreams is that I generally think I'm awake while I am dreaming, and in my dreams, I have a tendency to get lost or lose things. Last night I dreamed that I misplaced a drinking glass, and my SIL (whom I never invite to visit) was sitting on my living room floor with some of her (not my brother's) grandchildren eating cake off of a carpet (or the floor), and scattering cake crumbs all over the floor. I got so mad at her that I woke up.

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bob_cville

I'm bothered by some instances of flashing lights, such as sunlight through trees, or the flickering of a computer monitor. And similar to what Meme Moma describes I sometimes experience migraines that start as he/she describes. Often if I consume enough caffeine quickly enough when the visual symptoms start I can prevent it from becoming a full-blown migraine.

Interestingly a co-worker sometimes wears a jacket that has a jagged, black and white, zig-zag pattern, and for me at least her jacket looks like a migraine especially when viewed under fast flickering fluorescent lights. If I look at her jacket for more than a few seconds the pattern seems to start shifting or vibrating or shaking.

Another time a different co-worker was next to me with her laptop that had a wildly animating screen saver program. I started watching the fascinating patterns and then >nothing< and then meeting was over. I'm not sure whether I was asleep or in a trance or what, but at least ten minutes was just gone.

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bengardening

I was watching a you tube video where the couple had redone a camper and he had to take all of the lights. I think it was LED and put in regular bulbs because she and their daughter got migraine headaches from the flickering in the other lights.

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socalnolympia

I'm pretty sensitive, but no, fortunately it does not cause me any problems.

Some of the really cheap LED Christmas lights are annoying though, it seems like they pulsate whenever you move your field of vision across the room.

Not all LED lighting has flicker, but generally the cheaper ones do. And there are different levels of flicker, all the way from almost completely imperceptible to aggravating and annoying, it's a spectrum. The issue depends on the power supply, not the actual LED lights themselves.

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Katya Rayne

I have same problem but I found out mine is due to falx meningioma. (Brain tumor) ur is probably not some reason I can assure u. Was actually wondering if it was due to seizures bc I have them but drs say my brain has no sign of me having any. None what so ever. But have had them in front of dr. Which is bizzaro. Since they cannot figure out what is happening I'm trying to figure or what's happening on my own. If anyone knows what's going on. Let me know I'm my own medical nightmare.

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