This study examines the subjective experience of living with epilepsy or psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) by thematically comparing individuals' written accounts of their condition. Five key differences emerged. Theme 1: "Seizure onset" revealed differences in how individuals think about and ruminate over the possible causes of their condition. Theme 2: "Emotive tone" demonstrated that writings of those with epilepsy reflected stable emotions (no intense emotional reactions), whereas those of writers with PNES reflected anxiety and low mood. Theme 3: "Seizure symptoms" showed differences in the conceptualization of seizures. Theme 4: "Treatment" explored differences in the diagnostic journey and experiences of health care professionals. Theme 5: "Daily life" revealed that those with epilepsy perceived sequelae and seizures as something that must be fought, whereas those with PNES tended to describe their seizures as a place they enter and something that has destroyed their lives. The findings have implications for treatment and management.
Keywords: United Kingdom; dissociative seizures; epilepsy; membership-led organizations; nonepileptic attack disorder; phenomenology; psychogenic nonepileptic seizures; qualitative; subjective experience; thematic; thematic comparison.