written and posted by members of Lancashire Dead Good Poets' Society

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Deja Vu.... or Maybe Not

13:15:00 Posted by Jill Reidy Red Snapper Photography , , , , , 3 comments
Deja Vu. 

Now if my A level French serves me right the literal meaning is 'seen before' or 'already seen.'

Personally, I've had quite a few incidents of this in my lifetime, and it really is the strangest feeling, as though I'm trying to grasp at something that's just out of reach.  I couldn't tell you what happens next, but as it begins to happen I feel that I already knew.  If you've ever had such a feeling you'll understand. Occasionally, it has felt as though it's not just deja vu, but deja deja vu, as if the scene playing out has happened several times.

The brain is such a wonderful, complicated and intricate organ.  I did a bit of research on deja vu and it seems there are a couple of explanations.

From Wikipedia: 
Two types of déjà vu are recognised: the pathological déjà vu usually associated with epilepsy or that which, when unusually prolonged or frequent, or associated with other symptoms such as hallucinations, may be an indicator of neurological or psychiatric illness, and the non-pathological type characteristic of healthy people, about two-thirds of whom 
have had déjà vu experiences. People who travel more or watch more movies are more likely to experience déjà vu than others. Furthermore, people also tend to experience déjà vu more in fragile conditions or under high pressure, and research shows that the experience of déjà vu also decreases with age.

The Science Museum puts the second type more simply:
'One explanation for déjà vu is that there is a split-second delay in transferring information from one side of the brain to the other. One side of the brain would then get the information twice – once directly, and once from the 'in charge' side. So the person would sense that the event had happened before.'  

A few years ago, I had a very odd experience, which I suppose was the antithesis of deja vu. There were several hours when I didn't know what was going on, I didn't recognise anything that should have been familiar, and when I came round I only remembered some of what had happened when somebody told me several times. 

It was the day after we had returned from Lanzarote, and I had to deliver a parcel in town.  Having lived in Blackpool for about forty years, my husband thought it rather strange when I repeatedly asked him where the post office was.  The first couple of times he answered patiently, but by about the fifth time he was becoming not only annoyed but also slightly concerned.  Apparently - and I have no memory of this - I then went upstairs and started pulling my clothes off, telling the husband repeatedly that I was hot.  At this point, he was somewhat torn...... However, after I'd asked him several times if I was having a stroke, he decided he needed back up.  Our daughter arrived just in time to hear me shouting at my husband that we had never been to Lanzarote! As I discovered afterwards, she was also terrified, but her police training kicked in and she managed to calm me down.  

The first thing I remember was 'waking up,' standing on the landing, seeing our daughter and asking what she was doing there.  She had been there a couple of hours by then but thought it best to say she had just arrived, and calmly led me downstairs and onto the sofa.  This is where the fun began.  I had come round by this time but had no idea what had happened. I was surrounded by paramedics from two crews, plus our neighbours from across the road, one of whom is a paramedic, the other a psychiatric nurse. Dave had spotted them loading their car and dragged them over to check on me before his 999 call was responded to. We didn't find out till afterwards that they were off to the Lakes and leaving early to avoid the traffic. I must have asked about twenty times, "So, what happened then?" Each time, to my puzzlement, it became funnier and funnier.  The paramedics were in fits, even the one who was repeatedly checking my blood pressure and hoping for it to come down from its sky high reading.  Eventually, our daughter insisted that I lie down and stop asking questions. I got transported to hospital, the neighbours finally set off to the Lakes, and I prepared myself for a barrage of tests.  

My Brain Aches

As I'm here, typing this all these years later, it's obvious that I survived, but strangely, despite all the tests, none of the medics could give me a diagnosis.  The following morning, I sat up in bed, got the laptop and googled the symptoms.  The diagnosis popped up. Word for word, it described how I'd been the previous afternoon, even down to the stripping off and worrying that I was having a stroke. I realised at that point that that I’d had a couple of previous episodes. Once when we were on a walk in the Lakes I couldn’t remember how we’d got there.  At the time, we put it down to hunger, and hurriedly found a cafe. However,  filling myself with soup, I glanced at my phone and didn’t recognise anything on it: the emails I’d sent, the Facebook posts I’d made, even some of the photos. It was a weird and slightly worrying feeling at the time.  I haven’t had an episode since the big one - at least, I don't think so.

My diagnosis? Transient Global Amnesia - a difficult one to remember. 

Oh and if anybody feels he’s been short changed by this post on Deja Vu please read again for a similar effect. 

Deja Vu by Jill Reidy

I’m pretty sure
I’ve been here before
You poured the tea
Or was it me? 
We ate that cake
For goodness sake
That horse
Of course 
It trotted by
With scruffy guy
He called out 
Real loud, a shout
We caved 
And waved
And then
And then
And then? 

It’s gone

Thanks for reading....... Jill Reidy


Twigger said...

Haven't I read this before, somewhere? ;)
I used to experience deja vu quite a lot, but not so now - or if I do, I just don't remember! :D
That Transient Global Amnesia sounds terrifying. It's bad enough having small scale, short term memory loss, which is happening more frequently as the years roll by. I don't let it worry me, but I'm never quite sure which dimension I'm in at any particular moment. I don't let it worry me, but I'm never quite sure which dimension I'm in at any particular moment.

Steve Rowland said...

That's a cute reverse-engineering of the theme. TGA sounds uncannily like many a 'lost week-end' :-) Seriously, though, short-term memory loss must be a very scary experience. Have you seen the movie Memento? If not, it's recommended viewing, about a guy with permanent loss of short-term memory trying to discover how his wife came to be murdered. (It features a lot of post-it notes!)

Billy Banter said...

Scruffy guy sounds like a character out of Friends! :)