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Dejavu, memory loss & dizziness

Hi, I've just joined this group and for the first time ever and posting about my symptoms and telling people outside my immediate family what I experience. I haven't even consulted a doctor through fear of having my drivers license revoked or similar and I'm sure that's an overreaction but so much depends on it - the paranoia is real.

I remember in high school (over 20 years ago) having strange episodes where I'd suddenly get a sense of dejavu - I'd suddenly have thoughts totally unrelated to what I was doing - memories, characters phrases racing through my head that were familiar but in no way related to reality. There's also nothing I can do to stop them, they brute force interrupt whatever I'm doing for 5/10/15 seconds the clear off. I remember as a kid also being terrified to tell anyone and as much as they were confusing and unusual there was also something a little but enjoyable about them. Something a little bit trippy! The after High School they just disappeared and for maybe the best 10 years or more I didn't get any at all. It almost got to the point where I'd forgotten all about them. Then in my 30s they came back. And with varying regularity have started to interrupt my day to day. As an adult it goes something like this -

Anywhere between a few times a month to once a quarter I'll suddenly get the same feeling of "oh that's a familiar memory popping up, oh here we go...." and then suddenly I'm in it. I'm distracted, I start to sweat, feel disoriented, dizzy and often would prefer to be sat down or desperately needing a glass of water. Once it's over I can't really remember what I just" remembered". It's like a script just got acted out in my head of some little drama and then immediately exited stage left and erased the tape on itself. In the mean time I'm left feeling a bit dopey, sweaty, out of sorts but never to the point where anyone has really noticed (or if they have never to the point where they've said anything). For me it feels quite intense but obviously outwardly it's not that shocking! I then normally get a mild headache and feel quite numb in the head (heavy?) and wouldn't say I feel so keen to do anything more then sit and talk etc.

I'll then have the same thing happen anywhere from once a day to 4-5 times in a 24 hour period. During the night, the day, while driving, while walking. Indiscriminately.

As mentioned I've always worried it might be something more serious. I'm married with 2 kids and my wife doesn't drive. Losing my license would have unimaginable consequences. I've never not been able to function through them BUT I appreciate that some people might think my approach is foolish and careless. I guess coming on here is the first step to addressing it properly.

As for triggers - stress/anxiety most likely, linked to tiredness or poor diet potentially. But I've never been able to really put my finger on it.

I'm keen to hear if anyone's has the same or similar experiences and if they been diagnosed or found any effective ways to avoid them?!

Thanks in advance for any insights!

Kind Regards,


  1. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story with us. I understand how frightening this can be, we get it!
    I've not personally experienced this, but have heard from others who have. Hopefully they'll be in shortly to share with you.
    I would encourage you to reach out to your doctor so he/she can make sure everything checks out OK, as scary as that may be.
    Will you keep us posted? Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Advocate/Moderator

    1. I am sorry that you are going through this. Like Nancy, I know we have seen others share similar symptoms. Are you concerned that you are having seizures? Is that why you are worried about your drivers license being taken away? Shayla (, Team Member)

      1. thanks & .Yes I'll let you know where it all lands and if I ever get a diagnosis. Appreciate the offer of support and look forward to hearing from people who might have experienced something similar to see where it led for them. I'm still in the midst of the current series of these experiences. Something else I forgot to mention is that I feel like there's been an adjustment to my senses too, particularly smell and honestly I feel like I'm living someone else's sensory experience and to a degree memories. It's so strange and hard to describe and I really don't want to sound melodramatic. Anyway. I really look forward to hearing others insights. Thanks again

        1. Thanks Nancy for returning with more info. And for thinking of me! I read the article by Sarah and can't say I've ever had these types of experiences. Mine are not really visual in that sense. It's almost like dreaming while awake. I experience the onset of a a dream that I feel like I've had before but during the course of every day life. But they don't actually present themselves visually. It's all in my head so there is nothing hallucinatory about it in the same way Sarah explained. That also sounds terrifying though!

          As always happened they've stopped now. So in total they lasted for about 4 days and I really feel like those 4 days are a fog. I can recall what happened in the last 4 days if you push me, and if someone jogs my memory it comes back nice and clearly. I also still feel really heavy headed and foggy. It's like I have a goldfish bowl over my head, so everything sounds a little bit distant and distorted (not really that extreme but I do feel a bit of a sensory detachment from my environment). I have no doubt another night or two of good sleep will put me right...until it happens again.

          I'd say these latest ones have been the worst/most impactful for a while. And interestingly during a period of particular stress in my life, which I have always figured is related.

        2. I'm sorry you have to experience these symptoms. Not knowing the cause of something can surely add additional stress to your life and no one really needs that right?! I recall reading a bit about deja vu in the past and there is a condition called a focal seizure that can occur in the brain. They can be quite subtle to severe like in full-blown epilepsy. In addition to sensory issues, deja vu is also a side effect of the condition. If you want you can find articles written about it from various medical centers. It may not be what you are experiencing, but I figured it may be worth a look. Warmly, Cheryl team

      2. - You are very brave to come and offer this very personal experience knowing you may be judged. No judgment here, though.

        You state I "still feel really heavy-headed and foggy" for about 4 days following. This sounds like or what's considered a "hangover" from a migraine attack. Do you ever get severe head pain when this distortion and/or dream state is occurring? Can't remember you stating you get pain. If not, it's possible it could be a silent migraine with dream-state as an aura/attack and the foggy, heavy-headed postdrome symptoms. I am not a doctor, nor an expert, so take this with a huge grain of salt. The only way to know is to get an expert opinion from a specialist.

        It is very interesting the between what is being described as your dream state and PTSD/Stress (possible trigger) bringing them on, and you stating this occurring "during a period of particular stress in my life ..." - It seems like another connection that is worth investigating with an expert.

        While those dealing with AIWS have very vivid symptoms, not all experiencing them have them to the extent others do, as you state, "Mine are not really visual in that sense. It's almost like dreaming while awake. I experience the onset of a dream that I feel like I've had before but during the course of every day life. But they don't actually present themselves visually .. " - you may not experience these episodes as others do - just very symptoms like most who suffer migraine disease, they have individualized migraine disease episodes and triggers.

        I would hope you get evaluated so that you can get insight into what is happening and overcome your fear of having your license taken away and fear of "attacks" occurring more and more. There may be a treatment that could help you. Sending you strength to overcome and persevere, friend. You have a very interesting history and story to tell. Thx for sharing - Rebecca (community advocate)

        1. Thanks for the kind and generous replies. I think I am at a point where I will have to get it looked into because the stress of not knowing is starting to compound the problem I think.

          It's interesting you talk about pain. No, I wouldn't say I regularly experience excessive pain beyond that of a regular bad headache. I never feel an aversion to light particularly either. I do feel sick sometimes and I do get headaches, sometimes that paracetamol or ibuprofen won't dull but there is no excessive pain. As for AIWS ok yes I see what youre saying, potentially different symptoms bur a related problem. I will look into it and raise it with a doctor (although I am always wary of putting words in their mouth in case they just tell me what they think I want to hear!).

          Thanks again.

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