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I must have been 7 or 8 years old, playing in the front garden, when I had my first seizure. An intense feeling of familiarity was followed by a rising sensation, an anticipation of pleasure that never came but was gradually replaced by a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, a fear that something bad was going to happen. When I became older, this feeling would try to grip me and pull me away from awareness, away from consciousness.
When I told Dad, he said, “Ah yes; déjà vu!” He seemed more interested than worried. My father was a radiologist who had a tendency to ignore major neurological and psychiatric symptoms in family members, although he was happy enough to irradiate our chests and limbs. Fortunately for me, he decided I had ‘petit mal’ and waited for me to grow out of it.
For a while, I thought they must have stopped, but there were entries in my teenage diaries recording, “Had …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.