One British student’s life has become his own personal case of Groundhog Day. Everything in his life, from television shows and books to people he meets on the street, he feels like he has seen before. His sense of déjà vu reached the point that he was forced to drop out of university. Reports have not identified this 23-year-old man, but he claims that his sense of déjà vu is so bad that he cannot even complete the most basic of everyday tasks.
What is déjà vu? Déjà vu is French for “already seen.” It is described as “the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has been experienced in the past.”
Scientists have tried to study the phenomenon for years. In a 1928 book, A Textbook Of Psychology written by Edward Titchener, he described déjà vu as “condition as being caused by a person having a brief glimpse of an object or situation, before the brain has completed ‘constructing’ a full conscious perception of the experience. That ‘partial’ perception then results in a false sense of familiarity.”
Scientists connected déjà vu and epilepsy in recent studies, but this man’s case is not connected to seizures. According to Mail Online, 70 percent of people have experienced this phenomenon for themselves in their lives. However, most people do not experience what this British man has experienced in his life for the last eight years.
This British man began experiencing déjà vu in 2007. He started at university that year, and many of his attacks would last only minutes. However, some attacks lasted longer. He had experienced problems with anxiety in the past, but they increased when he attended university. He had an anxiety over germs, which caused him to “wash his hands very frequently and to shower two to three times per day.”
While on vacation in a location he had never visited before, his condition worsened even further. It was so frightening for the man that he sought out treatment. Scientists began to study this man in 2008. Another assessment of his condition was conducted in 2010.
Scientists and doctors have studied this man’s condition, and they have shared their findings in a study published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports, according to the Telegraph. The man went to doctors because he felt like he was “trapped in a time loop.” His condition worsened at the age of 20, and his life turned into his own personal version of the Bill Murray film, Groundhog Day.
However, his case baffled doctors. Scans of his brain showed none of the usual abnormalities related to this condition. He is not epileptic, and he does not suffer from dementia, another reported cause of déjà vu. In the study, doctors revealed that his condition might be caused by anxiety. The anxiety triggers his déjà vu, as it might trigger a panic attack in someone else.
Dr. Christine Wells, a psychology expert from Sheffield Hallam University, spoke about this man’s case and condition.
“Rather than simply the unsettling feelings of familiarity which are normally associated with déjà vu, our subject complained that it felt like he was actually retrieving previous experiences from memory, not just finding them familiar. Most cases like this occur as a side effect associated with epileptic seizures or dementia. “However, in this instance it appears as though the episodes of déjà vu could be linked to anxiety causing mistimed neuronal firing in the brain, which causes more déjà vu and in turn brings about more anxiety.”
This man’s case is the first that connected anxiety to the condition of déjà vu. It is not definitive proof that something connects the two, but Dr. Wells admitted that this is something that warrants more research.
This man’s story is causing some skepticism. Some do not believe this man’s claim of being stuck in a “time loop.”
One man with the username Lucid Element said, “Wow. I’m a BELIEVER in a LOT of stuff but this article is a bit far-fetched. I’ve never bashed on anything, nor have I questioned anything. However, If this guy was for real, why wouldn’t you disclose your name? I mean, you’re making history.”
In another comment, another person shared a theory about this man’s case.
“I have always found it fascinating how the brain stores memories. The short term memory and long term memory divide (and all the half remembered stuff in between). It would seem what is going on is that all his memories are being moved to long term and they are being bounced back, so it feels like he has already done it. I’m not a doctor but cases like this are great for actual doctors to learn how we remember things and how to improve memory for the rest of us out there.”
Others commented and asked if his sense of déjà vu allowed him to know about events before they happened. Some joked about lottery and racing results, but others wondered if this man’s condition allowed him to know about more serious events, such as terrorist attacks, before they happened. The reports did not reveal that information.
What do you think of this British man’s time loop? What would you do if you found yourself stuck in your own personal Groundhog Day?
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]