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Derealization (people/places not feeling familiar)

Hi Fellow Warriors,

Does anyone else here suffer from derealization for days after a seizure? I have temporal lobe epilepsy with simple partial seizures. During seizures I get extreme deja vu, nausea and some fear. I already know that during the deja vu, I should definitely not try to “follow” or go deeper into this deja vu to explore it, cause it makes it even worse. Best thing is to ignore it and focus on something else. While an episode like that is not enjoyable, it only lasts seconds. What is much more troubling is the days after.

The days after my TLE (especially if I had several ones), places and people no longer feel familiar. I or course remember everything about them and their whole history, but it’s like I see them for the first time (very hard to describe it). It really sucks to see my daughter in a way like I don’t know her.

On the positive side, I tell people that almost noone has the opportunity in life to meet their family and friends from a true “outsider” perspective and meet them for the first time again, while still knowing everything about them.

My question: does anyone experience the same? And more importantly: how long does it last on average? For me it’s been days now so I hope it will go away soon.


Hi, Thank you for sharing

Hi, Thank you for sharing your story. It’s important that you're following up with your healthcare team to review this further and if you experience any changes in seizure types, frequency, side effects, behaviors and symptoms, to determine what individual treatment plan is best for you. Seizures can take on many different forms and affect different people in different ways.Some commonly reported symptoms before, during or after a seizure include Déjà vu (a feeling that a person, place or thing is familiar, but you've never experienced it before), or Jamais vu (feeling that a person, place or thing is new or unfamiliar, but it's not). To learn more about TLE, please visit: , you do not already, you may want to consider keeping a journal or a diary. My Seizure Diary: a great tool for identifying & tracking seizures, setting reminders,managing medications & side effects, recording medical history, moods, behaviors, triggers,and other personal experiences, that may affect seizures and wellness, which can be shared with your healthcare team. Additionally, you may always to contact our 24/7 Helpline, where trained information specialists are available to answer your questions, offer help, hope, support, guidance, and access to national and local resources. 1-800-332-1000, or

I can't say that I feel the

I can't say that I feel the same "derealization", but I did experience an extreme opposite many times just days after the generalized seizures.  As a teen I had the generalized seizures and spent a couple days recovering with resting, migraines, and vomit. By the third or fourth day Mom offered to take me to town and get my first meal in days.  Then I went along with her shopping.  Along the isles I say shoppers whom I was sure I recognized.  I smiled and nodded my head as we passed but out of the side of my eye I saw their look that said, "who was that?"  Later at checkout I saw people I knew.  For example,     "Mom, is that the lady that sings in choir at church?"       "No; I know who you are talking about but no that isn't her."This lasted for only a couple days but I often wonder how it has influenced my confidence in greeting others.Mike

Olivier,Thank you for sharing

Olivier,Thank you for sharing that.  I think you're the first person with epilepsy who has told me they have that experience where others look familiar.  I never thought of it as related to deja vu but I guess it could be.  

Dealing with TLE so long ago

Dealing with TLE so long ago (age 10-16), and now again (age 55) with great fear and anxiety, I hope what I've had to endure will help you try to understand what you are experiencing.   For me, during the event of having a simple partial seizure, the left and right hemisphere of my brain are not able to transfer nor receive information/memories continually.   Just like it takes 2 to tango, the right and left hemisphere of my brain must continually stay in step.  Miss a beat and my TLE event occurs.The left and right hemisphere of our brain are like 2 different databases, better yet, each hemisphere of the brain contains its own complex relational database with neurotransmitters continually pinging the 2 relational databases.I did like ConnectHelp's comments about your post:  "Déjà vu (a feeling that a person, place or thing is familiar, but you've never experienced it before), or Jamais vu (feeling that a person, place or thing is new or unfamiliar, but it's not)".  Our brain is very complex and each of the hemisphere's relational database is complex.  Every human being experiences Déjà vu each and every time we have a new dream while sleeping....."a feeling that a person, place or thing is familiar, but you've never experienced it before".   And during a TLE event, it can be Déjà vu or Jamais vu, it all depends on what area of the brain is being impacted during the TLE event, thus why so many different symptoms, yet always that feeling of fear.Hope this helps somewhat.

Hello, this sounds extremely

Hello, this sounds extremely familiar to me (irony not intended). I also have TLE, I get déjà vu and a sensation of going backwards in my head like being pulled back through a tunnel. I have other types too but post ictal I get derealization some timea, although I didn't really know that's what it was at first. It really freaks me out it can last a few hours or a few days. Sorry I'm not very helpful I'm not sure about this one either. 

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