Transient Global Amnesia: Naomi Jacobs

Transient Global Amnesia: Naomi Jacobs

Imagine waking up one day, finding yourself in the body of a 32 year old when you are still only 15.

268
views

Imagine waking up one day, finding yourself in the body of a 32-year-old when you are still only 15. You have no idea who you are, how you got there, who the people surrounding you are. You can't even recognize yourself in the mirror. You look so much older than you were when you went to sleep.

How did you get so old in one night?

That is what happened to Naomi Jacobs. She woke up one day, having forgotten 17 years of her life. She could not recognize her own 10-year-old son because she never remembered having him. This phenomenon is called the transient global amnesia.

TGA is a form of retrograde amnesia and it was first reported by Morris Bender in 1956.

It most commonly affects people between the ages of 56 and 75. It affects about five in 100,000 people in Britain and this increases to 23 for people over 50.

The characteristics include bewilderment and sudden short-term memory loss. It is usually brought on because of emotional or physical stress. Normally, hours, days or weeks of exhaustion from worrying or life lead to a TGA attack. In the case of Naomi Jacobs, she was dealing with a lot of emotional stress.

Her diaries helped her realize the problems she was coping with that led to the TGA. She had previously been diagnosed with psychotic and bipolar episodes and she was using marijuana and cocaine to help her deal with her life. She'd been in an abusive relationship and did not have many good friends. She had even been sexually and physically abused. She was juggling being a single mother, owner of a holistic therapy business and a student getting a degree in psychology.

TGA episodes tend to occur spontaneously and last for several hours.

There is a very small chance of prolonged or permanent memory loss.

In the case of Naomi Jacobs, the TGA lasted for eight weeks, but getting to the bottom of it took her almost two years. Her diary helped her to jog her memory and she also looked at the news and everything to catch up with what had happened in the world. The memories started coming back slowly through flashbacks. She had her first flashback after three days.

One thing about people suffering from TGA is that they ask repetitive and relevant questions using the same innovation and expression.

They also tend to retain their semantic memory. For example, they would remember how to drive though they may not remember the experience of learning how to drive. Naomi Jason had the same thing. She could remember phone numbers (which helped her get help), how to drive a car, how to use cash.

Her emotional memory, though, was completely gone. She didn't even remember giving birth to her son.

They are also not able to form new memories during the time of the TGA. The person is aware of their memory loss, which causes an increase in anxiety and stress.

This is what happened with Naomi Jacob. She woke up in a strange world where so much technology that she did not remember being created, existed. She could not remember her own son. She believed that sleeping would help bring her memory back and it would be fine in a few days, so she avoided going to the doctor.

There is still no cure for TGA.

The memory just comes back eventually from the support of family and loved ones. Naomi Jacobs had the support of her friends and sister who helped her remember what had happened by telling her stories. Her friend, Katie, was the first person she contacted, as that was the phone number she could think of.

She helped her get in touch with her sister, who explained what adult Naomi's life was like.

Naomi Jacobs had been living a tough life before the incident, but slowly she regained her memory.

It ended up being a good thing. She is recovering from the trauma in her life and dealing with it in healthier ways. She said, "I'm not afraid anymore, and when people ask if I could give back the whole thing and [live] like the amnesia never happened, no way. I wouldn't change it for the world."

Popular Right Now

Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
988328
views

You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

An Incurable Disease Doesn't Change The Love I Have For You

Because one day the one you love the most is fine and the next day they're not, it causes devastation you never truly recover from.

nadoty
nadoty
367
views

Loving someone with an incurable disease is the most emotionally straining thing I have ever experienced.

My significant other and I have been together for almost six years. During the summer of 2018, we all noticed the significant changes he was going through. He had lost around fifty pounds and had a lack of appetite. We had figured something was going on, however, we didn't realize it was anything serious.

Fast forward to the Fall semester of 2018. I had visited my boyfriend and we had expressed certain concerns, such as, through the night I would try and get him to stop uncontrollably itching his legs to the point of bleeding, or that he was looking a little yellow and was exhausted all the time. After seeing his sister in November, while I was at school, she pleaded with him to go to urgent care because he did not look good. He was yellow, exhausted, and very sickly looking. We didn't realize that the urgent care visit would be the precedent of the rest of our lives.

After coming home for Thanksgiving and spending a week straight in the hospital with him, it finally set in that something was not right. Between all the vomit, getting moved for testing, the weakness, the constant calling for medications because the pain was so severe, and the almost month-long stay in the hospital, it hit me full force that something was really wrong. Words will never truly describe the emotions I was feeling, or the burden of my thoughts that I felt were too selfish to pass on anyone, so I kept them to myself.

When we finally got the diagnosis, we were surprised. PSC, otherwise known as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, is an incurable liver disease that affects the bile ducts which become scarred and inflamed, more likely than not lead to cirrhosis and an inevitable transplant. There was no cure, rather the only solution was a liver transplant, and even then the disease can be recurring.

I was thinking selfishly. I was torn in two. What would our future look like? Could we have children? Could we ever do the things we used to?

Loving someone with an incurable disease is a mix of emotions. There is a constant fear in the back of my mind that he is going to wake up in intense pain and have to be rushed to the hospital. There is a constant fear of every time waiting for the bi-weekly blood test results to come back, in fear that his Bilirubin spiked again or he is undergoing a flare up and needs to be hospitalized. There is a constant anxiety that one day he's going to be fine, and the next day he won't be. Even the simple things, such as laying beside one another, was a constant fear I had, due to the pain he was in every day. What if I hit him in my sleep on accident? What if I accidentally hugged a little too tightly and caused him pain?

Loving someone with an incurable disease can be a fluctuation of emotions, however, he makes it worth it.

nadoty
nadoty

Related Content

Facebook Comments