Epilepsy Talk

Déjà Vu or Prescience? | September 25, 2011

Think of it as knowing something from the past…or feeling a premonition of the future.

Those who have experienced the déjà vu feeling describe it as an overwhelming sense of familiarity with something that shouldn’t be familiar at all.

Those who experience prescience, feel they have the ability to see into the future in some way.

Déjà vu – Every day is groundhog day!

The term “déjà vu” means, literally, “already seen”. Déjà vu has been firmly associated with temporal lobe epilepsy.

Reportedly, déjà vu can occur just prior to a temporal-lobe seizure as an aura. But you can experience déjà vu during the actual seizure activity or in the moments between seizures.

Take the neurological circuitry of the hippocampus, a region of the brain where new memories are formed. Neuroscientists know memories are actually groups of brain cells linked by especially strong chemical connections; recalling a memory involves finding and activating a specific group.

It’s also this circuit, the scientists are convinced, that explains déjà vu. Every so often, the circuit misfires, and a new experience that’s merely similar to an older one, seems identical. It doesn’t happen very often to most people. But, some people with epilepsy have this experience all the time.

Why? Because seizures involve random firing of neurons in the temporal lobes, which include the hippocampus, and that could scramble the circuit.

In a person with chronic déjà vu this circuit is either overactive or permanently switched on, creating memories where none exist.

When novel events are processed, they are accompanied by a strong feeling of remembering. So, you remember specific details about something that never actually occurred.

Prescience – Crystal ball, crystal ball…

Well, let’s see. We’ve been described as mutants, aliens, crazies. But in fact, only one study to date has been done on prescience.  And that study concludes that prescience is an aura of temporal lobe epilepsy.

The study is written up in PubMed and basically says: all of the patients tested had similar experiences. They described the phenomenon as “knowing” what was going to happen in the immediate future.

The experience was distinct from déjà vu and other psychic experiences. And all of the patients “probably” had temporal lobe epilepsy.

Only one other description of prescience as an ictal feature was found. The conclusion was: Prescience can occur as an ictal feature of temporal lobe epilepsy and represents a previously underreported psychic phenomenon.

Obviously, there a bit more studying to be done.

But speaking from personal experience, prescience is downright scary. In one way, it’s a gift. I warned a friend not to go on a skiing trip. Happily, he didn’t. But there was a serious car accident and the passenger seat of the car (where he would have been sitting) got totaled. That’s the good news.

Other times, it’s a curse. I’ve had the prescience to foresee events (usually unhappy), but I was helpless to do anything. Because even though I “knew” they were going to happen, I didn’t know when.

So, given the choice, I’d take déjà vu over prescience any day. What about you?









  1. It’s also this circuit, the scientists are convinced, that explains déjà vu. Every so often, the circuit misfires, and a new experience that’s merely similar to an older one, seems identical. It doesn’t happen very often to most people. But, some people with epilepsy have this experience all the time.
    Yes, this does and has happened to me many time.
    Some times I go into a daze trying to figure out where I’ve seen something before.
    I can be confusing.


    Comment by mkfarnam — September 25, 2011 @ 7:00 PM

  2. Happens frequently to me. Just ask my wife.


    Comment by Name withheld — September 25, 2011 @ 8:19 PM

  3. I used to get deja-vu auras in several places which I thought I needed to go to the luney been. It was going on the 405 south to the 5 going south toward the beach on the bridge. Whammo! I wanted to open the car door and get out and my parents had the door locked ,,, Then I was out like a light, not everytime. I felt I had been there before. THe doc said oh that is deja vu aura. It was a funny feeling of being there before and the seizure would start. Crazy! Go that way all the time but the feeling was so weird. I have them other places but this happened alot at this one location. It was on the way to work and college.


    Comment by Toni Robison — September 26, 2011 @ 12:45 AM

  4. They never triggered a seizure but I would get the feeling of one or go into a daze and then shake my head to come out of it.

    I don’t know if this was any part of it. But there was times that out of nowhere,I would start daydreaming .


    Comment by mkfarnam — September 26, 2011 @ 1:43 AM

  5. Could it have been an absence seizure aura?


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 26, 2011 @ 2:36 PM

    • Phylis, if your question is directed to me,
      I don’t even know what a “aura” is.


      Comment by mkfarnam — September 26, 2011 @ 2:41 PM

  6. An aura is sort of like a “warning sign” before a seizure.

    A Menu of Epilepsy Auras

    There are probably as many or more types of auras as there are types of epilepsy…

    Auras can last from several seconds to as long as an hour, and can sometimes end with feelings of extreme tiredness, weakness, heart palpitation, sweating and warmth throughout one’s body. And some people can experience auras and have no seizure(s).

    Each person and each person’s aura patterns are different. They vary significantly between each individual. Yours may happen right before a seizure or several minutes to hours earlier. Common warning signs right before seizures are changes in bodily sensations, changes in your ability to interact with things happening outside you, and changes in how familiar the outside world seems to you. Other warning signs that may happen hours before a seizure are depression, irritability, sleep disruption, nausea, and headache.



    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 26, 2011 @ 3:10 PM

    • I’ve had some of these so called “aura’s”. Most of the time they last 5-10 seconds. But there’s a small difference these and a the sign of a seizure.
      While it’s happening and afterward, my heart is beating so fast I can hear it and feel it from head to toe.


      Comment by mkfarnam — September 26, 2011 @ 3:26 PM

      • Do the “auras” and your racing heart happen in sequence or is one at a completely different time than another? Is the racing heart throughout your seizure and after? Or is it before and then after a seizure?

        You’ve got me stumped. (Stump the Chump!)

        I had auras of a disgusting metallic taste in my mouth and a saliva build up (at least I wasn’t drooling) PLUS a thumping heart. Maybe that’s why I was sooooo exhausted afterwards. (???)


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 26, 2011 @ 4:37 PM

  7. My 2 cents: Deja vu & Auras are 2 entirely different experiences. At least, my experiences w/ both have been totally different. 🙂 An aura: Like Toni, Except I had No Recall, I tried to get out of a moving vehicle. Doors were unlocked & no seatbelt. 😦 My GF said I was saying it was my turn to dance. And I was trying to find the door handle. 😦 Obviously, I Thought I was still at Work. 🙂 W/in seconds, I was convulsing. My GF was sooo relieved. She was able to pull over & place me in the back seat w/ doors locked. 🙂 Needless to say, I didn’t ride in a car w/ her or anyone else for a Long Time. 😦

    Deja vu is more like what Phylis goes thru. Only no seizure follows. I always recall my deja vu moments. But, auras can be, as Phylis said, felt or Unfelt. 😦 I believe http://www.2betrhealth.com/index.html has Info on these subjects that you may want to browse. 🙂

    Love Candi


    Comment by candi — September 27, 2011 @ 2:38 PM

  8. I wouldn’t want to ride in a car with you either! 😉

    Thanks for sharing


    with everyone. It’s a wonderful resource, I agree!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 27, 2011 @ 3:15 PM

  9. One time coming from work at UCLA going to school in Orange School my friend was driving and she apparently pulled over and I remember something seeming real familar and then I was out like a light! I apparently had a generalized sz in her car. I felt like hell for an hour or longer and slept until we got to class. I was a definte space cadet then!


    Comment by Toni Robison — September 27, 2011 @ 6:06 PM

    • Don’t worry Toni, Aliens are welcome here too.lol


      Comment by mkfarnam — September 27, 2011 @ 6:14 PM

  10. Right now I am dealing w/ nausea and I cannot get rid of it…any ideas?
    Its not deja vu but zonegran or keppra Life is a Festival!


    Comment by Toni Robison — September 27, 2011 @ 6:21 PM

    • I get that once in awhile too. I usually splash cold water in my face, eat something or step outside and get a breath of fresh air. It usually works.


      Comment by mkfarnam — September 27, 2011 @ 6:27 PM

  11. Hmm! I will try the cold water! I’ve been outside twice and I burp a lot and the nausea is crap! Thx! 🙂


    Comment by Toni Robison — September 27, 2011 @ 6:50 PM

  12. Try some complex carbohydrates…muffin, toast… banana…the nausea could also be blood sugar related.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 27, 2011 @ 10:23 PM

    • my sister and dad have late onset diabetes… I better check it! Thx toast delight tonight Thx! Phylis 🙂 I have been losing weight brother! Ding no appetite but sz are gone for once hmm, one problem leaves another “?” say “hello”


      Comment by Toni Robison — September 27, 2011 @ 10:47 PM

      • Hi Toni,

        Our meds &/or Low Blood Pressure can cause nausea, also. Have doc chek your med levels, again. How Long have you been on your med? Over 6 weeks? If so, Medical Marijuana &/or foods mixed w/ MJ oils (called medables? 🙂 Helps some PPL.

        My Sis was dxed w/ Diabetes 40+ yrs after Epilepsy. 😦 Modified Atkins Diet & Progesterone (for Catamenial Seizures) has controlled both EP & Diabetes. 🙂 Doc advised 5000IU for Severe Depression. 2500IU did the trick. The difference in my Sisters’ demeanor is amazing. 🙂

        Hope this helped.

        Love Candi

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by candi — September 28, 2011 @ 12:13 PM

      • Thar was 5000IU of Vitamin D. 🙂 Whoops Brain Fart! Clears the brain. 😦


        Comment by candi — September 28, 2011 @ 12:15 PM

    • I didn’t mention that some times a piece of candy helped, and I’m not diabetic……….I don’t think.


      Comment by mkfarnam — September 28, 2011 @ 12:03 AM

  13. Hey Mike, Did ya know Medables (Marijauna eatables) come in caramel & or toffee flavors? 🙂


    Comment by candi — September 28, 2011 @ 1:10 PM

  14. Haven’t had food and it’s been 1 1/2 hrs and my nose is running and I am ready to heave. I think it is mildew! It is raining outside. I am ready to sleep too!
    My appt. is in an hour. Seizure this morning but wake up w/ it not worth bothering a doc about it.


    Comment by Toni Robison — September 28, 2011 @ 2:14 PM

    • Sounds like seizures ain’t gone after all. I agree w/ Phylis! Everything that ain’t physically Rite, needs to be reported.

      You may be rite about the Mildew. It made my neighbors Very ill. 😦 Again, blood tests. To Rule Possibilities of whatever, in or out. Shoot, it may even be a virus you picked up.

      But, depending on how Long the symptoms have been occurring, I still say meds. 😦 Ask your Pharmacist.

      I have weight loss problem, also. But, I suspect mine is due to a Lung Disorder. COPD. I burn excess calories just breathing. 😦 I have a site for ways to Gain if interested. 🙂


      Comment by candi — September 28, 2011 @ 4:07 PM

  15. EVERYTHING is worth telling your doc about…the little and big seizures…the pukies…weight loss…etc.


    Let us know what he/she says and how you do.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 28, 2011 @ 2:19 PM

    • I don’t tell my DR sh*t, even though she’s an as*hole. She’s no Neuro.
      But again, that’s me.

      Toni, I suggest following Phylis’s advice.


      Comment by mkfarnam — September 28, 2011 @ 2:34 PM

      • Thx


        Comment by red2robi — June 25, 2017 @ 2:51 PM

  16. Mike: an obvious question: How about another neuro?


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 28, 2011 @ 3:15 PM

    • Living on SSDI($1025.00) and Medicare premiums, with monthly bills close to $800.00 (before food and gas) each month, I couldn’t afford a Witch Dr.


      Comment by mkfarnam — September 28, 2011 @ 3:22 PM

      • Hey Mike, How about a County Hospital. Preferably one that Teaches Med Students. There may/ should be one in your State, somewhere!


        Comment by candi — September 28, 2011 @ 3:49 PM

    • I do not know who


      Comment by red2robi — June 25, 2017 @ 2:59 PM

  17. Thanks Candi, but all I can say is:
    I’ve got one county hospital that wants to sue me because I never paid a bill they never sent me.

    figure that out.


    Comment by mkfarnam — September 28, 2011 @ 8:03 PM

    • Mike,

      That makes No Sense At All! 😦 I was never billed by County. I paid a co-pay, but, only if I could afford it. Which I couldn’t the majority of time. Now, the Same Hospital Has billed my Daughter. After 3 stays in the EMU I don’t even want to know How Much. 😦 But, as far as I know, she has never had to make any payments on those bills. And they still see her on a routine basis.

      Go Figure!

      They Can’t Sue You! They are there for PPL who Can’t afford Docs. And they Have to see you, pending bill or Not! If this is what County Hospitals have come to, billing ppl who can’t afford it, then why are they still in business? 😦


      Comment by candi — September 29, 2011 @ 1:01 AM

  18. Hospitals Criticized For Keeping Quiet On Charity Care





    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 28, 2011 @ 8:05 PM

  19. Doctor took look at me and said good to see you! She stated I had a problem in the urethra. It is caused by either medication or blockage. She told me my urine had no color. She has me going to urologist tomorrow.
    Not another doctor! She said that is why I want to heave. I thought it was diabetes. She said that is why you see me! You have a temperature. It is probably from your seizure! Zonegran can cause problems. I will have an ultrasound.


    Comment by Toni Robison — September 28, 2011 @ 10:39 PM

    • I didn’t know seizures Caused Fevers. ????? Everything I have ever read, well, it’s the other way around. 😦 Which would explain why you had an episode this morn. 😦

      Careful of the anti-biotic they give you. And the Doc will. 😦 But, I learned the last time I took meds for uretha infection, it had the side effect of seizures. I didn’t have a seizure, but, spent the majority of 3 days, on the Throne. The ‘Other’ side effect. 😦 I was sooo pissed at my Doc. And the Nurse had the nerve to say “Weren’t the side effects worth the cure?”

      I think I will stick w/ Cranberry Juice, next time. 😦

      I hope you feel better soon. HUGS!


      Comment by candi — September 29, 2011 @ 12:51 AM

  20. Urinary infections are no fun. I was hospitalized with them 4 times. Then the urologist gave me a supplement called TheraCran and I’ve been A-OK since then.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 28, 2011 @ 11:41 PM

    • My Urologist started me on the Theracran over a year ago. It really helps!


      Comment by red2robi — February 9, 2018 @ 8:57 AM

      • I was in three different hospitals in eight weeks with kidney infections. Ever since I started taking Theracran, I’ve had NO kidney infections. Isn’t it great? 🙂


        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 9, 2018 @ 9:41 AM

  21. They did not give me anything because my asthma is kicking in! What the heck I am ready to move to dry Calif. My asthma is crap! She stressed drink water! She will not give meds unless it is totally necessary. I like this group! I have had sz in there offices multiple times. They know me well!


    Comment by Toni Robison — September 29, 2011 @ 2:39 AM

    • California is known for it’s smoggy skies and dirty air.
      90% of the people out there have asthma. I did. But once I moved to Oklahoma it cleared up.


      Comment by mkfarnam — September 29, 2011 @ 2:54 AM

  22. Question: I’ve been told a few times that some of my convulsions weren’t seizures because I didn’t lose consciousness. Sound true? My neurologist has only caught two with the EEG but I “lose myself” quite often. I don’t fall out, just my mind will slip away and I will have to fight my way out of it. I have deja vu on a regular basis but never a seizure following. I’ve been dx with a photosensitive seizure disorder, but this weirdness does not ever happen with lights.
    I stay away from lights. Any insight is appreciated.


    Comment by Brandy F. — October 6, 2011 @ 5:14 PM

    • Brandy, I have Researched & talked w/ numerous ppl on support groups for 20+ yrs. Listen to Phylis! Get Another Opinion!

      Questions: Do you document your ‘episodes’? Any and all deja vu, convulsions and the Lost moments AKA Absence Seizures or Simple Partial Seizures? Do you write down activities, B4 & after + foods/bevs, too? How long have you been experiencing these ‘episodes’ & how long do they last? A Journal is a Very Important tool for you & any Dr you see. It can help You/DR determine your Triggers. For just tracking seizures, epilepsy.com has one of the best that you can print out B4 DR appt.

      When the DR ran the EEG, did he use strobe lights? That & your History + documented experiences are the only way to determine
      ‘Photosensitive Seizures’. I would suggest asking the Next DR to do a Video EEG w/ sleep deprivation and Lights.

      I do hope you will keep us updated. Know we Care! Love Candi


      Comment by candi — October 7, 2011 @ 10:23 AM

  23. Brandy, In my humble opinion, you’re doctor isn’t too bright. If it walks like a seizure, and talks like a seizure, and acts like a seizure, guess what? It IS a seizure.

    First of all, you don’t have to lose consciousness to have a seizure.

    Secondly, your seizures have been documented on an EEG.

    Thirdly, “losing yourself” could be little absence seizures. How long do these last? Usually, they’re pretty brief.

    Fourth, some people DO have auras or deja vu without having a seizure.

    Fifth, how do you know you’re photosensitive? If you have photosensitive epilepsy, certain types of flickering or flashing light may incite a seizure. The trigger could be exposure to television screens due to the flicker or rolling images, computer monitors, certain video games or TV broadcasts containing rapid flashes, even alternating patterns of different colors, in addition to intense strobe lights.

    And seizures may even be triggered by natural light, such as sunlight, especially when shimmering off water, even sun flickering through trees or through the slats of Venetian blinds. Does this sound familiar?

    I would suggest you at least get a second opinion.The link below is a compilation by website eforum members who have had positive experiences with docs over the years. This list is based on personal recommendations.


    I would also suggest the link Three Secrets to Better Care from Your Doctor


    And please, please, please, let me know how you progress…


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 6, 2011 @ 6:37 PM

  24. Hi Phylis,
    I saw your post about food and seizures on epilepsy.com and followed your link here. Do you know if research shows diet impacts temporal lobe deja vu and partial complex (nighttime early sleep only) seizures? I cut out MSG a number of years ago and have been cutting back on drugs (supervised). I’ve been med-free many times and was seizure-free for quite a while.

    Do you have links to resources or research regarding the connections between seizures and food?



    Comment by Polly Pierce — October 14, 2011 @ 9:43 PM

  25. Hi Polly,

    Take a look at: How to Avoid Food Triggered Seizures

    EPILEPSY AND SEIZURES (by a natural based doc)

    and Foods that fight stress…

    If those don’t help, get back to me and I’ll dig a little further…


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 14, 2011 @ 11:10 PM

  26. This is interesting my Internist noted that I keep having a funny feeling and then want to throw up! I told her it is the seizure process. She told me I am losing weight and is concerned that in 2 weeks I lost 7 pounds. I told her that the VNS was turned off. She gave me meds. for the intermittent nausea.

    This nausea may be medication related from Keppra XR or Zonegran. The seizures are only when I wake up
    anyone else get there’s when they wake up?


    Comment by Toni Robison — October 15, 2011 @ 2:59 PM

  27. Toni,
    I only have seizures while I’m asleep and can only tell if I had one by the way I feel when I wake up.


    Comment by mkfarnam — October 15, 2011 @ 3:41 PM

  28. Toni, You can’t afford to lose any more weight. Have your blood levels checked or switch meds if you have to.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 15, 2011 @ 5:45 PM

  29. can I ask…has anyone who has these deja vu/ premonitions lost contact with a biological parent or sibling? The reason i ask is because my son and i have recently got in touch after 20 years. We were both having episodes when we were apart, both of which have now stopped. Could it be ‘entanglement’…see ‘entanglement Dr Quantum’ on youtube.


    Comment by paul — March 7, 2012 @ 1:55 PM

  30. Gee Paul, I’ve never heard of it, but here are some links which I hope will help. (Although, quite honestly, it’s all Greek to me!)





    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 7, 2012 @ 4:12 PM

  31. As a kid, I had the deja vu feeling all of the time. I thought I was pysic. I didn’t know they were seizures until I had full blown grand mal seizures, at the age of 20


    Comment by Jessica McCoy — January 8, 2015 @ 2:31 PM

  32. I can certainly understand Jessica. I had the same confusion.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — January 8, 2015 @ 2:43 PM

  33. Had deja but then brain surgery obliterated the aura!


    Comment by red2robi — June 25, 2017 @ 12:54 PM

  34. I had lost my driver’s license. My friends and parents would go south on San Diego Freeway in Los Angeles and turn west to the 5 towards Santa Monica I would always have a feeling about something. I told them after the seizure I had a feeling they should not go on a trip. They waited a week. It happened again. I had a feeling someone passed away. It happened.


    Comment by red2robi — October 27, 2017 @ 10:39 AM

    • It was really scary for me when I had the premonition that my boyfriend would get into a car accident on the way to a skiing trip.

      I begged him not to go. But he thought I was being nuts.

      To make a long story short, he DID go skiing, had a car crash and the passenger side was demolished.

      Happily, he didn’t have any passengers with him.

      Boy, did that scare the crap out of me!


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — October 27, 2017 @ 11:21 AM

  35. Honestly I prefer having these over gran mail over petti mal.


    Comment by Julie Thompson — February 11, 2018 @ 1:48 PM

    • I can understand. Many years ago, I had deja vu. And prescience. (That was before my seizures were under control.)

      It was scary. Especially when I had prescience.

      My boyfriend was supposed to go skiing with a friend. I had a premonition and begged him not to go. I was convinced he would get into a car crash.

      He insisted on going, despite my hysterical warnings. His friend stayed home.

      The next day, my boyfriend left for his skiing trip (alone) and had a car crash. The passenger side was demolished.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 11, 2018 @ 3:09 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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