Epilepsy Talk

Déjà Vu or Prescience? | February 8, 2023

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.


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 under-reported 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?

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  1. This is so interesting to me as I had de ja vue my whole life. I’d try to explain it to friends in hs and college. I started having seizures at 40, 10 yrs ago. I’ve
    never had deja vue again.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Gillian Arnwine — February 8, 2023 @ 10:14 AM

  2. I have experienced both déjà vu and jamais vu (when something that should be familiar, isn’t familiar) before seizures. Both equally perplexing, until you become aware that they’re both symptoms of epilepsy.
    With jamais vu I walked up my Street to my own front door, and nothing seemed familiar to me, even though logic told me I was in a place where I’ve lived for years. At least it’s a warning to be on my guard for seizures.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Michelle Sawyer — February 8, 2023 @ 10:18 AM

  3. Phyliss, I read your post quite frequently.  I have a question about Taurine.  I had my gallbladder removed in 1991.  I have been reading that Taurine is important for your liver and it will help it getting rid of belly fat, especially if you have had your gallbladder removed. The problem is I am finding conflicts with taking this if you have seizures.  I am on 200mg of Carbatrol in the morning and 100mg at night.   I’ve seen sites that say don’t take it if your on Carbatrol and I called my homeopathic Dr. and she said I could if it did not have stinging nettle because it that would give me seizues w/Carbatrol.  Everything I have read just addresses Taurine. I hope you can shine some light on this? God Bless, Doreen ~Lofty Expressions

    President Downtown 20/20~501c3Ph: 775-882-6225Web-Site: Loftyexpressions.com

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Doreen Mack — February 8, 2023 @ 11:15 AM

  4. When I get my aura, its very much a Deja Vu feeling! Pretty much every time Im going into a seizure, it feels like “Ive been there before!”…..

    When I spoke with my neurologist about this (ive only been having seizures for 15years, but Ive been having DeJa Vu my whole life), he said it was do to my perceptive reality going through my memory centers FIRST before going through the natural processing centers of the information! Hence, giving it the information a feeling as if I was remembering it, instead of experiencing it for the first time!

    Very strange, the brain is 😀

    Thanks again for all your great work Phyllis! Keep rockin it!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Aaron Holmes — February 8, 2023 @ 3:41 PM

    • YOU Rock Aaron!


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 8, 2023 @ 4:17 PM

  5. pre-diagnosis of focal epilepsy, I experienced deja vu more often when I was younger. A lot of people look around and say Wow, this is so familiar, it’s deja vu! But it’s way more than that. It’s this KABOOM moment where all of sudden I’m in a scene that I have either dreamed of or saw in a movie and we were in the same place wearing the same clothes having the same conversation, and my mind is completely blown because I know it’s impossible that I could have dreamed or seen this because we’re talking about something that happened this morning, yet here we are. After a minute or two it fades and I’m back in the present. When I was around eighteen or nineteen, I got fewer of those and more of the jamais vu variety in which I had no idea where I was (in my brain logically I knew) and how I got there and they were terrifying. The deja vu ones were just odd and not scary, but the jamais vu ones wrecked my entire life because I was too afraid to go anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Hetty Eliot — February 8, 2023 @ 9:25 PM

  6. Very scary, Hetty. Do you suffer from either one of them now?

    My prescience went away with my seizures. They seemed to be inexorably attached.


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 8, 2023 @ 10:02 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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