(April 17, 2015) – It sounds like something from a movie like 13 Going on 30 or 17 Again—a 32-year-old woman wakes up thinking she’s 15 years old and the year is 1992.
But this was no movie for Manchester resident Naomi Jacobs, who says she lived that nightmare in 2008. She told the BBC she woke up one morning shocked to find out she had an 11-year-old son. She saw a psychologist, who diagnosed her with dissociative amnesia. A person with the condition blocks out certain personal information while retaining some motor skills.
While Jacobs knew how to drive—something she didn’t do at 15—and remembered things like phone numbers and her PIN, she found modern technology like smartphones and flatscreen televisions daunting.
She didn’t remember giving birth to her son but could tell the boy was hers because he looked like her. She said she was convinced she would go to sleep and the strange “future” would go away and she’d “return” to 1992 when she woke up the next morning.
Dissociative amnesia is often triggered by stress. When Jacobs suffered her episode, she’d recently separated from the child’s father, was pursuing a psychology degree and working to keep her homeopathy business afloat. Things finally returned to normal about six weeks later.
She chronicled her story in the memoir Forgotten Girl, which is due out on April 23.