An 80-year-old retired man from Australia suffers from a rare condition that makes him feel like he is living the same day over and over again. He has déjà vécu, a disorder that causes him to perceive every new event as a repetition of a previous one.
He believes that he sees the same people, cars, news, and books every day, even though they are different.
“Every day is a repeat of the day before,” the patient told researchers. “Wherever I go, the same people are on the side of the road, the same cars behind me with the same people in them. The same person gets out of the cars wearing the same clothes, carrying the same bags, saying the same things … nothing is new.”
Déjà vécu is thought to be a complication of Alzheimer’s disease, a brain disorder that affects memory and cognition. It may be related to a dysfunction of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that helps form long-term memories.
People with déjà vécu often have trouble understanding what is happening to them and may develop false beliefs to explain their experiences.
The man’s case was reported by a team of doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports. They found that he had abnormal levels of proteins in his cerebrospinal fluid that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
They also noted that his symptoms of déjà vécu were persistent and bothersome, but he was still able to live at home and take care of himself.
Déjà vécu is an extremely rare condition that has been compared to the time loop depicted in the movie Groundhog Day.
However, unlike the protagonist of the film, who eventually learns from his repeated experiences and changes his behavior, people with déjà vécu are stuck in a constant state of confusion and frustration.