Transient Global Amnesia

My husband drove me to the airport last week where I passed through security (with some extra attention due to my artificial leg), found my gate and boarded a plane to visit my daughter, something I have done routinely for several years now. However, one thing wasn’t routine this time: I don’t remember any of it. From a particular point on our half-hour drive to the airport until the plane landed in Pittsburgh four hours later I have virtually no memory of anything that happened. My husband said I was acting strangely. For instance, I packed my travel mug containing the dregs of a just-finished cup of coffee, despite his puzzled inquiries. And I complained of some vertigo, apparently. But I am not a morning person, so I guess it didn’t look that different from my normal 6 a.m. muddle.

The next thing I knew, I woke as from a deep sleep (which may actually have been a deep sleep – I am not sure) as the plane bumped along the tarmac toward the terminal. The hours and stories of those I encountered along my twilight journey are lost, presumably forever. My seatmate seemed in a hurry to exit. A few items like my book and my boarding pass, appeared to be awol, but I found most of them tucked neatly into my backpack under the seat in front of me. My boarding pass was gone, but my id, cash, phone and credit cards were all where they should have been. From the moment I awoke, I was increasingly myself and have felt perfectly fine ever since. It was much like coming out of anesthesia after a minor medical procedure. I would pay a lot of money to have a video of my trip through the airport and onto the plane, because it is a miracle that I got uneventfully to my destination under the circumstances.

My family and I have considered multiple causes for this bizarre occurrence: sleep-walking, reaction to medication, seizure, mini-stroke… but (best of all possibilities), I believe I experienced an episode of Transient Global Amnesia, something I had never even heard of before. It may be related to migraine headaches in some way, and I am a life-long migraine sufferer. According to the Mayo clinic, this rare problem is unlikely to recur or to have any long-term effects.

While it relieves a burden of worry to know that this is a benign condition, my biggest emotion about the whole episode is gratitude. God cares for His helpless ones, and there is no better illustration of that for me. I spend most of my days believing that I am in control, that I can handle the small, easy things in life without resorting to prayer or any other conscious dependence upon God. I spend most of the rest of my time worrying about the ‘big’ things I’m afraid I have to manage. But it is all a trick of this fallen world, an illusion of control we maintain to allay our fears, an unfortunate barrier which keeps us at a distance from our Provider. Are we ever really any more in control of our journey, our well-being or our destination than I was at the airport last week? I think not. I can’t even control my own brain. The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs His steps (Prov. 16:9).

I don’t believe this experience will forever cure all my anxiety or rebellious independence, but I do hope it will serve as a touchstone and a reminder for me when I am tempted to forget that God cares for His helpless ones.

And that includes all of us, all the time.


If you or anyone you know has experienced Transient Global Amnesia, please reply to this post. I would love to hear about it!


Related Content:

Another lesson in control and trust from John Piper.
Scriptures about anxiety and God’s faithfulness by Lesli White.
A prayer about feeling out of control from Scotty Smith.

6 thoughts on “Transient Global Amnesia

  1. I have a friend who had an episode of TGA during our prayer group a couple months ago. She was holding a card where she was writing prayer requests and she started saying she felt funny and why was she holding this card. She had no idea where she was or how she got there. We were alarmed thinking maybe she was having a stroke. We called her husband and 911. She knew who we were and knew her husband but kept asking the same questions over and over. She was pretty calm considering what was happening. Paramedics took her to the hospital, ran tests to be sure it wasn’t stroke or heart etc. they determined it was TGA. We had never heard of it but when Googled it, they described her actions to a T. She is fine now with no further problems. We were praising God she was with us when it happened rather than driving or with strangers. But as ur story proves even then God is with you!

    • I recently have been going through hell and had this perfect plan all thought out to a tee. I knew that no one at all would realize that my death could be from suicide.
      Well, I had already planned to do something with a very special friend the day before my big plan.
      Little did I know that when we were together I would tell her about my plan for the next day about me killing myself.
      I don’t remember telling her, I don’t remember much of anything. I just remember how I had thought for so very long about my plan, how every detail of my plan was so precisely thought out and I knew I would not be here on May 1, 2018.
      As you probably have figured out by now, I am still here and alive. My friend took me to the hospital where they admitted me. I actually have been in 3 different places in 17 days. This same friend told my husband that it was by the Grace of God that it happened the way that it did.
      I looked at it as another thing that I just couldn’t do right again!!! #failureateverything that’s me!!
      I’m not going to tell you that the places that I was in helped me, I would be lying. I would tell you that it made me worse. I went through hell, those psy wards suck!!! All they do is just keep you safe, that’s it. Then the 16th day of my stay at the 3rd place, this Dr came in my room ( with me and my body guard which I had to have since they baker acted me) anyways needless to say, by now I was NOT a nice person anymore at all, so I was swearing to anyone that I basically saw. Well this psychiatrist was so incredibly nice and even talked to me for 45 mins. He proceeded to ask me if I was feeling like this way and that way and I was like yes, yes, but then he said…. You know sometimes, some of us often wonder and question God why he does the things he does, and we often wonder if he even hears our prayers. I completely fricking lost it. I knew then that all of the hell that I had been through, was for me to be able to see this amazing, compassionate Dr. I probably really looked like a REAL crazy person to every person in the hospital now. The lady who was pissed off at the world, hating everything completely changed and now was nice.
      I’m not telling you at ALL that I am remotely out of the woods, I have alot of work to do, and alot of counseling to go through and I’m scared, but I can say that I’m not going to kill myself. I also can tell you that I do believe that God has my back, so by his grace I was saved, and thank God for putting a wonderful Godly friend in my life to help me when I had closed all doors to everything. I am ONLY writing this because if it helps one person to be able to see some light in this very dark world……. then at least I did something. #Goddoeslisten ♥️

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