I’ve always been interested in time-travel. I didn’t hide behind the sofa when the Daleks were chasing Doctor Who, but I was fascinated by the blue box he’d zoom around in. The Doctor’s experience of time was weird and wonderful, fascinating and scary. Mine too.
I’ll go back in time 8 years, when I started to suffer from temporal lobe epilepsy. I don’t lose consciousness or muscular control, I just get lost in time for a few moments and it’s not very nice. It’s like the strongest Deja-vu you’ve ever experienced, times a hundred. It’s like being trapped in a dream you’ve had before but the harder you try, you can’t work out what happens next or what anything means. It sounds crazy but I feel like I’m in a time loop- trapped in between the present, the future and the past, searching for something that I recognise to help me get back home. My consultant tells me that a few people who experience this actually enjoy it.
The first time it happened, I was in a Spanish restaurant in Soho with a couple of friends. It was so weird, I wasn’t sure if I was having a profound religious experience. It was terrifying. Luckily for me, nothing puts me off paella. I should add that it’s pretty much under control nowadays.
I mention this because last week I re-watched Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’, a film about an American man from the present day, holidaying with his horrible fiancé and her horrible parents, in Paris. He finds himself time-travelling back to the 1920s, somewhere he has fantasised about endlessly; a time of art, poetry, literature and romance. He meets someone from that era, they fall in love and then they get transported back even further to the 1890s. While he isn’t so keen on the lack of anti-biotics and dental hygiene, she is enraptured by Le Belle Epoch. It turns out that his golden age was different to hers. Perhaps a little clumsily he realises that when all you do is dream about the past, it means that your present suffers. He says au revoir to the Moulin Rouge, travels back to the future, dumps his horrible fiancé and takes long walks in the rain. Sorry if you were planning to watch it and I’ve just ruined the end.
Experiencing hypnosis is just about the closest most people can get to being a time-traveller. Because we experience time simultaneously, things that happened years ago can scare us in the present moment and a dreaded future event can make us anxious. Hypnosis can help people to re-organise memories and gain a deeper understanding of themselves.
The bloke in the film was stuck somewhere in time, lost and confused. We all get like that now and again, (me more than most), the trick is to keep your eyes and ears open for clues on how to find your way back to life/back to reality (whatever that is).