7-Year-Old Bryce: Mommy, I See Ghosts
When 7-year-old Bryce’s mother read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to him, he became very upset. The visual distortions described in the book by Lewis Carroll (who is reported to have had “temporal lobe experiences”) felt familiar to him. He said that he felt like Alice. “I have weird things happen to me,” he told her. “I see things.”
Seeing Things: Was Bryce Losing His Mind?
During the day, Bryce saw objects change shapes, often getting smaller. He also saw green, shadowy ghosts at night. The young boy also had a lot of anxiety symptoms. Some moms might chalk this up to “childish imagination,” but Bryce’s mom could see the fear in her child’s eyes and believed him. Frightened that Bryce was losing his mind (a cousin had been diagnosed with a “schizophrenic-like” illness), his mother sought out a comprehensive brain health evaluation that included brain imaging tests.
Looking into Bryce’s Brain
Bryce’s brain SPECT study showed a focal area of increased activity in his right temporal lobe. This is called temporal lobe epilepsy, but it doesn’t always involve the seizures typically associated with epilepsy. It explained why Bryce was seeing things. The child wasn’t going crazy, he simply had too much activity in this area of his brain.
Bryce’s Brain, Affected by Temporal Lobe Epilepsy
The Temporal Lobes
In most people, the left temporal lobe is dominant and involved in language, memory, and mental stability. The right temporal lobe is considered non-dominant and it is involved with reading facial expressions, processing verbal tones and intonations from others, hearing rhythms, appreciating music, visual learning, and spiritual experiences.
Temporal Lobe Problems
Problems with the dominant (usually left) temporal lobe include aggression, emotional instability, and reading difficulties. Issues with the nondominant (usually right) temporal lobe include difficulty recognizing facial expressions. Some temporal lobe problems can affect one or both sides. These include:
• memory problems, amnesia
• headaches or abdominal pain without a clear explanation
• anxiety or fear for no particular reason
• abnormal sensory perceptions, visual or auditory distortions
• feelings of déjà vu or jamais vu
• periods of spaciness or confusion
• religious or moral preoccupation
• hypergraphia (excessive writing)
Treating Bryce’s Brain
Bryce’s treatment included an anti-seizure medication to stabilize his temporal lobe and psychotherapy. Within two weeks, Bryce’s strange experiences disappeared, and over the next six months, his anxiety lessened.
Bryce was diagnosed and treated at Amen Clinics, which takes a multi-modal approach to treatment that can include psychotherapy, nutritional therapy, medications (when necessary), and more.
If you are experiencing any of the issues listed above, understand that temporal lobe problems are treatable. Reach out today to schedule an evaluation or call us at 888-288-9834.