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Vegetarian Lucy Younger, 23, was just about to start university when she started experiencing the bizarre symptoms – which also included zoning out.
She visited the GP three times and was misdiagnosed with panic disorder and given antidepressants.
Worried Lucy was given a CT scan, blood tests and an ultrasound after doctors thought her symptoms may be due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
But scans revealed she had a benign brain tumour on her frontal lobe – and needed surgery within a matter of weeks.
The zoning out turned out to be seizures which were due to epilepsy.
Lucy, from Crystal Palace, London, said: “Doctors were telling me one thing – but it wasn’t until I Googled my symptoms that I realised, I think I have a brain tumour.
“I genuinely felt like I was going insane for so long – I was being told my seizures were panic attacks.
“When the symptoms first started I thought it was weird. But I was drinking a little bit, so I thought I must’ve been overdoing it.
“I calmed down on the nights out and adapted my lifestyle – but once uni actually started, the symptoms only got worse.
“I was smelling bacon all the time – I’m a vegetarian, so I was like, what the hell is going on?
“My friends would even joke – oh, Lucy’s having a moment again!”
Lucy, who is out of work due to illness, first started noticing symptoms just after she started her BA in English at Goldsmiths, in September 2019.
She started experiencing déjà vu, as well as visual hallucinations – like pink elephants and rollercoasters.
Initially thinking she was just partying too hard during freshers, Lucy stopped drinking as often, and regularly chose staying in over nights out.
But her symptoms only started getting worse – and she experienced a range of sensory hallucinations, like smelling bacon, pins and needles in her face and tasting metal.
Lucy tried to downplay her symptoms at first, thinking they’d pass – but once she started getting sharp headaches, she decided to visit the GP for the first time.
She said: “Straight away, they were like – it’s anxiety.
“I didn’t feel all that anxious, but I’d just done a big move from Newquay to London and was meeting lots of new people – so I thought, I guess my brain’s just working overtime.
“But I was still skeptical – I felt really happy with where my life was at that point.”
Despite taking things easy after her anxiety diagnosis, Lucy began to notice she’d zone out for long periods during lectures.
She found it impossible to concentrate during class – and it was beginning to disrupt her studies, so she went back to her GP.
“The doctor said, you’re really depressed, you’ve been having really bad panic attacks,” Lucy added. “But, I just wasn’t.
“I figured, they’re the GP – they know what they’re talking about, so I guess I’ll just do what they say.”