Naomi Jacobs: the woman who went to bed at 32 and woke up as a 15-year-old girl (9 photos)

28 May 2024

On April 30, 2008, British Naomi Jacobs, who lived in Manchester, went to bed like any other night. But the young single mother raising a 10-year-old boy, Leo, had no idea that she would wake up hours later and forget half of her life.

She was unemployed at the time, but was studying psychology in order to get a better paying job than the one she previously had. In addition, Naomi had problems with her ex-husband and debts, but all this pales in comparison with what happened in the morning - after all, she woke up on May 1, 1992.

It would be more accurate to say that she believed that she woke up at the age of 15 and did not remember a single event that had happened in the last 17 years of her life.

15-year-old Naomi Jacobs. Here she is a diligent student who is full of hopes and dreams

“I was lying in a bed that I didn’t recognize and didn’t understand what house I was in,” Jacobs recalls. - I thought I was still dreaming.

Realizing that this was not a dream, Naomi took a closer look. Everything was unfamiliar to her: from the room itself, to the curtains on the windows, the blanket, and even the things lying on the bedside table. The most amazing thing is that the girl was convinced that it was 1992 and she was a teenager who went to school.

- Looking in the mirror, I expected to see a 15-year-old girl, but I didn’t recognize the face that was looking at me. It was an adult. I didn't understand what happened, so I screamed: "No! Oh my God, I... I'm OLD!", says Naomi Jacobs.

Naomi Jacobs today

From her point of view, everything that happened was a kind of “time travel”: she fell asleep 17 years ago and woke up in the future. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. In fact, she experienced a rare transient global amnesia.

Life in a dream

“I got up and started running around the house,” Naomi says. “My heart was pounding and my mouth was dry. I was shaking. Then my gaze caught on the photographs on the wall - there was a picture of a little boy.

I wondered who it was: my little brother? Because he was very similar to me. Later I found out that it was my son, Leo.

Then she picked up the phone and, without thinking, dialed someone's number. Naomi didn't know who was on the other end of the line, but she decided to press the call button anyway to find out who the person was and if he could help her.

Her best friend, Katie...whom she didn't remember, answered the phone. In the first minutes of the conversation, she thought that Naomi was playing her, but hearing the fear in her voice, she came to the conclusion that something very strange had really happened to her.

Naomi Jacobs with her mother

Katie soon arrived and began insisting that they go to the doctor together. But for some reason Naomi was sure that the next day she would wake up in her “real” home. Unfortunately, neither tomorrow nor the day after tomorrow her memory returned. She woke up again and again as a 15-year-old girl.

“I was sure that I would wake up tomorrow and go back to 1992,” she says. - But every time I saw an unfamiliar adult face in the reflection.

Naomi decided to go to the doctor only on the fourth day. But it turned out that her GP was on vacation, and her substitute doctor was unable to help Jacobs.

They decided to wait until her doctor returned from vacation to begin an investigation into what happened to her and why she did not remember the last 17 years of her life.

Naomi Jacobs and her son, Leo

“It seems like everyone I know grew up in one day.” Everything was new and unusual. Supermarkets are huge. Google and YouTube were a mystery to me, and my flat-screen TV looked like something out of Back to the Future Part 2,” Naomi recalls.

During this difficult period of adaptation, Naomi did not want to tell her son anything, not wanting to bother him. But she constantly faced some difficulties. For example, having to ask him what he likes to eat or what time he usually goes to bed. Fortunately, her sister came to her aid, who told her the basics, and then the woman had to cope on her own.

- When I “first” saw Leo live, I thought: “Wow!” Then I felt a huge surge of love for him and immediately realized that he was my son, although I didn’t even remember giving birth,” Jacobs says.

Remember yourself

Years passed before she found out her exact diagnosis, but in the meantime she was helped out by the diaries that she kept for the last 20 years of her life. In many ways, they helped the woman learn about the events that had happened and adapt to the “new” life.

Naomi Jacobs reads her diaries

At first, not yet having read her own biographies (which at that moment seemed to Naomi to be stories about a stranger), she experienced great disappointment.

At the age of fifteen, she had grandiose dreams and plans for her future: she believed that she would become a journalist, travel the world, or write books.

Waking up as a 32-year-old woman with a small child, without a husband, without a job and with a lot of debt, while living in a tiny house next to which her dilapidated car stood, Naomi found it very difficult to return to reality.

- I wanted to be a journalist or even an actress, travel the world and meet different people. But then I wake up and they say to me: “Wait, you live in a two-bedroom council house, with an old car, a cat, a child and no job,” Naomi recalls.

But as she read her journals and learned her story, Naomi began to better understand the woman she would eventually become.

Naomi Jacobs with her sister in 1992

Jacobs learned that at the age of 16 she actually ran away from home, after which she had no contact with her mother, and then, due to stress, began using drugs and even tried to commit suicide.

She was shocked to realize that she had lived for a long time with a guy who treated her with obvious disdain and never loved her, but despite this, Naomi gave birth to a child from him. It turned out that the appearance of her son gave her the impetus to change her own life.

Therefore, she left her husband and opened her own small business, which, alas, went bankrupt and she almost stumbled a second time. For these reasons, she fell into a deep depression in 2008, which likely caused her amnesia.

Naomi Jacobs

Reading through the diaries, Naomi gradually came to understand the reasons for her difficult situation. At the same time, she could not get rid of regret about her actions - many of which now seemed to her wrong and completely illogical.

The most difficult experience she had to face was accepting the consequences of actions that she did not even remember.


Over time, Naomi will write a book about her unusual case. In it, she assures that this event was an excellent opportunity to look at her life from the outside and easily solve many problems that she looked at from a completely different angle in her “past life.”

In her case, it turned out that a “15-year-old teenager” could act much more judiciously than a “32-year-old woman.” In the pages of her book, Jacobs suggests that her mind was transported to that age because it was the last moment in her life when she was truly happy and enjoying life.

Cover of Naomi Jacobs' book, The Forgotten Girl

Ultimately, Naomi graduated with a degree in psychology and began working in her specialty. This helped her better understand the condition she experienced in the spring of 2008.

Moreover, she began to help patients who still come to her with complex cases of amnesia, and Jacobs, thanks to her own experience, helps people remember and accept what they have forgotten.

We can say that the nightmare she experienced ultimately became Naomi’s salvation. But we must admit that she was very lucky, because the woman lost only her memory, but fully retained her abilities, this explains why she was able to cope with amnesia relatively easily and significantly improve her life.

Add your comment
  • bowtiesmilelaughingblushsmileyrelaxedsmirk

You might be interested in: