I woke up and forgot the last 20 years, I didn’t know my wife and thought I’d been kidnapped

WE’VE all woken up after a night out and felt confused, right?

But can you imagine waking up sober and having absolutely no memory at all of the last 20 years?


Daniel woke up one morning and didn’t recognise his wife lying next to himCredit: Mercury

Well, 36-year-old Daniel Porter woke up one morning in July 2020, in a bit of shock.

This wasn’t just any old morning – Daniel woke up next to his wife Ruth, 37, to find that he had no idea where he was OR who was lying next to him.

Thinking he had been kidnapped and feeling very confused, Ruth had to try and convince her husband that she was in fact his wife.

Living in Texas, Daniel could still remember his parents but had no memory of meeting his wife, getting married, getting pregnant or buying their first home.

He also had no recollection of his 10-year-old daughter Libby.

When Daniel woke, he was convinced he was living in the 1990s and thought that he had to get ready for school.

Just like that, 20 years of memories had vanished.

Daniel is now working to rebuild his memories – he has none between 2000 and 2020.

Ruth said: “He woke up one morning and just had no idea who I was or where he was.

“He thought he was either drunk and gone home with a woman or that he’d been kidnapped.”

Ruth recalled that Daniel didn’t recognise the room and was looking for an escape route.

Ruth said: “Luckily, we were on his parents’ farm so they could confirm that I was his wife and he believed them but he had no idea that he had a daughter and he was scared of our dogs.”

Ruth had to help Daniel get dressed but Daniel didn’t recognise his clothes.

Ruth revealed: “He was angry when he looked at himself in the mirror. He was asking why he was old and fat.”


After taking Daniel to hospital, the family found that he had suffered Transient Global Amnesia, a sudden, temporary interruption of short-term memory.

This form of amnesia can’t be attributed to a more common neurological condition, such as epilepsy or stroke.

During an episode of transient global amnesia, your memory of recent events simply vanishes, so you can’t remember where you are or how you got there.

Additionally, you may not remember anything about what’s happening in the here and now.

The condition most often affects people in middle or older age.

During the recovery process, you may slowly begin to remember events and circumstances.

The family were told to expect that Daniel would have his memory back within 24 hours, but this didn’t happen.

Daniel also lost all memory of his education and so was forced to stop working as a hearing specialist.

Ruth attempted to get Daniel’s memory back, by driving round his old neighbourhood and reintroducing him to friends.

Ruth revealed: “He hid Libby’s birthday presents a week before he got amnesia so when her birthday came, we couldn’t find them because he couldn’t remember where he’d put them.”

“We didn’t find one present until four months later and they were shoes so she’d grown out of them by the time we found them.”

Ruth reinforced that Daniel’s personality is now different – he has different tastes in food.

However, Daniel’s humour is still the same and is actually more friendly and sociable.

Prior to Daniel’s amnesia, he didn’t like going out, but now he loves it.

Just months before Daniel awoke confused, he began having stress-induced seizures due to big life changes.

He had a really traumatic year in 2019 – first he lost his job, then moved back with his parents, then damaged his back and had to begin using a walking stick.

After Daniel lost his job, the family sold their house and most of their possessions and moved to Missouri.

The couple moved for work but didn’t get paid so ended up stranded with no friends or family around them.

They then moved back home to Daniel’s parent’s farm.

Following the move, Daniel started having non-epileptic seizures.

They started off pretty violent and one caused a slipped disc and a lot of pain.

It is believed that cumulative stress triggered Daniel’s memory loss.

Daniel is now going to therapy to try to work through the trauma.

Daniel lost 20 years of memories but is now undergoing therapy to work to get through the trauma


Daniel lost 20 years of memories but is now undergoing therapy to work to get through the traumaCredit: Mercury

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