Woman who woke from coma thought she was 'the Messiah' after suffering from rare brain condition
A young woman who was struck with a life-threatening case of encephalitis has described the vivid religious delusions she experienced in the hospital.
Evie Moore was 20 years old when she was struck by encephalitis, a rare auto-immune illness which causes severe inflammation of the brain and can lead to psychological issues such as sudden mood swings, paranoia, changes in personality, hallucinations and, in Evie's case, a genuine Messiah complex.
The trouble began for the council worker, who is now 23, back in September 2015, when she began feeling sudden feelings of extreme jealousy and suspicion towards her then-boyfriend.
She was living with her partner at the time, and would become extremely suspicious of him interacting with other women - behaviour which was quite out-of-character for her.
Despite being acutely aware of how much her paranoia was affecting her love life, Evie was unable to stop herself. This culminated in her becoming bedbound for over a week with what she thought was the flu. But a visit from her concerned dad convinced her to check herself into the hospital to see if her illness was something more serious.
Not long after that, Evie suffered from a seizure. Doctors placed her into an induced coma to reduce the possibility of permanent brain damage. When her family came to visit her she couldn't recognise them and was barely able to form sentences. After another week of consciousness, Evie began to slowly regain her memory and faculties thanks to medical steroids.
She was released from hospital but became delusional while resting at home, at one point becoming convinced of a number of falsehoods: that her mother had died, that she was in the middle of a war zone she saw on television and that she could fly, even trying to leap from a window ledge in an attempt to take off. Her psychosis also led her to believe that she was the Messiah and a messenger of God.
Commenting on her ordeal in a recent interview, Evie stated: "It’s very upsetting because I feel like I am better and I am back to normal, but I know that something has changed and my mum and dad sometimes comment on things that I might say that before I wouldn’t have done, and after the breakdown of my last relationship, I stopped looking for love because I was worried that my illness would mean we just broke up again."
She added: "The three months before encephalitis hit me, I was becoming paranoid and was getting worked up about things that wouldn’t normally bother me. For no reason at all, I was getting really worried about my boyfriend at the time speaking to other girls, which never used to bother me before ...
"The illness had really altered who I was, and I think for a young relationship that was too much of a strain. He came to visit me and started crying and we both decided it wasn’t right any more. He left and I closed my curtains and just started sobbing my eyes out.
"For a long time, I had to rely on my mum to help me get dressed in the morning and put my make-up on. I felt so tired all the time, but my parents were amazing in getting me up and doing things so that I didn’t just sit around and wallow. And that really helped me get off my feet both emotionally and physically."
Evie has since recovered from her encephalitis and met a new man: George. The couple soon started dating after meeting each other on Snapchat and Evie has told him all about her prior illness, with George being completely accepting. With his love and support, Evie now feels far more confident about her future.
February 22 is officially World Encephalitis Day; if you'd like to help those struggling with this illness, then don't hesitate to visit the Encephalitis Society to make a charitable donation.