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Body + BrainBody & Brain

The Amnesiac and His Wife Who Helps Him Remember

ByAbbey InterranteNOVA NextNOVA Next

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Produced by Jasmyn Belcher for StoryCorps

“If you have another episode, and you’re in this position again: ‘Trust Penny. Trust her explicitly with everything. You’re meant to be together.’”

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Jeff Ingram left this message for himself in case he forgets everything. Jeff suffers from Dissociative Fugue, a rare type of amnesia. When he has an attack, his memory is wiped clean, and he doesn’t remember anything from before.

When he and his wife, Penny, were engaged, he had an attack and disappeared. Penny didn’t know where he had gone, and Jeff had no memory of his life or who he was. He eventually appeared on TV, asking America for help in identifying himself. Jeff and Penny were reunited, but an attack can—and has—happened again.

Each time he has to start his life over, Penny is there to help him remember.

Jeff Ingram suffers from dissociative fugue, a rare type of amnesia.

At StoryCorps , Penny told Jeff about the early days of their relationship.

Photo credit: Flickr / (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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