A graduate who experienced bizarre symptoms like smelling bacon and frequent déjà vu turned out to have a brain tumour.

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.”

Lucy was prescribed 20mg of sertraline, an antidepressant also used to treat panic attacks.

But, unsatisfied with her diagnosis, she started googling her symptoms, with each result pointing towards a brain tumour and epilepsy.

Five months later, in March 2020, Lucy returned home to Newquay after lockdown restrictions were put in place. Here, her symptoms started rapidly worsening.

She said: “I had a couple of bigger seizures when I went home - I actually passed out with these ones.

“I started getting migraines so bad the entire right side of my body would go numb.

“I thought, I’m either going into psychosis or I’ve got a tumour - it definitely wasn’t depression or anxiety.”

Lucy sought medical help for a third time - and a different GP told her she may have fluctuating hormones, possibly caused by PCOS.

They recommended she track her periods and sent her for blood tests and an ultrasound.

Feeling helpless, with permanent hallucinations, Lucy rang a local pharmacist and cried down the phone to him.

He sent a letter to her GP, recommending they refer her for a CT scan as soon as possible.

Lucy added: “My pharmacist advocated for me - once he’d spoken to my GP, they arranged for me to have a CT scan.

“I went in the July - and finally got my diagnosis of a benign brain tumour.”

Four months later, Lucy had to undergo a craniotomy, a type of brain surgery, to remove the tumour.

She took a year out of uni in order to do this - as her seizures and surgery had left her with short-term memory loss.

“I was completely out of it during recovery,” she said. “I remember not being able to walk very well - I had to go back to beginner ballet classes after learning since I was a teenager.

“I also realised, I’d been diagnosed with dyslexia when I’d just started uni - that was all to do with my brain tumour.”

In July 2021, Lucy returned to finish her English degree - and graduated one year later.