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- Posted on Apr 18th 2012 9:59AM by Contessa Gayles
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At 7 years old, Lydon was diagnosed with spinal meningitis, a condition that causes inflammation in the lining of the brain and spinal cord. He spent a year of his youth in hospital, suffering from hallucinations and slipping into a coma. Thankfully, the now 56-year-old singer got well and went on to become the rock icon he is today, but the worry he caused his parents Eileen and John Christopher Lydon gave him paralyzing guilt for years.
"They were proud that I recovered from childhood illnesses where I very seriously could have died," Lydon admitted. "Meningitis and a coma. No big deal, I got over it. There's no self-pity about it. But you look back at that and think, 'Oh what a burden on your parents!' You feel guilty about it in your own self for years and years and years," he revealed.
As he comes to terms with the "burden" he put on his parents, Lydon still faces residual side effects of the illness. He suffered such severe memory loss that at one point he couldn't remember his own name. Still, the side effect has a positive effect of its own "That's why I can't tell lies to people -- because I lost my memory," Lydon confessed. "I know when people lie to you how hurtful that can be when you quite frankly don't know your own name. You rely on every single word to be the truth."