Monday, May 14, 2018


From the oddity closet, I bring you Cotard delusion. Read:
Cotard delusion is a rare mental illness in which the affected person holds the delusional belief that they are already dead, do not exist, are putrefying, or have lost their blood or internal organs.

Take that in for a minute.

Have a little more:
On Nov. 5, 2013, Esmé Weijun Wang came to the remarkable conclusion that she was dead.

In the weeks prior to this, she had begun to feel increasingly fractured — like being scatterbrained, but to such an extreme that she felt her sense of reality was fraying at the edges. She had started to lose her grip on who she was and on the world around her. Desperate to fend off what appeared to be early signs of psychosis, Wang went into a soul-searching and organizational frenzy. She read a self-help book that was supposed to help people discover their core beliefs and desires; she ordered and scribbled in five 2014 datebook planners, reorganized her work space and found herself questioning her role as a writer.

Then one morning, Wang woke her husband before sunrise with an incredible sense of wonder and tears of joy to tell him it all made sense to her now: She had actually died a month before, although at the time she had been told she merely fainted.

I know if I thought I was dead, I'd turn to self-help books right away, not to mention immediately watching Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead.

This is one of those discoveries, for me, that means I will never be the same. Sometimes you find out about things that mean the world is different than you understood, and this is one of those things.

This illness isn't understood all that well, but it appears that there's usually a precipitating event where the sufferer could have died, but didn't, and they become convinced that what happened was actually fatal. It's a mental illness, obviously, but it can lead to some interesting metaphysical considerations:
“I began to believe I was in perdition, or some kind of hell,” said Wang, who wrote an essay, “Perdition Days,” during and after the experience. “I was trying to figure out what I had done wrong, what had condemned me to this afterlife that looked like my real life before I died but wasn’t real — that was the torment of it. I kind of described it once as feeling like I was on fire inside.”

This condition can last for months or even years. Remarkably, though, it's treatable, both via pharmacological means and (if necessary) electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, which is generally more effective).

I'd like to know why someone hasn't used this as the basis for a film (paging DQ Film Advisor And Nicest Guy In The World Ben Ormand).

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