Zombies In Real Life – Part 2

A while back a friend made a post about mental illness and, while trying to explain to other commenters about how anyone can get a mental health problem, I inadvertantly started a discussion about self-image being easily warped and mentioned that words are important. I thoroughly believe this. If you’re continually told that you’re worthless then you’re going to start believing it at some point. As the network I’m using is playing silly buggers at the moment I wasn’t able to go into further detail (despite trying on three occasions) but the whole thing got me thinking about self image in general and extreme cases in particular.

The Cotard delusion is named after it’s discoverer Jules Cotard, a French neurologist who first described the condition during a lecture in Paris in the year 1880. Mild cases of Cotard’s are characterised by the subject experiencing a constant despair and self-loathing. In most cases they stay that way, having built up from minor self image problems. Severe cases of the Cotard delusion increase until the subject believes that they are dead. They believe that their perceptions have been altered to hide this fact from them but that they have managed to figure it out. They know that their flesh is putrifying, their organs turning to mush and their blood turning to powder. Anyone who tells them otherwise is thought to be in on whatever conspiracy is doing this to the sufferer. As time goes on they will cease to believe in certain parts of their body (perhaps believing them to have rotted away) and will start to believe they are cursed or immortal. The patient that Cotard described believed she was eternally damned, had ceased to believe in several body parts, believed she no longer needed to eat and thought she could no longer die from a natural death.

Imagine if you can being absolutely sure that you’re dead, feeling that your flesh is rotting around you and you can’t escape it, knowing for certain that your God is punishing you for something, having everything in the world around you warped to convince you of this. Imagine the absolute horror of going through your life as a living zombie.


19 thoughts on “Zombies In Real Life – Part 2

  1. This particular condition can start manifesting in many ways but it's such a rare condition that it's hard to find a common cause (until some recent cases it was thought that a head injury caused it). The sufferer usually has a low opinion of themselves though and something exacerbates that past the regular conditions that normally stem from that.

  2. Stuff like that proves, that reality is far more weird and bizarre than fiction will ever get. If some author or film director made such a disease up, people would say 'Come on, that is just too unrealistic! Far fetched!' But shit like that is part of reality. A minor part, yes, but still a part.

  3. "If you're continually told that you're worthless then you're going to start believing it at some point."This fact's been used in the caste system. In ancient times, and at some places even today, priesthood was a lucrative career : 1) When you are a priest and associate yourself with god, people start to give you respect, as if you yourself are a god not an erring human. 2) Whatever devotees offer to god ultimately comes to you; land, jewellery, food etc. Priesthood is a good white collared job. When a priest found out that, he wanted to devise a method with which he could keep the profession in his family, this was the birth of the caste system. The system of birthbased labels, where a child is called high or low by birth, his/her education, career, marriage, whether he'd get respect or not, all dependes on the label he/she gets by birth. Millions of children born in India are labeled as low by birth, live devastated and perplexed as to why this labele is put on them.

  4. I've seen something on tv about devotees of some religion that steal bits of human flesh from burning corpses along the river Ganges. They then eat the putrid, rotten flesh in a mesmiric state of religious eccstasy! :yuck:.And I've witnessed many times here in South Africa how some black people actually believe that they're stupid and whites are smart! :awww:.This was the famous excuse given by the Apartheid government as to why 'bantu education' only went as far as standard three! :irked:.Sadly, many grown men and women have now come to believe this to be true for them! :awww:.So I know that Mik's theory is 100% true. (actually, it was my theory first, he stole it from me :irked:)

  5. Bud, the caste system was created using purusha sukta in rig veda.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purusha_suktaHave you seen my albums? Most of the child labour are from SC, ST, and OBC castes, from "low" castes. Since the caste system had given 100% reservation to the high caste in education, i.e. only they had the right to education, those who are labeled as low castes are still living a devastated life being uneducated and superstitious. http://www.childlabor.in/bonded-child-labour-in-india.htmI get very angry at some westerners when they blindly romanticise everything in the east. It was Max Muller who impoted the snobbish sanskrit word aryan to the west, you had to bear the consequences of that remember. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AryanI am going to write my blog against the caste system.

  6. I understand all that. I had an uncle who was born in India. I'm just curious if this rare disorder has ever manifested itself as a result of the system.

  7. It must be terrible to live your life thinking you're dead, and kind of surreal to even imagine what that must be like. I mean, rotting flesh and… yikes!

  8. I wonder how sufferers who think they've got dead bodyparts react to a pain signal from that part (woman who thinks her arm is dead, meet fork in the back of the hand … ). I suppose they'd just work it into the delusion to keep up the consistency …

  9. The problem with this particular delusional state is that the sufferer begins to feel seperated from reality. Reality becomes the delusion for them and getting through to them enough to question them about their symptoms is a herculean feat that actually has them partially recovered. Questioning the really far gone victims about symptoms that they can only remember is all but impossible as they'd have no idea that there was another stimuli apart from what the delusion cooked up. Combined with how rare this particular symptom is, this makes most theories on how it works stay as theories.My personal hope is that the delusion works aches and pains into the rotting process that they're feeling. If they were fully aware of reality yet unable to make themselves stop seeing and thinking that way (as the majority of people in delusional states are) then that's a torture I can't even imagine.The Cotard delusion is fascinating to me. The psychological processes involved for someone to start thinking this way are just so extreme that I can't stop thinking about it. It's not as terrifying as one particular psychological problem though.

  10. Bud, I don't know anyone with the disease. But imagine when you are called low by birth and you and your parents also didn't have even the right to education, you'd definitely feel tormented, depressed and even enraged. I have seen that in the people.I am not that oppressed like an "untouchable". I am said to be born in this caste from the second kshatriya varna(main caste) from "aryan"(I hate that word) descent. But when I found myself in the same humiliating state as the "untouchables" when the OBC reservation in the IITs was declared by the gov, I am an OBC now, I realized 99% of the reporters are from the priest class. I started to hate the system. I don't want to be in a system which is geared towards the gratification only one group of people, the priests. I don't want to be a kshatriya, a bodyguard of the priests, I am an individual human being not any caste label.

  11. Remember I wanted to borrow part of a story of yours for a post? It's a story about something that really terrifies me.

  12. I was looking forward to that post before. Now I'm really jumping up and down in anticipation! It'll be your fault if the floorboards break, you know … :eyes:

  13. I've heard about a girl (in The Netherlands, I think) who just wouldn't accept one of her legs as part of her body. So much so, she wanted it amputated at the hospital.Before she could do that, she had to undergo a huge psychological examination to make sure she wasn't mentally ill.After concluding she wasn't – she was sent to the hospital to have the leg surgically removed.

  14. Originally posted by rose-marie:

    After concluding she wasn't – she was sent to the hospital to have the leg surgically removed.


  15. There's a number of rare psychological conditions that can cause that feeling, including Cotard's. End of the day, the leg was part of her body and it doesn't take a professional to know that her thinking that it wasn't is a big sign of a psychological condition in the background.Whoever concluded that she wasn't ill needs to be struck off and locked up. A licensed professional let a blatantly mentally ill person mutilate themselves permanently to that degree. Disgusting. :furious:

  16. I know…A friend of mine was on a tour in NL and played together with the band she played in. Apparently, she has two different artificial legs depending on if she wants to wear high heels or flats.She had forgotten her high heel one, but had only brought high heels for the other foot.I know it's not nice to laugh but… it must have been an interesting sight.

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