Two different patients. Two different stories. But a shared delusion. Each is convinced that someone they love dearly is not that person, but an impostor. A curious disorder known as Capgras delusion involves the distinct feeling that the people around you have been replaced.
NPR did story on this delusion disorder. One of the experts they interviews is an interesting neuroscientist who spoke at a TED conference about interesting brain paradoxes, his name is Dr. Ramachandran. Really this story came from Radio Lab, a blog/radio/podcast pair of men who speak on insteresting subjects. All in all, I was impressed with this rare, rare, delusion that can effect people.
As is mentioned in the piece, Capgras delusion, is named after a French psychiatrist. He gave the first case report on a woman who had this issue.
Imagine you look at someone, and you see that they look like someone you know and you know what their name is, and you know a history with this face, but there is no emotional backing to your image. So, you don’t think it’s them because it doesn’t “feel” like them! If they walked out of the room and called you, you’d know them and tell them someone stole their body and impersonated them. Interesting and sad.
I heard this story on NPR about a man named Michael Nye, who did an art collection based on Hunger. It was amazing to hear the stories that people who experienced real hunger went through, and then when I got home, I was able to view the images that went with them. He would spend several days with his subjects, interviewing and taking photographs, then he’d make a small short audio clip and share an image that went with it. It was very touching.
A photograph by Michael Nye, as part of his collection on hunger, click to visit the site with her story.
It was very moving to hear the stories of these people, and amazing how he used photography and journalism to present it. He is a lawyer by trade.
I highly recommend looking at his web exhibits. About Hunger
“People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
When I was in high school, I was fascinated by the writers known as the transendentalists. To me to be a “writing movement” with ideas that formed an actually historical blip was amazing and I grew to enjoy RA Emmerson’s work. He ennoyed education as well as has an interesting, and I think unique view of the world and religion. I think it would have been interesting to talk with him for an evening. He had many thoughts directed at what makes a person a better person, as well as insights such as this one about a person’s character. I think he was on the mark here.
“A common error in thinking about primary care is to see it as entry-level medicine…and, because of this, rudimentary medicine — for mostly (say) the common cold and imaginary illnesses. This is a false notion. Everyone knows, however, that knowing when you don’t know require sophisticated knowledge…From the perspective of training physicians and the knowledge bases required for adequate performance, the higher we go on the scale of a specialist training, the less complex medical problems become.” Eric J. Cassell, MD
This is an interesting talk on how the internet connects us to each other. She discusses some of the social norms that have created the structure we have, and how the higher up the echelons, the more control one has over their ability to talk to their close relationships.
It is very humbling to feed a young woman her breakfast because she is too autistic to tell you she’s hungry, but functional enough to sometimes be able to use a spoon. It is humbling to watch a spirit, “trapped” in a body that wont allow her to communicate all she feels, so only pure emotion and frustration surface. When she is not understood, or cannot get her needs met, she strikes her own head–her ears bearing years of scars and healing in the form of large keloid scars.
It is humbing to think, that something as simple as telling another human, I think I am tired, do you mind letting me rest? or I am very sad, and I cannot seem to be comforted, will you love me? Can never be said by some who need it most. A very humbling thing to watch.