hallucination

Deconstruct the Message Behind the Words

"A later response, and much more useful, would be to try and deconstruct the message behind the words, so when the voices warned me not to leave the house, then I would thank them for drawing my attention to how unsafe I felt -- because if I was aware of it, then I could do something positive about it -- but go on to reassure both them and myself that we were safe and didn't need to feel frightened anymore. I would set boundaries for the voices, and try to interact with them in a way that was assertive yet respectful, establishing a slow process of communication and collaboration in which we could learn to work together and support one another.

Throughout all of this, what I would ultimately realize was that each voice was closely related to aspects of myself, and that each of them carried overwhelming emotions that I'd never had an opportunity to process or resolve, memories of sexual trauma and abuse, of anger, shame, guilt, low self-worth. The voices took the place of this pain and gave words to it, and possibly one of the greatest revelations was when I realized that the most hostile and aggressive voices actually represented the parts of me that had been hurt most profoundly, and as such, it was these voices that needed to be shown the greatest compassion and care."

~ Eleanor Longden 


See also: 

Leaving the Outside World Behind

Excerpt from “All-Nighters: Failing to Fall,” by Siri Hustvedt, New York Times Opinionator (March 3, 2010):

The Neuronal Switches for Waking and Sleeping

In sleep we leave behind the sensory stimulation of the outside world. A part of the brain called the thalamus, involved in the regulation of sleeping and waking, plays a crucial role in shutting out somatosensory stimuli and allowing the cortex to enter sleep.

One theory offered to explain hypnogogic hallucinations is that the thalamus deactivates before the cortex in human beings, so the still active cortex manufactures images, but this is just a hypothesis.

What is clear is that going to sleep involves making a psychobiological transition. Anxiety, guilt, excitement, a racing bedtime imagination, fear of dying, pain or illness can keep us from toppling into the arms of Morpheus. Depression often involves sleep disturbances, especially waking up early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep. Weirdly enough, keeping a depressed patient awake for a couple of nights in the hospital can alleviate his symptoms temporarily. They return as soon as he begins to sleep normally again.

 

The Theater of the Mind

Charles Bonnet said he wondered how ‘the theater of the mind’ could be generated by the machinery of the brain. Now, two hundred and fifty years later, I think we’re beginning to glimpse how this is done.”

~ Oliver Sacks, from “What Hallucination Reveals about Our Minds,” TED Talks (February 2009)