Oliver Sacks - Growing and shrinking during chicken pox
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
I was 11 years old and was home from school with chicken pox and a high fever. . . .
During a fever spike, I experienced a frightening hallucination for what seemed like a very long time, in which my body seemed to shrink and grow. . . .
With each of my breaths, my body would feel like it was swelling and swelling until I was sure that my skin would burst like a balloon. Then when it felt so excruciating, like I had suddenly grown from a normal sized child to a grotesquely fat person. . . like a person-balloon. . . I would look down at myself, sure that I would see my insides bursting out of my inadequate amount of skin, and blood pouring from enlarged orifices that could not contain my swollen body.
But I would "see" my normal sized self . . . and looking would reverse the process. . . . I would feel like my body was shrinking. My arms and legs would get thinner and thinner. . . then skinny, then emaciated, then cartoon thin (like the legs on Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie) and then so pencil thin that I thought my body would disappear altogether.
The source of the experienceSacks, Oliver
Concepts, symbols and science items
ConceptsBody image distortion
Activities and commonsteps
Oliver Sacks – Hallucinations