Oliver Sacks - Stephanie sees angels
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Oliver Sacks – Hallucinations
Stephanie w. had her first narcoleptic hallucination when she was five, walking home from kindergarten. She wrote to me that her hallucinations frequently occur during the daytime, and she presumes they happen before or after very short micro sleeps:
However . . . I am not able to detect that a microsleep has occurred unless something in my environment noticeably "jumps" forward or changes in some way - as it did, for example, when I still drove a car and would find that my vehicle had unaccountably leapt forward on the road during a microsleep. . . .
Prior to treatment for narcolepsy, I had many periods during which I experienced hallucinations on a daily basis. . . . Some were utterly benign: an "angel" which would appear periodically over a particular highway exit …. hearing a person whispering my name repeatedly, hearing a knock at the door which no one else hears, seeing and feeling ants walking on my legs. . . . Some were terrifying [like the] experience of visually seeing the people before me take on the appearance of being dead....
It was especially difficult as a child to be experiencing things that the people around me did not also sense. The attempts that I remember making to talk with adults or other kids about what was going on repeatedly elicited anger and suspicion that I was "crazy" or lying. . . .
It got easier as an adult. (Although when I was treated within the mental health system, I was told that I had “Psychosis with unusually strong reality testing.")