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Thelmar, E – 18 The most hopelessly entangled thread of all was the thread of my own identity



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

The Maniac – A Realistic Study of Madness from the Maniac’s Point of View – E Thelmar

THE doctor, two nurses, Mrs. W., and my eldest brother, all these attended me during those days. Not one of them did I ever see or become conscious of. Then one night I opened my eyes. I should say it was only a few nights later. I was fully conscious, and I believed then, and think the same now-I was sane (for the time being).

I cannot describe how ill I felt. I had a horrible sensation of sinking fast. I remembered all that had happened, and I thought- "I have been in frenzies of madness. Now I am dying." And I was thankful that I was dying. But the physical sensation was ghastly.

 I glanced round the room, and saw only the strange nurse. "They have all left me alone to die," I thought. "I suppose they have all been too terrified by my frenzies to have had the courage to remain. Well, I am sure it is no wonder! But what a ghastly way to die! Alone, and raving mad! Thank God I am dying at last”.

 I did not speak to the nurse, who was paying no attention to me. I concluded she was merely waiting for me to snuff out, and that probably the doctor had expected me to do so without regaining consciousness.

I was in great fear of her making any attempt, perhaps, to rally me, if she found I was conscious,-an attempt that might succeed in rallying me back into madness. I felt convinced it was only because I was dying that I was sane, I was in no doubt as to which I preferred death or madness. I set my teeth to die, without a word.

But the horror of the situation, and the sensation of dying, were such, that I hoped devoutly the business would be over without much delay. But when it was over it was not finished-as I found to my cost.

I died and passed utterly away. But again I was brought back-to a state of the most inextricable confusion. What I endured, from then onwards, endeavouring to disentangle this confusion, no words can describe. The most hopelessly entangled thread of all was the thread of my own identity.

The source of the experience

Thelmar, E

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Loneliness and isolation


Manic depression