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