Thelmar, E – 27 In summary
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
IN summing up the salient features, judged from within, of an attack of Madness, I would state them to be these:-
- First-and foremost and chief. – bewilderment. Bewilderment as to what has happened; bewilderment as to how or why one's own identity (which, whenever conscious, one retains) keeps finding itself in some utterly unaccountable, inexplicable way thrust in and out of bodies which do not belong to that identity; bewilderment impossible for a sane person to comprehend or even remotely conceive, such as no Pen can ever in the faintest manner portray; bewilderment amounting to perfect hell-torment of suffering. That is the most salient of all the features of Madness.
- Secondly--The grotesque exaggeration of everything-especially of one's own personality and importance-strikes (when once more sane) the "Observer from Within." One seems to become the Cynosure of every eye in Heaven and on earth. The attention of the whole of Creation seems centred upon one's self and one's actions. One's fortune is "millions " (which one generously throws away!); one's writings are to be Revelations for the Salvation of Suffering Humanity; one's wit is to "shatter the Universe with laughter "-and so on.
- Thirdly.-The automatic, instantaneous, and violent action of the Mind upon the Body is a very noticeable fact to any one who has experienced Madness……
- Fourthly,-What strikes the Observer from Within, very forcibly, is the extreme error Outsiders make in believing that in madness lunatics “lose their reason." Nothing could be further from fact. Speaking from personal experience, I assert that a lunatic's reason remains with him intact, whenever he is conscious at all. What a lunatic does lose is not his reason, but his consciousness. My reason remained with me throughout (whenever I was conscious), and I never exercised it more unceasingly than I did during those five and a half weeks of madness. No reasoning could have been sounder or more logical than mine throughout that time; but, as all my senses were deceiving me the whole reasoning in every case was built up entirely on false premises. Hence, to the Onlookers, the seeming lack of reason. Lunatics do not “lose their reason," they merely reason from false premises.
- Fifthly -Just as the Observer from Within can refute the popular error that people when mad “lose their reason," so can he testify to the exact accuracy of the equally common statement that they "go out of their mind." That is precisely what they do do! Throughout an attack of acute madness the patient is "out of his mind," and out of his whole physical body, continually, in varying degrees of completeness. That the “consciousness " and the “Madness " vary with the varying degrees of the completeness of the severance of the Ego from his physical brain-apparatus, I believe to be the case, That such severance-partial, complete, and varying to every intermediate degree-does take place, in Madness, between the Ego and the physical body, appears to me, from actual, personal experience, to be a fact.
Any medicines that induce or accentuate a severance between the Ego and the physical body, prevent, instead of bringing about, the “consummation devoutly to be wish'd" that the Patient should " regain control over his mind." It stands to reason that as long as he is being pushed out of his mind, he cannot, in the very nature of things, obtain control over that mind! But the problem of keeping the body alive, for the Patient to have any physical brain into which to get back, must be one of extreme difficulty, requiring the highest medical skill to solve.
I continued to hear “Voices" for months after regaining sanity. But these "Voices" did not resemble the "Voices" of Insanity, for two reasons.
Firstly, they all sounded as being inside my head; not, as those other "Voices" did, as proceeding entirely from without-often at long distances without.
Secondly, the things spoken were always my own thought that I was thinking, The Mad Voices never said what I was thinking -they said quite other things. They said things often quite contrary to my own thoughts or opinions-they said things that utterly astonished me-they said things that I never had, and never should have, thought; and all this while I myself was thinking my own, quite independent thoughts. When I first became sane the Voices inside my head spoke very loudly every thought I was thinking. Not only did they speak it very loudly but they spoke it with the most bewildering quickness. They seemed to seize the thought out of my mind before I had had time to finish thinking it, and to shout the whole completed thought aloud, with a rapidity of action that resembled nothing so much as the sudden collapse of a card-house falling down. Every slightest, passing thought was shouted instantly and loudly in my head in this manner.
As time went on the Voices grew less loud. This decrease in loudness took place, at intervals of a few weeks, in a marked manner. The manner rather resembled the quick shutting of a shutter in my brain, or-I think this describes the sensation more exactly-the sudden shifting tighter together of wide-apart, oscillating brain-molecules.