Schizophrenia.com

Cotard's Syndrome Help for NYU Graduate Student


#1

Greetings! My name is Christian DeMarais and I am an artist/graduate student at NYU. I am wondering if there is anyone out there willing to provide me with some information or even (confidential) testimony about living with Cotard’s Syndrome? We are working on a project looking to give voice to those suffering from this disorder. Please feel free to message/contact me on here at anytime.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Respectfully,
Christian


Thinking You're Dead
#2

I had to look that one up.


#3

I think I had Cotard’s delusion for a couple days when I was hospitalized (imagined I was dead and in hell, lost some organs) but fortunately it never turned into anything chronic and I certainly hope it never does. I hope your project will be very respectful of those people who suffer from it. I find a lot of glib YouTube videos about it very nauseating.


#4

This was a big problem for me when I was improperly medicated.


#6

alien99,

I am fascinated by the side effects that certain medications have caused when paired with this disorder or how often times it becomes the catalyst for the delusion to begin with. Would you be at all willing to tell me a little bit more about the days in which you had the delusion (also what caused the medication to react the way it did to create such a traumatic mental state for you as a result)? I wholeheartedly understand if that is out of the question. Ideally, I’d love to be able to interview you on Skype just to get more accurate first hand information from a patient/sufferer rather than the case studies and articles I have been reading online. But again, any and all information you have will be incredibly helpful in moving forward toward a deeper understanding of this disease/syndrome.

Thank you again for everything and I look forward to potentially hearing from you again soon!
Best,
Christian


#7

Keepsimple,

I completely agree regarding the videos on YouTube…some are offensive in that they merely make fun of the disorder or present the information in a disrespectful and unprofessional manner. Would you be at all willing to tell me a little bit more about the days in which you had the delusion (imagining you were in hell and/or that you had lost certain organs? I wholeheartedly understand if that is out of the question. Ideally, I’d love to be able to interview you on Skype just to get more accurate first hand information from a patient/sufferer rather than the case studies and articles I have been reading online. But again, any and all information you have will be incredibly helpful in moving forward toward a deeper understanding of this disease/syndrome.

Thank you again and I look forward to (hopefully) hearing from you soon!
Best,
Christian


#8

It’s been over 20 years since it happened so most of it I have pretty much forgotten…

Because of confidentiality, I am not willing to do Skype or give you my email so I would like to limit my contact with you to this forum.

I remember being taken to the hospital because I started having religious delusions that I was going to hell… They put me in a local hospital and I couldn’t really sleep for a couple of days. I remember lying in my bed thinking there was a snake inside my body that was eating my soul and organs. It was the middle of the night and by a strange coincidence one of the other patients (a girl) accidentally entered my room and said “Sorry”… This freaked me out even more because I interpreted it as a sign that I had “lost the game” against evil.

I was wandering around the halls during the day thinking I was in hell… There were odd television shows on tv that had me convinced people were being tortured and maimed for entertainment. I thought my psychiatrist was a vivisectionist and going to dissect me.

I am not sure it was during the same hospitalization, but I had delusions of being like Jesus (if not Jesus) going through hell for 3 days. If I remember correctly I had the misfortune of being in the hospital on Easter Sunday and someone had brought in a small wooden crucifix and that just played right into my bizarre beliefs. At times I was catatonic but still thinking I was in hell. I laugh about it now, but one of the times I was in the common room and catatonic I saw the other patients playing bingo and I believed they were playing bingo in hell :slight_smile: On another day I remember watching the sunset from the common room and believed it was a nuclear explosion.

As far as my background goes I attended Catholic schools for 12 years but then went to a secular public university. I originally was an electrical engineering student but switched my sophomore year into Physics because I found it more interesting and all my engineering mentors seemed to talk too much about making money. I was also taking computer science courses and got kind of overloaded in my schedule and totally flunked out a semester in Junior year. I took a hiatus for a semester and volunteered teaching kids to read in a poor section of the city I lived in. When I came back I downgraded my Physics degree to a B.A. instead of a B.S. and graduated, the following year I completed a B.S. in Computer Science (we’re talking pre-Windows days though so it was a lot like the punchcard days with computers… we were just learning a little about the internet during my senior year) I was pretty burned out from college but was kind of determined to leave town. I got a job with a large corporation and went off for corporate training for a week. It was a bit too much for me and I think I even caught the flu. I started decompensating on the flight home and having terrible paranoia about government surveillance (this is way before the stuff we hear about NSA today)… I had to be hospitalized… My brother thought someone slipped me some LSD… (too this day, I can’t say absolutely for sure they didn’t but it is probably just a remote possibility… I am glad I didn’t know anything about MKUltra back then)

I had about 6 hospitalizations over a 3 year period while I was trying to work full time as a computer programmer. I got pretty depressed so I couldn’t go into work anymore so I did a nice day treatment program for a year… Unfortunately, I got thrown back into full time employment at a small database company doing tech support. I did that for 3 years but then couldn’t quite keep up with that. I resigned from the company but then my life started getting a little better. I had started chain smoking during my first job but was able to use nicotine lozenges after I lost the second job. I broke up with the woman I was dating because she was taking advantage of me financially and also ended up cheating on me. She did however introduce me to a local mental health advocacy organization where I met my future wife. We dated for about 6 years and finally decided to get married (I am pretty slow in relationships). We have been married almost 5 years now and things are mostly ok… we each try to help out with our elderly parents and my wife has a large extended family. Neither of my brothers nor my mom’s only sister had kids… hopefully this illness will end on our branch of the tree. My mom and one of my brothers also had sz.


#9

Keepsimple,

That is incredible! I am so grateful that you were willing to share that with me. It is so interesting to me in that some of these “delusions” are thoughts that we all have on a daily basis, but they just manifest themselves in different ways for different people and become more intensified through random strokes of science/medicine/biology that is out of our conscious control. Thank you again for your generosity to share your experience with me. Again, if you think of anything else you want to add (or even if you know of others who would be willing to give me a little bit more insight into this syndrome) I would be so so so indebted!

Thank you again for everything and I hope you have a wonderful rest of the evening.
Best,
Christian


#10

You are welcome… The problem with us sz is that we have trouble dropping harmful beliefs and they tend to stick to us like fly paper when we are ill. We also engage in a lot of loose inductive reasoning and see danger where there is none. My imagination used to make lousy guesses at the things my eyes and ears were registering… I try to be a bit more discerning now but I still slip up once in awhile and jump to conclusions.

The thing is I can kind of trace back the material for these delusions to books I read ( science fiction, religious texts, dystopian novels) and movies (Logan’s run scared the heck out of me when I was a small kid). So I might have had some pretty nasty memes floating around in my head so I can’t necessarily say my illness is not a software (psychology) problem… The fact that I have two close relatives who got sick is pretty good evidence it’s hardware (biology) related but who really knows?

I have never had the guts to ask my doctors if they had seen any brain lesions when they did CAT scans of me. I think it would have only depressed me more if they told me they found some.


#11

Really not sure if it was quite cotards… I thought I was dead but I think I was able to feed myself… Not sure why I would think I needed to eat if I was dead :slight_smile: