People with Schizophrenia or other mental disorders often see things that the rest of us believe aren't there. This is referred to as having a visual hallucination – a false sensory experience. It can also be an auditory experience - hearing things the rest of us don’t.
Specialists diagnose and confirm the phenomenon with regularity. But how do we know that it’s not the rest of us that simply aren’t seeing things that perhaps are there? Not drawing any medical conclusions, just suggesting that it’s worthwhile to challenge the assumption. Just because we don’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there. (Maybe that special something or someone you want really is right in front of you.)
What if… what if these hallucinogenic episodes are transition phases where, as an individual nears death, sees something open and available to them. Possibly life’s way of easing us into the next chapter; whatever that may be. Implausible? Maybe. But discounting it as impossible may just be an answer of convenience. As example, we have a tendency to accept people at face value who say that they’ve had a near death experience (e.g., seeing a bright white light, floating over their physical body during surgery, and the like). Yet because dementia patients often can’t sufficiently articulate for themselves we tend to question their validity.
Does validation require physical evidence or just a belief? As example, family of dementia patients may opt to pray for their loved one (to an entity some people believe does not exist). Without proof, why not pray to Casper? (Because that would be foolish?)
Life makes it alarmingly easy to believe what we want or choose to believe. Other people seeing objects or people that do not mesh with an “ordinary” belief system can be frightening and is usually, and conveniently, labeled as a disease symptom. It remains a mystery, and a door more easily left closed, rather than consider the possibility that we are the blind ones. We filter out what we do not, choose not, to believe. Perhaps our own filters fade as we transition towards passing (and I’m in no hurry to find out!).
So yes, it is quite possible, or perhaps even probable, that those suffering with dementia are reacting to someone or something that isn't visually there. But, what if? Challenge your assumptions. On love, life, and living. Because…what if?
It’s all part of the adventure,
You know, it’s okay to be who you are. It’s the people who try to make you be who they are that create the sandstorm. Just be yourself and surround yourself with people that celebrate the individual in each of us. Just don’t be an asshole. No one likes an asshole.
A collection of thoughts, observations, and book excerpts. Every now and again I have a guest blogger chime in as well. Enjoy!